About a week ago I emerged bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from a 21-day Juice Feast. As I’m now navigating the sometimes treacherous and turbulent terrain of peri-menopause, I’ve learnt to pre-empt the familiar descent into nervous breakdown that percolates during times of pro-longed stress, and channel it’s energies into a period of juice feasting. This provides an effective detox and release valve. During the Winter of 2012, I completed a 28-day Master Cleanse fast. It was liberating and healing, both emotionally and physically, and as such I’ve undertaken many short-term (3-7 days) juice feasting since.
The difference between Juice feasting and juice fasting, and water or dry fasting is important to understand. Fasting (abstaining from food, and sometimes also excluding water – dry fasting) is not a new concept. It’s as ancient as the day life was born, and isn’t exclusive to humans. It’s an inherent voice that calls deep within, and when one is sick and the mind is quietened of the chatter of external influence, the voice can be heard. It’s the most ancient and the most effective form of healing that we have. Your appetite will leave you, and the desire for food will not appeal. You simply want to rest. And this is what fasting is essentially about. It’s about giving your body a break from the enormous energy expenditure required to fuel itself and to cope with everyday life, and simply rest, go inward, reconnect, and heal at a deeply profound level. A fast of this kind is effective both for acute and chronic illnesses, for short or long term. Although for long term fasts greater than 7 days, I would strongly suggest doing so under the guidance and supervision of a practitioner well qualified in the practice.
Juice Feasting, as developed and refined by John Rose and David Rainoshek, has also been practiced since time immemorial, and differs from fasting in as much as it allows the feaster to continue on with their lives (particularly useful for people who can’t get time off work – like mothers), but still reap tremendous benefit and achieve deep healing. The protocol that Rose and Rainoshek have developed encourages long-term juice feasting – typically for up to 92 days. Although they acknowledge and encourage any length of time that one can feasibly achieve. For my most recent juice feast, I followed their protocol which included drinking between 3-5 Litres of predominantly green vegetable juice (fresh) per day, as well as complementary supplements such as omega-3 rich oils, bee pollen, enzymes, and a super greens formula, and any individualised herbal protocols, along with colon cleansing and general support of the detoxification pathways. Herbal teas, water, and other Liquids of Vitality (hydrating elixirs are also included if desired. I also continued with my usual daily lifestyle practices of prayer and thanksgiving, oil-pulling for oral health, dry skin brushing, sun bathing, exercise, and concentrating on achieving effective sleeping habits.
My day typically looked like this:
On waking: 600mls good water + 7 drops humic/fulvic acid.
oil-pull, dry skin brush, shower
1 Tbs hemp seed oil + 1.5ml algae oil
1 Tbs bee pollen
30 minute brisk walk
Breakfast: 1 litre green juice with lemon and ginger (eg: apple/lemon/ginger/kiwi/celery/cucumber/kale/spinach/parsley
floss, brush teeth, salt water rinse.
morning tea: 1 cup dandelion chai (no milk, no sweetener)
Elevenses: 1 litre juice (usually another green juice or apple/beet/lemon/ginger)
Lunch: 1 litre orange/lemon/pomegranate/blueberries/hibsicus + rosehip juice elixir
Afternoon tea: 500mls coconut water + 1 tbs my own blend Supergreens formula
Dinner: 1 litre green juice.
Supper: 1 cup Tulsi infusion.
floss, brush, salt water rinse
I kept a journal over the 21 days as well as the week breaking the feast. It was interesting to note that as well as physically releasing 3.5kg of toxicity, this was very much a period of emotional and mental detoxing. I gained much more clarity in terms of the goals I want to achieve in my life, I was able to identify and clarify areas that I needed to work on, and my outlook on life in general began to stabilise. The emotional detox was difficult, but I needed to do it. Physically, I felt a constant flow of energy and was therefore able to continue my everyday life of mothering, and headmistressing at the Intergalactic Academy of Fantastically Wayward Children. My skin became clear, soft and supple, and my eyes clearer. I would have loved to have continued the full 92 days to really go deep into healing cellular memories, but the timing wasn’t right. I will do a complete 92 days at some point soon.
Fasting, and juice feasting, is transformational – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It invites you to step outside of the social norm, to step outside of time, to deepen your connection with your own body as well as your Creator, and your greater spiritual purpose. And let’s face it, ALL dis-ease stems from a disconnect in some way or another. Emperical (historical) as well as modern scientific evidence has proven it’s effectiveness in eliminating parasites (physically and spiritually), eliminating inflammation, eliminating tumours and growths, and healing damaged tissue, organs, and systems. It isn’t starvation, but when done properly and with understanding, an intelligent approach to working WITH the body’s inherent healing mechanism, rather than against it. In his excellent book, The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation, beautiful human, herbalist, poet, and Earth steward Stephen Harrod Buhner so eloquently explains this physiological process of fasting, and it’s paramount importance to the art of long-lasting healing. He further outlines sixteen essential steps to approaching a fast (or indeed a juice feast).
- Determine if you are ready for a fast. (Most people who are desperate to heal will be)
- Decide what kind of fast is most supportive for you to do.
- Arrange or set aside a special time for your fast.
- Decide how long you are going to fast.
- Arrange a supportive environment for the fast. (This can also be in the form of an online forum)
- Begin eating a new diet to prepare your body for the fast for two to ten weeks prior to the fast.
- If you are conducting your own fast, obtain good clean water and/or good produce to juice and drink during your fast.
- Set your spiritual goals for the fast.
- Set your emotional goals for the fast.
- Set your physical goals for the fast.
- Arrange sufficient time after the fast for you and your body to reintegrate and be ready for resuming daily life.
- Keep a journal of your fast.
- Fast with conscious attention to the process.
- Break the fast with caring and awareness; especially make sure that you have the right kind of foods on hand for breaking the fast.
- After the fast, spend some time with someone who care about you and whom you care about and tell this person about your experiences.
- Incorporate the lessons of the fast into daily life.
My goal when I broke my juice feast has been to continue doing weekly intermittent fasts. For me this is having one day/week of just green juices, and then one day/week dry fasting (for spiritual purposes). For others, intermittent fasting may simply be eating only between the daylight hours (a practice I find highly beneficial!) and the fasting from sunset to sunrise each day, or sunset to noon the following day.
Much has been written in the ‘old school’ health literature about fasting, and now science is finally catching up. The following are resources that I have used in my studies on fasting over the years. I hope you find them interesting, and consider fasting (or juice feasting!) as a useful tool in your first aid kit.
The Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation by Stephen Harrod Buhner Healing Arts Press. 2012. (Formerly published in 2003 under the title The Fasting Path)
Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease by Joel Fuhrman
Fasting Can Save Your Life by Herbert M. Shelton
http://www.gaianstudies.org/articles4.htm The Health Benefits of Water Fasting by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
Psychiatry Res. 2013 Oct 30;209(3):253-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.12.018. Epub 2013 Jan 15.
Fasting in mood disorders: neurobiology and effectiveness. A review of the literature.
Fond G1, Macgregor A, Leboyer M, Michalsen A.
Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(6):444-53. doi: 10.1159/000357765. Epub 2013 Dec 16.
Fasting therapy for treating and preventing disease – current state of evidence.
Michalsen A1, Li C.
www.juicefeast.com Most comprehensive on protocols, equipment, and the whole juice feasting process.
This is a playlist from Dr Robert Cassar on a series of videos on Fasting and Terrain modification. Many important principles discussed. I love this guy.
Fasting programmes and retreat centres
Terrain Modification Academy www.hawaiimedicalfasting.com
True North Health Centre www.healthpromoting.com
http://www.arcadiahealthcentre.com.au (my old neighbours)