As day 1 came to a close Heathy and I had each consumed a large green juice and a large glass of the celery, apple, ginger and cranberry blend. Spaced out between those 2 juices I had 4 large mugs of warm/hot tea and a glass of water. So the green juice fast is shaping up to be a hot tea fast. I guess I should share with you the tea blend of choice on the fast. At the moment we’re making a lose tea mixture of reishi mushroom, pau d’arco, cat’s claw, oat straw and chaga. Last night we added some astragalus root to the blend and were both in agreement that it was a bit overpowering.
The tea blend is chocked full of immune boosting, anti-viral, fungal, bacterial and health enhancing herbs. I was happy to read about the yeast eliminating properties of pau d’arco. I’ve been sweetening my teas with maple syrup or raw honey. Both of which are local.
The sleep schedule has had us getting to bed later than usual. Last night being New Year’s Eve, we had an excuse to stay up a bit late drinking tea. Late to bed equals late to rise. In the snowy Canadian landscape I’m cool with slipping into hibernation mode. We weren’t out of bed until 11am this morning. I made juice while sipping hot water with lemon. Both Heathy and I noticed how sore our lower backs were. We had done yoga the day before but we think the soreness had to do with multiple factors, one of them being the fast. A little yoga loosened things up.
By 4pm we were out the door and visiting Heathy’s parents house. While there we had a real treat: hot miso soup with garlic. We blended it smooth in the vita-mix. It truly hit the spot. This was followed through out the evening with mugs of hot tea and honey. We ended up staying late and missing our evening juice. We both felt ok with this though and retired for bed by 11pm.
My energy level has been pretty consistent. I am experiencing occasional hot flashes accompanied by shaky fatigue. I just go with it and eventually it passes.
Fasting in subzero temperatures is a new experience for me so I’m not going to push things. At the moment the outside air temp is -24C which is -15F. Fasting is a real heat sucker so if I feel things getting a little to intense I’m not going to hesitate in backing off. Day 3 should be very telling.
After a long night of feasting on the last of our raw desserts… ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate mousse and a variety of sauces; we began our juice fast at the stroke of midnight. I don’t recommend binging on desserts or anything else prior to a fast. I’ve actually heard stories of people having a last meal of McDonald’s before starting a fast and it turns my stomach, but
everyone makes their own choices and reaps the results.
The morning began with licorice tea followed by green juice an hour or so later. We got a late start to the day only getting up after 10am and making the juice by noon. The morning juice combo that filled both of our cups consisted of:
2 large cucumbers
4 celery ribs
2 kale leaves
2 romain leaves
a nub of fresh ginger
1 quarter of a lemon, peel and all
All of this went through the juicer. I lined the pulp container with the seed mylk bag and as you can see I was able to collect a decent amount of juice by squeezing the pulp.
The rest of the days liquids will include hot tea and more green juice. Heathy is talking about a blend of celery, ginger, lemon and apple for later today. I can’t wait.
Tis the season to be fasting now that we’ve got the feasting out of the way. A pattern seems to emerge at this time of the year when everyone awakens from the holidaze of excess and over indulgence. What’s the remedy for this holiday hangover? A juice fast/feast of course! I use the term fast/feast to allow flexibility regarding the recovery route you choose to take. Fasting is a more restricted and more powerful method of healing while feasting achieves similar results with less restrictions. Fasting is best done in a relaxed and supportive environment like a tropical spa setting. For those of us that don’t have a spa at our disposal the feast option is the next best choice.
Fasting: willingly abstaining from food, drink and/or specific activities for a set duration of time.
Feasting: consumption without limitations.
The component that is missing from the above definitions is the juice… green juice that is. Fresh organic green vegetable juice is the next best thing to mother’s milk and that is the core ingredient to a healing juice fast/feast. The foundation for my own green juice fasting/feasting protocol is based on what I learned while working at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. While it is possible to fast on fruit juices, water and a variety of other liquids it is not recommended that you do this unless you know what you are doing and what you can expect. The high sugar content of fresh fruit and root (carrot, beet) juices can be unbalancing when consume in high amounts during a liquid fast. With the fiber removed from the fruit/root you end up with an unnaturally high concentration of sugars. If drinking these juices it is best to thin them with water or combine them with green vegetable juices.
The equipment needed to have a successful green juicing experience is either a high power blender like a vita-mix or blendtec or a masticating juicer. Centrifuge juicers are ok but many of them don’t handle leafy greens very well. I have a trick I use to maximize my juice output with both masticating and centrifuge juicers. Line the pulp catching container with a seed mylk bag (paint strainer bag from Home Depot). Once you have finished your initial juicing, taking the bag of pulp and squeeze it dry. You’ll find that a good bit of juice is left in the pulp, juice that would be thrown away.
It’s optimal to consume fresh green juice but it often isn’t practical to make the the juice on the spot. A routine of making your days juice either the morning of or the night before is usually the option of choice. If you have a FoodSaver kitchen gadget with the mason jar vacuum sealing attachment you’ll be stylin. With this set up you can vacuum seal your juice and extend it’s vitality and slow oxidation.
The juice blend I prefer while juice fasting/feasting is:
2 stalks of celery
1 handful of leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce)
fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)
For a bit of sweetness I might add 1 ounce of fresh carrot, beet or apple juice. When doing I long term fast I notice that people tend to want to drink their sweet juice straight… they’re jonezing for their sugar fix. The key to a healthy fast/feast is balance and shooting fruit juices is not very balancing… so don’t do it.
Fasting/Feasting on liquids during cold months can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips to take the edge off cold weather fasting.
Enjoy at least 4 ten ounce green juices a day with water and tea throughout the day. Below is a prospective fast/feast schedule.
8am – skin brush and shower
8:30 – hot water and lemon juice
9 am – 10 oz green juice
10:30 – tea or water
Noon – green juice, 1 oz apple with ginger/cayenne
1: 30 – tea or water
3pm – green juice, 1 oz carrot with ginger/cayenne
4:30 – tea or water
6pm – green juice with ginger and lemon
Take your produce out of the fridge and allow it to warm up to room temp. before juicing it
Enjoy hot/warm tea between green juices
Add warming ingredients to your juices like fresh ginger juice, garlic, hot peppers, cayenne and turmeric
Allow refrigerated juice to warm before drinking
Exercise periodically through out the day: yoga, rebounding, breath work – see “Breath of Fire”
To really experience the benefits of a juice fast/feast you need to go for at least 3 days. 7 days is optimal and once you’ve gone beyond 7 just listen to your body and go until you feel you’ve satisfied your bodies healing needs.
This week I had a blast visiting Tallahassee, FL to teach a live food class and host a dinner. The theme of the evening was Viva Italia which allowed me to connect with my Italian roots in a vegan raw food way. The menu was eggplant Parmesan, bell peppers stuffed with pecan basil pesto, zucchini and squash noodles with a hemp alfredo sauce, a fresh garden salad with sorrel, kale, baby lettuce and a fig tarragon vinaigrette… dessert was a avocado chocolate mousse that was off the charts. Thank you to everyone who helped and all those who attended. I can’t wait to do it again. Enjoy this clip from the festive event.