Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Juice Feast, Days 25-28, & Breaking the Feast

I broke the feast this morning with a smoothie of mango, mixed berries, banana and kale. Papaya and spinach is what I really wanted but only had kale on hand. Even though it wasn't what I was craving it was a great way to break the feast and kept me satisfied until late afternoon. Today I also had 1 Tbsp Vitamineral Green, 1 quart of juice, some bee pollen, chlorella and an orange. I've decided to contine this way for the next two days and then resume my high-raw diet. So, my feast is officially over. 28 days was plenty for me, and towards the end I didn't think I would make it because of all the other challenges going on in my life.

Wow it's been a crazy few days. Things started getting strange last week when one of my four cats got sick. The Reader's Digest version: we took him to an after hours vet who, after 2 visits and a lot of EXPENSIVE tests and x-rays concluded that he had a very high temperature and an infection which was treated with antibiotics. We're still giving him oral antibiotics and my boy is just about 100% back to normal.

Right around that time I decided it was time to do a gentle liver cleanse which is recommended on the juice feast. The recipe calls for water, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Nothing much happened during the day so that evening I decided it would be a good time to also start taking probiotics. Ooops.

That was day 25 and my stomach has been wild until today. I've never experienced such constant, loud gurgling in my life. There was no cramping or discomfort but something was happening - maybe it was the colony of good bacteria multiplying, plus a delayed reaction to the liver cleanse. Elimination was little, but OFTEN. Finally today I had a very productive colonic and I feel brand new.

During all of this I had to install an exhibit at the gallery where I work, and deal with 2 home computers infected with a virus. Resolving that problem was another costly, time-consuming and stressful event, to put it mildly. The juices really kept me going, and focused on what had to get done.

Now, I'm quite happy to be finished with the cleanse. My overall observations:

Hunger: little to none, until the last couple days when my appetite returned.
Degree of difficulty with juice feast: challenging moments, but overall not too difficult.
Eye discomfort: A noticeable improvement past 2 days!
Other pain or healing crisis: headache and sleepiness around day 26.
Elimination: inconsistent.
Energy: excellent.
Exercise: a little rebounding most days and some yoga 2-3 times/week.
Weight lost: 7 lbs.
Stress level/activities/workload: Busy!
Temperment: some irritability but mostly even, especially considering high stress level.
Other: Playing guitar, working on new art, writing project proposals.

As I ease back into my regular diet I plan to incorporate a once-a-week juice fast into my regimen. I'll also try to continue posting periodic health updates.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Juice Feast, Days 22-24

All is still well. My eyes are unchanged, and I've experienced no detox symptoms. The days are going by quickly and I don't think about food at all since I'm not the slightest bit hungry. There are days in fact when I feel as though I'm drinking too much juice - that my body doesn't require so much. Today was one of those days. I drank about 3 1/2 quarts, about one quart more than I feel is optimal for me. Every few days or so I drink this much juice just to be sure I'm getting enough variety.

Here are a couple of basic juices that have become my favorites:

1. parsley/celery/cucumber/green apple/kale
2. spinach, romaine, carrot

There are so many combinations I've tried but I always come back to these two.

I've been using a Hurom juicer since my Norwalk is on the fritz (it's impossible to destroy a Norwalk, but I found a way! It can be repaired, but I haven't gotten around to it). Anyway, the Hurom is OK, but not all that it's cracked up to be. After reading several glowing reviews and watching it demonstrated on various sites I was dissapointed in its performance.

It's fine for most fruits, carrots and simple greens, but anything stringy - like celery, or even parsley - will clog up the fiber chute. So if anyone reading this is planning on using a Hurom, make sure to add these in very small amounts, followed by carrot, or something very juicy like cucumber. If you want to juice a big bunch of celery or parsley, you have to take your time, and definitely keep your eye on the pulp chute.

You also must strain the juice through a nut milk bag. This was hard for me to get used to because I was spoiled by the Norwalk, but it's really not a big deal anymore. Even so, this step should at least be mentioned in the demos, or the instruction booklet, but it isn't. The juice is pretty good though and it takes a little less time than the Norwalk.

Just four more days of the juice feast, then it's on to smoothies and juices for...I don't know how long. I love juicing but I'll be glad to get some fiber back into my life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Juice Feast, Days 19 - 21

Well, I've made it three weeks and still doing well. There hasn't been anything unusual or spectacular to report, although my eyes are slightly improved today. This happens every so often, and there's no rhyme or reason to it from what I can tell, so I don't want to get too excited about it. It's just a cautiously optimistic observation.

One thing I can say for sure is that I do not like cascara sagrada & have decided not to use it anymore. I'm not doing daily enemas either. My elimination has slowed considerably over the past few days and I'm thinking of starting probiotics soon. It's not recommended to start them until after the cleansing phase, at which point the rebuilding phase of the feast begins - right around day 75. I'm modifying the program and may not go that long anyway. In fact I've decided to go one more week on juices - one month in total - and then add green smoothies.

In the second month my plan is to have 1 quart of green smoothies and 2 quarts of juices per day. I'm not juicing too many fruits and I miss the variety, not to mention the fiber. So tomorrow I start my final week of juices only, and I'm already looking forward to that first smoothie next week, with papaya and spinach!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Juice feast, Days 15 - 18

I've gotten through 18 days successfuly and am doing really well on day 19. It's amazing how I have absolutely no hunger whatsoever and plenty of energy. It's cold and drizzly today but early Spring seems to be the right time of the year to do the feast since I'm so busy in the warmer months with outdoor projects and gardening. This is a pretty busy time of year also as I prepare for the upcoming work. I'm trying not to burn out and so far I'm managing everything pretty well. In the upcoming weeks I'll be working with my partner Vito on our community art project "Adopt-A-Site" . Somehow I'll find time for my gardens, which have top priority since I grow much of my food in the summer months.
So looking forward to being in the garden...
Here's my Senor looking out the front window at our perennials.

I experienced an unexpected breakthrough in my yoga practice a couple of days ago. One of the poses I've been working on sporadically is a "bound side angle", which is a tough stretch where, as I'm twisted, I try to hold hands with myself behind my back. The best I've been able to do is to get my fingers close to touching, but nowhere near holding hands. Well, without even thinking about it I got ito the pose and reached one arm around, my hand searching for the other, and they touched and then clasped! It's hard to explain the pose, (maybe I'll get Vito to take a picture), and needless to say I was thrilled to have acheived this minor milestone. I think the cleansing has helped with my flexibilty and I'm looking forward to more improvements.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Juice Feast - Days 13&14

I've made it through two weeks of juice feasting and I think I should continue a bit longer. My eyes burned and watered a few nights in a row, and the past couple of days were tough. Yesterday they were a little better, last night they didn't burn at all & so far today they're not too bad. Now they're pretty much the way they were before the flare-up, so I don't know if any healing was actually taking place or not. Still, I think it's too soon to stop the feast. Maybe another week or two will help.

I do enjoy experimenting with different juices combinations. So far today I've had 1quart of water; 4oz. wheatgrass juice; 8 oz. fresh coconut water mixed with Greener Grasses powder; 8 oz spinach/romaine/carrot juice; 1 tbsp. bee pollen with 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, & I'm about to drink a pint of celery/apple/spinach/ginger juice. And it's still early.

Even though I feel completely nourished with all the juices and have no hunger, I've lost 5 pounds during these two weeks. This is called a "feast" for a reason and doesn't feel like a reducing diet, although pounds are bound to be shed as toxins are released along with the fat that they're stored in. I'm quite happy to lose this excess "winter weight".

My observations for the first 2 weeks:

Hunger: little to none
Degree of difficulty with juice feast: not difficult once the juices are made
Eye condition: from bad to worse to bad again
Neck nodules: unchanged
Exercise: moderate rebounding most days, some yoga
Other pain or healing crisis: none
Elimination: good
Energy: excellent
Weight lost: 5 pounds
Sleep: deep, but not enough

Stress level/activities/workload: Extremely busy, hectic pace
Frame of mind: possitive/optimistic, though sometimes anxious due to
multiple projects and deadlines
Other: vivid dreams; desire to play guitar again & have done so for nearly a week!

This feels like an experiment that I really want to experience, so I will hang in for at least another week.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Juice Feast, Days 9 - 12

I'm wrapping up day 12 and am happy to say that I've reached a personal best. My longest cleanse prior to this juice feast was a 10 day Master Cleanse is 2008. I cannot say that this has been easy; in fact, I've almost ended or modified this several times, but continue to hang in there. One of the problems is that I get chilled to the bone after drinking a juice, even though I wear extra layers of clothing, drink hot tea & try to get more exercise. The saving grace is my infrared sauna. This is one of the best investments in my health that I've ever made. I've had it a few years now and even though it's as small as a tiny closet I use it regularly during cold months - especially now that I'm juice feasting. For info into the health benefits of infrared sauna see my report here .

One of the main reasons for embarking on this cleanse was to improve my eye health. My clogged oil glands,(which, by the way came with the cancer but did not leave with it), cause discomfort, dry eyes and sensitivity to light. These conditions have worsened with this cleanse. A few nights ago I woke to a burning sensation and tearing in my left eye. The tears kept coming for several minutes bringing some relief. It wasn't exactly painful and I somehow felt that something good was happening. Since then it's happened off and on in both eyes, to a lesser degree.

The photosensitivity seems to have progressed and feels worse now than ever before. As I write this I'm wearing sunglasses because the light of the computer is too bright. My eyelids are a little inflamed and there's an oily substance being released, which may be the cause of the burning sensation. It seems as though my body is trying to clear the blocked glands, which is great but the process is no fun. If it doesn't ease up soon I may modify the cleanse to slow down the detoxification process.

I've cut back on the number of juices to 2 1/2 - 3 quarts. I feel stuffed on more than that and I realized that my caloric needs are not the same as others who flourish on 4 qts per day. In addition to the juices I'm still taking bee pollen, chlorella, green powders, and 1 tbsp of hemp oil and/or coconut oil. I haven't felt any hunger to speak of in days.

I haven't had an enema since day 7, nor have I been taking the recommended herbal laxative. My elimination has been very efficient and I'm surprised at the return of formed, rather than loose stools. Incredible.

For the past two days I have a taste in my mouth, something like metal. I think this is a great sign that my body is ridding itself of old debris. The metalic taste affects the taste of the juices, but I can live with that.

I'm sure I can make it to the 2 week mark, which is in 2 days. At that point I will decide whether to continue the feast as is, or modify it a bit.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Juice Feast, Days 7&8

Many people say that the first 3 days of a fast or a cleanse are the hardest. For me they were the easiest. Yesterday, day 8, was the toughest yet. The hunger wasn't so bad, yet I had a strong desire to make a smoothie, and even though I was irritable off and on all day I stuck with the program. The idea of switching to a 90day smoothie/juice cleanse appealed to me, especially considering how challenging it is to keep the fridge stocked and to make time in my already-filled day to make the juices. Detroit is an organic food desert, and I have to drive 25 minutes (one way) to the closest store that has most everything I need. It's hit or miss with the local farmers market when it comes to organic. Unfortunately, they have little or nothing to offer. Yes, day 8 was somewhat bleak and I'm glad it's behind me. I'm feeling much brighter and optimistic today.

On the juice feast it's recommended to do an enema each day during the first week, then less often while taking cascara sagrada. I've read that it's common to have solid bowel movements during the first couple weeks or so during the feast. That has not been my experience (except for the first 3 days). The evening of day 7 I took cascara sagrada before bed, as advised, unaware of what was in store for me. My sleep was interrupted with trips to the rest room during the night and most of yesterday morning. I skipped taking it last night and I'm not sure about tonight.

My body is releasing toxins at an accelerated level and I do want them to find their way out of my body, but I also would love a good night's sleep and to be able to leave the house when I need to. There's a learning curve here and I may go back to read through the website and Angela Stokes' A Juice Feaster's Handbook to pick up some helpful tidbits. Meanwhile I will continue to drink my juices and envision all the wonderful cleansing and healing taking place within my body.