Friday, January 29, 2010

Getting Personal

For a second I debated writing this post because it's quite different that all my others, but for some reason feel compelled to share ... a step into my personal side...

I'm on Day 4 of a short juice fast/cleanse. Seems like I fasted recently - oh wait, it was only a matter of weeks ago. So why am I doing it again? For a number of reasons:

One of my goals for 2010 is to do a 20-30 fast. All around me (or rather around me on the web), people are gaining exceptional benefits from fasting, either in the form of a series of shorter fasts, or really long ones. I have such admiration for these people, as I know it takes a huge commitment to stop eating, and start feeling the deep emotions that arise when we fast, in addition to doing something that goes against what is accepted by mainstream society.

I'm not a complete beginner to fasting - for years I've fasted a day or two here and there and gone through periods of juice fasting one day a week as a "rebalancer". I've always felt great doing it - more energy the next day, better digestion, more confidence, and an overall feeling of peace with a better mental outlook. Last summer I also experimented with water fasting for short periods of 24-30 hours at a time. I really liked not having to think about making juice, or even walk into the kitchen. It amazes me how one day without food can make such a difference!

I feel as though I am slowly preparing for my big cleanse. My first "long" fast was 7 days last October with Adam. I felt confident about having the support of another person around the clock, without having to go to an actual fasting center. It was an easy and pleasant experience - probably due to various factors: 1. Adam's support, 2. I was in a totally new environment which is always exciting, 3. I was in a warm place, on the beach (Florida), 4. I had absolutely no commitments other than drinking juice, 5. I got plenty of rest - whenever I needed it, 6. I eat a high raw diet so wasn't doing any heavy detoxing from crazy processed foods or cigarettes. Besides some fatigue, the only other "blip" was vomiting after my wheatgrass juice/green juice one afternoon, and even that was the most pleasant "getting sick experience" I've ever had.

I did my second fast (rather a modified fast) with Adam during the first week of January, combined with a liver/gallbladder flush, for 7 days total. Again some fatigue the first few days, but then high energy and the feeling of lightness that I love so much.

I decided I want to do more fasting on my own, without relying on someone else to help me along - support is always great, but I want to feel self sufficient too. So, on my own I started this little fast a few days ago. These 4 days have been surprisingly easy - I definitely attribute my success to my recent fasting experiences - it's like they strengthened me. It makes all the difference to have someone by your side when starting out. I'll be breaking the fast today with some grapefruit and tomorrow will add green smoothies to the plan, for a few days.

Another reason for the fast is to cleanse my body, particularly my liver. I've learned that by eating a high amount of overt fats (chocolate, coconut oil, nuts), I have been pushing the limits of my precious organ. "But aren't these foods good for a person?" you may ask.... yes, they are indeed - great sources of natural fat and nutrition, but not when you eat them like I do (there is no such thing as one piece of chocolate). I've also discovered, through work with the most excellent therapist, Ria Caro, that my liver has been holding onto some anger (you might be familiar with Lousie Hay if you need a reference point).
I am currently releasing that, but it can take a bit of time for the cells to catch up to the positive changes. Actually, the unhappiness of my liver was letting itself be known in the form of spots (sounds better than zits) on my upper back/shoulders - yuck. I was pretty mortified, but at least those toxins are coming up to the surface to be released and while my skin is not perfectly clear, I see improvement since doing these recent fasts. My digestion improves even after a one day fast and
I find that it also creates a deeper appreciation for food, plus a desire to feed my body the best food ever!

And finally, the most important point of all for me is that I'm fasting in order to deal with certain emotional issues that are easy for me to suppress with food, particularly sugar (surprise surprise - isn't it interesting that my weakness happens to be the same thing I'm gifted at). Some people have addictions to food, shopping, drugs, alcohol, or sex... well mine is sugar, which represents the sweetness of life, and love. Two big things. When I'm not truly being ME and fulfilling my hearts desires, I want sugar's sweetness. When I am not loving and accepting myself, I search out love - again, often in the form of sugar. Funny how it works - when I eat to satisfy my emotions, there is no amount of food that can satisfy me. I feel that fasting allows me to stay more present to what I'm doing and how I'm feeling.

As a result of working on the "inner me", I am changing my belief system and thought patterns in order to bring a greater sense of self love and acceptance into my life. I believe that by doing so, I am helping others (indirectly), because as I clean up my inner self, I'm more conscious about what I project onto others and the world.

In case you're wondering what exactly I've fasting on, here's a daily breakdown. Each juice is a 12- 16 oz glass, plus I drink water, and the teas are often more like 20-30 oz.
I find it really helpful to incorporate the hot miso broth into a winter fast when it's sooo cold, especially up here when it drops to -30C (-22F) at times. Actually, I had a minor challenge due to the cold. I had a hard time getting to sleep because I was chilled to the bone despite being under a pile of duvets, fleece pants, and heat turned on. It was easier to fast in Florida in that regard.

Day 1
  • Hot lemon water (upon rising)
  • Grapefruit juice (something I've been craving lately)
  • Chaga Mushroom tea with vanilla stevia
  • Green Juice: cucumber, celery, kale, parsley, ginger, garlic
  • Miso broth: miso, hot water, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger
Day 2
  • Hot lemon water
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Green juice: cucumber, celery, kale, ginger
  • Tea: chaga, reishi mushroom, oatstraw blend with stevia & vanilla water
  • Juice: apple, celery, lime
  • Miso broth x 2: with ginger, acv
Day 3
  • Water with colosan (bowel cleanser) & lemon
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Juice: celery, cucumber, beet, apple, ginger
  • Tea: Reishi mushroom, oatstraw, cat's claw blend with stevia & vanilla water
  • Miso broth w ginger/acv
Day 4
  • Water with lemon
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Peppermint tea
  • Juice: celery, cucumber, green chard, ginger
  • As soon as I finish this post I'll sink my teeth into a grapefruit
It's been surprisingly easy to fast on my own, and I feel really great physically/ mentally/ emotionally. As I move into smoothies and fruit meals over the next few days, I'll be sure to share recipes with you!

Overall, I feel that I can use fasting as a tool to get to the essence of myself, so that I can live in complete inner freedom... and at the end of the day, it's inner peace/freedom that I desire more than anything else..

I'd love to hear about your fasting experiences - why do you do it, what helps you stick to it?

42 comments:

bitt of raw said...

good for you! I love juicing although I have realized that just a raw diet is just right for me right now. sometimes i go on fasts from chocolate--just eliminating that and see how my body reacts. also going low glycemic for a time can be nice. it helps me reset my sweet tooth a bit.

So happy you are doing this and please keep us updated on the results!

barefoot_and_frolicking said...

Heather - you are always inspiring! It is a good thing we put our 'raw' Sarma recipe adventure on hold ;-)

I really admire your determination with your juice fasting, and I appreciate the personal slant to your post. Very inspirational!

Thanks for sharing, girlie :-) Keep on going!

Lauren said...

Great post, Heather! I tend to have a sweet tooth too, not always, just during periods of time. Like lately! LOL!

I agree with Bitt, please keep us updated, I enjoyed hearing about your journey.

kelli said...

love this post! i'm so glad you decided to share, and yay that it's going so well for you!

i've been contemplating a fast for a while now. i don't own a juicer or a vitamix, but i do have a sufficient blender and nut milk bag. i was thinking of a green smoothie fast, as i have never gone more than a few hours without food! your post reaffirmed that i should move forward with it! thanks heathy =)

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

You are doing great! I haven't fasted since I became hypoglycemic (when I had my babies). It's something my doctor warned me not to do. So...if I want to cleanse I eat bananas and avocados for a few days. That seems to work very well for me.

HippieMom said...

Very inspiring! The longest I managed to juice fast was 5 days, I am planning on another one soon..Thank's for sharing,
XOXO

HiHoRosie said...

Wow, good for you Heathy! I too am impressed by people who fast. I'm not in a position to do one yet but hope to in the future, just a short one to start. :) Thanks for sharing your personal post. Hope this experience continues to be positive and that you achieve the results intended. Keep us posted!

Chantal said...

Honestly Heather, I think you are my #1 inspiration in the raw food world. From what I get from your blog, you're an awesome person who simply tries to get even more down with your inner self and essence and I have such respect for that (and okay... I'll confess, I'm a huge fan of your recipes too). Yours is definitely one of the blogs I found that pushed me over the edge to adopt the raw life and to keep at it. Now, I just need the same resolve with fasting... which you inspired me to blog about today. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience and being so honest!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

What a great post! I dont say that lightly, either! There are sooo many people around, you're right, who are jumping on the cleanse, fast, juice feast/fast, etc bandwagon that it's great to hear your perspective; that of a veteran. I have never done any fasts or cleanses. I feel that my transition from vegetarian to gluten/soy free to vegan to high raw GF SF Vegan detoxed me slowly over a 5 yr period. And I always wonder what would i gain by doing this...guess one day i will have to try!

Mel said...

You know, it's funny how people assume when you eat Vegan (and/or) raw like I do and many others, people assume you must have amazingly healthy kidneys.

In comparisson to others it probably is but don't you love a good cleanse. I've got spots on my temples which is odd, but apparantly you can tell by where they appear on you're body, what organ they relate to and what you've been eating too much of.

I think you hit the nail on the head with cleanses, the greatest thing is being at bliss, not having to worry about 'uncooking' and such!

Mel said...

Oopsie meant Liver lol. Im not with it today, but I'm sure we have better Kidneys too lol. ;)

shannonmarie said...

I have a bit of a sweet and chocolate addiction, too. Unfortunately, I keep finding reasons I can't give them up entirely. For instance, I recently attempt to cut back my chocolate intake. As a result, my iron level dropped, as well. Who knew?

Sheryl-Anne said...

Those colourful juices would entice *anybody* into juice fasting for a while! Be-au-ti-ful!
I'm currently on an extended juice feast. I'm going for at least 90 consecutive days (which should be at the end of April). My objectives are to cleanse deeply enough to get rid of some health issues that have been plaguing my existence, and haven't responded fast enough for my liking to raw and living foods.
I'll try some of those juice recipes: they absolutely speak to me!
Love and green hugs!
Sheryl-Anne xx

The Voracious Vegan said...

Such a beautiful post! I'm glad you decided to share. I've never done a fast of any kind but I'm so intrigued, it sounds like you love it so much.

Christine said...

Very interesting and something I've been thinking a lot about lately. For now, I'm getting so many wonderful benefits from just being high raw that I don't think I'm ready for a juice fast yet. I'm a very active person that is worried how it will affect my energy levels and needs to research it more. But, I'm looking forward to reading about your experiences!

Barbara said...

Really lovely honest post. Thank you for sharing. This week my diet has been restricted and I have had to eliminate all fruits and anything "sweet". I too really dug my chocolate/cacao, and am now limited to veggies and jasmine rice. I am amazed at how I am climbing the walls craving sweets. I eat crunchy, salty..and still crave sweets..so i figure its a good thing I am doing this now.

I loved reading about the emotional challenges you have had. I have a similar story and I can feel the anger coming up...there were a few days I felt pre-menstrual and I have not menstruated in almost ten years! I just felt BIATCHY!!!!

It has eased up quite a bit and I am feeling much better. I am not able to juice right now. My body is not ready for it..still trying to incorporate more raw...but doing a lot of vegetarian because I am dealing with some health issues.

I wish you luck and again, thank you for sharing this post. You do inspire me.

earthyfoody.com said...

Heathy- Thank you for sharing your fasting approach. It can be very difficult on your own. I tired one a few years ago and lasted six days. I never expected to last that long but felt so strong for doing it! You really are an amazing inspiration and I appreciate how honest and open you were. I know it is my emotions I am afraid of and I like you cling to sugar. That is the first thing I crave. That's why I love your blog so much! Keep up the great work and definitely keep us posted on your progress.
-

Antony Heaven said...

Thanks for sharing this Heathy. I wish you all the best with your fast. I've only ever fasted at detox centres (3 times) and the longest was for 7 days. I thought of that need for supervision and support as I was reading your post. Well done for doing it solo! best wishes, Antony

DPS said...

Is it okay to substitute the stevia with agave? I don't really care for the taste of stevia. I think it is amazing that you are able to pull this off. I've been wanting to try it myself. Are you doing this fast while you are still working or is it best to do this while on a vacation?

I really do enjoy your blogs. CHEERS to staying Healthy!!

Raw Goddess said...

Wow, I really appreciate all your comments guys! Seems as though we all inspire each other - I love it! :)

DPS- you certainly could sub agave for the stevia... you get to decide what works best for you :)

Kristen's Raw said...

Wonderful post! Good for you! :)

pamatha said...

Thank you for your open and honest share! It really helps me understand where I need to get to on my raw journey.

Lyn said...

Great post, Heather - you've inspired me to plan a fast before spring :)

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) said...

Good for you!

This was a great post. I am (very) slowly entering into the raw world, and I would love to do a fast one day- I'm not at that point now, but you are a great inspiration to the kind of fast I would like to do one day- to detox from too much of a good thing, and as a healthy way to combat emotions.

I'm so glad I found your blog!

xo
K

Term Papers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gena said...

Hi beautiful!

I love your blog so much, too, and have been reading it since long before I wrote mine.

I'm not much of a faster -- for both physical and psychological reasons, it's never been something I feel compelled toward -- but I do see how it benefits many people. Good luck!

xo

Kat =^^= said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog on the links-bar of another blog ... I hope you don't mind that I'm commenting!

Your juices sound so delicious! This post inspired me to try fasting again - perhaps for one day, to start.

I was raised in a devout Mormon household, and it was common to fast once per month for spiritual reasons. While I no longer agree with many of the Church's teachings and such, I believe there are pearls of wisdom to be gleaned from all religious paths. Fasting may turn out to be one of those long-forgotten pearls for me.

Fasting used to mean a great deal to me. We believed it added extra "oomph" to a prayer or desire - say, for a family member's swift recovery from an illness, or for more personal or simple reasons such as a desire to simply feel closer to God in the coming weeks.

There isn't much that I miss about the Church, but one thing I do miss is that I definitely felt closer to the Divine during that time - because I made a conscious effort to draw closer to the Divine, through prayer and fasting.

What you said about emotions coming close to the surface is something I've definitely found to be true. But the rush of mental -and spiritual- clarity that you feel when fasting, especially when you've completed the fast... nothing compares to that.

Perhaps, on my day off next week, I'll fast ... and meditate and pray. I think it'll do me some good to get in touch with my inner self, and my Higher Power.

Michal said...

You are doing such an amazing job on your fast. You are such an inspiration and reminding me that I should go on another one soon, I havent done one since this past summer.

Mesothelioma said...

Wow, totally inspiring! I'd love to do this as well. Thanks for posting.

Laura said...

Thank you for this post and congratulations on taking on such enlightening personal challenges! You have inspired me to try my first juice fast!

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

Many moons ago, I did a some water fasting - that didn't work out so well as when I did start eating again it was with a vengeance! I just found out that along with 17 pounds, over the past couple of years, I have also lost a lot of muscle, so fasting is not in the cards for me right now. Bikram yoga is my new cleanser - 1 1/2 hours a day in that sweat box gets rid of a lot of toxins! All the best with your journey though, if it makes you feel better, go for it! I admire your discipline and the creative juices and drinks you come up with to nourish your body.

Tess said...

Congrats on your commitment. I completely believe that our bodies are much more intertwined with our mind than most may think. We hold memories, emotions, tension, etc. within us, good for you for looking at it and choosing to let it go! I hold tension in my lower back because of a lack of male support in my childhood and I used to clench my jaw because my voice was suppressed until I became conscious of it and chose to work through it. I'm working on my back right now. I've done brief fasts before, for spiritual purposes but you're inspiring me to try a juice fast!

I am also seriously addicted to sugar, I have to be very careful because if I eat to much I'll get to a point where I can't help but eat nothing but sweets until I crash. Literally, I'll sleep for over 12 hours, wake up exhausted and craving protein, then go through withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. So, yeah. I feel you on the sugar!

Christa said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! It's very inspiring. I just got done doing a 21 day water fast. I origionally wanted to do a 40 day water fast (in which the 40 days would have ended on the 3rd of this month) but at around 21 days I felt it was time to come off of it. It truly was wonderful & very liberating. At first the detoxification was really hard on me & I was tired a lot, but after I awhile I started to have energy & so much more clarity.
It was because of that fast that I've chosen a raw vegan lifestyle. After fasting that long & ridding myself of so many addictions I thought it would only make sense to start a new relationship with food. :)
I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Berry Bliss said...

Thank you for sharing! Isn't it amazing how clear everything gets when you fast? I love it!

I feast for clarity and rebalancing of my system. For me its a time to purge unwanted toxins in my body and in my life. Poor habits that may have developed are released at this time, fasting is also a time for me to purge materialistic and emotional things that may no longer serve me. As these are toxins too!

This year, I have 5, weeklong juice feasts scheduled and I am really looking forward to it!

Thank you for sharing your intimate journey of fasting and live foods!

Blissfully,
Michelle

Melissa said...

Good for you Heathy! I have not done a juice fast before but once the summer comes around I want to give it a try! It's hard to work on the "inner" you and hope you have a successful journey! Thank you for sharing.

Karolina said...

Thank you so much for sharing your personal story, I enjoyed reading it!

Love from,
Karolina, Sweden

kelly parr said...

Wow... we have ALOT in common!
I'm on day 30 if my "body & soul" cleanse and my blog is so much like yours!I have even been craving miso broth too! :)

Enjoyed reading your heart..
Kelly http://kellyparr.org

Erin said...

Thank you for your posts on cleansing! It's just the *kick in the pants* I need to get going.

Love you blog. I look forward to reading more.

kris | iheartwellness.com said...

I love this post Heathy! You are an inspiration to a lot of people ;)

I also eat super healthy....not 100% raw (yet) and notice some "issues" with my skin. I am very familiar with liver issues and can see this cleans doing a real great job!

Way to go, doll!!

XXOO

Sarah said...

Sweetie, that is absolutely beautiful - thank you so much for baring your soul - so liberating for you to put your emotions out there bare to the world - you just as you are, and seemingly wonderfully so - so happy to have stumbled upon your blog! I am currently studying to become a holistic health counselor and have a deeply bedded passion for Chinese medicine - you are doing such a great job of educating yourself - even though I don't know you, I'm so proud of you - keep up the wonderful and inspiring work and message. Sarah

crunchybits said...

Thank you for this intimate post. I have been toying with the idea of fasting, but don't know much about it. My plan is to read up and do it with a bit of knowledge, and get some experience with our juicer between now and then. Maybe this summer... Although i might do a mini fast between now and then. I've been eating more cooked food than I care to this winter and have been feeling sluggish. I started up with smoothies and am back to high raw but I keep feeling a bit of heaviness looming just out of the corner of my eye and think a short cleanse would be helpful. This post is just what I needed now, so I thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather! My name is Andrea, I just started reading your blog and have to tell you I loved this post. I can definitely relate to the sugar addiction - I do ok for a couple days but one off day and I'm on a mission to fill up on sugar to make me feel better. It's crazy how sugar can control so much! I've been looking into fasting for awhile now and I think this post was that last little push I needed to just do it. Thanks for sharing your experience, love the blog and I'm definitely going to keep reading :)