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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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?