Friday, September 16, 2011

Juicin' Juice: Day 1 of 10

Day one of the 10 day juice fast was not as easy as I had anticipated.

Like I said, I'd been doing my own juicing experiments over the past couple of weeks, and had even done some juicing with the new juicer before and after we returned from the beach. (Let me just say, for the sake of anyone near you for a 12 hour period, I advise juicing onion only with extreme caution in small amounts. The day before the fast, I juiced half of a medium onion and then could barely stay in the same room with myself for the rest of the day due to the variety of fumes escaping my person. It was awful.) However, on each of my days of early juice experiment, I also ate solid food to some degree; mostly eggs in the morning for protein, and some cashews and almonds in the afternoon when I wanted something crunchy. This fast was going to be juice only. For 10 days.

Now, even the Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead juicing website ( doesn't advocate a 60 day juice fast by any means, and doesn't even offer a 10 day juice fast program that's juice only. Their three programs have whole fruits and veggies involved to varying degrees. The most extreme program they advise is one where you do five days of juices and whole fruits & veg, then five days of juice only and then five more of juice with whole fruits and veg. I was all for doing one of those, because it offered opportunity for snacking on veggies and nuts when you get hungry. But the wife has insisted that she's doing a 10 day juice only fast, so I would be as well. Fine.

My major concern was the lack of caffeine. See, I'm a caffeine addict, which I know because when I go without it for more than 24 hours I start to get headaches. Even if I only have a single cup, that's enough to tide me over. But going on a proper juice fast means abstaining from caffeine and alcohol, drinking only water and juice. So that's what I was going to do. I'd been dialing back on my caffeine intake in the days approaching the fast, and was down to one scoop of real with three of decaf for my morning coffee the day before the fast. Still, I was pretty sure that some time in the afternoon on day one of the fast, I was going to get a caffeine headache that would turn me surly. Didn't happen, though. In fact the only result from cutting back on my caffeine from the day before that I noticed was that I had a really good nights sleep.

We chose today to start because the wife had a couple of days off in a row and wanted to ramp into it to have a non-work environment in which to go through any ill effects at the start. In preparation, I'd already been to Sam's Club for mass quantities of veggies and fruit, and then hit up the local farmer's market for even more produce on the cheap. ("Those tomatoes look awesome. I'll have all of them, please.")

Breakfast for day 1 was a mix of fruit juices, including apple, plum, pear, orange and grapes. Seemed tasty and filling and not unlike the breakfasts I'd made for the past couple of days, minus the eggs. I thought my head would likely start aching mid-morning, but it didn't.

Lunch was a mix of veg and fruit, with kale, swiss chard, tomato, celery, carrot, spinach and pear. Really, when it comes to the veggie mixes, my goal is to create something that resembles V8 juice, because I love it. So far, I've not quite reached that goal, but I have made some tasty juices all the same.

While my head never began to ache from caffeine withdrawal, the rest of me did. The early stages of a juice fast are, from what I've read, the worst with lots of muscle aches and potential for some gastro fun. I had a good bit of both. You'd think eating lots of veg would really keep things moving through the gut, but that has not been my experience. I guess the disconnect is that I'm consuming most of the juice but none of the fiber.

My major trouble of the day was that my brain was constantly sending signals to my body to go to the kitchen and find something solid to snack on. And if we'd been following any of the reboot programs I would have been able to eat cashews and almonds, which was what I wanted to snack on in the first place. But when I didn't give in, my brain began floating images of fajitas at our favorite Mexican place. And when that didn't work, it floated a big image of Shoney's breakfast buffet with a lingering shot on the trough of bacon. And forget watching television, because our favorite channel is the Food Network. Even watching documentaries proved iffy, too, because I had to turn off the doc about the Appalachian Trail I was watching when they featured one of the trail stations that served hamburgers and showed lingering shots of them being fried. Sonofabitch, how did Joe Cross manage 60 days of this?! It was maddening!

So, end of day 1 I have survived, but can't clearly see how I'm going to make it the full 10. I felt so burned out on juice by 8 p.m. that when the wife fired up a brew heavy on kale and Swiss chard, the smell alone sickened me and I decided I was definitely not having any more of them. At least not the chard, which comes out VERY grassy tasting.

They say the first day is the worst, though.

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