Athlete After All

Inspiring Your Inner Athlete

Juice Fast Results

on April 30, 2014

I sit here, drinking my second Morning Tang juice of the day, reflecting on the lessons I learned in my mini juice fast.  The first, most important lesson is that the Morning Tang juice is really freaking good.  Like, really good.  The juice fast is heretofore OVER, and I craaaaave this Morning Tang juice.  I got a super awesome deal on peppers – a ten pound box for a buck – or else I never would have tried this.  Now I fear how much money I’m going to be spending on peppers to continue to slurp this nectar of the gods.

carrot juice

First, a quick and simple overview:

As Day 1 dawned, I hit the road for a run.  Best to do it early when I still had energy from last night’s dinner coursing through my muscles.  I dutifully drank my juices, feeling pretty good about the whole thing.  I normally have a massive mid-afternoon slump, and I didn’t at all.  I started getting a bit hungry in the early afternoon but it passed.  I fully expected to be hangry the entire day, but I really wasn’t.  Best of all, I had no problem with cravings for late-night snacking.

Day 2 came, and I was excited to try out some of the many amazing recipes I discovered on the Reboot with Joe website.  I was still excited and energetic.  I even tried a HIIT class for the first time and survived, despite my vastly diminished caloric intake.  But by mid afternoon the newness wore off with a giant bang, and I wanted an egg.  I wanted an egg badly.  When your body is crying out for an egg more than the leftover pad thai sitting in the fridge, that’s a good sign you are truly hungry.  I could not imagine going one more day after that.

But I did feel good for most of the time, right until the instant it stopped being fun.

While I felt okay on the juice fast, I realized after it was over that I really wasn’t.  Maybe other factors were at play, but I’ll blame the juice.  Or rather, the lack of anything but the juice.

Maybe I didn’t feel particularly hangry, but I was definitely short-tempered and easily annoyed.  Cleaning out the juicer, and cleaning in particular, is far less troublesome when you’re well fed.  Morning of Day 2 I blended a few at once, and cleaning out the juicer was making me really mad.  Later, cleaning up after my first real food, I realized that it was WAY more work to clean up after real food, but it made me far less upset.  And cleaning out the juicer after my first juice-as-a-part-of-a-meal-and-not-the-whole-meal made me wonder what I’d been so upset about the day before.

Like I mentioned in the last post, up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.  I think I must be one of them.  I drink a ton during my exercising, but not enough outside of that.  During the fast I never had that mid afternoon slump, nor in the days after when I had a juice as a part of my lunch.  Most juice recipes make about 16 oz, but I put it in a quart-sized jar and top it off with ice, so that’s four cups of liquid I take in.  Lots of liquid, no slump.  Hydration is key.

People mistake thirst signals for hunger all the time, and I can say that’s me as well.  When I’m feeling the mid-afternoon slump, my instinct is to reach for a sugary, carby, junky snack.  However, being aware of the hydration issue, I have been forcing myself instead to chug down a big bottle of water when I’m feeling low.  The results of that are far more beneficial, leading again to the idea that I need to drink more throughout the day.

I’m not sure a juice fast is really the best way to break unhealthy habits towards food.  It’s generally a short-term plan, and unless you go for a full 30 days (not recommended!), it is not enough time to successfully break any habits.  Furthermore, I found it troubling how I thought about food EVERY MOMENT.  It wasn’t necessarily a painful, deprived thought, just that real food was on my mind the whole time.  If if you’re looking for a way to break your obsession with food, this could backfire.  Other diet plans and reboots, like Whole30, may have their issues, but as a dietary reset on Whole30, I at least felt FULL and satisfied and could go for a few hours at a time without obsessing over food.

Thus, a week post juicing I can safely say the following:

  • Fresh juices are very yummy.
  • As long as you also eat plenty of real vegetables, a juice is a good way to get some extra vitamins and healthy pep.
  • If you take the pulp, mash it into a blob, and feed it back through the juicer again, you get a lot more juice.
  • The wastage isn’t as bad as I expected.
  • The cost isn’t as bad as I expected.
  • Drinking a lot is good.
  • I like real food.
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