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Monday, April 19, 2010

Juice Fasting 101 (Part II)

Hopefully by now you have had a chance to research some juicers (link to previous post) and experiment with some concoctions. So now you are ready to try your hand at effectively juice fasting. Again, I do not recommend anyone enter a prolonged fast or without first consulting a professional.

What to do:
Prep - First of all, its not a good idea to enter a fast after days of drinking and eating whatever you want, so you should take a day or two to eat cleanly first before fasting. This will start detoxifying the body and reduce cravings, making fasting easier. This means fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and other whole foods. Avoid processed and refined foods.

The fast - Depending on how you feel, you can fast for up to 5 days. I recommend 3-5 days. Three should be sufficient for cleansing, but 5 days might be too much for a beginner. Generally the first two days are the most difficult. You will feel sluggish and hungry as your body adjusts and rids its self of toxins. Usually things get easier on day three. Your energy levels will return to normal and your hunger will subside.

You have two options when it comes to detoxing: 1) All out fast - liquids only, including juices, water and tea. Look for herbal teas that promote detoxing or aid fasting like Yogi detox or healthy fasting tea or Guayaki yerba mate teas. You can steep them with fresh ginger root, cinnamon or turmeric to add flavor and other help reduce inflammation. 2) Evening meals - you can juice in the morning and afternoon and have a small meal of raw fruits/veggies in the evening. This one you can do for 5-7 days. Either way you will be avoiding all processed and refined foods. Soy, wheat, caffeine and sugar should be avoided as well.

If you choose option 2 and want to do small meals in the evenings, i suggest drinking broths or eating blended or pureed vegetables. It will be easier on the digestive system and will allow your body to assimilate the nutrients easier, without the added burden of breaking things down.

Broths- if you drink broths, make your own so that you don’t have all the sodium of store bought varieties. You can make a big pot before you start your fast and reheat as needed. Boil some water and throw in whatever nutrient dense veggies you have lying around (carrots, cabbage, greens, onions, just things that will add flavor and nutrients). Adding seaweeds and dried mushrooms are a really good way to add lots of minerals and nutrients to the water, I highly recommend it. Again, you can add fresh ginger, tumeric, cayenne, etc. to help ease digestion and reduce inflammation. You can boil/simmer for an hour or so.. long enough so that all the nutrients from the veggies seep into the water, but not too long that you kill them off. You can leave the remaining veggies in the soup or remove and puree them and use just the broth.

Blending - Throw some banana, greens, avocado, mango, etc in a blender and have a smoothie meal. Or boil some veggies and puree them and heat it up for a delicious soup. Otherwise stick to raw or lightly cooked fresh vegetables such as salad with squeezed lemon juice or steamed veggies and whole grains.

Breaking Fast
- You will definitely want to take 2-3 days to eat cleanly again when you reintroduce food, eating mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw is good, but can be difficult on the digestive system so if you weren’t following option 2 already, you can now start to reintroduce raw foods with some blended drinks or pureed soups if youd like. Again, stick to lightly cooked or raw veggies (steamed or blanched) for meals and slowly add in some whole grains and beans (preferably soaked over night to ease digestion), but continue to avoid processed foods, soy, wheat, sugar and caffeine until you feel you are fully detoxed.

The thing to remember most of all is that you do not have to fast to reap the benefits of juicing. Drinking green juices everyday can help improve your overall health and well being! Feel free to post your favorite concoctions in the comments section!

Keep it Fresh!

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