Last week I decided to go on a juice fast. I did this for a few related reasons: 1) To give my gut a rest and reset of sorts, 2) To allow my body more energy to do some repair work wherever healing needs to happen, 3) To test my limits, experiment, and overcome any attachments I have to eating solid food, 4) It’s Lent so why not. If Jesus can fast for 40 days and nights in a desert, I can fast on juice for two weeks. I will explore each of these reasons a bit.
Give the gut a rest
I have some longstanding personal experience with how high levels of stress can — and definitely do — impact the gut in a detrimental way. I will save the details of that for another time. More recently what I find is that the different kinds of bacteria in my gut, called ‘gut flora’, sometimes become imbalanced, leading to various unsavory experiences of gastronomical proportions. I suppose here is a good time to explain a bit about gut flora.
Essentially, the gut is loaded with little microorganisms, bacteria, and these tiny creatures digest all the remnants of the food you eat which make it down into the intestines. (In a way, you aren’t really feeding you, you are feeding them. Kinda weird to think about it like that, eh?) Different kinds of bacteria like to eat different kinds of things, and sometimes the ones who like to eat what we might call ‘unhealthy’ foods begin to overpopulate the gut, beating out the bacteria who like to eat more ‘healthy’ foods.
Now, what is healthy and unhealthy in the realm of food — and what can even be called ‘food’ these days — has been the topic of many debates and studies. Nutritional science is ever evolving, so the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to figure out what works best for one’s own unique body. When I say healthy or unhealthy, there are certain foods which are generally considered to fall into one or the other category, and then there are all of the other foods which, depending on one’s own unique body, may or may not be healthy for them.
Sometimes I will eat something that turns out to not be so healthy for me, and a bacterial imbalance occurs. When that happens, it seems that fasting is the only way to remedy it, because no matter what I eat after that point seems to cause more upset in my gut. This time around, I decided to do a longer fast and also not be too hard on myself, hence the juice. I’ve been wanting to fast like this again; the last time was in 2014 for a project for my Integrative Wellness course in undergrad. It is my intention that, with this fast, my gut will be able to rebalance and make some needed repairs, so that I can full enjoy all kinds of delicious and nutritious foods once again. That brings me to my next reason.
More energy for healing
Now how does that make sense? If I am not eating solid foods, won’t I have less energy? Well, for the first few days it did feel that way at the macro-level of my awareness. However, at the micro-level, my body actually has more energy available because it doesn’t have to use any to digest solid food. Cool, right? So all of that surplus energy can now be directed, by the innate intelligence of the body, toward all kinds of unfinished projects, such as healing my gut! I have a few other things in mind that I am asking my body to heal, so I hope it gets around to it by the end of this week.
And here’s another thing I have heard. Fruit sugar, also known as fructose, is simpler than glucose, which is found in vegetables. Because it is simpler, the cells in the body can use it immediately without expending any energy to digest and break it down. I have been drinking some fruit juice in my fast to give my body an extra energy burst for all the inner healing work. This is something I was a bit hesitant about, because I have heard that too much sugar, even fruit sugar, is not a good thing for the body. However, I am running my own experiement, cautiously and mindfully, to determine whether or not fruit juice is beneficial for me.
Test my limits, experiment, and let go
When is the last time you went without food for an entire 24 hours? Try it some time. Make it an intentional, sacred, empowering act, and see what happens. If you don’t have some contraindicative medical condition, I bet you won’t die.
Food is one of the biggest attachments I have. I love food. All kinds. It’s delicious and it feels good to eat and be full after a good meal. Thinking about going without food is not one of my favorite activities, but actually going without food is probably even lower on my list. That’s why I find it empowering to do this juice fast. I am seeing what happens, how I feel, what my whole experience of it is like, and I am also letting go of some attachments to food.
There is also a growing feeling of gratitude within me, and I am now very grateful to just have a belly full of juice or tea at the end of the day. A big smile appears at the thought of eating just some dried fruit, or a steamy bowl of rice. Mmmm… Just one more week!
Alright, so this isn’t really a reason why I’m on this juice fast. I mean, it is, and it isn’t. It just so happens to be Lent, and I just so happen to have been raised Roman Catholic. Even though I don’t practice that religion anymore, I still think Jesus is a cool guy and represents some very good virtues. And if I had the chance, I would most definitely share a nice glass of cold-pressed carrot juice with him. Better than his blood, I think.
Back in 2014 I had my beast of a juicer  and I could make my own juice. That’s ideal, because it’s super fresh. Presently, I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico, getting more hypnotherapy training , and I don’t have a juicer with me. I was glad to find in a local grocery store  a brand of juice  that doesn’t pasteurize, but instead uses a cold high-pressure process, leaving more nutrients in the juice. And it’s soooo gooood. I am also enjoying some other juices  which are pasteurized, and still very tasty.
So that’s all I have to say for now. After this final week of hypnotherapy training — past life regression therapy is very interesting and effective — and this final week of my juice fast, I plan to study at a nearby zen center  for the month of April, and perhaps longer (or shorter). I may not be posting during that time. I am having very pleasant visions of turning off and putting away all of my electronic devices for the duration of my stay there. Maybe I will write some posts and schedule them to publish during that time.
Feel free to make comments below this post! I am interested in what you have to share.
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Devin The Mindful Mage
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I am toying with the idea of affiliate marketing, and all of the notes here would be links to buy those products or services — if it was all set up already, which it is not. If there were links here, and you used them to buy the products or services I referred to, then I would get a small portion of the proceeds, which would help support me to continue sharing in the ways that I do. In the meantime, I will just provide the names of everything I was referring to.
- Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer
- Hypnotherapy Academy of America
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Evolution Fresh
- Bolthouse Farms, Naked Juice
- Bodhi Manda Zen Center