At the beginning of March 2013, I dedicated quite a bit of time to sit and determine what my athletic goals were for the year. I like to do this on a periodic basis as detailed fitness goals keep me motivated and on track for overall health.
While I’ve had this practice of goal-setting for many years, this year I’ve decided to step things up and to focus as hard as I do in the gym, in the kitchen as well. Although, I’ve kept a decent diet practice over the years, I’ve never taken it very seriously as I would typically follow a healthy diet from Monday thru Thursday. Then a cheat day of Friday, would carry over into Saturday and most times Sunday also. This breaks down to cheating close to half the week.
My tipping point was when I noticed that my mentality of, “eat whatever you want as long as you burn it off”, just wasn’t working for me anymore. I started to notice that my body-fat was starting to get harder to tame. This puzzled me initially, because I consider myself a pretty active dude. A typical week may consist of 4 days of weight training with 4 days of cardio. So, some days I’d workout twice a day, for about an hour each, and I could no longer cancel out all of the pizza, beer, and french toast. My daily morning routine of a weigh-in on my Withings scale complete with BMI (body mass index) and percent body fat reading was telling me this story. I realized that a few of the multiple contributors to this difference in my body make-up are; increasing age/slowing metabolism, increased sedentary hours behind MacBook, higher calorie intake, high carb diet. I realized that I needed a new regime.
My new regime is the Paleo diet
If you’re not familiar with Paleo, in a nutshell it is considered a “caveman-like” diet. You mainly only eat organic fruits, vegetables, eggs and meats. This is basically a very low-carb diet, that the cavemen ate way back in the day. No grains at all. So no bread, pasta, cereal, pancakes. None of that. New studies are beginning to reveal that grains aren’t good for you at all, and many of us are gluten-intolerant. This is why you hear about “gluten-free” foods more and more now.
Prior to beginning this new Paleo diet…
I wanted to detoxify my body to start with a clean slate
This brings us to the 10 day fruit and vegetable juice fast. This was my 2nd attempt at a 10 day juice fast as the first time, I was doing it to prep for a bicycle ride across the United States and I dropped the fast after 5 days and gorged on half a box of Eggo waffles. It was great yet disappointing at the same time. I never quit things. My number-one mistake during my first juice fast attempt was that I was doing it on top of two-a-day workouts. My calorie deficit was crazy and I mentally broke-down half way in.
This second time around, I dropped the workouts completely. I wanted to focus on successfully completing this juice fast. And I wanted to pay close attention to how I was feeling without the cloud of post-workout exhaustion/hunger.
So I broke out my Breville Juicer (BJE820XL). Which I highly recommend. This thing is powerful enough to juice a tree trunk.
The fruit and Vegetable Juice Fast
I kept a daily diary to document the 10 days of juice fasting. And like I mentioned earlier, I weigh myself every morning, so I’m also including that information also so you can see the effect that 10 days of only fruit and vegetable juice effected my body.
Monday, February 19th: Juice Fast DAY 1
Weight (lbs): 203
Percent Body Fat: 13.7
I woke up with the sad realization that this thing had begun. Sipping caffinated Green Tea had helped me out during the first attempt. At least until day #5, before I broke down. However, due to the fact that I was adding sugar or honey to that green tea, it wasn’t a true juice fast. So no half-assing this time. Just straight juice, water, and I found some uncaffinated Cinnamon tea to sip and I’m not adding anything to it.
This day was extremely hard. My only shot at making it to the end of 10 days is not working out. So I’m taking 10 days off from that. My previous attempt, I was working out twice a day while only drinking juice. I don’t know how I made it as far as day 5. But I will say, I never knew one could get shredded in such a short period of time. I definitely was. I wonder if that’s guys do before they hop on the cover of Men’s Health magazine and other covers.
I have not taken a dump all day. But I’ve been pissing so much it’s annoying. It’s to the extent where I’ve just been pissing outside to save toilet bowl water. Yeah, call me a cheap-skate. But I call it “going green”.
Tuesday, February 20th: Juice Fast DAY 2
Weight (lbs): 196.7
Percent Body Fat: 15
Woke up today without a hunger, which was refreshing. It was still depressing however to know that this was only day 2. There’s something about only drinking juice that is severely dissapointing. I couldn’t imagine what people have to go thru when they have broken jaws. But then again, they probably drink Ensure, smoothies, and protein shakes. Those are far more filling.
I try to maintain cognizance of my motions, being mindful not to expend any more calories than I have to. While I sit behind a computer for 12 hours daily among other regular daily activities, my personal stats measured previously (via BodyMedia device) tell me on average I burn about 3K calories per 24 hour period. And juice-wise we’re talking about a max of 300 calories per cup of juice. I knock back around 60oz per day max. I make nearly 2 completely full Breville 40 oz jugs. There are 8 oz per 1 cup, so that total is approx 7.5 cups daily consumed or 2,250 calories. Which is approximately a 750 calorie deficit per-day rate.
The loose calculation for weight loss is that a calorie deficit of 3,500 per week will lose you 1-2 pounds. The opposite is true regarding weight gain. I’m on an approximate 5,250 calorie deficit per week schedule which means I should be losing weight at a rate of about 3-4 pounds per week.
Wednesday, February 21st: Juice Fast DAY 3
Weight (lbs): 195.3
Percent Body Fat: 15.4
Not much of a hunger this morning. Even more-so than yesterday. I actually didn’t drink any juice until after I was awake for about 2 hours. Just drank some water when I first woke and I was fine for a bit.
Today I discovered a new juice recipe that was straight crack. You ready? One whole pineapple with 4 apples and 6 strawberries. I could probably bottle this and slang it in the streets. $8 a cup.
It’s that good.
It tastes like a melted popsicle, which is right up my alley with my sweet tooth. I know I shouldn’t be juicing so much sugary fruits, but I’m just trying to get thru this thing at this point.
I still feel light-headed like ALL of the time. My body is confused. It’s like I’m playing a bad joke on it. No food for days, only juice. I miss chewing.
But to end on a good note, I dropped a duece today. That’s not news to most, but it damn sure is to me granted that I haven’t done so since before I started this fast. I was starting to have bad visions of where the waste was going. So cheers to that.
Thursday, February 22nd: Juice Fast DAY 4
Weight (lbs): 192.7
Percent Body Fat: 15.6
I think I may be over the hump now.
Morning hunger seems to be a thing of the past. I’m able to function now for at least 2 hours without drinking juice. However, the light-headedness is here-to-stay it seems. I’m also experiencing a sort of dizziness at times. I did some Googleing and these are proven side-effects of any type of detox. Not specific to only a juice detox, as I also happened to be researching about Paleo dieting and I saw the same symptoms reported in forums by those detoxing while transitioning from their bad diet to a paleo diet.
It was also mentioned that these side effects will subside after 3-5 days.
Friday, February 23rd: Juice Fast DAY 5
Weight (lbs): 191.8
Percent Body Fat: 15.7
Although this is only day number 5 of 10, but I have a strong feeling that the hard part is over. Today is going well with no problems. Energy-wise I even felt fine riding my bicycle about 3 miles to pick my car up from the shop. And crazy as it sounds, this was on an empty stomach. This wasn’t by choice. I just ran out of produce. I did get a bunch more on the way back though.
I found myself steering most towards the fruits in the store today. Although this is only my second attempt at a multiple day juice-fast, I’ve been juicing consistently for about a year now. And throughout that time, I still haven’t found the solution to make some vegetables not taste like COMPOST when juiced.
The whole point in juicing, is to get good nutrients and to enjoy it right? Otherwise, nobody is going to stick with juicing over the long haul. Some of these juice cookbooks out are full of recipes that are straight garbage. Few of them actually taste good. Maybe I should create a recipe book with only the best tasting juice combos, that are completely original. I swear these other authors can’t be taste testing those recipes!
I’ll tell you right now, there are a handful of vegetables that I will never juice again. I don’t care how much fruit I mix it with, they tend to overpower the entire juice batch. Romain lettuce is one, Broccoli is another, asparagus is a maybe, but even it’s flavour is super pungent.
I’ve been “regular” since the Wednesday, in-case you are wondering. I guess as regular as I’m going to be, is a better way to put it. Without grossing you out ‘too’ much, I’ll just say that the quantity is hardly normal (on the low side).
Saturday, February 24th: Juice Fast DAY 6
Weight (lbs): 189.7
Percent Body Fat: 15.2
Today I made a batch consisting only of carrot, orange, and grapefruit. Peeling the oranges was very difficult with this batch. I think this happens when the oranges aren’t completely ripe. So for half of the oranges I used, I ended up throwing them in the juicer with the peel on. I’ve done this before and didn’t like the outcome, but today I felt like I could do it because it was only half the batch. Welp, my juice batch ended up tasting just like you would imagine. Very strongly of orange peel.
Still drank it though.
Also, whipped up a batch of my crack juice. Pineapple, strawberry, kiwi. Too many sugars, I know. I know. But I had to do it.
I watched, “Super-Size Me” today. It must have been about the 3rd or 4th time I’ve ever seen that documentary. If you haven’t seen the documentary, it’s were a guy experiments with McDonalds by eating only McDonalds for 30 days straight for all of his meals. He gains 25 pounds, his cholestoral shot up, and he did some damage to his liver. And pretty much almost died.
Despite all of this, I never viewed McDonalds in such a delicious perspective. I don’t really even like McDonalds and I was craving some after this film. I was ready to lick the screen.
It seems that even though I’m over the 3 day hump, I constantly fantiszie about food. When I go out in public, I noticed that my nose is more sensitive to the smells of food. Everythings sounds delicious at all times. BBQ, fried chicken, pizza, steak, french fries, lasanga, bacon, pork chops. Everything…Everything bad.
I have to be careful not to binge on horrible foods on Friday when this is over. The whole point of this fast was to use it as the detox precursor to a Paleo only diet.
Sunday, February 25th: Juice Fast DAY 7
Weight (lbs): 189.8
Percent Body Fat: 14.7
I tried juicing kale for the first time today. My local grocery store just now starting carrying it, so I picked some up. I juiced with with some grapefruit, celery, ginger and lemon. With most leafy greens, I tend to have the best luck canceling out their “Veggie” taste with some citrus. The lemon and ginger combo usually is a given to work. Not this time.
I don’t see what the big rave is about kale. I’m aware of the nutritional benefits, but this shit is just plain disgusting. The only batch that I made worse than this one where I used collard greens as the base. And another where I used WAY too much asperagus. But, I’m not going to give up too soon. I’ve bought some more kale and will give it another shot.
Monday, February 26th: Juice Fast DAY 8
Weight (lbs): 189.5
Percent Body Fat: 15.2
I think my stomach is shrinking. I’m rarely hungry now. But I still have the urge to eat versus juice. I had a dream last night where I abstained from eating food that was in front of me because I was on a juice fast. How crazy is that? I can’t even cheat in my dreams. Ain’t that a bitch!
I dropped down to 189 lbs from 203 at the beginning of this fast. For me that’s nothing to brag about because it only involved calorie restriction through the juice I’ve been drinking. I’m certain that I’ve lost a bit of muscle also in that weight loss as my percent body fat seems to hover at 15% while my pounds decrease. Now if I had gained muscle and lost fat, while dropping 14 pounds then I’d be more geeked up about it. That would take the inclusion of weight-training. None the less, my six pack looks pretty good right now without the extra layer of fat over it.
Tuesday, February 27th: Juice Fast DAY 9
Weight (lbs): 189.3
Percent Body Fat: 13.2
This juice fast shit is for the birds. I even fantasize about salads right now. Uhm…yeah…SALADS. Even a ceasar salad would be so right-on-time right now. I can’t wait to chew some food.
It’s almost like I feel like I’m being fed via an IV. Although I don’t have any personal experience with this, I imagine it feels like I’m how I’m feeling. As, I’m getting my proper nutrients, but my stomach never has the familiar sensation that I just ‘ate’ something. It doesn’t matter how much juice quantity I drink.
Wednesday, February 28th: Juice Fast DAY 10
Weight (lbs): 187.9
Percent Body Fat: 13.4
The last supper. I’m so glad. I’m fantasizing about what to buy at the grocery store as my fridge is empty at this point. I should rephrase, it’s empty of suitable foods for my strict paleo transition. I even have AMP energy drinks still in there. It’s crazy because I don’t have any desire to drink one. I’m almost certain I would get sick if I did. And because of that, I don’t have any desire to eat any junk after all the hard work of the last 10 days of detox.
I gave Kale juice another shot today. And I’ve got the recipe. Kale, orange, lemon, lime, ginger. Basically, the recipe is to match the kale with more spice and citrus and then it won’t taste so much like a lawn mower bag. The juice still smells that way though, but I can live with that.
To tell the truth, this juice fast was hands-down one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I don’t think there has ever been a time where I went 10 days without eating food. So that’s a first in my life.
Check the graph below of the 10 days of daily weigh-ins. This screen shot was taken from my account with Withings.com. Weight is the pink graph across the top, while percent-body-fat is the yellow graph across the bottom.
Unexpected side effects: The whites of my eyes became whiter and my skin looked better. This was crazy because I initially attributed the better skin to the fact that I switched to using witch hazel as an astringent. But I then realized that I’d switched to the witch hazel over two months ago. My skin started looking really, really clear just a few days ago, almost like it was airbrushed. It was totally the juice.
The first 3 days were filled with withdrawal pains. Prior to this fast, I had a weekend full of junk foods because I knew it would be a long time before I had them again. French Toast, Pizzas, etc…Mucho carbs. What I later learned about carbohydrates:
Foods rich in carbohydrates give you quick energy, but that energy wears off just as quickly as it came. Since grains break down into sugar, they create a rise in insulin levels when those levels fall you crave more grains and, thus, the vicious cycle continues. 1
This completely explains why I had a strong crave for the same foods for the first 3 days. I was going thru a “carbohydrate withdrawal”. Now that I’ve learned the term for it, there’s tons of information about it available on the web that I’ve found and it all makes sense to me now.
My suggestion to you:
If you’re looking to kick-start your weight loss and/or fitness regimen with a juice fast, I applaud you. Here are a few tips:
- Drink plenty of water in addition to your juices.
- Find a good tea to drink that tastes good without adding any sugar. I used “Celestial Seasonings – Cinnamon Apple Spice“. I don’t know how, but the cinnamon-spice flavor of this stuff comes across sweet resulting in a taste-illusion of added sugar.
- I wouldn’t suggest fasting with anything more than a moderately intense workout.
- If juicing is new to you, you may want to experiment and discover which juice recipes you like before you start the fast.
- Know that the headaches and dizziness in the beginning is considered ‘normal’. Don’t worry you’re not going to die 2
- And lastly, It’s best to buy organic produce, however for some produce items it isn’t necessary. Check the “Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen” list below. Dirty Dozen = must buy organic. Clean 15 = you ain’t gotta.
Overall, I am pleased with the detox of the 10 day juice fast. I have a new feeling inside my body. I just feel lighter. And I don’t mean lighter as in lost 15 pounds. But overall, just less bogged-down. I will likely plan to implement these 10 day juice fasts twice a year and perhaps a shorter 3 day fast every quarter.