Well, I did it! I thrived on 7 days of fresh juices, mineral broth, tea infusions and nut milk. The challenges were not what I expected they would be, nor did they come up when I thought they would.
My reasons for doing the community juice fast were fairly simple. I’ve always been curious about them and the timing felt right. My boyfriend was away so there would be no tempting food around me, and my sweet tooth needed to be curbed. I love hitting the refresh button with a gentle cleanse about twice a year, but this time I kicked it up a notch. Here is a peak into my experience this week:
I had a really restless sleep last night. It’s been freezing in our room even though I’ve been going to bed all bundled up. I had strange dreams, tossed and turned and woke up with a super sore neck. Thank goodness for the chiropractor appointment I have scheduled for later. Regardless of my poor sleep, I sprung out of bed excited to move through my day.
By 9:15am I had made my tea infusion, oil pulled (more on that to follow), folded all my laundry, meditated, made almond milk and juice, dry brushed and showered with hot/cold water therapy; and was out the door for a meeting.
My first oil pulling experience is worth sharing - stop reading this paragraph now if you’re squeamish. ... For my first attempt, I used coconut oil in it’s solid form, thinking that it would easily melt in my mouth. Well it MIGHT have, had my gag reflex not been going crazy!! Maybe it was the squishy, oily texture? Despite my good intentions, I had to spit it out. It was too out of control. I was determined though, so I warmed the oil up so that I could try again, starting with it in its liquid form. Success. Definitely less gross, but still challenging. Significantly less gagging, but how anyone could sit and meditate while they do just that is beyond me. I had to busy myself doing ANYTHING to make those 20 minutes go by. Maybe it gets easier?
Overall my mood today was good. My energy felt a little more “still”, but it was certainly manageable. And no hunger! I’m shocked! Bring on day 2!
Still feeling good!! I definitely notice that I have no desire to move quickly though. My morning routine was significantly expedited today, as I had to be out the door at 5:50am to lead this month’s Motivational Morning workshop with Amanda. The rest of my day was way more restful and it felt wonderful. I visited with friends and had a quiet night at home which I welcomed. My overall mood for the day was calm and grounded. Still no signs of hunger or cravings, though I did feel a little more fatigued.
This is the day I was most worried about... The infamous “day 3” combined with a packed schedule. I woke up early to have lots of time for a leisurely morning. My second go at oil pulling was way less intense. Still not my favourite thing to do, but I love how clean my mouth feels afterwards. After the first class I taught in the morning, I stayed for the restorative class that follows and it was exactly what I needed. In the afternoon I had a couple hours to juice for the evening and prepare for the rest of my classes this week.
I find that I’m really enjoying drinking the mineral broth every day. It’s warm and savoury and comforting. I made a giant batch on Monday and froze about half of it in small containers to take out throughout the second half of the week. To make the broth use all the veggie scraps you might usually put in the compost bin: leek greens, asparagus stems, kale ribs, celery leaves, potatoes that have started to grow ears, etc. To that, you can add carrot, cabbage, leafy greens, onion, herbs, and sea vegetables like dulse, nori and kombu. Fill a big pot with all of your stuff then cover it with water, bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 3 hours. Strain it to remove all the veg, enjoy!!
Ahhh! Another quiet morning to myself. After waking up, oil pulling, preparing my tea and morning juice, meditating and showering, I spent the day accomplishing various tasks that I had been saving for this week. I have felt content and nourished since the beginning of the fast, and have even had moments when I’ve thought “I could totally keep going!” ...And then I walk by the bakery and see the beautiful crusty sourdough baguettes in the window. Those will have to wait. The energy in both of my classes tonight was beautiful and I was reminded of how grateful I am to be doing something I love so much. I can’t believe tomorrow is Friday already. I’m feeling great!!
It’s become clear to me throughout this fast that I love my mornings slow and quiet. Having a morning ritual really helps me feel grounded. Some of the new practices that I’ve integrated since Monday will certainly become part of my regular routine. I’m going to have to start looking for a used juicer online : )
I made the mistake this afternoon of starting to plan ahead for my meals next week, knowing that I would have to buy groceries at some point on the weekend. Breaking the fast is a slow process when done intelligently, and realizing how long it might be until I can actually bite in to one of those beautifully made baguettes, has me feeling a little grumpy. I have loved every one of the juices and broths I’ve had all week, but I’m definitely feeling ready to move back to solids. Who knew that day 5 would be the day that the hungry wolf would come knocking? And all for a piece of (really good!) bread with butter - not my usual chocolate or sweets craving!?
I couldn’t wait to get to the studio to teach and then practice. Being on a juice fast is a little isolating unless you’re hanging out with other juicers, so I’m definitely craving the human interaction (and distraction). At night I was seriously contemplating breaking my fast the next day, so I decided to watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (an inspiring documentary about juicing). It helped a bit, but I think I just needed to go to bed.
Last night’s sleep did me good. I feel ready to tackle my final two days. Both juices I made this morning and afternoon were incredible, although my trip to the farmer’s market after class was nothing short of torture. Today was the last Junction market of the season, so I wanted to stock up. My freezer is full of local and happy meat and gorgeous bread, but I had to completely say no to my favourite pastries since they wouldn’t keep long enough for me to enjoy them. I picked up some delicious hummus, berries and yogurt at the grocery store so that I’m ready to gradually re-introduce things this week; but in the mean time I had to hide them behind my juice ingredients to lessen temptation. I can’t wait to make soups and eat warm veggies and grains!! The sudden drop in temperature here has meant that I’ve been cold all the time unless I’m in the hot room teaching, or taking a bath. I think the next time I choose to do something like this I’ll wait for warmer weather. Darren has expressed his interest as well, so we’ll try one together next time which should be fun.
I woke with the sun shining this morning and I knew it would be a great day. My juice was rich and delicious, I felt excited about the prospect of breaking the fast later in the evening, and was very much at peace with the whole experience. I spent time with some friends in the afternoon and made my way to Caroline’s house in the evening to break the fast with the community. She prepared a beautiful fruit plater with apples, oranges, celery, romaine hearts, bananas, grapes, watermelon, pomegranate seeds, soaked prunes, figs and apricots. It was delicious!
My biggest take away from this week was observing how some of the things I’ve been working on in my life through other practices, also came forward through this experience. As a person who sets pretty big personal goals, I often catch myself planning for things way ahead of time. I don’t mean like 2 or 3 months, I’m talking 3-5 years. I’ve been working hard at being fully present so that I can find more joy with where I currently am in my life, and over the last few months I can say that I’m getting better at it and it feels really good.
Interestingly enough, this lesson came up again on days 5 and 6 this week. Although I had felt nothing but wonderful all week, on Friday when I decided to read about how I should mindfully break the fast over the course of 6-7 days (or longer if the body feels resistant to digesting solids), it seemed like an eternity! Ultimately, this is what made me grumpy and anxious!! Not the fact that I was missing bread, or feeling like I have been anti social throughout this fast because of my limited diet; but that I was anticipating what was to come instead of finding joy in the moment. The 7 day community juice fast heightened my senses in a lot of ways, but it was also an excellent reminder of how powerful it is to be present. It’s easy(er) for me to do that on my mat then in my everyday life, but I’m learning. As long as I take it day by day and hour by hour, I have no doubt that this upcoming week will be as nourishing as the last one was. On that note I raise my glass - of green juice - and say cheers, to less fear and doubt, and more joy.
Finally, I would like to extend a special thank you to my aunt Caroline Dupont for her generous guidance throughout this experience. The passion and care she pours into her offerings made this week transformational. To find out more about her practice and the community juice fast, visit www.carolinedupont.com.
For Oma, with love.