When you decide to juice fast, you alter your basic relationship with food, your body, people around you, your culture and even your primal instincts related to survival and nurturing yourself. Because fasting goes against the grain, it can certainly stir up emotions.
The best way to start a juice fast then, is to confront the above issues first, giving thought to when would be the most supportive time to do your fast.
Can you in fact do your juice fast in your everyday environment, or do you need to book time away at a retreat? Certainly there are times when you do need to retreat, to allow yourself complete down time to completely rest, heal and rejuvenate. A juice fast done amidst your usual, everyday existence though is incredibly empowering, so I encourage people to not just wait until you are able to book that retreat, but look at ways to create that supportive environment that you need in order to do your juice fast right when you need it.
For most of us there is probably never an absolutely ideal time to do a juice fast (there is always some sort of event week to week that makes a fast difficult), so being prepared to navigate these hurdles is just part of it for all of us. Once you’ve decided on a relatively “good” time to do your juice fast, and you’ve set the length of time you’re going to fast for, the process of your fast begins. It’s now time for preparation.
Step 1 - Do a Pre-Cleanse & Set Guidelines for During and Post-Fast
• For at least a few days before starting your fast (ideally more like 1-2 weeks) go on to a low-fat (ideally vegetarian or vegan) diet to begin the shift into “detox mode”. By the time you start your juice fast then your body will ease into the far more dramatic change brought on from it.
• Juice Fast Length - for anyone new to juice fasting, start with 2-3 days. The deep seated changes generally really kick in from 3-5 days into a cleanse so you may eventually work up to 1 or more weeks.
• Post-Fast - depending on how long you went for go through a “transition diet”. It may only be for a day but before going to heavier foods start with miso soup, soft fruits and well cooked vegetables. Ideally in the days after completing your fast, you’ll stay on a low-fat, vegetarian/vegan meal plan for the same amount of days (or longer) than you fasted.
Image source - scoop.it/ourisfruit
Step 2 - Get all of your juicing ingredients together and plan each day out
Whilst having your juices delivered may be the path you take for good reason, it is more of a “gifting” process to yourself if the juicing comes from your own hands. Your juice fast after all puts a spotlight on your relationship with food so I always encourage people to make going out and buying the best possible juicing ingredients, part of their juice fast experience.
Set yourself the goal of preparing your morning and evening juice at home. If you’re going off to work for the day, pack a large bottle of juice to consume throughout the day. There might be a day or two though where you want to mix things up a bit and treat you by going to a Juice Bar.
Your plan is what keeps you on track. If you’ve mapped out exactly what juices you’re having each day of your fast, your preparation and actions will far more likely follow suit. If you’re working it out as you go, obviously you’re far more likely to go astray (i.e join your co-workers for lunch).
Step 3 - Getting home-mates/family members on side
For some this will be easy, for others the opposite. Your juice fast may be an opportunity for others in your household to join you, or at least designate the time to being a “healthy” few days or week. If you have children or your partner/house-mate(s) are unsupportive, it’s important to communicate why you’re doing your juice fast in a positive framework. Remember in the eyes of a child or an unsupportive adult “depriving yourself of food” will likely raise insecurities, or (more particularly for adults) bring up their “food issues”. It’s your job then to allay those insecurities by finding the words appropriate in your situation to convey the message that you’re not punishing yourself but rather “gifting” yourself.
Hopefully these 3 little tips will be helpful for those of you contemplating your first or next juice fast. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you post below and of course welcome hearing your experiences on this topic!