Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tessa’s 30-Day Juice Fast

Tessa’s 30-Day Juice Fast
Ended 5/27/13

What is a juice fast?
Why might you want to do a Juice Fast?
Why I did a Juice Fast
Weight Loss Goals
What made it easier?
What made it difficult?
What would I do differently next time?
Weight Loss results
Health Scan
Future Fasts
What did I learn?
Tips and Recipes

What is a juice fast?
·      A juice fast involves drinking only vegetable and fruit juice, without eating any food whatsoever. 
·      The juice is made using a juicing machine (around $150 at Bed, Bath & Beyond for the Breville JE98XL)
·      A juicer removes the insoluble fiber from the juice, leaving the juice with all the soluble fiber, antioxidants, and valuable nutrients.  By comparison, a smoothie is made with a blender and still contains all the insoluble and soluble fiber, which is highly beneficial to your body, except during a juice fast (explained below).
·      All fruits and vegetables juiced are raw and preferably organic. 
·      A person on a fast drinks 2-4 or more quarts of fresh juice everyday in place of food.  No food is eaten during the length of the fast.  Alcohol and caffeine are avoided.

Why might you want to do a Juice Fast? 

Many reasons:
·      Weight loss:

  • When your body senses that it has no insoluble fiber in the colon, it goes into survival mode to obtain glycogen from fat cells, which is why weight loss is so quick during a juice fast. 
  • Example:  Joe Cross in the “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” documentary movie lost 50 lbs in the first 20 days of his fast!
  • The 80% vegetable and 20% fruit juice that you make just before drinking is low-sugar, low-calorie, with no salt which enables weight loss.
  • Note:  Technically, a juice fast will move people toward their “ideal weight.”  Medically fragile people may find that juicing is their only successful method of gaining weight, if they are unable to eat (i.e. AIDS and cancer patients).
·      Cleanse:  Due to chemicals and contaminants in our food, air, water, and soil, bad food choices, etc, the liver often has been overtaxed and so fat cell store toxins, arteries are filled with plaque, and illness has worn down our immune system.  Fat cells actually store toxins away from our precious organs as a protection.  Juicing allows hyper-nutrienting of the cells, which floods the cells and allows them to release toxins.  It also enables the liver and other organs to cleanse our system, blood vessels to clear plaque, colon to empty, etc allowing rest and rejuvenation.

·      Healing:  Between 30-80% of a body’s work is required for digestion.  Because juicing requires very little to no digestion, the body has time to rest and recover, flushing out toxins from the body without overtaxing the liver and energy of the body.

There are many books (just search Amazon and your library) and documentaries (FatSickandNearlyDead.com is free to watch online, HIGHLY recommended, and just a great family movie) available to help you learn more.  See the "Resources" page of this blog (tab at the top) for direct links and information.

Why I did a 30-Day Juice Fast?

  1. I wanted to see if I could do it for that long
  2. I want to help others in their health journey and think that I need to experience it myself in order to know what I'm advising
  3. Weight loss from my derriere and hip "saddlebags" was a main goal
  4. To move toward my "ideal weight"- whatever that may be
  5. The psychology of food is fascinating and I was curious how I would feel emotionally over time when not eating food
  6. I want to be the healthiest I can be and a cleanse is a very good thing for my body

Overview:  How’d it go?

  • I was able to succeed at not eating a single bite during the juice fast
  • The fast was very hard for me- one of the hardest things I’ve ever done
  • I did not enjoy the juice fast and counted down the days until it ended
  • I do think the fast accomplished many of my goals
  • I will do more juice fasts in the future because I think they are healthful

Weight Loss Goals:

Having been a Nutritional Vegan for almost 2 years, I did not experience many detox symptoms.  But, I also did not have any great bursts of energy from juicing.  I think one must experience those lows and highs when transitioning from a bad to a good diet, rather than just from healthy vegan eating to healthy vegan juicing.

In general, I did have an overall lower energy level, which likely came from the emptying of toxins from my fat cells. 

I also felt hungry for much of the time in Days 1-20, even though I drank about 4 quarts a day.  However, Days 21-30 were much easier and required about half the juice in order to feel full (2-3 quarts a day).  I believe my stomach had shrunk by then.

What made it easier?

  • I juiced alone.  Previously, 6 months ago I did a 5-day juice fast with my daughter.  It was hard having 2 people juice at once.
  • I started juicing for LUNCH only, for more than a week in advance of the 30-Day juice fast.  This allowed me to remember how to quickly use and clean the juicer (15 minutes to wash the produce, juice, and clean up), remind me to buy lots of fresh produce, and get me in the mindset of juicing a meal.  I lost 3 lbs just during the lunch juicing week.
  • Then I added in juicing for breakfast for 2 days (while juicing lunch), which made transitioning to a total fast much easier than simply setting a date and jumping into a total fast with both feet.  This gradual method took longer overall, but greatly reduced the shock factor and made my total juice fast MUCH easier.
  • I bought some Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness prepared juice to drink in emergencies.  Since the juicer is not fun to clean, if I was late going somewhere or starving before bed, I could drink a little Green Goodness without any juicing work.  The juice is pasteurized, sugary sweet, and likely interfered with weight loss, but it saved my juice fast several times.  I will have this in the refrigerator for future fasts.
  • Occasionally my family would help me juice or wash the juicer if I was really tired, which was really nice (rare, but nice). 

What made it difficult?
As a stay-at-home Mom of three teenagers, I have a critical job of food management for my family that cannot be ignored for a month.  The first few days, preparing food for others or even smelling it was difficult.  Oddly, however, I became obsessed with preparing food during my juice fast.  I ordered many cookbooks and made a tremendous amount of food for my family.  They thought it was awesome!

Pizza was my particular passion, but I made vegan desserts and bought an Excalibur dehydrator as well, making raw food treats.  I have no idea why I enjoyed making so much food that I could not even taste.  My family thought it was the best food I’ve ever made for them. Perhaps it was some way of being involved with food, or valuing it, or controlling it.

I also loved to smell their food – oddly satisfying.  I believe my olfactory system improved during the fast.

Not eating others’ food reminded me of how I would waitress as a teenager.  I would never consider taking food off customers’ plates even if I were hungry.  It was a boundary that I would not cross and this same boundary worked in serving food to my family without tasting it myself.

Once you establish the boundary that you will not allow any fiber in your body during your fast, which would interrupt your fasting progress, then you too will find it possible to resist eating others' food.

Also, I missed having lunch with friends until I realized that I could pack my juice in an insulated water cooler.  Or I could simply drink juice prior to going out and buy a cup of herbal tea at the cafe during our visit.  After a day or two, it did not bother me to visit while others ate.

Whining and complaining did not help.  I tried that, but gave up by Day 5.  :)

Mostly, I missed going out to eat because I am a vegan foodie and really enjoy that form of entertainment.

What would I do differently next time?
When you choose a month in which to juice, try to pick one that does not include:
·      Your birthday
·      Your anniversary
·      Mother’s Day
·      Memorial Day and
·      Special end-of-year school and volunteer banquets
Personally, I will skip the month of May in my juicing future!  I do, however, like being bathing suit ready for the summer.  January would be a great month to juice.  

Weight Loss Results:
I moved toward, but not did not yet hit, my ideal weight on this 30-Day Fast.  I still have about 25% of the fat on my saddlebags and derriere remaining.  So in an emergency such as a hurricane, I could still use my fat reserves to survive for awhile.  If I continued this juice fast, I am certain that fat would continue to come off, but I am finished with the fast and will address that remaining fast in future fasts. 

My starting weight on the fast was 123.0 pounds.  
Three pounds were lost just during the lunch juice fast, down to 120.
My weight today at the end of the 30-Day Fast is 110.0 lbs. 

I am 5’6” and my ideal weight based is under 117 fully clothed (based upon Dr. McDougall’s research of 2 billion plant-eaters around the world).  A couple pounds of fiber in the colon is to be expected, so I expect my ideal weight to be around 105.  I feel that weight for my structure is healthy.  (Source:  http://greensmoothiegirl.com/articles/excuses-addressed/is-this-my-ideal-weight/ )

Health Scan:  Also indicating that juicing is healthy:  On Day 18 of my fast, I was tested on the Biophotonic Health Scanner, which measures antioxidants in the body.  My score of 81,000 was well into the Excellent range of  >50,000.  Dr. Oz’s score on that test was 75,000.  So I do believe that juicing is a very healthy way to lose weight quickly.

Future Fasts:
My Yogi, Sam, suggested that ideally people should fast one day per week and three days per month to shrink the stomach, cleanse, and be mindful of food.  I think this is a wise and reasonable idea.

So I am going to Juice every Monday, which is after the weekend and usually a day when I have little going on. 

Also, I plan to juice fast on the first Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each month (just adding on Tuesday and Wednesday to the Monday weekly fast).  I will be flexible to switch weeks if needed.  I am, however, skipping this monthly fast for June since I just finished my 30-Day Fast.  Maybe you'd like to join me?

I plan to use juicing to avoid weight creep by acting quickly to healthily return to my desired weight.  After a 5-Day juice fast in November 2012, I was at 116 lbs and slowly increased over 6 months to 123 lbs.  It would have been far easier to keep the weight off a pound at a time.  I am hoping the weekly 1-day fasts and monthly 3-day fasts accomplish weight maintenance without the need for additional days of juicing.

What did I learn?
This fast taught me that I am stronger than I think regarding food, that I do indeed have the willpower to not eat more than I should.

I learned that I apparently had fat on my spine, on my jawbone, on ribs, and in other places that I did not realize, as it also came off - in addition to my thighs and backside.

I realized that my ideal weight is far lower than I thought it would be.  I had guessed it would be 115 lbs, but think it is likely around 105 lbs. given the fat that remains.

Sometimes, it is okay just to smell food without actually eating it.

I am now very mindful about chewing and grateful for each bite of food.

Juicing can be expensive.  Having a Co-op or Farm CSA from which to get fresh, organic veggies to juice is helpful.  I estimated my cost to be about $20 a day in organic produce for my juices.  I did not go out to eat though, so I saved money in that way.

Tips & Recipes:
My favorite juice recipe to make a quart jar of juice (or more):
An entire head of Romaine or Green Leaf Lettuce
3 celery stalks
4 carrots
Tomato or Red bell pepper
Lemon (peeled) or 1” fresh ginger root (unpeeled)

My recipe above is very healthy, but is not the most tasty.  Why?  Because fruit makes juices taste sweet and delicious, but they are very sugary, and so only 20% of a juice should be fruit.  The goal of fasting is to be healthy, not to make the most delicious juice.  Also, I wanted a variety of produce to "juice the rainbow".  If needed, a terrible recipe can be made edible by adding some of the super-sweet Bolthouse store-bought juice to your homemade juice.

Do not juice onions, whole pomegranates with skin on, red hot chili peppers, or the rinds of citrus unless you are prepared for what you now have to drink.  Bananas won't juice.  Avocados are fattening so avoid juicing.

Do try a piece of fresh ginger or a peeled lemon to add zing to your juice.

Try to make 2 juices at one time, twice a day.  Fresh juice is better than sitting overnight, but it’s okay to fill a jar to the top and put a tight lid on it for your breakfast in the morning.  You’ve reduced the oxygen that can get in and while fresh is better, if that’s what it takes to help you get through the morning, do it.

Try to drink enough juice.  You need 2-4 quarts of vegetable/fruit juice every day.  Don’t starve, but do allow your stomach some shrinking opportunity.  You will learn to feel hungry and live through it.  You will feel some detox symptoms (tired, grouchy, listless) sometimes.  Consider these positive signs that your fat cells are emptying their toxins.  Learn to listen to your body and drink some more juice when you need it.

Herbal tea is wonderful first thing in the morning and before bed.  I bought a Liver Detox Chinese tea formula for morning and enjoyed Chamomile at night.

Coconut water is another healthy drink, as is fresh water with a squeeze of detoxing and alkalizing fresh lemon juice.

Come out of the juice fast slowly or your stomach will hurt wildly.  Today I drank 1.5 quarts of juice and ate a ¼ dinner for example.  Read up on juicing before you attempt a long fast.

Some people like to start fasts with enemas or colon-hydrotherapies to jump-start the process of emptying the colon.  Again, more reading on this might help you decide if this is helpful to you.  I did not make use of these therapies, but I am open-minded.

The ability to lose 30-year-old hip fat in just 30 days of juicing is an amazing opportunity.  Only surgery could eliminate the fat faster, which I do not want.  Juicing is safe, effective, and completely within our power.  It is a wonderful health tool.


  1. Did you ever use beets in your juice? I usually add a beet when I make juice. I would love to try a long juice fast. I have only made juice occasionally to replace a meal, usually breakfast or lunch.

    1. Yes, beets are wonderfully sweet to juice! I recommend starting with juicing lunches for awhile, then add in another meal, and then start a full fast. You can do it! :)

  2. Thanks for this detailed review Tessa, and congratulations on your will power and health improvements. I tried starting a juice fast at the beginning of May as well, and failed miserably. So, this will give me some good ideas to give it another try--- maybe not a full 30 days, but then again, I used to say that about going vegan!

    I just got a nut milk strainer bag to see if that does any good at all in filtering the juices I make in my Blendtec. If that doesn't work, I'll need to bite the bullet and buy a Breville, but so wish I could just have 1 multi-functional kitchen appliance since RV kitchen space is so limited. Any other ideas for strainers?

    The other thing I struggled with were a good variety of juice recipes-- did you find some good websites for ideas there? Did you try varying your juices quite a bit? (i.e. sweeter more-fruit juices in the mornings and more veggie-based for lunch and dinner?). Or did you just stick to the one recipe most of the time and practice "mind over matter"?

    Congrats again!

    1. Lynne, you did not "fail miserably," but rather it was just not the right time for you to do a long-term fast. Just try again and you'll make progress. Good for you for trying!! That is 9/10ths of the battle.

      I know exactly what you are saying about the space issue in the RV and wonder if there are more compact juicers that will help. Your strainer idea is admirable, but sounds like a lot of work, which I don't wish upon you. I really think getting the fiber out of the body during a fast is what makes it so effective for weight loss.

      Most of my juice recipes involved using the variety of CSA vegetables that came that week, but I'm sure that with some creativity you could create some good recipes. I am just not good at making tasty juices and eventually just got used to them. "Mind over matter" is a very nice way to say that I just choked them down! Haha! Yes, that was my technique in general. Hope that helps!

  3. I admire your extraordinary willpower Tessa. Hopefully when you visit here in July, some of it will rub off on me :)

    Big congratulations!

    1. I am very proud of the progress you are making with lunch juicing! Keep it up! :)

  4. Hi Tessa,

    I'm not sure how often you check this, but I have a few questions for you. If you could e-mail me that'd be great.


    Thank you,
    Jessica Lucht

  5. Hi Tessa,

    Did you use the same recipe throughout the 30 days, the one you referenced. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

  6. Hi, Sai! No, while I used that recipe often, I really try to add in as many different fruits and veggies as possible, so as to get a variety of nutrients. For example, I'm doing a January Juice Fast right now and just made a plain grapefruit juice. Or you can make a juice that has 4 apples to 1 lemon. Or a juice with cucumber, lime, celery, and cilantro. One of my favorite juices is made of just apples and carrots. There are many juice recipes on Joe Cross' website http://www.rebootwithjoe.com under the recipes tab at the top. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. :)

  7. A better juice to use is Mighty Greens by Suja...not a sweet as Boathouse...or go to a juice bar for dinner!

    1. Thanks for the Mighty Greens rec- I'll check it out. Many, many parts of the country do not have juice bars, unfortunately, but I dream of the day when they are everywhere! Wouldn't that be wonderful?!

  8. It also enables the liver and other organs to cleanse our system, blood vessels to clear plaque, colon to empty, etc allowing rest and rejuvenation.
    Juice Cleanse

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this post. It will be very helpful for me! Superb and Informative blog.
    I love to read all post about juicing. I am a juicer fanatic and Love to make different kinds of juice every day.
    Best wishes and happy juicing! Thanks a lot for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your nice comment, Bret. Here's to YOUR exceptional health!