Sometimes I randomly think of blog ideas (usually when on the elliptical at the gym or in the middle of a serving shift at work) - and then forgot to write my ideas down. I felt somewhat 'inspired' yesterday so since I had a bunch of ideas coming to mind- I decided to jot a bunch of them down to write about later - somehow I still forgot about this topic. I watched the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" back near the end of January and started researching juice fasts (mostly out of curiosity, not necessarily planning to start one).
Today, while I was out window shopping with my mom, we walked into Williams and Sonoma, and there was a huge juicer display there right as you walked into the store. They had a few options, and one of the salespeople saw me looking and came over to try to sell me one. I had NO IDEA how much juicers can cost - the one he was trying to get me to buy was $300! As much as I love high quality kitchen gadgets - I just don't know if I could spend that much on a juicer. Anyhow... this reminded me of the documentary I watched and the research I did on juice fasting/feasting.
Allow me to backtrack a little here - for those of you who aren't familiar "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" is a documentary that follows an overweight middle-aged Australian gentleman, who was suffering from a rare autoimmune disease that he had been given multiple treatments and medications for, but was suffering from outbreaks quite frequently and experiencing unpleasant side effects from his medications (lots of steroids). In the past, he had gone on a juice fast for 30 days and felt that experienced health benefits from doing so. This time around, he traveled to the United States for 60 days to complete a juice fast - in hopes of alleviating the symptoms of his disease, and getting back to a healthy weight.
I'll try to leave the documentary details aside from this to a minimum- I don't want to ruin the story for anyone interested in watching. FYI - it is available (at least the last time that I checked) for instant viewing on Netflix, and is also available to watch on hulu.com - I strongly recommend checking it out- even if you're not interested in juicing- the story is really motivational and uplifting!
What is a juice fast? It involves a juicer, fresh fruits and vegetables (kale, apples, beets, carrots, celery, etc) and juicing your produce throughout the day. For someone starting out, it is usually recommended to go on a juice fast for 7-10 days (with permission from your doctor). During this time frame, the only calories you consume come from the juices you make. By juicing, you provide your body with nutrients and calories from the fruits and vegetables, without ingesting any solid food/fiber for your system to digest. By doing this, it is believed that you are giving your digestive system a 'break', allowing it to heal and recover, while removing built up toxins and nourishing your body with the juices from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Now, in my title you might see that I referred to the juicing process as a fast/feast. Why both terms? Well, some consider that you're fasting because you're not ingesting any real "food", and abstaining from any conventional terms of normal eating. While, others say that you are feasting- because you may have all the juice you can drink, and may even be drinking more calories than you would normally consume in a day (can you imagine how much produce you'd be going through?!). Others refer to it as a 'juice cleanse' or a 'reboot' (to detoxify the body and jump start a healthy eating/lifestyle plan).
So, why would someone do a juice fast/feast/cleanse/reboot (confusing much?)? According to the documentary, thanks to our ancestral roots as hunter/gatherers (think cavemen!), we are genetically equipped to store fat to sustain us during periods where food is not available. Obviously, in modern society this genetic feature is really not necessary - most of us do not have to go much more than a few hours without access to food. It is thought that during the juicing process, your body feeds off of its own reserves of fat, detoxifies itself and the digestive system gets a chance to rest.
After watching the documentary, I was really curious. I've heard of the 'Master Cleanse' before- and I couldn't tell if this Juice Fasting idea was a fad, if it was healthy, if it was worthwhile, etc. I can understand some of the hype, and where people are swearing by them - fresh fruits and vegetables really do make you feel revitalized! I love my green smoothies (even though my husband thinks I'm crazy!), and they make me feel great. I can only imagine that drinking juice from fresh fruits and vegetables on such a large scale can really make you feel like a whole new person!
So for now, I'm not rushing out to buy a juicer (especially one that costs $300!!!). I might eventually invest in one- but I'm not sure I would do an all-juice diet. I might consider making fresh juices from time to time - but only in addition to eating a balanced diet.
In case if what I'm saying is confusing, or you're looking for more information about juicing or about the documentary, here is a link to the associated website
Have you seen "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead"? I'd love to hear your thoughts!