All week I’ve felt so lethargic and unmotivated, and I know my diet of processed foods and carbs is to blame. I follow a vegan diet, but even with that, there are still plenty of opportunities to eat poorly and feel unwell. Faced with this realization, I knew the best way to regain mental, physical, and spiritual alignment was to eliminate food altogether and engage in the age old process of a fast. Fasts are great for jump starting weight loss, healing the liver and gut, skyrocketing energy levels, and clearing the mind.
Rather than engage in a super strict water-only regime, I chose to do a simple weekend juice cleanse–sticking to mainly raw organic fruits and veggies. Below is a record of my experience. I cover juicing recipes, tips for beating cravings, and how to take full advantage of the intense focusing power fasting has on the brain.
Day 1 (Saturday):
It’s also incredibly important to drink copious amounts of water while fasting. I start each morning with a liter of filtered water and this weekend was no exception. Water is crucial in the cleansing process, and will subdue hunger pangs.
10:00 am: Already after my first juice I feel a surge of energy, my mind is sharp and my mood is euphoric. Even my two boys got in on the action and added some organic juice to their breakfast of waffles and fruit.
12:00 pm: I did a short 15 minute kettlebell workout and some gentle yoga. I didn’t feel any different during the kettle bell portion, and my yoga practice felt great. I concentrated on moves that focused on my back and abdomen (spinal twists and bridge pose) to encourage the cleansing process along even more. After working out, I made lunch for the boys, and was greeted by my first real hunger pangs. I reconciled this discomfort with remembering why I chose to do this cleanse in the first place, and took some deep breathes. Studies show that cravings tend to last around 30 seconds, so if you can make it past that point, you will survive–resolve intact.
I also poured myself a cup of organic black coffee. Fasting purists would say that one must forgo all caffeine during a cleanse, but there is so much evidence showing the benefits of coffee on the liver and gut, so I consumed in moderation.
1:00 pm: Lunch is a Naked green machine smoothie. It’s bit of a cheat and higher in sugar than I would like, but with two kids it’s a lifesaver and helped me stay on track for the duration of the cleanse.
6:00 pm: After roughly a day of consuming nothing but liquids, I feel amazing. My husband and I took the boys to Whole Foods to pick up some dinner and I grabbed a cold-pressed Mommy Boost juice. It’s odd, I feel so sharp–sounds and smells are heightened and yet my mind is so relaxed. I can see why so many people from around the world use fasts as religious and spiritual aids: it doesn’t just clarify your body, but the mind as well.
Day 2 (Sunday)
10:30 am: I woke this morning feeling light and rested. I weighed myself to see if there was quantifiable change and found that I was down three pounds! I made breakfast for the boys and then made myself a juice comprised of carrots, mango, apple, kale, ginger, and celery. I love how clear I feel right now, but at the same time I’m looking forward to having a real meal.
1:00 pm: Hunger reared its ugly head this afternoon and I had to talk myself out of grabbing something from the pantry. Some gentle yoga and meditation helped curb my hunger tremendously and got me focused for the week ahead. I’m truly amazed at people who do these cleanses for 30+ days– two days is certainly long enough for me! We had some errands to run with the kids, so for lunch I stuck with a Naked smoothie.
6:00 pm: My husband made fried rice for the boys, and I decided that I would end my cleanse and have dinner with the family. I was so hungry, the rice smelled amazing, and I felt like I had reaped all the necessary benefits I could out of my first foray into fasting.
Overall, I lost four pounds, increased my energy level, and gained a stronger sense of self-control and focus for the week ahead. Meditation during this process was key in eliminating psychological discomfort and restoring motivation. Several times during the weekend I struggled with being hungry, but 5-10 minutes of sitting still and focusing on my breath greatly reduced that discomfort and helped me glide into Sunday night.
Going forward, I plan on fasting 1-2 days every month. I have come to realize that it’s truly an amazing tool for encouraging self-discipline and eliminating spiritual, mental, and physical misalignment. However, next time I will prepare all the organic fresh juice I need for the day in the morning, so that I don’t have to rely on store-bought, sugar laden products when I’m running around with the kids. It’s a great way to keep it as easy as possible and remove any barriers to a successful completion of the cleanse.