Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beige Pee and Other Learnings from a 24-Hour Juice Fast

Earlier this year, Mr. W and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead—a pretty darn inspiring story about an Aussie who loses 80lbs and a myriad of health problems by going on a 60-day juice fast. After we saw the film, we both agreed that we wanted to start juicing more regularly. Mr. W was in Vancouver at the time so he bought his own juicer and began making regular trips to the Granville Market for fresh produce.

We vowed that once we were living under the same roof again, we would do an all-juice fast once a month to cleanse our systems.

Given that Mr. W was off work for two weeks and we were together in Santa Ynez when the calendar flipped to 2014, we decided it would be a perfect time to try our first fast.

Here's what I learned:

1. Mr. Wonderful is way tougher than I am. 
He didn't complain once. And he even expended a whole bunch of energy dismantling a shed in the backyard. Those Greek genes are serious business.

2. All-day juicing turns your pee odd colors. Like when you eat beets.
In fact, it may have been the beet juice that did it. Whatever it was, it seemed to color anything passing through my bladder a lovely shade of beige. Too much information? Here's a better story: One time my brother-in-law ate way too much red velvet cake and it turned "things" red. He apparently hadn't experienced the beauty of eating lots of beets or anything of the like, so he yelled out in horror from the bathroom, "Honey I think I have a SERIOUS PROBLEM!" It's a favorite family story...

3. Food is EVERYWHERE. I feel much more deeply for people on diets.
All day, all I thought about was food. Every scrap of food on TV, every image of food in nearby books and magazines, every morsel of anything I passed by in the kitchen set my stomach growling. And then Mr. W would tell me to go drink more juice. But you can't chew juice and it doesn't taste like chocolate or chips and guacamole...

4. Though I was hungry and whiny, I never got angry.
Usually when I'm hungry I get pissed. Just ask Mr. W about the time we walked around Venice, Italy looking for "this one pizza place" he liked. I almost broke up with him that day. I often tell him I'm having a stage-five hunger alert, as I shakily cut pieces of cheese and shove them down my gullet, cursing. Strangely, although I was hungry all day during the juice fast, I did not want to kill anyone.   

5. A little cayenne helps.
I don't know if the spiciness tricks your brain/stomach into thinking you're actually consuming food, but something about the cayenne eased some of the suffering. It also added a flavor variance, which was nice given that most of the juice was pretty sweet.

6. A little almond milk helps.
We may have been breaking the rules of juice fasting with this one, but almond milk saved me a couple times throughout the day. Mr. W actually made his own milk right in the blender with raw almonds and some dates. It was ridiculously good.

7. It's amazing how yummy and varied fruits and veggies can taste in different combinations.
Before we went shopping for our produce, Mr. W found a bunch of recipes online so that we would have options to consume throughout the day. I think my favorite was a green juice that had something like kale or spinach, cucumber, ginger, celery, and pineapple in it. Surprisingly delicious. 

8. Celery is better in juice form.
There are few foods that I don't like and celery is at the top of the list. I can pick up its flavor even when people try to sneak it in, and it tastes like straight grass to me. Like I'm eating right from the mower blade. Bleatch. However, in juice form, it's really not so bad. Who knew?

9. Time slows down when you're not eating. 
I don't know if it's the time you save by not having to cook and actually sit down to eat—or if it's just that you're so hungry and hopeful that it's time to go to sleep so you can wake up and gorge yourself—but the clock seemed to move in slow motion all day. I felt like I gained at least 3-4 hours. Which was good because I was taking down our Christmas decorations...as visions of sugarplums danced in my head...
10. You can take the girl away from food lovin' but you can't take the food lovin' away from the girl. Or something like that...
I LOVE to eat. Going to new restaurants is one of my greatest joys. So it's not really a surprise that fasting was tough for me. Although I didn't die from the experience (which was good because we plan to do it again sometime next month), I did wake up giddy the next morning because I knew I got to chew real food again. Mr. W made egg and bacon sandwiches for breakfast and I think I followed that up with some Chex Mix and a Dr. Pepper. Yup, pretty much totally wiped out the benefits of the fast within about 3 hours of being awake. 

One of the other interesting benefits of this little experiment was that it reminded me it's good to get out of the comfort zone. It was hard but I'm glad we did it. And I'm glad I stuck through to the end even though Mr. W told me I could eat in the afternoon. I'm hopeful that we can keep up our plan of juice fasting one day a month—and that maybe it'll have some small impact on our health. You know, to help balance out the wine and cheese addiction...


  1. My goodness. I really don't think I could do it. I hate drinking my food. I could maybe have a smoothie for breakfast, but that would be about it. And like you, I think I would obsess about it all day. It is much easier for me to do little things each day like the lemon water, than to do one big day.

    1. Yeah it wasn't much fun. The lack of chewing really stinks. But I do love having smoothies for breakfast on non-juice days. I'd be happy to share my favorite recipe with you if you want it!

  2. I think juice fasting once in a lifetime is more than enough to see some health benefits. Don't go overboard on your 2014 goals. ;)

    1. Hahaha thank you. I'm going to try it again...and will likely crumble under Mr. W's pressure to do it every month. Although he got me hooked on butter (I swear I rarely ever cooked with it before him) he is often the healthier one of the two of us!

  3. I did that evil Lemon Cleanse fast once for 10 days. I don't even walk to talk about it.

    1. TEN days? Dear Lord. I want to buy you a steak dinner now.


Well, whatdya think?