Ooof! Sometimes life presents us with a set of occurrences whose combination can feel overwhelming like exhaustion, or painful, like a punch in the gut. In my last post, I briefly alluded to a family crisis I’m currently in the midst of. At the end of her 94th life and love filled year, my grandmother Veda, my namesake, passed away at home and in the company of loved ones. Life’s challenging experiences tend to occur together, combining to offer us incredible growth opportunities when we can find and hold the right perspectives. And so, my romantic partner experienced a life event and required emotional support. Joyfully, I began driving back and forth between visiting with my family while sorting through my Grandma Veda’s possessions and providing extra support at home. With time at a premium I found myself on day 3 of my fast with only a morning and evening juice, nowhere near enough nutrients for a full day of errands and packing.
When the same thing happened again the fourth day, I decided to put my fast on hold until I have the time at home to juice. To continue my commitment to purification and improved health I have continued to juice at home and to stop at local places like Green Mouth and Smooth Juices, who make fresh juices, 2 or 3 times a day. I have also continued to eat in the pre-fast fashion, lots of salads, fruit, vegetables, and leafy greens. I’m also really enjoying Ningxia, a wonderful Young Living juice that provides an incredible immune boost.
Most lately I’ve been reading about the Crazy Sexy Diet, developed by Kris Carr. She focuses on the dietary balance of alkalinity and acidity. A diet higher in alkalinity helps bodies get and stay healthy. This means eating lots of fresh leafy green, raw or lightly sauteed vegetables, and avoiding meat products and sugars, even the naturally occurring ones. I’ve been adding Donna Gates’ thoughts about food combining from the Body Ecology Diet. Since though I am committing to a better diet, I know I’ll still eat the occasional meat, cheese, and bread. Therefor, for me, food combinations are an important addition to guarantee my digestive health.
Once I hit another calm plateau, a place where I have extra time for breath and energy for reflection, I will again begin a strict juice fast. For now, I’m loving the vegetables I’m eating and enjoying the increased energy I’m experiencing. I’ve been walking quite a bit. More and more everyday. Even as the increased humidity causes my foot to ache around my metal plate and screws, as my improved diet continues and body clears increasingly, returning to balance, the pain in my foot is lessening.
Until I reach that plateau, my next break for regrouping, I’m completely grateful for the increased energy and decreased pain I am experiencing. Kale, carrot, pear, spinach, and beet makes my favorite breakfast drink, a sweet and energizing way to start the day. With a salad or cereal an hour or so after, I feel balanced and ready to start to move through the day.
The wellness visit with my Doctor was smooth and easy. Though she didn’t see the need for my doing such an extended fast, she was in general unconcerned with my doing a juice fast since I’m young and healthy. After talking to her, I visited the website for Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (FS&ND) to look further into the 60 day reboot. Joe Cross has developed an incredible support system to help other people travel the journey he documented, an amazing resource for anyone starting a fast complete with wonderful recipes for anyone who likes to juice. After reading more information on juice fasts, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one, I started mine.
I’m now on day three. Day one was brutally intense. Last week was full of quick food, stress eating, and preservatives. A family crisis had me constantly on the go with little time or energy for food prep. My body was so full of toxins that switching to full time juicing brought on a vicious detox headache. I rested most of the day. I had no energy for anything. Finally I decided to follow advice I had seen on Joe Cross’s site, and I allowed myself a small, healthy meal. Committing to a juice fast is difficult enough. Since I have no pressing health emergency, I decided not to make the transition from eating to fasting more painful than necessary.
The past two days, each with small meals added into my fast, have been much easier. I’m following the suggested five day intro, and, based on what my body has already shown me, trusting that tomorrow and the next day will continue to ease my transition into a full blown fast. I’ve also decided to adjust my fast in other ways. FS&ND suggests planning on a 15 day fast and allowing how you feel on day 15 to determine whether continuing further is the right choice for you.
Somehow, I’d not only forgotten the benefit of a gradual lead into fasting, I’d also forgotten the energy required to continue pursuing a new enterprise. Since I’m in the process of building a business, I’ll be taking my commitment and energy levels into consideration as well. I see little point in improving my health, since it’s already good, at the expense of the rest of my life.
But already I’m happy with the movement I’m creating through this new undertaking. I’ve shed the 10lbs I added to my body by stress eating last week, my energy level is currently only slightly lower than normal, and my motivation is rising. I’m excited to see what other changes this will bring, and I’m still hoping to reboot myself out of the habits I’d rather not have.
It’s easy to unconsciously fall into habits and rituals. Three years ago, I was running a wellness program. Providing thorough supervision meant being available during the various classes we offered, some of which I taught. So I decided to participate in all of them, to show the instructors support and to grow the department by building community. After a few months of participating in Tae Kwon Do, Belly Dance, and the water aerobics and swim lessons I taught, I was down to a size six. At 6’2, that’s the smallest size I’ve ever been. Then I broke my foot.
A fall from a back deck onto concrete badly fractured my right heel. I had surgery, I now have a plate and nine screws (permanent unless something goes wrong), and spent a year recuperating. And I started to develop a deeper, more attached relationship with my couch, the television positioned so conveniently in front of it, and the Dorito bags that so wonderfully appear right next to me. Today I’m still striving to get back to the health and ease my feet used to have.
Up until now, this extended recuperation has been only very gradually building momentum, and my relationships with my couch, television, and Doritos have continued to evolve, turning into habit that now needs to be broken. Groan… Willpower is one of the most exhausting muscles to rebuild. Tonight, my habits have done me a favor.
Sitting on my couch, marathoning television, eating Doritos, I watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The focus is on a man rebooting his health and dropping weight through a sixty day juice fast. I’ve fasted before, but not in a long time, and never for sixty days. Now, I feel, is the time to try.
Of course it’ll mean giving up my other less than healthy habits. Neither coffee nor tobacco makes much sense while maintaining a cleanse, particularly a long one. Wow, that’s scary, coffee and tobacco have been regular habits of mine even longer than the above couch scenario. Coffee won’t be so bad, I don’t drink it every day though I do dearly enjoy espresso. Tobacco though, tobacco will be a challenge.
I’d actually quit smoking two years ago, it’s tough every time. A tragic personal loss, which added to my commitment to the couch scene, created enough stress for me to justify redeveloping the smoking habit I’d conquered. Smokers are often perpetually quitting, and in the past two years I’ve had a few gos at it. None have stuck for longer than a week, but this time I’m feeling confident again.
Now for the first step, a visit to my primary care physician. In the movie I watched tonight, they repeatedly mentioned checking in with your doctor pre fast to ensure that you’re not putting yourself at risk while fasting. Though I’ve never done this before, all of my past fasts occurred on a wing and a prayer, I’ve also never committed to doing one for so long, and for two months of pure fluid nutrition, a doctor’s supervision makes a lot of sense to me.