Juice Feasting

October 25th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

I’m about to conduct a new personal experiment that’s likely to put my polyphasic sleep and raw food diet trials to shame. Starting today, I’m kicking off a 92-day juice feasting experiment.

This means that for the next 3 months, I won’t be eating any solid foods. Instead I’ll be consuming lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggie juices, heavy on the green juices, plus herbal teas and a number of supplements.

What Is Juice Feasting?

That isn’t a typo. Juice feasting isn’t quite the same thing as juice fasting. On a juice feast, the goal is to drink enough fresh juice that you aren’t restricting calories at all. In practice that means drinking at least a gallon of fresh juice per day.

All these juices must be made fresh, so nothing is pasteurized. However, it’s okay to make a day’s worth of juice in the morning and then drink it in batches throughout the day.

It can be a bit labor intensive to make so much juice. I estimate it will take me 60-90 minutes per day, including prep and clean-up. But that isn’t bad because time is gained by not having to eat. I can drink my juice while working at my desk if I want.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about juice feasting, juicefeasting.com has tons of info on it. I’ve spent many hours on that site reading and watching videos. I also talked with the site’s creator, David Rainoshek, earlier this week. You may have seen David’s (awesome) video last night if you’ve been following the Rawkathon. Erin and I have been enjoying it immensely.

I can’t possibly explain every detail of juice feasting in a single blog post — it would require a whole book at least. But for a quick overview, you might want to read David’s What is Juice Feasting? page.

How I Discovered Juice Feasting

If you rely on mainstream media for your health news, you’ve probably never heard of juice feasting. This isn’t the sort of thing the mainstream media is likely to promote, one reason being that their pharmaceutical sponsors would likely go kittywompus.

If I recall correctly, I first learned about juice feasting in late 2007. While researching the raw food diet, I stumbled upon Angela Stokes’ website. I started reading her logs as she shared her amazing experience of life on a 92-day juice feast. She did it from November 2006 to February 2007, overlapping Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day.

At the time I thought, “Wow! That is truly incredible. I don’t think I could ever manage 92 days on just juice.”

Fast forward 10 months, and here I am on Day 1. :)

Perhaps the best resource I found for understanding juice feasting was Angela Stokes’ A Juice Feaster’s Handbook. This is a straightforward e-book of less than 60 pages that explains the whole juice feasting protocol. It also includes highlights from Angela’s juice feasting logs, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the changes she experienced from week to week. Once I read her book earlier this month, I began feeling anxious to get started. It’s an easy, eye-opening read.

Why Juice Feasting?

A long-term juice feast is basically a massive detoxification protocol. By consuming fresh juices that are loaded with nutrients, especially alkalizing minerals — and no fiber to slow digestion — you’re giving your body a chance to divert lots of energy from digestion to cleansing.

Even while consuming adequate calories and getting plenty of fluids, it’s typical for juice feasters to lose a lot of weight as their bodies unload excess fat and cellular toxins. I’ve read reports of weight loss in the range of 1/2 to 1 pound per day for the first month.

You can actually gain weight on a juice feast if you drink enough juice and you’re already near your ideal weight. In fact, further into the program, you can supposedly weight train and build muscle while juice feasting. I might try that myself just to verify that it’s true, but it isn’t something I’d do during the first 60 days.

You can use juice feasting to help your body heal from major diseases and systemic problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. (You won’t hear this from most Western medical doctors of course.) You can also use juice feasting for weight loss. And you can use it to detoxify your cells and organs and take your mind and body to a whole new level of performance.

Why am I doing a juice feast? I’d have to say that the #1 reason is curiosity. I’ve never done a juice feast before, and I want to know what it’s like. I’ve talked to several people who’ve done juice feasts ranging from 30 to 100 days, and their experiences sounded fascinating. People talked about reaching new levels of mental clarity they never experienced before.

Of course, since your body is detoxing heavily, especially in the beginning of a juice feast, there will usually be some detox symptoms to deal with. From what I’ve read, those symptoms typically kick in on the morning of Day 2. The symptoms appear to be similar to what I’ve experienced many times before when I transitioned to a more pure diet.

A juice feast isn’t a permanent change. It’s temporary. You can do a juice feast more than once too, and each time your cells will dump more of their toxic build-up.

Where does all this toxicity come from? Some of it comes from the environment, but most of it comes from what you eat day after day. Even though I’ve been a vegan since 1997 and vegetarian since 1993, the cells of my body still contain a lot of junk from years of eating the Standard American Diet. So I’m looking forward to unloading more of the junk that keeps my cells from performing optimally. I’ll even be using some supplements to help draw heavy metals from my cells and out of my body.

Overall I think this will be an interesting growth experience. It may not be easy, but I suspect it will be worthwhile. Given all the benefits I’ve experienced after going raw, I’d love to take my results to a whole new level, and juice feasting seems to be one of the quickest ways to get there.

The nice thing about doing a juice feast instead of a water fast is that I should remain functional throughout the juice feast. There may be some days where I don’t feel well (very common), but I should at least have the energy to get through my usual daily activities.

Why 92 Days?

Why 92 days? There’s a story behind the number, but I don’t consider it a big deal. The number 92 was used because supposedly the body needs 92 different elements to function optimally. For practical purposes, we’re essentially dealing with a 3-month target, which is a good length of time to give the body a rest from digestion and allow it to focus on healing and regeneration.

Instead of forcing myself to go exactly 92 days, I’ll do my best to listen to my body to determine when to stop. Some people go 30 days. Others have successfully gone 150 days. I’d like to do something around 92 days, but I can’t decide in advance exactly when I’ll stop. David Rainoshek gave me some indicators to watch out for, and since he and several other experienced juice feasters offered to advise me as needed, I don’t think it will be that hard to figure out when it’s best to stop.

But if you see me behaving strangely during the next 3 months (like making really insane business moves), please drop me a note to suggest that it may be time to quit. ;)

Juice Feasting Equipment

I’ll be using a Green Power Juicer (comparable to the Green Star), which I purchased during the summer. It’s a twin-gear juicer that won’t heat the juice. It also runs the juice through a magnetic field, which is supposed to increase the bioavailability of the minerals. This juicer produces very high quality juice, but it isn’t as fast and convenient as a less expensive centrifugal juicer. It works very well with greens though, so I expect it will meet my needs for this juice feast. I also have a centrifugal juicer I can use as a backup if needed.

Another way to make fresh juice is to blend some produce in a high-speed blender, usually with a little water. After liquefying everything in my Vita-Mix, I run it through a nut milk bag to strain out the pulp and remove the fiber. (FYI the Vita-Mix includes free shipping if you’re interested in getting one — Erin and I have owned one since 1994, and it’s our most essential appliance.)

I expect I’ll favor the juicer most of the time instead of the Vita-Mix, but the Vita-Mix can be fast for making juice in a hurry, and the clean-up is easy too.

Today I’ve had more than half a gallon of juice so far. I made a quart of carrot-apple-beet-parsley-kale-ginger-lime juice with my juicer. A few hours later I drank a batch of pineapple-garlic juice, made from juicing a whole pineapple and a small garlic clove with the Vita-Mix and a nut milk bag. Normally I won’t be having such a sweet juice for my first of the day (carrot, beets, and apples are very sugary), but I played 18 holes of disc golf after that first juice, so I wanted to get some extra calories before playing.

To prepare for this juice feast, I’ve been making a variety of different green juices during the past few months. I enjoy making juices with lots of different ingredients, and I’ve even begun to crave them. One of my favorites is carrot-celery-cucumber-kale-spinach-parsley-dandelion-lime-ginger.

I started making juices that were fairly sweet, often using carrot, apple, and/or beet as the base. Over several weeks I gradually built up my tolerance for more greens and less sweetness. Earlier this week I made a glass of straight celery juice and had no problem getting it down. So I think I’m in a good position to kick off this experiment as far as my taste buds are concerned. I’ve noticed that the more green juices I drink, the more my taste buds adapts to desire them.

I’m planning to use as much organic produce as I can find. I did my first juice-feasting shop yesterday, and my fridge is overloaded with fresh produce, including a wide variety of greens like kale, spinach, chard, dandelion greens, and and a variety of lettuces. I plan to go shopping roughly every 5 days. I’ll be getting most of my produce from Whole Foods with a few bulk organic items like carrots, spinach, and apples at Costco.

Erin and the kids will probably have a hard time fitting their food in the fridge. I may jokingly nudge them in the direction of the “frozen and pantry foods diet” for the next three months.

Some of the juices I’ve been making look pretty murky, but it’s fun to hold up my glass and say, “Mmmm… Essence of Gelfling.” :)

Juice Feasting Supplements

In addition to drinking more fresh juice than most people will consume in their entire lives, I’ll be taking a variety of supplements. These aren’t intended to make up for nutritional deficiencies in the juice. Overall the role of these extra items is to assist the detoxification and re-mineralization process, especially since my body is likely to release a lot of acidic waste during the juice feast.

David Rainoshek has a list of recommended supplements for a juice feast, which he continues to update as he improves the protocol. If you want to know more about the whys and wherefores of each supplement, that page will bring you up to speed. These supplements aren’t essential, and if you were to include them all, it could easily cost you hundreds of extra dollars, so if you’re on a tight budget, you can do juice feasting without them. The juice itself is the most important factor. You may also spend a bit more on all the fresh produce, especially if you buy organic.

After speaking with David as well as other juice feasters, I decided to include virtually all of the recommended supplements. The financial impact is negligible for me, so I figure I might as well give myself every conceivable advantage. These supplements aren’t in the same league as over-the-counter vitamin pills, so this isn’t the sort of thing where you’re just paying for expensive urine.

Some of the specific supplements I’ll be using include E3 Live, Vitamineral Green, Vitamineral Earth, Spirulina, Chlorella, kelp granules, digestive enzymes, MSM, Intestinal Drawing Formula, and hempseed oil. Since these items are consumed in different ways and at different times during the juice feast, I had to create a cheat sheet for myself just to remember when and how to take each item. I imagine it will take me a week or two to get into the flow of following this protocol without having to keep referring to my notes.

Later in the juice feast I’ll be overlaying other kinds of cleanses with products like Internal Parasite Formula, Chanca Piedra, and stuff that’s made from tree bark. Yum!

Incidentally, many of the products I’ve mentioned here link to Matt Monarch’s online raw foods store. I met Matt at the Raw Spirit Festival last month, and he’s an awesome guy. You might have seen him in the Rawkathon as well. I purchased many of these items from his store to get started on my juice feast, and I signed up for his affiliate program yesterday. Since it would be overwhelming to try to explain every individual product included in the juice feasting protocol, I figured it would be best to link to the items in his store, so you can read the descriptions there. And generally whenever I link to specific products, I try to use affiliate links when available.

The main reason I used Matt’s store is that he provides an easy one-stop shop to purchase the recommended items for the juice feasting protocol with competitive pricing, so this allowed me to get almost everything I needed in one place. I also picked up a few items locally from Whole Foods. At this point I can’t personally recommend or endorse any of these products because most of them are new to me. I’m simply following the protocol laid out at juicefeasting.com. I’ve talked to many of the people involved in juice feasting, and it seems a very high-integrity community to me with a focus on helping people improve their health first and foremost.

Matt also sells a variety of raw food items if you aren’t interested in juice feasting. I used his store earlier this year when I started making lots of superfood smoothies.

You don’t have to go raw first in order to benefit from juice feasting. You can do a juice feast straight from a junk food and animal products diet, but you’ll probably suffer a much more severe detox if you do. To get a glimpse of it, try having nothing but fresh juice for one day, and see how you feel the next morning.

Colon Cleansing

Since juice feasting promotes massive systemic detoxification, regular colon cleansing is a highly recommended part of the protocol. The colon is our main organ of elimination (in addition to others like the skin, liver, and kidneys), so if the colon is clogged (which is almost certainly the case if you eat anything like the Standard American Diet), then juice feasting can result in a backlog of toxins that can’t leave the body fast enough. We want the cells to release their stored toxins, and then we want to get those toxins out of the body ASAP, so they don’t end up getting reabsorbed or hanging out too long in the bloodstream and making us feel sick.

This colon cleansing protocol includes daily enemas for the first couple weeks and then roughly once every three days (or as needed) during the rest of the juice feast. I did my first enema this morning and had no problems with it. While this aspect of juice feasting doesn’t serve as the most cultured topic of conversation, for the sake of posterity, I don’t want to hold anything back… errr… I mean I don’t want to keep it to myself… oh, never mind. You’ll just have to deal with my unabashed honesty as best you can.

I’ll also be doing some professional colon hydrotherapy sessions from time to time throughout this juice feast. I found a local colon hydrotherapist and did two sessions last month (with ozonated colonics). The procedure was painless and seemed to have a noticeable detoxifying effect. If you care to learn more about colon hydrotherapy or get a referral to a local practitioner, see the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy. I’m still a newbie at this, so I can’t offer much insight into it just yet.

You probably don’t want to know how much toxic waste is stored in your own body right now. I’ve been spending a great deal of time reading about various detoxification protocols, including liver and kidney flushes, parasite cleanses, and more. I’ve also read reports of people on juice feasts having solid bowel movements at day 80 and beyond. With no solid food and no fiber intake, the body is still finding plenty of material to eliminate. This really helped motivate me to give juice feasting a try, if only because it will allow me to visibly see what kind of junk has been stored in my own body and whether I feel any differently when that stuff gets released.

Starting Weight

My starting weight as of this morning is 179.0 pounds. That’s within a pound of what I weighed at the end of my 30-day raw food diet trial in January. You might recall that I dropped from 186 to 178 pounds during that trial on a low-fat raw diet. Then I returned to cooked foods for a few months and gained all the weight back. Eventually I went back to 100% raw, although I was eating much more fat than I was in January, and I’ve been slowly shedding weight since then. I think the colon hydrotherapy sessions definitely helped too (a big thanks to Matt Monarch for turning me on to that).

Juice Feasting Updates

Since I have a pretty long road ahead with no solid food, I don’t intend to post daily logs throughout my entire juice feast. However, I will post updates from time to time when I feel I have something interesting to share. I don’t want this juice feast to take over the entire blog though. I want to continue writing about a variety of other personal development topics too.

Please be aware that I don’t consider myself a juice feasting advocate at this time. I haven’t tested it yet, so I can’t recommend it. I’m excited to try this protocol for the next few months, but as I did with my raw food diet trial, I’ll share my results with you honestly, however they may turn out.

I’ve read that detox symptoms can be fairly strong during the first few days, starting with Day 2 (Sunday for me), so I may not be feeling so great next week. Please forgive me if I seem a bit off (or semi-absent) for a little while.

Wish me luck! :)


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