The past couple days of juice feasting have been a bit strange to say the least, so there are many different elements to this update. I’ll start with the mundane reports and go deeper from there.
This week I’m going to try making my daily juice (at least 4-5 quarts) in one mega-juicing session each morning instead of making it fresh throughout the day. I did that this morning, and it took about an hour to make 4 quarts.
I like that when I get hungry during my workday, I can just grab another pre-made juice from the fridge and return to my desk. Last week when I did juicing throughout the day, I’d often procrastinate on making each juice because of the labor. One day I didn’t even make my first juice until after noon. I think the discipline of making each day’s juice every morning will make it easier to stick to this program. If I was only juice feasting for a week, I could afford to be sloppy about it, but with 82 days still to go, I need to be able to rely on good habits.
My weight was down to 175.4 pounds this morning, so that’s a net loss of 3.6 pounds in 9 days.
I’ve been having a lot more bowel movements in the past couple days, and most of them are incredibly noxious, so it appears that something is being purged.
Amazing Exercise Experience
Yesterday morning I went to the gym for the first time since I started juice feasting. I decided to try an experiment and hopped onto one of the stationary bikes.
Normally I don’t use the exercise bikes because of an old knee injury. When I did a lot of distance running 8+ years ago, I messed up my right knee. Now whenever I do certain exercises like running or biking, I get intense pain in that knee after about 15-20 minutes and have to stop. If I try to push through the pain, my knee will begin to seize up, and I won’t even be able to bend it until after I rest it. I can do other exercises like elliptical machines and weight training without any problems, but running or using exercise bikes always lead to pain eventually, almost always after about 15-20 minutes.
This knee problem originally happened a week before I was scheduled to run the 1999 L.A. Marathon, and I had to miss the race after training for it for six months. I eventually completed the marathon in 2000, but that might not have been the best idea, since I had to push through a lot of pain to finish, and my knee has been messed up ever since.
Several years ago I went to a see a medical doctor who specialized in sports injuries, but he couldn’t do anything for me. His only suggestion was to stop running for 6 months and shift to alternate exercises that wouldn’t stress the knee. I did that, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. I later learned that knee problems aren’t unusual among people who’ve done distance running.
After shifting to a 100% raw diet this year, I noticed my knee problem began to gradually improve. Last month I was able to run for 30 minutes before the knee pain started to kick in. I’d love to be able to build back up to doing 10-mile runs, but I don’t want to push through the pain and make things worse.
Although I experienced some gradual gains with my running, I didn’t notice any improvement on a stationary bike after going raw. I tested this about a month ago, and I couldn’t even make it to 20 minutes. That was on a fairly mild difficulty setting too.
Yesterday, however, was quite a turn of events. I got on the same kind of stationary bike I tested a month ago. I wanted to see if there were any improvements after 8 days of juice feasting. Sure enough I started to feel a little twinge of pain after about 15 minutes. However, instead of getting worse like it always has before, the pain actually went away after another minute or two. I made it past 20 minutes and kept going. When I hit 25 minutes, I punched up the difficulty until my heart rate was holding steady at 150 beats per minute.
I kept pedaling and made it all the way to 60 minutes. I could barely believe it. I haven’t been able to do that in years because the pain would always force me to stop. Every 10-15 minutes on the bike, I felt a slight twinge of pain in my knee, but it always went away quickly. In fact, I’m sure I could have kept right on pedaling, but after an hour I had to pee really bad — one of the side effects of an all-liquid diet.
If this change is permanent, that would be really amazing. I’d love to be able to go biking for longer distances again. I’ll have to try going for a longer run to see if there’s been any improvement there as well. I don’t want to push too hard too fast and risk making things worse, so I’ll take it slow and see how it goes.
I’m not sure if this is a result of juice feasting or the MSM I’ve been taking as part of the juice feast. But either way, it’s an awesome development.
What is MSM?
MSM isn’t a supplement per se. It’s a sulfur compound that occurs naturally in rain water. Some people say MSM should be part of the human diet anyway because it’s found in raw vegetation watered by rain. So if we all foraged for wild foods like the animals do instead of eating irrigation-watered foods, MSM would be abundant in our diets.
It seems that whenever we try to copy what nature does, we always miss a few things.
MSM supposedly helps the body repair and rebuild connective tissues, and it’s been successfully used to treat athletic injuries. It also helps the body grow stronger hair and nails as well as smoother skin. MSM has the same toxicity level as water, so if you consume more than your body can actually use, you’ll just excrete it.
I’ve never taken MSM outside of this juice feast, but since Day 1 of the feast, I’ve been taking about a tablespoon of MSM per day. I take it in powdered form and stir it into a quart of water with the juice of half a lemon. I drink that first thing each morning before I consume any juice. You can also get MSM in capsule form if you prefer that.
MSM is part of the juicefeasting.com protocol, so that’s why I’m taking it. David and Katrina Rainoshek both reported excellent results with MSM in terms of healing old injuries. They made it sound almost like a miracle, but perhaps they were right. In fact, there’s a book called The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain, so consider looking into that if you have any injuries/pain and want to learn more about MSM.
The total cost for the amount of MSM I’ve taken so far was just a few dollars, so it isn’t a big financial risk to try it.
Of course I can’t be certain that the MSM is responsible for the recent improvement in my knee pain, but it seems the most likely culprit. I’ve had this knee problem for more than 8 years, so I’m pretty sure the improvement is a result of either the MSM or the juice feast itself.
In the past couple days, I’ve been having some very strong food cravings. But the cravings aren’t for raw foods — they’re for all sorts of cooked foods. I’ve been craving bread, pasta, oatmeal, veggie burgers, sandwiches, burritos, popcorn, rice, french fries, Thai food, and more. I’ve even had some passing cravings for animal products like Muenster cheese that would normally turn my stomach. I’m mostly craving the starchy foods though.
This definitely isn’t hunger. I’ve been getting these cravings even on a full stomach. It feels very much like a drug withdrawal. It’s like the cells of my body are crying out for some kind of substance to make them feel a certain way.
Apparently it’s normal to get these kinds of cravings on a juice feast, and the cravings will supposedly pass, but it’s still disturbing to go through it.
Some people say that as our cells release old toxins, they trigger old cellular memories. It’s been said that for each day of juice feasting, we effectively roll back the clock about 120 days, so that would mean I’m well into my vegan cooked food period. I hope I don’t start craving flesh once I’ve rolled back to my pre-vegetarian days, which would happen about halfway through this 92-day juice feast.
Before I started juice feasting, I was doing just fine on 100% raw foods, and I wasn’t craving cooked foods anymore. So it’s disturbing to have all these old cravings come up now. I feel like a total addict going through a withdrawal period. The worst part is that I’m craving substances I thought I’d already weaned myself off of.
Difficult Emotional Processing
There’s another element to this that also disturbs me. With each passing day, I can see more clearly how cooked food is used as a drug to create a certain kind of feeling in our bodies. We keep eating it because we’re addicted to it, not because it’s healthy for us. We confuse those addictive cravings for the experience of genuine hunger. Instead of making conscious food choices, we let our addictions dictate what we eat, how much, and how often. And eventually the consequences of this catch up to us.
I like to think that I got past the point of using food as a drug when I went 100% raw, but looking back, I can see that wasn’t true either. I was still an addict. I just found other foods I could use to drug myself, thereby creating a certain kind of comfort feeling. Such foods include cacao, large amounts of nuts, high-fat meals, and certain dehydrated foods. These may have been healthier choices than what came before them, but I can see that I was still eating these foods for reasons other than hunger.
Now that I don’t have any means of satisfying these cravings with food, I’m forced to deal with life in a different way. When unpleasant emotions arise, I can’t just turn to food to comfort myself in a matter of minutes. I have to find a different way to deal with these feelings.
Lately I’ve been feeling a lot more sympathy for people who suffer from drug addictions. I think almost everyone is an addict in some form (meaning that they turn to substances to alter their emotional state), but most people get by on legal drugs and don’t have to hide it so much.
I’m not sure where this will lead. Right now I’m too immersed in this challenge to see any clear answers. Since I can’t do much about it yet, for now I just have to accept that I’m feeling disturbed and allow that feeling to exist.
I’m also feeling a bit sad because I’ve carved out some kind of a hole in myself, and I’m not allowing the old filler material to return, but I don’t have anything else to fill that hole either. Living with that void is very unpleasant.
Oh how easy it would be to just call it quits and pull that friendly old blanket of ignorance back over my eyes. I wonder if anyone would notice.
One day at a time…