Today was another great day. The daily routine of living on juice is gradually becoming a habit, so I don’t have to think about it so much anymore.
I still had some mild emotional detox today. Unexpected feelings would surface and then subside after an hour or so. For example, I started feeling very nervous this morning for no apparent reason. An hour later I felt very happy. Overall these emotional shifts were pretty mild though. I’m also getting used to them, so they don’t affect me so much. I know they’re temporary, so I can ride them out.
My work routine is affected by these emotional shifts. When the good emotions come on, I try to take advantage of them by doing things like answering emails or making phone calls. Then when I’m crashing into negative feelings, I read or do another round of juicing, partly so I don’t affect others with my moodiness and partly because I feel like drawing back into solitude for a while.
I weighted 173.8 this morning for a net loss of 5.2 pounds in 13 days.
Socializing Without Food
I know some people would be concerned that juice feasting would cramp their social life if they had to keep it up for any length of time. How are you supposed to go out to lunch or dinner or meet new people? Omigod — what will other people think of you? You’ll be the instant pariah of any group! Juice feasting has to be social suicide…
Please calm yourself.
I think my social life is likely to improve on this juice feast (and long afterwards) as a result of some things I’m beginning to see more clearly now.
It’s very common to connect with new people over a meal. When people come to Vegas and want to meet with me face-to-face for the first time, very often they invite me to lunch or dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business contact or an online friend. Eating and socializing are practically joined at the hips.
But we don’t need the presence of food to connect with people. In many cases it’s actually better to connect with people without the distraction of a meal.
Even before I started this juice feast, I began to question the ubiquity of combining socializing with food. This connection is culturally conditioned to be sure, but otherwise there’s no heavenly mandate that food and conversation must be joined, the Last Supper notwithstanding.
During the summer I met with someone on the Vegas Strip at night. We sat in a mostly deserted food court and talked for hours, and neither of us ate anything. It was a deep and fascinating conversation, and I really enjoyed it. Without the food there were no distractions at all, and this lack of distractions had a bigger impact than I expected. I’m certain that if we’d shared a meal together, we wouldn’t have been able to take the conversation anywhere near as deep as we did that night.
While it’s always nice to share a meal with someone, and I have absolutely nothing against that, you get a whole different social dynamic without the presence of food. It’s just too easy for a meal to become a security blanket, a shield, or a distraction that prevents you from going too deep with the conversation. With no food present, you feel more open, exposed, and energetically naked. It’s just you and the other person eye to eye. With no interruptions the conversation flows so much better.
Lately I’ve been enjoying first contact meetings without the presence of food. At first I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I just had to get past some limiting beliefs. Isn’t it expected that people should share a meal when they first meet? Am I committing a big social faux pas? What if I invite someone over, and it gets really awkward? What if there are uncomfortable silences, and I don’t have a knife and fork to save me???
But after having done this deliberately a few times, I really like it. Without a meal I can focus all my attention on the other person. The feeling of connection is so much stronger. There are no walls (or tables… or dinner plates) in the way. It makes you feel more vulnerable at first, but that’s the key to really opening up and connecting.
Interestingly, this is how Erin and I had our first face-to-face meeting. She came over to my apartment, and we talked for two hours about lucid dreaming. No food. Even today we still sit on the couch and talk for hours about anything and everything. Our mealtime conversations rarely go as deep, whether we eat at home or at a restaurant.
As another example, this afternoon I enjoyed a visit from Lori Painter. We first connected on GiveItToMeRaw.com, an awesome social networking site for raw food enthusiasts (or should I say rawsome?). This is the first time she and I met in person. Originally we were going to do lunch at the Go Raw Cafe, and I could easily have gotten a juice there, but I thought it would be better to just invite her to my house, so we could talk with no distractions. While she was here, I made us a quick batch of watermelon-spirulina juice, but otherwise it was 4 hours of fascinating, non-stop conversation.
Now you might be wondering… isn’t it problematic to invite people to my house for a first in-person meeting? Wouldn’t it be “safer” to meet in a neutral location like a coffee shop? (Even though I don’t drink coffee, I could easily order an herbal tea, even on a juice feast.) What if the other person turns out to be a crazed stalker or something? Or what if, from their perspective, I turn out to be a total creep?
There’s always some risk when online connections become offline meetings, but I actually use this as part of my qualifying process for making new friends. The kind of person who’d be afraid to meet with me in my home most likely wouldn’t be a very compatible new friend, since I’m generally not attracted to people who are suspicious and/or fearful of others. Also, if someone would find it too awkward to have a first contact meeting without food, that would be another incompatible fit for me. I love to get to know people by having very personal conversations, and meal-bonding with small talk doesn’t do much for me.
So I think this idea of decoupling food and socializing has a lot of potential. I encourage you to try having a 3-4 hour conversation with someone, especially someone you’ve just met. No food. No games. No movies. Just talk. You’ll be amazed at how well you can bond in your very first meeting. After a few hours, don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve made a new friend for life.
And by the way, as you can hopefully verify, neither Lori nor I were axe murdered by the other.
I used poisoned spirulina instead.
Filling the Void and Feeling Full Again
Earlier in this juice feast, I noted that without solid food, I began feeling a terrible void inside myself. At the time I was referring to an emotional sensation, but it also has a physical component. Since the juice I drink digests very quickly, my stomach is empty most of the time. Consequently, most of the time I experience this feeling of emptiness without hunger. It took me a while to get used to this. I was so accustomed to connecting an empty stomach with the desire to eat. I needed to fill myself back up again whenever my stomach was empty. Even on a raw diet, I kept turning to fatty foods like nuts and guacamole to keep myself feeling full throughout the day. But that desire to remain physically full wasn’t the same thing as true hunger. I was eating to create a certain feeling of fullness, not because I really needed to eat.
Juice feasting makes it effectively impossible to feel full all the time. I have no choice but to deal with the feeling of being physically empty most of the time. I only feel full for maybe 15-30 minutes after drinking a quart of juice. This feeling of emptiness was disturbing at first, but I’ve gradually gotten used to it. I think I may even come to like it, although I’m not quite there yet. It is nice to feel so light and energetic though, instead of being weighed down by heavy digestion.
The emotional void is another story though. When my emotions aren’t doing the yo-yo thing, I feel pretty empty inside. That feeling can be quite disturbing. I think it will eventually lead to something else, something much greater, but for now I’m still in the space of not having those answers.
I feel this almost clawing need to fill that emotional void sometimes. I really don’t like feeling so light and empty. I want to stuff some kind of emotion in there. On some level it’s almost a relief when I have to deal with the emotional detox, and random emotions start coming up for processing. At least then I’m feeling something. I can feel I still have an emotional pulse.
But when there’s only stillness, when I don’t feel full and when no emotions are arising, I feel like I’m disconnected and cut off from everything and everyone.
Connecting with other people helps fill this emotional void to some degree, but I don’t think that’s the solution I need. I think this is something much deeper. I can’t fill this void by socializing with people around the clock since that would just be another form of distraction. Nor do I feel I can fill this void with work, a sense of purpose, positive intentions, meditation, sex, entertainment, or anything along those lines. Whatever I try to throw at this void just gets sucked into it, and then the void returns once again. This is something different, perhaps something that was there all along but which I’ve not been ready to face yet.
January 24, 2009
January 24th will be the final day of my 92-day juice feast. So I’ll be juicing right through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. After that I’ll be taking 6 days to gradually transition back to solids.
Before this juice feast, I’ve only done one prior juice fast (5 days) and one water fast (3 days), so every day I continue on this journey takes me further into personally uncharted territory. When I first started my juice feast, I wasn’t sure if I could make it the whole 92 days. But with each passing day, I’m gaining confidence that I’ll make it. It isn’t easy, but I believe I can do it. Each day is a new learning experience, taking me beyond the known and into a new unknown. And that’s the kind of life I signed up for.
When I start having doubts, I pull my attention back to the present moment and remind myself that I’m juice feasting “just for today.” I can always quit tomorrow. Eventually I’ll get around to quitting, but for now I’ll keep on procrastinating.
Two weeks done!