Juice Feasting – Day 21

November 14th, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

Great day today — I’m so glad that yesterday’s headache is gone. I did an hour-long radio interview about my book this morning which was a lot of fun.

I had some emotional detox this afternoon, mainly some mild depression, but it only lasted a couple of hours. Presently I’m feeling fantastic.

Weight Loss

I weighed 170.8 this morning for a net loss of 8.2 pounds in 20 days.

My wrist watch is starting to get loose. It keeps sliding down my forearm. My watch has a stainless steel, non-stretchy band, so I might have to get it adjusted at some point. Apparently my wrist has gotten skinnier.

My shorts and jeans are fitting looser as well.

Green Juices

Supposedly as the juice feast progresses, I’m supposed to transition to juices that are less sweet, roughly around Day 30. When I started the juice feast, I did about half fruit juices and half veggie/greens juices. The veggie juices almost always included a sweet element like carrots, beets, or apples.

I seem to be naturally transitioning to juices that are less sweet. Currently I enjoy the slightly sweet veggie juices most of all. The straight fruit juices are beginning to taste a little too sugary. I usually mix fruit with greens now instead of drinking straight fruit juice. For example, this morning I drank a quart of orange-romaine-celery juice.

I’m also trying to get used to green juices without anything sweet added. Such juices still aren’t very palatable to me, but I’m able to get them down. As I type this, I’m sipping a quart of cabbage-celery-cucumber-dill-radish juice. The fresh dill adds a little flavor, but otherwise it’s a pretty tasteless drink.

To my surprise I’ve never made a juice that was so foul I had to pour it out. I drank down every quart of juice I’ve made on this juice feast so far. I’ve come up with a few rather unpalatable concoctions, but in those situations, I demand that my taste buds pull their weight in this challenge. :)

Since I’ve made dozens of different juices in the past three weeks, I’m getting much better at predicting how each juice will taste. I now have a decent grasp of the right ratios of different ingredients to use to create a high-greens juice blend that also tastes good. This is a nice skill to acquire, one that I can apply for the rest of my life, long after the juice feast has ended.

Herbs

Lately I’ve been including more fresh herbs in my juices. My favorite is parsley, which seems to go with just about anything. I juice about half a bunch of parsley every day, sometimes a whole bunch. Cilantro is my next favorite herb, which also mixes well with almost anything. Fresh basil goes nicely with tomato juice. Dill seems to be a good complement to cucumber. And mint makes a nice addition to certain fruit juices as well as juices that use apple-celery as a base.

Herbs are very easy to juice because the twin-gear juicer grabs hold of the stem and sucks them right into the machine, so I don’t even need to use the plunger. I rarely make veggie juices without tossing in a few herbs.

Bad Breath

Erin says my breath has been pretty foul lately, despite brushing my teeth more often. Yesterday she also commented that I seemed to smell worse than usual, even though I’ve been staying on top of my hygiene.

These are typical symptoms of detox, especially since the skin is one of the body’s major pathways of elimination.

Other people will just have to deal with the walking, breathing stench that is me. :)

B-12

Vitamin B-12 can be a contentious issue in the raw and vegan communities. Some people recommend supplementation. Others say it isn’t necessary. I’ve read a great deal on both sides of the debate over the years. One of the best articles on the subject is by Dr. Gabriel Cousens, who is strongly in favor of supplementation. This is a complex issue that I think every vegan or raw foodist should look into at some point.

Personally I’ve never experienced any known B-12 deficiency issues, even after almost 12 years on a pure vegan diet. Meat eaters can experience B-12 deficiency too, so eating animal products won’t necessarily prevent the problem, but apparently low B-12 is more common in long-term vegans. Nevertheless, this is a fairly easy problem to prevent.

Most of the B-12 supplements you’ll find in health food stores is in the form of cyanocobalamin. Check the bottle, and it should list what form of B-12 is used. Cyanocobalamin is a synthetic form of B-12 which is easy to crystallize, cheap to manufacture, and more shelf-stable than other forms of B-12. It’s basically made in a test tube. However, cyanocobalamin isn’t readily found in nature, and it’s normally made with coal tar derivatives, with cyanide being used in the crystallization process. This is the form of B-12 you’ll also find in most B-12 fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.

If you take a B-12 supplement, it’s better to favor methylcobalamin over cyanocobalamin. Methylcobalamin is better absorbed and better retained by the body. There are other forms of B-12 as well, since B-12 represents a whole class of vitamins rather than a single chemical structure.

Apparently you can also get B-12 from certain foods like seaweed and algae, but supposedly those are high in analog B-12 as well, so the B-12 they contain may not be well absorbed. Dr. Cousens addresses this in his B-12 article.

David Rainoshek, creator of juicefeasting.com, also recommends B-12 supplementation on a juice feast. He suggests steering clear of cyanocobalamin. He specifically recommends a product called Max Stress B Nano-Plex from Premier Research Labs. It uses deoxyadenosylcobalamin, which is a natural form of B-12 that comes from probiotic fermentation, so it isn’t synthetic. Max Stress B Nano-Plex costs more than the cheaper synthetic B-12 forms, but I feel more comfortable using a natural form of B-12 as opposed to ingesting test tube vitamins made from coal tar and cyanide.

If you pursue the raw, vegan, or juice feasting paths, you’ll need to do your own homework when it comes to B-12. I’m simply sharing my personal choices, but since I’m not a biochemist, I can’t make a strong recommendation as to what you should or shouldn’t do here.

Personal Experimentation

How do I know that juice feasting is a good idea? I don’t.

Of course I’ve read a great deal about juice feasting, researching it for weeks before I decided to take on this challenge. I’ve also talked to people who already completed a juice feast. But since this is my first juice feast, I can’t really know how it will affect me personally.

The point of doing personal experiments like this is to find out — to discover new truths via trial and error or trial and success.

There’s always some risk when you try something new, and outright failure is always a possibility. But you have to weigh the risks against the potential gains. If juice feasting is as effective as some people claim, and my body undergoes a massive detoxification process, that could benefit me physically, mentally, and emotionally for the rest of my life. I might also lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off, especially since I’ll be returning to a raw diet after the juice feast. Additionally, this protocol includes a liver cleanse that begins on Day 30 as well as a parasite cleanse on Day 60, and these alone can be enormously beneficial for long-term health. The potential upside to a 92-day juice feast program is absolutely huge — if it turns out to be effective.

So what’s the downside? I know of no one who suffered serious ill health effects on a juice feast, so perhaps the reasonable worst case outcome is that I run into bigger problems ahead, like some kind of physical crash, and I decide to quit early. Maybe after the juice feast, I also gain back the weight I lost. To me that’s still an acceptable outcome because it means I’ll be able to cross off juice feasting as a potential tool for improving health. I’ll know I tried it and that it didn’t work for me. Then I can let it go and look into other options.

What’s the price to be paid? I don’t get to eat any solid food for three months. I have to deal with some intermittent physical and emotional detox issues. I have to spend more money on produce, supplements, and cleansing aids. I have to invest time each day preparing my juices. That isn’t a negligible price, but it’s an acceptable one. I’m willing to make this sacrifice. It’s only three months out of my entire life. And I can still function fairly well during this time. I can continue blogging, doing interviews, and living my life.

An additional gain is that by publicly sharing my experiences, I create an enduring resource to help others who are considering juice feasting. This resource can still be helpful to people regardless of the outcome. If things go badly for me, my logs may caution would-be juice feasters to consider factors they may have overlooked. If things go well, my logs may help others prepare to succeed, and they may encourage others to try juice feasting with positive results. It’s no secret that my website can exert a lot of influence over people’s lives these days, so I take this responsibility pretty seriously.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but overall this looks like a pretty good bet to me. While juice feasting may not be very mainstream, thousands of people have already done this, so I certainly don’t consider myself a juice feasting pioneer. I’m just following in the footsteps of others. If this were something completely new and untested, I might be more concerned about the risks, but in this case I don’t perceive any real dangers ahead. I regard this as more of a self-discipline challenge than a health challenge.

Three weeks down. Only 10 more weeks to go. It’s hard to believe I made it this far.


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