Juice Feasting – Postmortem

December 1st, 2008 by Steve Pavlina

Now that I’ve been back on solid foods for about a week, I have some final thoughts to share on my 30-day juice feast. I don’t want to rehash what I already shared in my Day 31 update, so I’ll try to offer some new insights.

Back to Solids – and Eating More Fat Again

I took about three days to gradually transition back to solid foods, starting with green smoothies. It was quite an easy transition. I never felt sick or weak or anything like that. I was very happy to return to solids again.

I transitioned back to 100% raw foods of course. I have zero cravings for cooked foods. I think what I was craving most during the juice feast was fat. Now that I’ve incorporated more raw fats back into my diet (nuts, seeds, avocado, fresh coconut), cooked food has no appeal to me whatsoever. Apparently my body just wanted the fat, so high-fat cooked foods looked really good to me during that time.

It was educational to see more evidence that my body just doesn’t do well on a low-fat diet. I seem to feel best when I’m getting around 40-60% of my calories from fat. In practice it seems like I can basically eat as much fat as I want and not gain weight or suffer ill effects, as long as it’s raw.

For example, I can eat 3-5 oz of raw nuts at a time (as much as 100g of fat, depending on which type of nut), and I feel great afterwards. If I did this with roasted nuts, I’d feel sluggish afterwards, and I’d probably gain weight.

Raw fats are very different than cooked fats. I had to throw out everything I learned about fats in general and re-learn the truth about raw fats. My body seems to respond really well to lots of raw fats.

I’ve heard that many raw foodists transition to eating less fat after they’ve been 100% raw for a few years. That doesn’t surprise me, but right now I’m accepting that I’m still in the high-fat stage. This feels right for me at this time, and I perceive no urgent need to cut back on fat just yet. Someone told me that David Wolfe used to eat as many as 9 avocados per day when he was in this phase. I can’t imagine eating that many avocados (1-2 per day is plenty for me), but it’s nice to see what my next steps are likely to be.

Eating for the Right Energy Signature

Since I transitioned back to solids, I seem to have much more clarity about how certain foods affect me, and now I’m able to use this knowledge to my advantage. I think this happened because I got used to the subtle effects of different juices when my body wasn’t still digesting previous meals, so I could see how fruit and greens affected me differently. I learned to switch between fruit and green juices in order to create certain energy shifts.

For example, if I eat too much sweet fruit, initially I feel very light and energetic, but after a while I start feeling spacey. That’s a nice way to feel if I’m exercising, but I don’t want to feel like that if I’m trying to write because it’s too hard to focus. It’s nice to know that I can re-ground myself by eating more fat and greens.

By selecting meals based on certain ratios of fats, greens, and sweet fruits, I can deliberately change how I feel energetically. This is really awesome knowledge to have because it allows me to intelligently plan my food intake based on what I want to do each day. When I make each meal, I think about what I want to do afterwards and how I’d like to feel during that time. Then I can select foods that will produce those feelings.

If I’m going out to run some errands, I’ll bring some fresh fruit and nuts with me. That gives me a lot of energy in a convenient form. I can walk 8 miles and not even be tired afterwards.

If I want to do some writing at my desk, I’ll combine a little bit of fruit with greens and fat, like a green smoothie with banana, berries, and coconut. That keeps me feeling mentally alert and energetic but still grounded. For some reason this combo also leaves me feeling very happy. Some raw foodists say you shouldn’t combine fruit and fat, but my personal results suggest the opposite — these seem to combine wonderfully for me. Mixing fruit and fat helps prevent my energy from yo-yoing too much. It slows digestion and gives me a more even burn.

If I want to raise my energy but still feel calm and centered, such as before I do a radio interview, I’ll eat more fruit and greens and little or no fat. Coconut water also works very well — I often sip it during phone interviews.

If I want to lower my energy a bit and feel more grounded, like if I’m going to answer emails, work on routine tasks, or write a fairly simple blog post, I’ll eat less fruit and greens and consume more fat, maybe snacking on raw nuts. This helps me feel more grounded without making me dopey.

If I want to bring my energy down and relax in the evening, I’ll favor greens and fats with minimal fruit, such as a big salad. This has a very calming effect on me.

If I want to feel spiritually tuned in or if I desire an intuition boost for problem-solving, I’ll eat a light meal or fresh fruit, or I’ll snack on non-sweet fruits like tomatoes or cucumbers, just enough to stave off hunger. But overall my intuition has been great since I’ve been raw, so I rarely feel a need to boost it up even higher.

Basically, I’ve learned that certain foods affect me like this:

Sweet fruits = energy boost. Too little = feeling lazy or unmotivated. Too much = feeling over-charged or mentally spacey.

Greens = calming. Too little = feeling unfocused or stressed. Too much = feeling too passive.

Fats = grounding and stabilizing. Too little = energetic and emotional yo-yoing. Too much = feeling inflexible and non-adaptive, being energetically stuck at the same level for too long.

Note that these effects only apply to raw foods. The cooked counterparts of these foods would have totally different effects. Foods experience major biochemical alterations when you heat them.

Raw fats seem especially good for me to eat. They are my “lock-in” foods. For example, if I’m feeling really good, and then I eat a few ounces of nuts, it tends to lock in that feel-good state for hours.

I usually start each morning with about a liter of low-fat green smoothie (greens, sweet fruits, some superfoods, and water). Within 20-30 minutes, that gets me feeling just awesome energetically — very happy and enthusiastic. But if I digest the whole thing with no fat to slow it down, I might end up feeling a little too energized — almost hyper. That can be a bit too energizing for working at my desk. So about 20-30 minutes after drinking the smoothie, sometimes while I’m sipping the second glass, I’ll often eat a few ounces of raw nuts. This slows digestion, so the rest of the smoothie digests over a period of hours, locking in that positive feeling. The net result is that I have a very productive morning. Cranking out a 2,000-word article during this time is easy.

So I use the green smoothie to create an immediate energy boost in the morning, and once I feel I’ve reached the right level, I eat some fat to lock in that level for hours. As the rest of the smoothie digests more slowly with the fat, it seems to sustain the same energy level. I don’t know if other raw foodists do anything like this, but it works great for me. Some people may complain that the fruit will ferment if you do this, but I don’t notice any unpleasantness such as gas or bloating.

If I want to write a very grounded or fairly mundane article, more nuts and greens are good for that. If I want to be more emotional in my writing, like if I’m going to take a strong stance on a controversial issue, fruits and greens are the better choice. For this particular blog post, I don’t need a lot of emotion, so I’m eating more nuts.

It’s too early on this path to know what to expect long-term, but I’m feeling super optimistic about being able to manage my energy flow so consciously and deliberately. :)

I suppose the main benefit is that the energetic shifts I experience each day are no longer a mystery to me. I can now normally create the types of shifts I want to experience just by selecting different foods. If I want to feel super-energized in the afternoon, I can do that just be eating a high-fruit lunch. If I want to feel calm and grounded while reading a book in front of the fireplace during a quiet evening at home, I create that effect by having a big salad with avocado and olives for dinner.

I don’t think it was only my awareness of these effects that increased during the juice feast. I think it was more than that. Perhaps by cleansing my body for several weeks, the raw foods I’m eating have a clearer, less muddled effect on me today, possibly because my digestive organs are running more cleanly. I’ve noticed that even when I eat a big, high-fat meal, it doesn’t leave me feeling sluggish.

I thought that juice feasting would teach me about how we use foods to drug ourselves. The juice feast certainly increased my awareness of that, but now I seem to be consciously using this knowledge to deliberately create the energy shifts I want to experience. Is that a good thing? Before the juice feast, I probably would have said no. But since I don’t see any negative side-effects, perhaps it is a good thing after all. I don’t feel controlled by the foods I eat, nor do I feel addicted to them. I feel like they’re tools I can use as I see fit.

Dry Skin Is Healing

The dry skin I experienced on my juice feast is already healing. My knuckles are still a bit dry, but otherwise my fingers feel soft and smooth again. I expect that within a week, there will be no remaining evidence of dry skin.

Incredibly Vivid Dreams and a New Ad Network Idea

Early in my juice feast, I reported that my dreams became incredibly vivid and that they seemed much longer. Upon awakening I’d often feel like I’d spent a couple days in an alternate reality.

This hasn’t changed at all. The dream upgrade continued throughout the juice feast and beyond. Last night I had such incredible dreams. I never imagined that dreams could be so rich and detailed.

For example, about a week ago, I had a dream that I was taking a class at some school. This school was having budget challenges, so they decided to sell advertising to raise more money. There was an ad network, similar to Google Adsense (actually it could have been Adsense), that placed context-sensitive ads on school assignments. So the teacher of any class could upload an exam to this ad network, the exam would be scanned, and context-sensitive ads would be provided to be printed on the exam. Then the school would get some money based on how many students were in the class to see these ads. For placing a single ad on an exam or assignment, the classroom might earn an extra $5 for its budget. So over the course of a year, each class could earn well over $100 in ad revenue for the school. These are fairly non-intrusive logo/branding ads, so the students wouldn’t be overly distracted from seeing ads on their exams and other assignments.

In this particular dream, I was taking an exam about the computer gaming industry, so next to one of the essay questions, I saw an ad/logo for IGN Entertainment. I found it amusing at the time to see an ad on my exam, but I was happy that the school got money for it. At least it’s better than trying to raise funds by selling the students out to junk food and soda pushers.

If this dream vision catches on the real world — there’s no reason it can’t be done with today’s technology — you might see a little note at the top of your biology exam that says, “Sponsored by Scientific American.” Or maybe you’re taking a computer programming class, and one of your assignments includes a student discount coupon for a popular programming library. Or you pick up your class schedule and see a plug for a free article called 10 Tips for College Students. :)

Would you tolerate context-sensitive ads on your class assignments? What if it meant you paid lower tuition — or all your textbooks were free? What if it meant your school could afford better educational resources? What if it meant your teachers were better compensated? And what if the department chairs and/or teachers had the discretion of being able to accept or reject individual ads, so they never approved anything they felt was inappropriate?

You know… this doesn’t sound like such a crazy idea after all. Some people would hate it, but I think it could be practical enough to work. I’m sure lots of advertisers would line up to catch the eyeballs of 18-22 year-olds… not to mention younger students as well. I’m sure there are a few schools out there that are hurting for money enough to consider this.

Anyway, this technology is already up and running in my dream university, so regardless of whether or not it makes an appearance in the physical world, I’ll probably keep seeing ads on my dream schoolwork.

Whoever implements this idea — you know it’s coming, don’t you? — owes me a kickback. Just don’t curse me when you start seeing ads on your schoolwork. :)

Emotional Residue – Stress, Depression, Anger, Rage

There have definitely been some emotional after-effects from my juice feast. I don’t feel remotely the same as how I used to feel. Something major has shifted within me. During the juice feast, these effects were largely negative. But now they’ve shifted to the positive side. This was perhaps the most surprising aspect of the juice feast.

I think the tremendous anger I experienced during the juice feast was related to the freeing of trapped energy and repressed emotions from my childhood. Some readers suggested that these feelings might be related to negative experiences I had during my late teens, such as being in jail. I knew that wasn’t it though. The emotions were far too intense to connect me with that time period. I figured out where they were coming from. I just needed some time to process those feelings and regain some perspective.

This anger and rage re-connected me with some things that happened to me in early childhood, around age 4 or 5. I don’t think I’ve mentioned these experiences publicly before.

I remember being intensely angry at that time in my life. I have memories of going to my room and clenching my teeth as I beat up my pillow. I was so filled with rage that I’d lie in bed for hours feeling absolute hatred. I’d ponder various ways I could harm or kill certain people using just my teeth.

I won’t go into the details of why I felt that way. Suffice it to say that I still have some visible scars on my body from that time, one self-inflicted in an accident, the other a form of violence inflicted upon me.

I was able to forgive all of this long ago. But even after doing that inner work, apparently a lot of repressed energy was still trapped somewhere around 1975. I wasn’t consciously aware of this.

The 30-day juice feast apparently triggered a major release of those repressed emotions. Feelings of stress, depression, powerlessness, and intense rage all came to the surface. At first it was just the feelings, and I didn’t know where they were coming from. But eventually the memories came up too, and I was able to connect the feelings with that time. I suspected early on that the emotions were coming from that time period, but it took a few weeks before I was able to fully accept that and consciously deal with it.

I think it would be premature to say that I’m done processing all of those feelings. I think I still have more inner work to do here. But I’ve made a lot of progress now that I’m able to deal with it consciously.

I thought I was juice feasting to purge my body of physical toxins. But perhaps the biggest toxins I had to release were emotional in nature. I think the juice feast has left me forever changed, but too little time has passed to fully comprehend the nature of that change. I only understand pieces of it at this point, but it’s enough for me to know that this was a very good thing to have done.

Dealing with these feelings was by far the hardest part of the juice feast. There were times I really had to discipline myself not to violently act out what I was feeling. Looking back, I think it might have been better/safer if I did this at some kind of center where I could have been supervised. I don’t want to scare you off of juice feasting, but in retrospect I’m not sure it was the brightest idea for me to do this on my own. Fortunately, the only things I broke were a few knives.

As a child I didn’t have a good outlet to express and release those negative feelings. My Catholic upbringing taught me that I was wrong to even feel the way I did… and that if I continued on that path, I’d end up going to hell. If I felt what I felt, I’d be punished for all eternity. What a nice thing to teach a child.

I think some of these feelings started coming up after I went 100% raw, but the frequency and intensity was much less. I also didn’t consciously know where those feelings came from, although sometimes they surfaced in other ways. For example, during that time I wrote 10 Reasons You Should Never Have a Religion. That’s pretty tame compared to what I’d have posted if I wrote that during my juice feast.

At a young age, I learned to repress those negative feelings. Unfortunately, the only way I could do that was to repress all of my emotions, especially anything that could potentially overlap with anger, such as feelings of passion and drive and excitement. I totally disconnected from my heart in order to become what others wanted me to be. I turned into a totally head-centered person. I wouldn’t allow myself to feel or trust emotions at all.

After meeting Erin in 1994, I finally started working through some of this. I’ve certainly made a lot of progress in this area, and it made a huge difference, but apparently I wasn’t done yet. With Erin’s help I was able to reconnect with people and feel compassion for others. Converting to a 100% raw diet gave me a huge boost in that direction as well. But what I was missing had more to do with Power than with Love.

This juice feast unlocked a different frequency of emotional energy. It released feelings of anger, stress, and powerlessness, and afterwards something else began to surface. It’s hard to describe exactly what this feels like. I just feel this awesome new level of positive energy, drive, motivation, and passion within me. It’s like some kind of inner genie got uncorked. It is a feeling of intense inner power.

Most of the time when I felt this inner power begin to surface during the juice feast, it was tied up with anger. Sometimes I actually felt like I was turning evil. But now that I’ve returned to solids, the anger and rage have subsided, and there’s this intense passion and drive in its place. I’ve felt it every day for roughly the past five days. The chaotic, angry energy has been replaced by a smoother, more flowing energy, but it’s still very intense and powerful.

This energy has been awesome for my productivity. I’ve been getting a lot done lately. I can see that this is going to be a very productive week for me. For example, my inbox was clogged with various papers for too long (nothing urgent, mostly scraps of papers with ideas I needed to process). During the juice feast, I had no motivation to process that pile, but yesterday I finally got the whole inbox emptied. It was easy because the energy and drive I had available was so much greater than what the task required.

It feels wonderful to be shifting out of feminine energy mode (yin) and be back on the masculine energy side (yang). It’s like I can finally breathe again. I’ll admit that the yin side can be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. (Incidentally, if you have an issue with my usage of words like masculine and feminine to describe different types of energy flow, then you should know that I’m perfectly willing to accept your botheredness. I also recommend that such people read this article.)

I can’t be certain if this is a permanent shift, but it feels like it is. I just don’t feel like the same person anymore.

I still have the same goals, and I’m committed to the same path. But now I feel much more driven to take action and to get things done quickly. I feel much more assertive and aggressive about creating what I want and less tolerant of obstacles. I feel like the path between me and my goals just got 10x shorter.

I could go on writing about this feeling, but I think it’s better to show you the difference. This energy is more about action than about gaining clarity. So I’ll just suggest that you give it about 30 days, and see if you notice anything different about me within that time. I think the difference will be obvious.

Some people will like the change. Some won’t. That’s the nature of all change. I already love it, so that’s good enough for me. If you don’t like it, well… sucks to be you. :)

The Road Ahead

It may take me several months to fully understand what effect this juice feast has had on me, but it definitely did something. I feel like I’ve gained a major boost in the Power element of the Truth, Love, and Power triad. I feel so passionately energetic that I can scarcely contain it.

For now I feel that diet-wise I’m exactly where I need to be. Other than continuing with the liver cleansing and doing the parasite cleanse, I’m not planning any major changes in this part of my life for a while. I’m ready to put this part of my life on autopilot for now, so I can turn my attention to other areas of focus.

Would I recommend juice feasting for other people? If you prefer to grow incrementally in small, easy steps, no way. But if you’re willing to take a risk to create a massive leap while enduring several weeks of chaos, then hell yes! It was hard but definitely worth it. I’m actually glad I went into this not knowing what to expect. If I knew what was going to happen, it would have been even harder to do it.

Would I ever do another juice feast? Maybe… but I’d want to buy a few extra items first, such as a punching bag, indestructible knives, and extra padding for the walls and children.


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