Fasting gives the digestive system a well-deserved rest. This allows the body to use energy that it normally would to digest food, instead to heal, cleanse and detoxify the body. When we eat continually, we build up a toxic load in the body, in particular in the fatty tissue. Fasting creates the space, time and energy for the body to find these toxins and eliminate them.
I was excited about doing a juice fast – always one for a challenge – but as we moved into our transition days the mightiness of this challenge became that much more real. It began to feel rather daunting this whole prospect of not eating food. Of no longer being able to enjoy that satisfying feeling of a warm and satiated belly, and not just for one day but for a whole seven days!
The three transition days into the fast involved eating no dairy, sugar or meat, caffeine or alcohol. This wasn’t too much of a stretch for me, as I don’t usually eat dairy or drink caffeine and only very occasionally do I drink alcohol. I do however have quite a sweet tooth and I enjoy eating meat, having grown up with fresh, organic mutton and beef. Having just been through the festivities of Christmas and New Year I had definitely eaten more than my fair share of delicious foods that I wouldn’t normally due to intolerances, and I also drank much more alcohol during this social time too! I knew this was going to make it all a little harder than it needed to be. Through this transition period we ate our normal breakfast and lunch, and replaced dinner with a fresh juice. I didn’t register on the first day that I had just smothered my toast with a healthy dose of marmalade jam, until I was having my first bite, which I can assure you I made the most of! However from then on I was more mindful and we both enjoyed this time of easing in. It really does support the fast and gives the bodymind the time it needs to adjust to eating less.
I had been told the first three days of the actual fast would be the hardest by Cornelia at KoruKai Herb Farm, who we purchased the juice fasting kit from. She knew our aim was to do a 7-day fast and encouraged us to be kind even if this meant coming out of the fast early. She did however really encourage us to do a minimum of four days, as after you push through that third day you can reap the benefits of a deeper cleanse, energy and clarity. I would agree with Cornelia that the first three days are the most difficult as I experienced headaches and brain fog, which was usually worse in the afternoons and evenings. I do count myself lucky though as I know others can experience intense cravings and other detox symptoms. Working around my headaches I decided to do my office mahi in the mornings, followed by an hour of Yoga and then spent the afternoons outside relaxing, walking in Nature or chilling inside.
I must admit I was surprised I didn’t have intense sugar cravings. The juices and broth at night, weirdly seemed enough. I had even thought I may have trouble sleeping if I was hungry but I slept fine throughout the fast.
I enjoyed my Yoga practice as it kept the energy moving in my body, and helped to keep me grounded and present. One day I tried some slow suryanamaskar (sun salutations) however this wasn’t the best choice as it made me feel shaky and my headache got worse. Gentle somatic movements and Restorative Yoga was definitely the best choice, and I relished this time of deep rest and stillness.
Cornelia had shared to be aware of your digestion and daily bowel movements as constipation can sneak in during a juice fast. I decided to drink a liquorice herbal tea daily to support my digestion however by day three I needed to add in a psyllium drink morning and night, which got me back to normal movements by the morning of day five. Phew!
So yes, the first three days were definitely more difficult and then my experience started to change. My experience shifted from difficult to amazing, to emotional, to tired, to amazing. The amazing involved my body feeling light and spacious.
My mind was quiet and calm with few thoughts, and my mind was much happier to simply be in the present moment. I felt spacious and super clear in my body and mind, a beautiful feeling. My energy became more consistent without the highs and lows I would normally experience because of sugar.
As we detoxed our bodies, we also detoxed some emotions. I had feelings of old sadness arise, feelings of being alone and isolated. And I simply sat with these. They dissipated. On day four and five of our fast we moved my daughter’s gear out of the house and into the container. No not the best timing but what can one do when it has to be done! I would not recommend shifting a small house load of gear whilst fasting in 25 degree days! This did add pressure that we didn’t need, and the heavy lifting was hard work. Here is where the tired came in, a bone deep tiredness and also more emotion. While we were carrying a heavy, old school television set, I knocked my knuckles quite hard on the edge of a doorway, and that was it. I started squealing, then screaming, then burst into tears, and then started laughing hysterically! Quite the rollercoaster but it did feel good to allow the emotion out in such an uncontrolled way.
After these two part days of heavier work, we decided it was time to start transitioning out. I felt I could do another day but Kevin was chomping at the bit to finish, and it felt right to come out together. Kevin went straight back into eating food, and I chose to transition back out which I feel is kinder for the body. I continued with the gut cleanser and detox drink, that we included on our last day of the fast, for another seven days. Not the tastiest drink but it felt like the right thing to do after fasting. That extra bit of cleaning.
I felt amazing after the cleanse… lighter, clearer, sharper, more vibrant, glowing and alive than I had in a long time! This fasting experience allowed me to connect more with my body, to connect with the wisdom in my heart and to truly be grateful for all I have in my life.
It is now two months since the fast. It has been interesting to see how old eating habits have snuck back in, and how much I eat now when I was eating so little in the initial period after the fast. It is time to real my sweet tooth back in!
We are both determined and committed to doing a fast two times a year to support our health. Next time it would be great to make the 7 days! Although this would require two weeks and we know now that it’s important to make sure there is no heavy work to be done during this time.
Ideally, we would like to create more space and time for gentle walks, sitting in nature, for meditation and Yoga to support our fasting process and to go much deeper into self-discovery and processing. One day I would love to do a 8+ day fast, as this allows the healing to go deeper again into the cells and organs. We all know how emotion gets stored in the organs so what a beautiful gift this would be for my beautiful body.
I am grateful for this strong and healthy body that I am living this life in.