Integrating Body, Mind and Spirit With a Juice Fast
The Elixer of Life
There is no denying that it is now officially Spring! “Out with the old and in with the new” is a mantra that many of us live by when we make the return to Spring. We spend so much time cleaning out our homes and garages; we hold sidewalk, stoop and yard sales, all in an effort to cleanse and start fresh! Beginning this Spring, why not cleanse your internal house as well? That’s right; I’m talking about your body – cleanse inside out, instead of outside in. Our bodies not only house our internal organs, a multitude of cells and nerves, but it also houses our spirit. Let’s be honest we all could use a cleansing every now and again because let’s face it, we live in a toxic world, whether we want to admit it or not. On a daily basis we battle:
- Environmental toxins: from the air that we breathe to the water that we drink.According to the Centers for Disease Control, poisonous chemicals in the air include mercury and arsenic. Drinking water in some areas contain acceptable and dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, chromium 6 (a known carcinogen), and perchlorate (found in bleach, fire crackers and rocket fuel, to name a few).
- Chemical toxins: from the foods we eat and the medications that we take
- Emotional toxins: from anxiety, depression, high-pressure, negative and stressful jobs environments and lifestyles, failed and unhealthy personal relationships, deep rooted pain of things that have happened to us in the past that we may still be holding onto; all of which can manifest it’s self in destructive behavior patterns and negative thoughts and words.
- Spiritual toxins: some of us have been exposed to so much negativity from the outside world that we feel completely alone and forget that we are always connected to a higher power; all we have to do is go within ourselves to reconnect, whether it is through meditation or spiritual/religious practices.
So let’s begin to change our lives for the better and improve our quality of health by healing the body, the psyche and the spirit, beginning with the power of juicing.
Types of Juice Machines
There are two basic types of Juicing Machines:
Gears crush fruits and vegetables and push them through a fine stainless steel strainer. The pulp is continuously extracted. This type of juicer extracts more nutrients and more enzymes are preserved due to the juicer generating less heat and friction.
This type of juicer uses a spinning basket that shreds the fruit and vegetables and forces the juice through a fine stainless steel strainer via centrifugal force. Pulp can be continuously extracted or collected in the basket, depending upon the make of the juicer. These type of juicers cause oxidation to occur by introducing air into the juice.
Excellent Sources of Vitamin C
Carrot Apple Juice
An Introduction to Juice Fasting
Juice fasting is a type of detox that is done with a balance of fruit juices, vegetable juices and vegetable broth, natural herbal teas and fresh water. The key word here is balance. Too many fruit juices can leave you with a headache and an imbalance in blood sugar levels. Fruit juices act as cleansers, while vegetable juices, especially the green ones, balance and rebuild, bringing you in perfect alignment. All ingredients should be organic as much as possible, as the idea is to detox and according to the United States Department of Agriculture, organic produce will have minimized contents of the harmful chemicals and pesticides found in conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
Research is essential before undertaking anything new. Seek out books on juice fasting, find one or several that you like and use them as a guide as you embark on this new journey. However, if you’re looking for hardcore medical and scientific evidence that a generally healthy person can benefit and improve their life and health with juicing, you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Studies are extremely limited at best, because the world we live in is not a heavy proponent of alternative medicines and treatments unless of course there’s some way to make millions of dollars off of it. If you are a generally healthy person who is not currently on any medications, then try it for yourself and see what you get out of the experience. On the other hand, juice fasting or any other type of fast for that matter, is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, anyone with a medical condition or anyone taking any type of over the counter or prescribed medications. Consult a trusted healthcare professional or physician before embarking on any type of detox regimen.
Mindful Cleansing For Body & Soul
Benefits of Juice Fasting
Many of the foods that we eat are heavily burdened with chemicals including preservatives, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, pesticides, unknown additives and a whole host of other unknowns. Not only is this bad for our waistlines and overall health, it can also cloud our thinking and affect our memory, thereby affecting our judgement. Science and numerous health studies have shown the effects of healthy food and nutrition on the brain particularly in the decrease of the progression of brain degeneration. So imagine what happens when you give your digestion a much needed rest and you consume a multitude of vitamins and minerals in their natural liquid form. The nutrients are immediately absorbed into your body and they go to work, nourishing, scrubbing and rebuilding a new and stronger you. Juice fasting can help to rid the body of toxins, while cleansing the digestive tract and colon. This helps clear the mind and balance your moods. The addition of meditation can help you gain more clarity, focus and mental energy. You can begin to feel more empowered and in control of your life. Juice fasting helps you get still and it is in this stillness that we can tap into a higher consciousness and begin anew.
The physical benefits of juice fasting are plentiful. Enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals can be absorbed into the cells of the body within 15 minutes, thus saving the energy required for digestion and allowing the body to rest while cleansing or detoxifying. Chlorophyll, which is only found in plants, enhances our body's ability to produce hemoglobin which, in turn, enhances the delivery of oxygen to cells. In addition, fresh raw juices promote the alkalinity of body fluids, which is important for proper immune and metabolic function. On a cellular level, the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables counteract the free radicals that can cause aging, cellular damage and susceptibility to cancers. Juicing also makes it easier to consume the recommended 8 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. One large glass of raw, fresh juice per day can help improve the immune system, increase energy, strengthen bones, clear skin and decrease the risk of disease.
When we detox, we allow new habits to be formed and as new cells are generating they are healthier and stronger if they aren’t competing with toxic materials in our bodies. According to the American Cancer Society, it can take 20 years or more for cancer to develop. In fact, we are all born with microscopic cancer cells and they are growing in our bodies all the time, according to William W. Li, M.D. President and Medical Director of The Angiogenesis Foundation. However, our immune system usually destroys microscopic cancers. Healthy tissues also contain natural anti-cancer substances that make it difficult for these microscopic cancers to grow. So, depending on the type of lifestyle that we lead, we can have a leg up on possibly preventing cancer.
We can give our bodies a fighting chance to stave off cancer by eating well, exercising, and keeping a healthy mental state. The body is an amazing and complex group of systems that work synergistically as a whole - everything is interconnected, nothing is independent of the other. When we fast, our essential organs are able to rest and rejuvenate. If you eat three or more meals per day, not only is your digestive system constantly working, but your stomach, liver, kidneys, colon, intestines are also working overtime. Transit time for the foods we eat should be eighteen hours. Longer than that and we may not only begin to run into problems with constipation, or diarrhea in some, but an accumulation of toxic matter in the colon. When we fast, all of our elimination systems can work in tandem to remove toxic materials from our bodies and make us feel refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed with vital energy. Here is a list of some of the wonderful physical benefits from juice fasting:
- An increase in energy
- Glowing skin
- Flat tummy/ no bloating
- Loss of excess water weight
- Loss of food cravings i.e. sugar/ fats
- Shiny hair
- Overall healthier physical appearance
The Drawbacks of Juice Fasting; Getting Rid of Those Unwanted Toxins
There are plenty of articles and information on how to perform a juice fast, how long you should fast, what you should and shouldn’t drink, etc. etc. However, what very few seem to mention from what I've found, is that once you begin detoxing, it’s like stirring up dust; for some, it's years of dust.The toxins need an exit because if they are not released from the body, they can be reabsorbed into the blood stream and make you feel ill, thus defeating the purpose of the juice fast. So Just how do we release these toxins? We have five main elimination organs in our bodies:
2. Skin: the body’s largest elimination organ.Waste materials that our bodies cannot use are excreted through perspiration. On average a person excretes about two pounds of perspiration per day. Daily skin brushing with a natural bristled skin brush is suggested as a way to remove dead skin cells, uric acid and other waste material excreted through perspiration
3. Kidneys: filters the blood of toxic waste and excess water
4. Lymphatic System: picks up intracellular waste and then releases it into the bloodstream where it is processed by the liver and filtered by the kidneys
5. Lungs & Bronchioles; The Respiratory System: carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen during the breathing process.Exercising is a natural way of increasing elimination of waste materials through the lungs.
During a juice fast toxins are eliminated via deliberate breathing exercises, gentle physical exercise such as yoga, urine, sweat, skin brushing and the bowel. Since you are not eating during a juice fast there is nothing to digest and subsequently bowel movements may be halted. It is imperative to perform at-home enemas during the fast to help remove toxins from the body so they are not reabsorbed into the body. Colonic hydrotherapy (gravity method only) is highly recommended for a more thorough job cleaning out and emptying the colon of old impacted waste matter that has been loosened up by juice fasting. Having a gravity colonic performed by a professional can drastically improve the results of your juice fast leaving you with renewed energy and vitality.
Some unpleasant, but temporary side effects that may occur while juice fasting:
- Allergy symptoms (watery eyes, runny nose, congestion)
- Bad breath
- Itchy skin
- Metal or other funny taste in the mouth
- Mood swings
- Muscle aches
- Sweating more than usual
The important thing to remember here is not to suppress any of these symptoms with medications, as you will be doing more harm than good and these symptoms are temporary.Your body is healing and purging itself in a very natural way.Just go with the flow. Treat this time as a retreat and be good to your body.Practice yoga, go for walks, journal, sing, draw, write, meditate, pray. Whatever it is that makes you feel connected and in tune, do it during this time. This is “you” time.Do yourself a favor and take time off from work as you embark on this journey. After all, this is much needed "you" time. Embrace the new you!
A Word About Colonic Hydrotherapy
All colonics are not created equal. This I know from experience. I have had the best experience from the closed system colonic verses the open system colonic, using the Woods Gravity Method. In closed system colonic the speculum has two ports. One port allows water to flow into the body while a second port allows water and waste to flow out of the body, thereby eliminating the feeling of fullness and the need to relieve oneself at all times. A trained therapist monitors the water flow at all times and massages the abdomen throughout the session.
The Woods Gravity Method colonic is the original method used by Dr. Robert Woods and Dr. Norman Walker. This method allows for a simultaneous in and out flow, meaning water enters and exits at the same time. No machines, motors, or pumps are used, allowing the bowels to gently release. After a session, you should feel completely light and empty. Try to consume fresh pressed vegetable juice or water immediately after the session. Within an hour of drinking, you should feel the need to have a bowel movement.
I have been juice fasting for about 10 years now, juicing at least once a year if not more, for three days at time. I prepare with a 2-3 day pre-fast and a 2-3 day after-fast to ease my body into the actual juice fast and ease my body out of it as I begin to resume a normal diet. I follow the same regimen each time, and each time the experience is completely different, which is the beauty of it. Sometimes I experience cravings and other times not, but several experiences that are constant are an increase in energy by the second or third day, a flatter tummy and glowing skin. I encourage you to try it for yourself and enjoy the experience. Here's to your health!