I have always been a person who likes challenges. Whether it's training for a big race, moving to a new state, or starting a new job, I have a problem saying no and backing down. When presented with the opportunity to try something new or go somewhere new, I usually jump in feet first and become passionate about it from the get-go.
I recently challenged myself to train for another half marathon while having a busy spring full of traveling out of state almost every weekend all the while working full night night shift. Now that those activities have wound down and I am back to normal, I find myself yearning for another and more intense challenge: a juice fast.
I did a juice fast years ago while in college and it was the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done. Even when the body stops feeling hungry, the natural urge to spend time eating doesn't go away, and the desire to keep opening the fridge never stops. My Dad warned me ahead of time that even though we are drinking our calories and may not feel hungry, our mind still thinks we should be chewing, and a few days into it we just desire to physically munch on food. In addition to this, food media is all around us, taunting with billboards, commercials, mailings, internet, etc.
Last week I realized that this weekend's plans had changed, so I knew what I wanted to spend my time doing. I have been eating more raw foods lately so I knew the transition into a juice fast would be less alarming to my body. I have no idea how long I will last or the obstacles I will be presented with this time, I only know I have a fierce desire to complete it and a firm resolution to see it through.
I also believe that sometimes it's good to rest the body and stop overloading it with sugar, salt, carbs, and junk. A cleanse feels good for the body and the mind. Perhaps more than resting the body I am looking forward to resting my mind through meditation, prayer, yoga, and relaxation. I've heard it before and it bears repeating: nursing is more than a physical job, it's mentally and emotionally draining. It's hard to not get involved with people's lives when family members are literally hanging onto your arm crying, and it's hard to not think about your patients when you go home after you spent the last 12 hours standing at the bedside keeping them alive. It's even harder to be the one who turns off the ventilator and has to stand there waiting for your patient to gasp their last and final breath. I was told that ICU nurses burn out faster than other nurses because of the stress of the job, and although I do love my job intensely, I can see how that statistic is true. I don't want to be another burnt-out nurse, so I know this cleanse and relaxation weekend is necessary for both my physical and mental health.
I prepared myself for the juice fast by eating only raw foods for 4 days prior to the start of the fast. From Saturday to Tuesday I drank vegetable juice and green smoothies throughout the day and had one very large salad for dinner. It also helped that I was working all of these days because I slept the entire day away and then packed a salad for dinner at work. The typical day looked like this for me:
Wake up at 4 pm, juice carrots, apples, cucumbers or celery. Two hours later make a large green smoothie which consisted of spinach or other greens, bananas, strawberries, almond milk, and chia seeds. Two hours later, eat a piece of fruit like a peach or pear. Two hours later eat my large salad for dinner. Four hours later eat a piece of fruit for breakfast, go to sleep. Repeat each day. Even if you didn't work night shift, you could still incorporate this into your day shift routine. Simply start the day with green smoothies or juices, and drink them all day long until your one large meal of raw fruits and vegetables. Don't get all hyperactive wondering "where you get your protein" from. Woo-sah through it and pick something else to be anal about.
This morning when I came home from work I went to bed and slept for about four hours. I awoke hungry and heard the juicer already running. The Boyfriend was juicing apples, the fruit we decided we would juice for the entire first day. Originally we bought two large bags of apples but ended up going out again for three more bags. Years ago I made the mistake of not juicing enough, and I don't want that to be an issue this time around.
All in all we bought three bags of red delicious apples, one bag of gala apples, and one bag of fuji apples. We also bought 8 jugs of distilled water as this is an important component as well.
After a few glasses of apple juice I was full and we decided to go to the library. I love reading but haven't had the time as of late. We recently got library cards so we spent some time picking out books we would like to read this weekend. Upon returning home I took a nap and The Boyfriend went to work. I slept well and had one very vivid dream.
I woke up a few hours later feeling hungry again, so I juiced two more glasses of apple juice. The Boyfriend came home from work and we took an easy, one mile walk with the dog. When we got home, I felt energized so I did thirty minutes of yoga. Since then I have juice two more glasses and we will probably go to bed shortly.
How we feel:
The Boyfriend, who is doing the juice fast right alongside me, has been cranky pretty much all day. If anyone knows him they know he is very quiet, calm, and easy going. However, today he has been short tempered and irritable. I feel the exact opposite: calm and happy. I know we will go through our detox's at different speeds and experience things at different times. If I remember correctly, my irritable days were around day 3 and 4, and by that time, The Boyfriend may be feeling great. It is mentally and physically painful to rid your body of toxins, but we know this will soon pass and we will reap the benefits.
Although it will be hard to do, I won't be reading other food blogs this weekend for the sole reason that it is simply too hard to look at food. I will be updating my blog each night with details of that day's fast, and I look forward to any questions you all may have and I would love any comments or encouragement you feel so inclined to leave.
We are so excited to embark on this challenge! It feels so great to have someone to go through life experiences with, and we look forward to learning how to support each other while also challenging our mind and resting our body at the same time. We hope you enjoy our journey as much as we do!