Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The first juice feast

Fresh sugar cane juice - caldo de cana.

My first juice fast lasted 20 days (January 26 – February 14th, 2008). I had been wanting to try (a juice fast, actually – see My story) since I did a 3-day fast about ten years ago. But I procrastinated, got pregnant, nursed, and then... procrastinated more! :) Then this year we started to plan on a second baby, and it downed on me that the fast had to happen soon! I also started reading about juice feasting, which was new to me, and that sounded much more possible and easier to me than what I tried years ago.

I probably made a lot of mistakes (not enough exercise, no enemas, too little green juice, too much fruit juice, sugar cane juice, and rejuvelac…), but it felt wonderful. It was a period of intense emotional healing and joy. Just rereading my blog about it in Give it to me raw makes me feel wonderful! I didn’t feel hungry and I even traveled, participated in the local Carnival festivities, etc. It didn’t stop me from doing anything, on the contrary, I had all this extra energy!

My initial plan was to feast for ten days, which is one of the reasons why I wasn’t too strict about it (i.e., all the sugarcane-lemon and fruit juice). I would be travelling to Canada and was afraid of how the JF would go during the long plane trip and the stressful pre-trip days. When the 10th day arrived, however, I felt sad about stopping and wanted so much to continue. I was feeling wonderful and I knew I wasn’t ready to interrupt the feast. The JF was so much easier to do with all that stress around the trip – just juice or juice! – and having other options would almost for sure make me binge and “say goodbye” to all of my favourite Brazilian foods. Besides, although I’ve been in raw food for over a year, I’m not much of an uncook (I was never a good cook either) and would not be able to make many raw comfort foods. So I decided to go on as much as possible.

Surprisingly I didn’t have any cravings for cooked/junk food. My only real cravings were for bananas – dried bananas, banana smoothies, and just plain old bananas! Yummy! I also missed textures, like regular soft bread buns or a crunchy chocolate.

At some point I felt extremely frail and afraid because I was becoming so skinny – no more “protection” between myself and the rest of the world! On the other hand, there was one day (about the 11th or 12th, I believe) for the first time in my life I felt I deserved the best. Okay, everyone says or even thinks they want the best for themselves, but it was as if up to that day I had not wanted that for real – hard to describe.

The 18th day was a landmark for me because my previous 100% raw food mark had been 17 days (I’m not obsessed with being 100% raw, but I prefer to be because it keeps me from binging). The 19th day was the day of the trip. Before I left the house I drank loads of green juice. The two airports I went through in Brazil were fine because there was a lot of fresh orange juice. The complicated part was when I went into the boarding area in Sao Paulo, to get the plane to Toronto. There is a rule where no more than 100 ml of liquids can be taken through security per jar, so there was no possibility of taking fresh juice into the plane. Inside the boarding area there was a place that sold fresh orange juice, so I drank some more of that before embarking. Then my husband found a place that sold one of the best (or least bad!) boxed coconut water – the kind that still resembles the real thing, though to me they all taste awful! He bought me a half-dozen small cartons to take on the plane and to this day I feel nauseous when I remember them!

I had pre-ordered a special fruitarian meal from the airline just I really had to eat something. When they brought it, I saved it and stuck to the coconut water. Then I got tired of that and started my “personal juicer” (LOL!) method: chewing on the fruit and spitting out the pulp (the family across the aisle certainly stared a lot at me!!). But the fruit tasted weird too and also made me feel nauseous – they must have been treated with something (or irradiated or whatever) to last longer on the plane – they just didn’t feel right. The pasteurized orange/apple juices that were served didn’t help either.

When we arrived at the Toronto airport the next day I could find no fresh juice whatsoever. I bought some (yuck!) pasteurized juice and even tried V8, which to me tasted like bad pizza sauce – I could only take a sip. And that was the 20th (and last) day of my first JF, which was actually a pretend day as I was taking all of these fake juices…

Overall, I think I wasn’t clear about my goals on this first juice feast and did not have enough time to elaborate on them and know how to act when it stopped. I also did not have enough time to work out certain emotional issues that lead me to binging neither to learn more about other issues I feel need to surface. Hopefully the second feast will help be work out the issues I need to.

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