Juice Feasting – Day 31

I’m feeling pretty lousy this morning. Last night I began feeling nauseous around 8pm, and I went to bed at 9:30. I woke up this morning feeling like I was getting a cold. I had a runny nose, a mild headache, some fatigue, and I was sneezing a bit. I slept about 9 hours last night and still feel tired and drained.

Breaking the Juice Feast Today

I haven’t broken my juice feast yet, but I plan to do so later today. It will take a few days to transition back to solid foods. I’ll still drink all my juices today — I have about 4.5 quarts in the fridge that I made this morning — but I’ll be adding a green smoothie as well. I’ll probably keep it simple and just make a smoothie from bananas, spinach, and water.

The thought of going back to solid foods isn’t particularly appealing right now, mainly because I still feel mildly nauseous this morning. I don’t even find fresh juice appealing, but my stomach is growling right now, so I suppose I should give it something.

I’m glad to be transitioning off the juice feast. This was a rough 30 days, and the results were different than I expected. If things had gone differently, I might have continued juice feasting another 2 months, but at this point I’m feeling ready to go back to solid foods. I don’t think it would be a wise idea to keep going beyond this point.

It’s hard for me to assess the effects of the juice feast because I haven’t transitioned out of it yet. I need to return to solid foods and regain some perspective before I can assess the value of this experiment.

Weight Loss

After being stuck at roughly the same weight (171 pounds) for 14 days straight, I finally dropped below that. This morning I weighed 169.8, so I lost a total of 9.2 pounds on this 30-day juice feast. My body fat also dropped about 3 percentage points during this time.

This is the lowest I’ve weighed since 1999, when I was doing lots of distance running and training for a marathon.

Dry Skin

I’ve been having problems with dry skin for most of the juice feast. Yesterday while I was working out at the gym, one of my knuckles started bleeding because the skin had cracked. I have bloody cracks on several fingers. This is similar to what I experienced during my 30-day trial of the 80-10-10 raw food diet.

I tried rubbing lots of coconut oil on my skin, and that seemed to slow the degradation, but it certainly didn’t stop the problem from getting worse.

It seems that my skin doesn’t do well on such a low-fat diet. I suspect the dry skin problem will be gone within a week or two once I start incorporating more fat into my diet again (mainly avocados, nuts, seeds, and coconut).

Intuitive Boost

I’ve really noticed a boost in my intuitive abilities this past week.

I decided to take advantage of this improvement while it lasts, so last week I spent about 5 hours journaling through some problems I wanted to solve. The solutions I came up with weren’t dramatically new or unusual. The main difference is the degree of clarity I felt about each solution. Previously I had to do a lot of reasoning to find a solution I felt good about, such that I could be confident that it was the correct path for me. But this time my intuition helped me bypass much of the analysis. I could more clearly see the correct solutions, and I understood why they were correct. It’s like I had a more holistic field of view and could grasp the big picture more quickly. I was able to intuitively sense my way to the solution faster than I could analytically think my way there.

I hope some of this intuitive boost remains after I transition back to solid foods. It would be a nice gain to lock in permanently.

30 Days Without Eating

This was a tough challenge to be sure, but not in the way I expected. I thought the hard part would be the daily grind of making each day’s juices and feeling like I was missing out on solid foods. I also thought it might be rough dealing with the physical detox symptoms too. Those parts were challenging to be sure, but the hardest part was dealing with the emotional detox. On many days I had to deal with seemingly random emotional shifts, including feelings of major stress, depression, and anger. It was difficult to prevent myself from acting on those feelings, and I didn’t always succeed. Much of the time I felt grumpy and hostile.

My productivity in terms of creative output plummeted during this juice feast. I thought I’d get a creative boost and would be writing a lot more articles, but it was hard to get anything done. Aside from posting the juice feast updates, I had little motivation for creative writing. I was getting plenty of ideas, but I didn’t feel drawn to express them. Writing was actually harder, not easier.

My focus was drawn inward, and I didn’t enjoy socializing with people as much as I used to. I began spending more time alone. I did a lot of reading and reflecting during this time. Even now I feel I’d much rather be alone than spend time with other people. I was still able to socially interact with people during the juice feast, but those interactions were often draining for me.

Erin commented that my personality was very different during the juice feast. She said I seemed like a different person.

Will I ever do another long-term juice feast? That’s hard to say. At this point I would have to say probably not. I’m glad I did it — this has undoubtedly been a major growth experience — but I’m not sure if it was worth all the effort. Aside from the weight loss, I think the #1 benefit I gained was to give my self-discipline a major workout.

I was tempted to cheat many times during this juice feast, and it was NOT easy to hold myself back. I’m happy to say that I never cheated though. Knowing that I’ve been able to go 30 days without solid food will serve as a powerful reference experience for the rest of my life. To me this is probably the most significant gain.

My juice feasting results seem fairly weak compared to some of the amazing experiences others have experienced. I’m glad I gained this first-hand experience, since now my curiosity is satisfied, and I can turn my attention to other growth pursuits. I can still continue to detoxify my body on a raw food diet, albeit more slowly.

This was probably the hardest 30-day trial I’ve ever done. Of course I originally set out to do 92 days, not 30, but I’m content with my decision to stop at this point. I don’t see any indication that the problems I’ve encountered are going to improve, and I wouldn’t want to go through another 62 days if they’re going to be much like the previous 30. I don’t feel that continuing the juice feast would be a good use of my time and energy right now.

Someone asked me if I would look back with regret if I didn’t go the full 92 days. Honestly I have to say no. Given what I experienced thus far, I can’t imagine looking back years from now, regretting that I didn’t continue beyond this point. I think I’d be amazed that I continued as long as I did. This is how I feel about my 80-10-10 raw diet trial. When I look back, I’m somewhat surprised I kept going the full 30 days, despite having major issues with dry skin. I don’t think I needed to complete the full 30 days to realize it wasn’t right for me.

If I made an error here, it was probably on the side of pushing myself too hard. My body was giving me indications that it didn’t like the juice feast, and I relied heavily on self-discipline to push through that resistance.

Many people who talk about listening to their bodies use such words to justify slacking off, but they do make a valid point. “My body said I needed a hot fudge sundae” is undisciplined self-delusion. That’s an addictive craving, not a genuine need. But cracked, bleeding skin is a pretty clear signal that some need isn’t being met. When I do future health experiments, I’ll endeavor to give more attention to those signals and change directions if things aren’t working.

Years ago I needed to err on the side of rigidity in order to build my self-discipline. Now I need to work on developing more flexibility.

I hope you learned something from my juice feasting experiment. Hopefully I’ll feel better soon and can return to writing new articles once I return to solid foods.