Contributing Monkie Rory Freedman
Published on October 23, 2011
Day 1: I always say that the secret of success to healthy eating is being prepared. So I’m kicking myself right now. For months, I’ve known that this would be the week I did a juice fast. Clearly, I had ample time to prepare. And I did, to some degree. I spent the week prior eating exceptionally well. I drank a ton of water. I carefully plotted what I would eat so that my house would be nearly barren when day one arrived. What I neglected to do: get a juicer. And buy fruits and vegetables to juice. Duh. I had arranged with my neighbor to borrow his juicer.
But when I called to get it today, he was busy, so he said he’d drop it off later while I was at the gym. (We have keys to each other’s apartment.) So I went to the gym, had a great workout. Started talking to this cute guy. And before I knew it, it was like three o’clock, and I’d yet to have anything but water. The cute guy offered to buy me a juice (and to take me out to dinner). They had fresh squeezed orange and carrot juices on the menu. But they were out of oranges and carrots! Now, I was in trouble. I knew that by the time I walked home, got my car and went to Whole Foods, and got back with all my fruits and veggies, it would be at least an hour. Fuck! So not prepared. After grilling the poor juice girl, I settled on a smoothie. It was made with frozen mango and pineapple and water. It tasted good, but frozen fruit smoothies weren’t exactly what I was after when I decided to do my fast. I was a little disappointed in myself, but remembered this juice fast wasn’t about being perfect. But I vowed that from that point on, I’d be prepared.
Went to Whole Foods. Told every single person there that I was starting a weeklong juice fast. I was so excited and proud. Spent about fifty bucks on oranges, apples, celery, carrots, parsley, beets, kale, cucumbers, and spinachâ€”all organic, of course. Got halfway home and realized I forgot to buy garlic. Shit. Only had one clove at home. And garlic is supposed to be excellent for detoxing. Oh well. Got home and as I was putting away my last bag of carrots, my neighbor came over with the juicer. (It was just an average, run of the mill juicer. Probably an eighty-dollar job. An Oster. Just like the Juiceman I used to have. Perfect for my fast.)
I made orange juice. And I nearly wept; it was so satisfying and lovely. My juice fast had begun. Later that night, when I was hungry, I made an apple/pear juice. It was exquisite. And a while after that, I made a veggie blend with carrots, spinach, kale, cucumber, beet, celery, parsley, and my one clove of garlic. Sheer ecstasy. I thought about how much I loved fresh juices, and that this fast would be pretty easy.
Realized I agreed to dinner plans on Thursday with cute gym guy but that I wasn’t eating. Whoops. E-mailed him to reschedule.
Day 2: Woke up and felt physically fine, but was really tired, having gotten only four or five hours of sleep. Had a hard time falling asleep the night before. I definitely felt the effects of having an entire clove of garlic in my stomach. Couldn’t decide if it was because I was detoxing, or because it might not be a good idea to ingest a whole, raw clove of garlic. Felt a teeny bit cranky as a result of being tired and decided not to go to the gym. Also decided not to buy garlic on my next trip at Whole Foods. My day was pretty unremarkable. Had my orange juice. Managed to avoid getting work done on my two books that I have deadlines for. Drank an apple/pear blend. Felt the mental desire to eat food. And wound up having conversations with ten friends about a cooking club, potluck dinners, and every dish I ever liked. I started to feel a little panicked, like, What the hell was I thinking? I don’t want give up food for seven days! It’s my greatest joy. I don’t need this fast. I’m healthy. To make matters worse, weeks prior, I committed to volunteering at Landmark. So I left my house at 4:30pm, knowing I wouldn’t get home until at least 11:30pm. Was totally nervous about being away from my juicer that long. So even though I wasn’t hungry for it yet, I drank a veggie blend before I left my house. (I brought an additional veggie blend with me.)
So driving to Landmark in rush hour traffic, this was my mindset: I want to eat, but I can’t. Fasting sucks. I didn’t get any work done today on my two books. Writing sucks. I didn’t go to the gym today. That totally sucks. And now I’m going to be out all fucking night. Landmark sucks. Needless to say, when I got to Landmark, I was a maniac. I was hateful, anxious, and weepy.
When I got home, I e-mailed my friends to cancel our plans for the next day. I knew if I didn’t stay home and get work done, I would be overwrought with anxiety. And that I might even be bitchy and hateful again.
Later that night, I realized that it wasn’t just work stuff stressing me out. I realized that I was detoxing negative emotional junk. Good riddance.
Day 3: Had trouble falling asleep again. (Couldn’t stop thinking about all the food I was going to eat when my fast was over. Literally. These thoughts kept me up all night. Pig.) But was determined to go to the gym and have a productive day working. And I did both. Everything went great until about 5pm. I was going to visit a friend. And she asked me to stop at this fast-food place on the way to pick up food for her: a veggie burger, a veggie chicken sandwich, and onion rings. It was hell. I was trapped in my car with all this fucking food!!! I tried to tell myself how fried and unhealthy it was. And for a second, I actually had a moment of clarity where I thought, When my fast is over, I don’t want to eat this shit. It’s just not good for you. But the thought was fleeting. And it was replaced by a new thought of, When my fast is over, I’m coming back here. I then proceeded to make a mental list of all the places I would eat at when my fast ended.
After enduring the hell of watching her eat the onion rings and veggie burger, I left. (She assured me the food wasn’t that good, but it didn’t help. I wanted to taste and chew food.) I was meeting another friend out, but needed to stop and grab a juice first. So I went to M CafÃ©. Big mistake. As I waited for my juice to be made, I stared longingly at all the vegan pastries and baked goods they sell. And I wanted to break a glass bottle over my own head. I wasn’t physically hungry at all, but the mental desire to eat was painful. Picked up my friend and enjoyed her company. But when we got where we were going, I just couldn’t get into anyone. I’m normally really social, but I just felt resistant to talk to people and I had no desire to be around them or their food.
Felt good that I had finished day three, and that I was almost halfway home. Was so proud of myself and knew that I would absolutely see this thing through to the end.
Day 4: Had another fucking sleepless night! Just totally wired in bed. Wondering if I’m drinking my juice too close to bedtime. Goddamn it. I had carefully mapped out how I wanted my day to go, but felt too tired to go to the gym first thing. Went to the chiro first. Went well. But I wound up staying there until 3pm. (Had only had an orange juice before I left my house.) But surprisingly enough, I didn’t feel hungry at all. On my way to Whole Foods, I started thinking about how my friend’s sister, and how she did the Master Cleanse for forty-five days! When I first heard that, I couldn’t wrap my mind around that and how it was possible. But I started to feel this connection to my body, like, I don’t need all that food I usually eat. I could really subsist and thrive on a juice diet. Now, I have no idea if that’s a healthy possibility or not, but I did have that thought.
Got to Whole Foods and stocked up on more produce. (Another fifty bucks, if you’re keeping track.) I also got a wheatgrass shot, which I struggled through. (Wheatgrass is supposed to be excellent for a million different body functions. But it’s so potent, you can sometimes feel sick when you drink it because it detoxes your system so rapidly.) It took me the entire ten-minute car ride home to finish the one-ounce shot. When I got home, I still wasn’t hungry. But in order to get rid of that wheatgrassy taste, I made an apple/pear juice. About fifteen minutes later, I was on the phone with a friend, and I had this heady sensation. I can’t really describe it, but it kinda felt like when you eat pot browniesâ€”the very beginning part. Like a slight head and body high. I wondered if it was a combination of the chiropractic adjustments and the wheatgrass. But in hindsight, I’m thinking it was the wheatgrass.
I’m nothing short of euphoric that I’ve finished day four.
Day 5: I’m on top of the world. I went to a Vegan Toastmaster’s meeting and felt so happy to be a part of such a great community. One guy’s speech inspired me to consider getting rid of my cable and just keeping my TV for movies. (Understand: This thought would never have occurred to me had I not been fasting. I don’t watch it every day, but I Tivo a ton of shows and I love getting on my couch at night and unwinding in front of the TV.) I started thinking about how much I avoid working on my books and my company, and how getting rid of my TV would kick my ass into being more productive.
Went to the gym and felt happy to be alive and fit and able-bodied. Saw cute gym guy and we firmed up our dinner date for next week.
Baked a loaf of homemade bread in my bread machine. Not for me! For a vegan dinner party I was going to that night. The smell tortured me for sure. And all the beautiful food at the party was agonizing. But I made it through the night and was exhilarated that I was getting so close to being done with my fast.
Day 6: Fell asleep pretty well last night and woke up at noon. Felt a little anxiety, laying thereso much work to do on my books. Decided to get out of bed and start my day, instead of freaking myself out. Thought of an observation I had about myself and about other people throughout the week. So much of what we say to one another is steeped in the need to be right. Whether it’s something trivial or something meaningful, it’s a real challenge to allow others to have their own viewpoints. The desire to impose our own opinions on others is so powerful and almost irresistible. Last night, on the way to the dinner party, I had this conversation with my friend. And the conversation was in the spirit of, I’m going to try and let others feel and think whatever they want without needing to impose my thoughts and beliefs on them. Literally minutes later, I was having a heated debate with a guy about scientific evidence, being the exact opposite of who I wanted to be. It was like a scene from a movie. I couldn’t last ten minutes being accepting. Soon after, I apologized to the guy and told him about my phone conversation. He apologized too, blamed himself for being so bullheaded and said that I had actually been right. We had a good laugh about our personalities. Maybe thirty minutes later: new topic, same outcome. Heated debate. Wanting to be right. I laughingly apologized minutes later that I did it again. He apologized, blamed himself, and again said I had been right. Not sure why being right feels so important in those moments, but I am resolved to work on it and allow people to be themselves without bearing my judgment.
I’m really grateful to have that huge insight, but I’m disappointed to not feel any big physical changes at this point. Although, I should probably be happy, because more than likely, the better you feel during a fast, the cleaner your body was to begin with. And surely all the anxiety and crankiness that have been coming up are emotional detoxes. Just as important as the physical.
I have yet to get rid of my addiction to food, since all I can think about is what I’m going to eat when I’m done. I’m sure if I was on a deserted island for a few months, and I had no access to anything but juice, I’d develop a new relationship to food. But I live in L.A., a mecca for beautiful, vegan food. So unless I go on Survivor, I’m happily doomed to be a pig forever.
Day 7: Woke up ecstatic: Tomorrow, I can eat! Unfortunately, that’s not the best mindset to have during a fast. I’ve been a little disappointed in myself that I’ve approached this fast with the attitude of, How many days until I can eat? I don’t intend to beat myself up over it, though, because I did the best I could and I did get a lot out of it.
For starters, the men seem to be coming out of the woodwork. Got asked out by another guy at the gym (I said no), accepted a lunch date with another guy who, last week, I was sure just wasn’t that into me, and got a message from a cute vegan from the dinner party on Day 5. This juice fast has been fantastic for my love life!
Physically, today, I felt the biggest difference. My insides feel emptier and lighter, even though I’ve barely pooped all this time. (I only lost about three pounds, which I’m relieved about. I didn’t want to get emaciated.) I felt a little, teeny-tiny light-headed at times throughout the day. But I also felt happy and energized and had a great gym workout.
I actually had a vision last night of getting rid of all my possessions and finding a green community house to live in. And that’s so not like me! I’m so possessive of my peace, privacy, and alone time. I should probably give all my shit away tonight and give my landlord notice, because that feeling will probably disappear as soon as I take my first bite.
I could summarize this whole experience with some really philosophical observations about myself and life and our culture. And I really did learn a ton about all those things. But I’d rather just talk about food. (I’ll follow up on the life-changing stuff in my next post.)
Tomorrow, to break the fast (and probably the next day, also, to go easy on my body), I’m gonna have some fresh fruit for breakfasprobably an orange, a pear, and a banana. (Not all in one sitting, obv.) For lunch, a beautiful green salad with tons of stunning veggies. (I’ll be eating slowly, and not overeating, thank you very much.) Maybe a miso soup later to tide me over until dinner. For dinner (oh my God), a small serving of steamed broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, kale, and cauliflower.
What Rory on The Real G! (View Show)
To learn more about fasting, read “Fasting and Eating for Health” by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Don’t be e-mailing me asking all sorts of questions. I’ll be too busy eating to respond.