For the last 4 years I’ve participated in my church’s corporate fast. It lasts for 6 days where the congregation only consumes unlimited amounts of water and 2 cups of juice daily. The first time, I didn’t feel prepared to go cold turkey, so I opted for eating foods similar to the Daniel fast (vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, etc.). The following year and each thereafter, I adhered to an absolute fast drinking only water (no juice).
I’ve learned a lot from fasting, and it has become less difficult to do. One of the things I’m trying to give up in observance of Lent is swearing/cursing. It’s actually much harder for me to remove all profanity from my vocabulary than it is for me to turn down my plate. During this year’s fast, I watched a lot of documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. Two of these changed my outlook on food in general: “Super Size Me” and “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead“. The first follows a man’s health drastic decline after eating nothing but McDonald’s for only 30 days. The second follows a man who went on a juicing “reboot” for 60 days. A change to a plant based diet aided him in regaining his health, losing weight, and discontinuing all previous medications. My favorite takeaway from those who have switched to juicing or a plant based diet is their testimony of no longer needing medication.
I’ve always considered myself to be healthy. I ran track from the 7th grade through the 12th. As a college freshman, I started lifting weights for the first time and have been a gym rat ever since. I’ve never had high cholesterol or problems with my blood pressure. I’ve never been prescribed medications for health related issues. My concerns were more vain: my weight and appearance. While I lead a very active lifestyle and would not be considered “fat” by those who know me, I didn’t feel that my body truly reflected my strength and physical abilities. That has bothered me for years. To add insult to injury, I thought I was eating well. Most of my meals were prepared at home, and I tried to limit eating out to the weekends. The aforementioned documentaries and others I watched during my week of fasting prompted me to try something different: juicing. The first week was challenging. I had a hard time mixing ingredients that yielded a juice that actually tasted good. It wasn’t until somewhere around day 5 that I made something that was more than bearable. I lost 6 pounds after juicing for one week. What makes that number so meaningful for me is that that weight loss occurred after I had been on an absolute fast the week prior. The body has an amazing ability to adapt to change. Usually, at least for me, the first week is always the best and most dramatic but changes slow down and eventually plateau. I wasn’t expecting to lose so much weight after already dropping pounds from the fast.
I’m excited to gain the body I’ve always wanted, but more so, I’m interested in seeing what other changes occur in my health. While I may be “healthy”, there are some improvements I’d like to see in my body like less colds, better skin, less headaches, and less joint pain (especially in my knees and back). I used to have night sweats seemingly for no reason at all and those have stopped since I started juicing. My cravings for sweets have also diminished.
We’re often bombarded with conflicting messages about food. The benefits, effects, and need of milk, carbs, protein, fats, and more are debated with no general consensus. Even fruits and vegetables are questioned because of GMOs. I’m still unsure as to whether organic options are truly better. One study says yay while the next says nay. It can get confusing to know what you should eat, but (for now) juicing is working well for me, and I look forward to seeing the long-term results.