What It’s Like to Do Your First Juice Fast

When I met my boyfriend, I explicitly told him I would never do a juice fast with him. And I meant never in a million years. I’m not generally the type to drink the fad diet kool-aid. I believe in diets that utilize wholesome, traditional, nourishing foods, not starving myself. Yet, here I am, fresh off a 7 day juice fast and the first question I have to ask myself is how have I not done this sooner?

The entire concept behind a juice fast is simple. Digestion requires an incredible amount of energy. By allowing the body to turn its attention away from near-constant digestion, it can turn its attention to other areas. If you experience headaches occasionally, you may experience more of them as the issue is addressed. If you have a broken bone that didn’t heal properly, it may begin to ache as the body increases blood flow to the area. If you have clogged skin, you may break out in an effort to purge bacteria, pollutants and other toxins. The whole point is that the fasting period has tremendous healing potential, especially for parts of your body that you didn’t know needed healing.

My boyfriend was leading a free online juice cleanse program based on a wonderful book his father, the Sproutman Steve Meyerowitz, wrote: The 7 Day Just Juice Diet. Don’t be turned off by the outdated cover design like I was. This book is a gold mine of wellness information.

After reading through it with a critical eye, I decided the program was well-researched and seemed balanced, nourishing and healthy, unlike most liquid fasting programs. There is a liver cleansing drink that contains a splash of olive oil to stimulate the gall bladder and improve fat-soluble nutrient absorption. There is a colon cleansing drink that utilizes psyllium, chia or flax to act as an intestinal chimney sweep. And the tasty juices were chock full of veggies with just a hint of fruit sweetness. If there was ever a time to try a juice fast (and be an awesome, supportive girlfriend), this was it.

Natural detox green smoothie ingredients isolated on white background

Well, I got through the 7 days. Here’s what I found out:

You won’t be that hungry.

If you do a juice fast properly, you won’t be that hungry. The body actually stops producing your hunger hormones after the first day or so. In contrast, you’ll have plenty of energy. And if you are feeling fatigued, some water with lemon or, in dire circumstances, a fresh green juice perks you right up.

It’s normal to feel a little under the weather.

Many people experience detoxification symptoms. If this is your first fast, it is the first time your body has been able to get out the Shop-Vac and do some really deep cleaning. Also, a sudden loss of fat can unleash fat-locked toxins, like xenoestrogens, into your system. As they go into circulation and the body goes into offensive mode, feeling a little sick is natural.

I personally experienced a very slight, oscillating fever over the course of 2 days. Nothing serious. I would just feel feverish for an hour, it would go away, a few hours later it would sneak back, and so on. I also had some headaches, lightheadedness, a drippy nose and fatigue on occasion. It was like having the flu, but then turning the dial down to 10 percent. Not too bad for all of the healing gains.

Exercise is super important.

Just because you are only drinking juice doesn’t mean that gives you an excuse to not workout. In fact, sweating is good and helps the cleansing process. Now, a word of warning: don’t be like me and go so hard into a bout of boxing that you exhaust yourself. This is a week to take it easy. Think yoga, pilates, hikes, moderate cycling, Zumba. Sweating is important, so do push yourself a little. Just don’t go into all-out training mode. Save that for the other 51 weeks of the year.

You will miss chewing. Get over it.

Eating is one of the most natural things we do. Not doing it for a length of time will feel weird. But, once you stop fighting it and resolve yourself to a liquid diet, it’s not the worst thing. It’s mostly a psychological battle. You will chew again! Don’t worry.

Ladies, try to avoid starting on your period.

Lucky me, the first day of my fast was the first day of my period! Wonderful. Speaking firsthand, I do not recommend doing this. Postpone your fast instead. The heaviest days of my period left me feeling utterly exhausted and depleted. I actually had to double the recommended juice consumption and sip some homemade bone broth in order to rev myself up again. I don’t think fasting during your period is an issue, especially if you are doing a longer fast, but experiencing the initial detox symptoms at the start of the fast along with menstruation at the same time is exhausting. Menstruation is a form of internal cleansing already. Nourish your body during menstruation with whatever it craves, then start a fast. Not both.

Natural detox beetroot smoothie ingredients isolated on white background

You will lose weight.

When you are flushing out all of the junk your body has been clinging on to, it’s normal to lose a significant amount of weight. Unfortunately, it is likely that a lot of that weight will probably come right back within weeks of your fast. But since many toxins are stored in fat cells, it is actually beneficial to burn old fat off, even if you end up putting the weight right back on. If you’ve cleaned up your lifestyle post-fast (it’s hard not to) with plenty of veggies, you’ll be a lot healthier no matter what you weigh.

Your cravings will shift.

I experienced no cravings for sweets or carbs on my fast. In fact, that may be because most of my juices were vegetable-dense. Having PCOS, I try to be very careful about not spiking my blood sugar. Utilizing flavors like lemon, ginger, cucumbers and garlic, my juices were flavorful and balanced without tasting too green. That may explain why the food I have been craving the most is this steamed broccoli with thai tahini sauce. If nothing else, this fast has been a great reset to help me green up my diet again post-holidays.

The benefits outweigh the discomfort.

As a juicing skeptic, I am shocked by all the ways my body began to heal itself over the course of a week, not just physically but emotionally as well. I had a massage-turned-energy work during the fast that really unloaded a lot of emotional stress and imbalance I’ve been battling for years. I was blown away. And physically, after the headaches, fever and digestive distress ended, I started to look healthier. The pores in my face purged and cleared themselves. My eyes were clearer. I found it easier to focus on my work. I was sleeping more regularly and more deeply than I had in years. I didn’t realize that I had been feeling mildly icky every day for months. During and post-fast, I have felt revitalized again!

The toughest part is the transition back to food.

Once the fast ended, there is a 3-4 day transition back to food. Since the stomach has effectively been asleep, it is important not to overwhelm it with too many complex foods too quickly. This was the hardest part of the fast by far! Not eating is easy when you aren’t allowed to. But once those taste buds wake up, they ROAR! But you will get at the very least a nasty stomachache (or worse, a trip to the hospital) if you go too big too fast. So, ironically, the end of the fast actually requires way more willpower than the fast itself. Remember, just because the fast is over doesn’t mean your work is. If your juice fasting program doesn’t have detailed instructions on how to end the fast, find another program.

Did I love doing the fast? Not most of it. I struggled with detox symtpoms and a poorly timed period for 4 of the 7 days. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Now that I am on the other side of the cleanse, I can really feel the difference in how efficiently my body is functioning. In the meantime, I’ll be nourishing myself with avocados and steamed broccoli and tahini and -gasp- dark chocolate.

Have you ever done a juice fast? What were your experiences? Share with the community below!

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87 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y27 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y27 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J27 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J27 days ago

thanks for sharing

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William C
William C3 months ago

Thanks.

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W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thank you.

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Karen P
Karen P3 months ago

Love my juices. It's worth all the parts cleaning to get that incredible rush and surge of energy.

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John B
John B3 months ago

Thanks Jordyn for sharing the info and your perspective.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thank you

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 months ago

thank you

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