So, this was a pretty intense experience, but I wanted to make a major change and felt like going all-in on breaking some old habits was the way to do it.
Some of you know that my year started about pretty rough, with my dad passing away unexpectedly, and in the same two weeks having to shut down our first and only juice bar, which we’d just spent five years searching for and 6 months building out with our own hands. Details on that, here: https://www.goodnature.com/blog/the-war-on-raw-juice/
I managed my stress and grief by diving head-first into challenging new projects, soaking in time with my family, and giving myself free reign to be comfortable, with whatever food I happened to be craving, and wine in the evening whenever I felt like it. Personally, I feel totally okay with ALL of that. My food/wine habits may not have been sustainable, but I’m not beating myself up over it.
Regardless, I felt ready to move away from “comfort” and into a lifestyle that would truly support my work and family. Here’s how each day went down:
One of my best friends (and bookkeeper) Monica joined me on this, and I am so grateful she did, because having accountability was key, especially at the beginning. I was immediately tired on day one after skipping my coffee, though it may have been mostly psychological at that point.
I hadn’t realized how irregularly I was eating healthy meals, and also how often I was grazing on what just happened to be around me. I also noticed that it took a little bit of planning to take cold food on the go, but was totally manageable with a nice-sized cooler bag and cold-packs.
By the end of day one, I was tired, cranky, had a headache and couldn’t imagine it would get easier, even though I knew from experience that it would. Day two was more of the same, though my headache went away by the end of the day. I went to sleep earlier than usual every night, because most of my unhealthy habits happened after-hours, and it was easier to just go to bed than to change my evening routine.
I woke up feeling a lot better, and found myself craving veggies and looking forward to my juice. I also started to appreciate saving time by not having to make food or even drive through Starbucks this week. Documenting the process through the business Instagram stories gave me a nice incentive to stay on track.
I had a coffee date at a favorite local cafe (Alta Bakery!), and it was so weird not getting anything to eat. But after the first few minutes, the visit was all about conversation and connection. I'll be back, Alta!
My twin sons’ birthday was this day and not eating cake with them was such a bummer! Though, when I tasted it this morning, it was really unpleasant -- overly sweet and chemically. My crankiness was completely based in lingering sugar withdrawal. Without those cravings, skipping cake wouldn’t have been a big deal at all.
This is when I started to feel really good! All of my bloat and inflammation had gone down — probably about 10 pounds of it, though I skipped weighing myself so I could focus more on how I feel, rather than getting hung up on numbers. By day four, I was getting really excited about meal planning, and also wondered if it might help to do a few days of juicing each week to keep that healthy structure in my life and keep the nutrients flowing in.
By day five, I was prepping my whole-food plant-based weekend meals, easily doing my usual work, and feeling way more energetic. By day five, I was going to bed closer to my usual time, and comfortably hanging out with people who were eating and drinking things I'm not.
I actually preferred this to the Three Day Juice Feast, because I got more time feeling good at the end, with a longer amount of time to plan and prepare for new habits. I also saw more dramatic results than in past experiences, but that’s partly because I started off less healthy than in the past.
I definitely lost a lot of productivity in days 1-2 and would not recommend going through this if you’re on a major deadline or need to be high-energy on those days.
My biggest take-away, besides the immediate relief of not feeling bloated and mildly unwell, is feeling a sense of structure in my eating, going forward. I loved knowing exactly what would fuel me throughout the day and not having to make decisions about every meal, so I’m going to keep that up with meal planning and batch-cooking over the weekend. It’s also going to be a lot easier to pass up unhealthy treats after going a week without them.
Oh! And it is really, really nice to be craving healthy food. My threshold for sweets just gets higher and higher if I don’t set boundaries, and suddenly any meal that isn’t sweet and carb-y feels like a chore.
Hope that’s helpful, and feel free to share your experiences with me or check in throughout if you have any questions! Hope everyone has a great rest of the weekend.
This week, Aaron volunteered to document his Three Day Juice Feast experience, and his wife Kristen joined him! Here's how it went:
My wife and I began really focusing on health about 5 years ago. We had always worked out and thought we ate reasonably well. However, moving to Spain, we found buying fresh and local was better for our bodies than buying pre-made meals packed with preservatives. We enjoyed the farmer's markets there so much that after a few months we decided to shed some of the foods that had previously been staples in our diet. We removed processed foods, dairy and meat from our diet. We also began working out consistently. Our philosophy was liberal; in our home we would eat a vegan diet, however, when at a restaurant or at someone's home, we would eat whatever was on the menu. This offered us a sense of freedom and if we wanted a pizza, we knew we could have one once in awhile. Even though we thought we were healthy before, after the change our weight dropped and our energy levels soared.
We came back to the States knowing the temptations that were before us and were determined to maintain our lifestyle. While my wife was able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I let the junk creep back in. I discovered that despite mostly eating well my blood pressure was slightly elevated. Once the holidays hit I stopped exercising and starting eating all the things I had given up on a daily basis. I became too tired to get through the day and stated chugging coffee to compensate. This quickly became a bad cycle as my weight shot up and my energy disappeared. I was desperate to get back to a healthy lifestyle but the cravings for junk were too strong and life was moving too fast to do anything about it, or so I thought.
Day 1 of the juice 'feast' was a welcome event. I knew there would be some challenges but welcomed the positive changes that would come about if I could remain faithful to the juices for just three days. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of the juices, I liked them all! I tend to put more fruit than vegetable in my own juices to sweeten them up but these green juices were amazing! The first day was the most challenging for me as a sinus headache had settled in the night before. If I hadn't already received the juices I would have easily used the headache as a reason to postpone. Thankfully I stayed with the plan and while the first day was challenging, I believe it worked out in my favor that I was giving my body nutrient dense juices instead of the nutrient stripping junk I would have likely had otherwise.
Day 2 saw a rebound. I was feeling better than the previous day though I still had a bit of a sinus headache. I was anticipating strong food cravings this day but instead only desired to chew something a couple of times. I just reminded myself why I was doing this and didn't dwell on the thoughts of food and made it through the daily relatively easy.
Day 3 was the day where everything came together! I practically jumped out of bed well before my alarm. I couldn't believe how much energy I had. The energy lasted throughout the day and I had very little hunger pangs. The cravings for salt sugar and fat were gone. Instead, when I thought about food I was thinking of baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli. I found this very amusing as even when I am eating a vegan diet I tend to not eat these two items as much as I should.
Even from someone who has fasted before, I couldn't imagine how much change could come about in just 3 days. I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome. The junk food cravings that were plaguing me are gone and I am actually craving vegetables, not just tolerating but craving. I went from a gallon of coffee a day to zero caffeine overnight and am choosing to stay away from coffee for awhile to ensure I don't fall back into the cycle. I feel as though I am back on track after just three short days. I stayed committed to the plan and didn't deviate. It was great to have my wife fasting along with me as we were able to encourage each other and both benefited. Fortunately Kristen is also an amazing vegan cook so it will be easy for me to carry on this lifestyle now that I am back on track. I am so thankful for this juice 'feast'!
-- You rock, Aaron. Well done and good luck!!
Well, I can't just let you guys have all the fun, can I?
It may be a cliche, but I love tackling new goals on New Year's Day. If you believe we're all connected by a universal energy, there's really no better time to ride those vibes than right now. Also, prime hosting/partying season is over and I need to work on my accounting anyways, so it's the perfect time for a cranky week holed up at home in my pjs.
To start, a confession: I have been pressing and selling 3 Day Juice Feasts for almost four years, and drinking nothing but juice for three days straight is still incredibly hard for me to do. I have given up on doing them "perfectly," and now focus more on the new habits I'm launching into. The photo above is my "before," and I'll share an "after" this time next month, when my new habits have started to make a visible difference.
My Health Journey
To go waaaay back, I was clinically obese as a child. Literally in the 90th percentile. The heaviest child in my class. The only person in my family who chronically struggled with weight. Thank goodness for my parents' good instincts getting me into competitive swimming in elementary school. I still yo-yo'd through my twenties, but swimming helped me develop a confidence and sense of resiliency that I'm not sure I would have found otherwise.
Nearly three decades of struggling to get healthy have taught me a few things:
1. I am a bit of an extremist in my habits. All the running! All the work! All the wine! All the food! Moderation and balance have never come naturally to me, and I love to treat myself for all of my hard work. Reprogramming myself to think of healthy food and activities as "treats" has been a long road.
2. Some foods in particular have an addictive quality for me, even when they make me feel terrible. When I'm not eating a clean, plant-based diet, I am constantly feeling the pull of sugar, dairy and white flour-y foods. Even if I'm at a healthy weight! Every meal is an uncomfortable decision. I am constantly using my willpower to eat only a little of something unhealthy. I know moderation works well for a lot of people (see: everyone else in my family), but for me, it is easier to have clear boundaries for my diet, and not have to make that choice every time I head to the store or sit down for a meal.
3. I am extroverted like nobody's business, and I thrive with accountability. Part of the reason I started my business was to force myself to be accountable for my and my family's health. Starting and operating an organic raw juice business seemed easier than just juicing and staying healthy on my own. Good health can be really hard, guys!!!
So, rather than fight my instincts, I am learning to flow with my natural style of eating and living. For me, Juice Feasts are the perfect transition to a clean, plant-based diet. And sharing progress and connecting with our community is a great way to stay on track. Which doesn't mean it's easy.
Katie's Juice Feast Experience
The first day, I was so exhausted that I took a long afternoon nap for the first time in months. My husband (who got the day off) had my back 100% with this challenge and covered for me with the kids while I curled up into a whiny little ball and chatted on about coffee and popcorn and chocolate all day. Granted, it could have been worse! We'd already given up casual drinking (keeping it to special occasions), and I've been a vegetarian and largely dairy-free for over 4 years, so my body was primarily in withdrawal from caffeine, sugar, salt and fat.
On the second day, I felt kind of awesome! It was farmer's market day, so I was really relieved to have my energy back. I did notice on day 2 how often I eat out of habit, and how often I eat my twin toddlers' leftovers. Like, am I really supposed to throw away their perfectly good half-eaten bananas? No. I also realized that if I pushed it and forgot to drink my juices on schedule, I got crazy hungry and immediately regretted it. Even though the juices are really filling, I definitely needed every bottle to feel satiated throughout the day.
On the third day, we hosted my sister-in-law and her friend, and everyone had wine, so I had a glass of wine. My face turned bright red and I went to bed early, and the world kept spinning. The next morning (today), I decided to add an extra day of juice + raw veggies. The rest of the week will be only raw fruits and veggies, and I may repeat the whole deal next week, because I really do feel flipping fantastic.
My favorite thing about day 4 is that veggies that seemed fairly bland and flavorless to my holiday palate are kind of delightful now! Raw carrots, green beans, oranges, bananas and grapefruit were all on the menu today. And while I can't say I'm completely past craving sugar and salt, it's more of a whisper than the screaming siren song of yester-week. And I realized something else -- I don't have any intention of giving up coffee with non-dairy creamer, so why torture myself? I want all of my habits to be sustainable in the long term, so I'm gonna go ahead and have my juice and my coffee too.
Cheers to everyone who joined me this week, and feel free to write if you'd like to share your experience, ask me any questions, or even just whine to someone about how much you missed popcorn with your movie at 9PM because of your stinking Juice Feast. I feel you -- we've got this.
In solidarity and Happy New Year to you all!
We asked Renata to share a bit about where she is on her health journey, and then document her experience with our Three Day Juice Feast. Some of you may find our Juice Feasts extremely challenging and uncomfortable, and that is totally normal. You're breaking a cycle of unhealthy habits and completely changing your eating routine for a few days -- no small thing! We appreciate Renata's honest account of these challenges and will use her feedback to create resources to add extra support before and after the Juice Feasts to make the transition a little more gentle.
Renata's Health Journey:
As I sit in front of the computer to reflect on my health journey, I am a little puzzled as I realize I eat much healthier items now then I did as a child or as a teenager, but somehow I am overweight now and was always described as a skinny teenager. So the question is: Was I healthier then? Not at all, I was a very picky eater as a child and I have always been a "snacker." Until this day I would much rather snack than actually sit down and eat 3 meals per day.
I believe that my bad eating habits have finally caught on to me. Back when I was a child and a teenager in Brazil, I was always very active. I did all sorts of sports. My mom didn't drive, so we walked everywhere and just the weather alone made you sweat just by walking on the street. When I was younger, every time I wanted a snack in between meals my mom would force me to eat a fruit. Now, I will open a bag of chips or eat a piece of bread.
I don't drink soda, I don't eat fast food or frozen foods. I enjoy a lot more vegetables now than I did growing up, but unless being forced I will not eat a piece of fruit. Not my favorite go to food. :( I usually just have a cup or two of coffee in the morning. Then nothing until lunch. If lunch is not something well planed and brought from home to work, I will buy a sandwich or a burrito. If lunch is not filling I will snack from the time I get off until I get home and prepare dinner. I am also attending night classes after work, so there are days that I will skip dinner and get home from class late at night and eat whatever is in front of me. To top it all off, I went from someone that was always very active and went to the gym 5 to 6 days per week to zero exercise since I had my son in 2008. I have done a class here and a hike there, but nothing permanent.
My biggest worry is that my children will pick up my bad eating habits, so I have created a very healthy lifestyle for them by limiting the amount of sweets they are exposed to. No soda or sugary drinks, no fast food, 3 main meals per day with grains, protein and a vegetable and fruit as their between snacks... but I don't follow that myself. My biggest down fall is sweets and carbs. Planning ahead and packing for work is huge. When I do that my day goes a lot better.
Renata's Juice Feast Experience:
1st day- I had been fighting a cold and on my first day, Monday, I woke up with a huge headache and with a terrible sore throat after coughing all night. I slept in and didn't have my first juice until about 10:30am, which threw off the times I drank the other juices too. I spent all Monday feeling sluggish and still had a headache at night. I went to bed early and did not drink my last green juice.
2nd- I woke up starving and still with a headache. I drank a bottle of the Tropical Greens for breakfast at 6:30am and the Beet Juice for snack around 9am. Then I had the Army Greens for lunch. The headache continued and I still felt sluggish. Total lack of energy. I had Half of the carrot juice on my afternoon break and the other half on my way home. By the time I got home I just wanted to close my eyes and sleep, but I was hungry. I actually boiled two eggs and ate them, because I felt I need it to chew on something as well as some protein. I drank half of my last green bottle, then some tylenol for the headache and a NyQuil. It takes a lot for me to take any medication. Last night I felt like my head was going to explode.
3rd day- Today I woke up without a headache and feeling much better. I drank all juices in order and besides the juices I only ate a hand full of nuts around snack time. At lunch time I felt I needed to chew on something so I ate about 3 leaves of plain romaine lettuce.
The juice feast was and is extremely hard for me. I felt like giving up so many times. I think if it wasn't for you, I would have given up. The headaches on the first couple of days were crazy strong. Yesterday I felt I almost did not have enough energy to talk. I am not sure if it was just the detox or the fact that I was still sick... or a combination of both. It was somewhat easy to fit into my schedule, except the snack ones...since I would do them on my 15min break so it felt like it wasn't enough time to drink a whole bottle. But it was manageable. Most people that I told about it were very supportive and curious on how it works. Very few said things like: "that's crazy, no food for 3 days?" or "that's not going to work." Some bottles were easier to finish then others. The Breezy Greens and Gold Rush were the toughest for me. I didn't recall Gold Rush being so "gingery" but the ginger in it got me this time. I am not a big ginger fan...so the ginger bomb was also tough for me. I've only used 2 ice cubes of it so far.
We asked -- What's missing? Do you wish it included more supplements or protein (like, chia seeds or almond milk?) Do you wish it had more structure or more guidance? Would it help to have supplemental materials to help you find healthy food out in the community or recipes for homemade juice and smoothies? Is there anything else we could do to improve the experience?
For me the lack of protein was huge! I also missed chewing on something. Also, as I think about it more and more now... I think the headaches could also have been due to the fact that I jumped into this detox/cleansing process after have been eating tons of junk. I had not been eating very healthy plus being sick didn't help neither. In the future, I don't think I would use the package for an entire day. I would use them to substitute a meal along with other healthy meals throughout the day. I really missed real food.
I am really glad I did it and I am happy that it kind of gives the opportunity to stop the bad diet I was on, it has cleared a lot of the toxins in my body... and it gives me a head start on a healthy path again. But truly, I was miserable the first two days! :( Super tired and grumpy. I don't remember feeling this way the first time I did your package. But perhaps that was because I was eating healthier then and exercising more.
I guess it would be helpful to know what type of foods wouldn't interfere with the cleanse so much if we did feel like eating something. Because I was doing this as a case study for you I wanted to stay true to the cleanse as possible for best results, but It was very hard not to eat anything at all.
Overall, I feel good today. I don't feel bloated at all and according to the scale I am 4-5 pounds lighter. I know this will change once I eat solid foods tomorrow, but after having gone through this process it makes me want to watch what I eat more.
Thank you so much for this opportunity! You rock! I am one of your biggest fans!
Thank you, Renata!
Ever since life after college, I have experienced many digestive issues. After my second year of teaching and struggling with vertigo in the classroom on a daily basis, I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. Although vertigo was the most inconvenient symptom, I was also dealing with eczema, upset stomach, and fatigue. After going gluten free I immediately felt much better and have been very strict about it now for 4 years.
Since then, I have improved my eating habits by cooking almost all of my meals, reading labels, and eating more fresh produce. However, there are still times when I feel the symptoms of inflammation and have tried to eat less processed foods. I do have a sweet tooth though which has made it difficult for me to experiment with eliminating refined sugars and dairy. Through this juice feast, I hope to feel more energetic and be motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. I am thankful to be a part of this case study!
Juice Feast Daily Recap
Everyday I went in the same order of which juices I would drink when. The order was: Tropical Greens (breakfast), Gold Rush, Army Greens (lunch), Evergreen (dinner), and Heart Beet.
Tropical greens was already one of my favorites, so it was a good way to start off the morning. That morning before drinking the juice I went for a swim and afterwards felt great. I went to work from 12pm-6pm and during that time (around 3pm) I had a headache.
During my time at work (I work at the Carmel Youth Center supervising children, so snacking and drinking juice is acceptable), I felt the need to chew so I had some raw pumpkin seeds, pecans, and almonds. I do usually drink a cup of green tea in the morning so it may have been the lack of caffeine, or more likely a sugar withdrawal. The headache lasted until I had dinner around 7. It was then that I decided to eat a bowl of brown rice and organic black beans with the Evergreen juice. One of the reasons why I ate rice and beans was to make it easier to drink the Evergreen juice. I learned quickly that I am not a fan of cilantro, so the juice was bit challenging to drink. I added the ginger bomb water to it (made a pitcher of water with it and drank it throughout the 3 days) and it was better for me, but I was only able to drink 8 oz of the Evergreen with dinner. I ended the day with Heart Beet, but only felt hungry for about 1/2 of it.
I realized that my stomach was feeling great and I had a lot of energy today! I resumed my routine of the juice drinking with also drinking the ginger bomb water in between. I found it a little difficult to drink as much water as I usually do (which is a lot) because I felt like I was always drinking. However, I never felt dehydrated and only got a slight headache in the afternoon. After work I went to my routine yoga class and felt stronger than ever! I ate dinner after yoga (brown rice and black beans) and drank 1/2 of the Evergreen juice. I ended the night with a little bit of the Summer Cider (which is my favorite!).
I felt really hungry when I woke up today, but the Tropical Green juice and a large cup of the ginger bomb water helped significantly! On this day I didn't work until 2pm, so I had a snack (pumpkin seeds) and 1/2 of the Heart Beet before work. During work I drank Army Greens and Gold Rush. I had no headache today and had lots of energy. My stomach felt great and I could feel the sugar cravings subsiding. For dinner I had my brown rice and beans with 1/2 of the Evergreen juice. I ended my juice feast with the rest of the Summer Cider. Delicious!
Conclusions and Suggestions
Overall, the juice feast was easy with a few challenging moments. With my type of job, it was fairly easy to work into my daily schedule. I also have to say that it was nice not doing very many dishes for 3 days :). As I said in my day-to-day summary, I felt like I had to eat raw pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pecans for an afternoon snack and then brown rice and black beans for dinner. I believe I would've been fine without the nuts and seeds, but felt that by the end of day I really missed chewing (especially since I am a person who loves to have little snacks throughout the day) and need to eat something.
My husband was very supportive (especially when I was struggling to drink the Evergreen juice), and he may be interested in doing the juice feast once he is done with school at DLI. My coworkers were also supportive and were jealous of the delicious juice I was drinking! I gave them some samples, so hopefully you will have some new customers!
I found it a little difficult to finish all 5 bottles in one day. Usually I would drink about 4 total (leaving 1/2 of the Evergreen and Heart Beet). I love ginger, so the ginger bomb is one of the things I regularly purchase from your farmers market stand. I usually freeze them into ice cubes and make a "tea" with it adding hot water, lemon juice, and honey if my stomach needs some help. For this juice feast I decided to add it to a pitcher of water which ended up being helpful. I almost wish I had a larger ginger bomb to do both!
We asked: What's missing? Would a tea in the evening make a big difference? Do you wish it had more structure or more guidance? Would it help to have supplemental materials to help you find healthy food out in the community or recipes for homemade juice and smoothies? Is there anything else we could do to improve the experience?
I would love to have had an evening tea! I am a tea drinker myself (no coffee), so a good way to end the day is by drinking some herbal tea (usually peppermint for me) at night. I liked the freedom of deciding when to drink which juice and found it easy to develop a routine (which helped me to be consistent during the 3 days). I love to make juice of my own, so homemade juice and smoothie recipes would be great to continue the healthy eating process after the juice feast.
With my history of stomach issues, I was a bit worried that my stomach would be upset but overall it felt better than ever! From this juice feast, I'm now motivated to eat fewer (maybe none at all) refined sugar products and reduce my dairy intake because I know that they could be a factor for inflammation.
Thank you for this opportunity! It was pretty cool to be able to do something like this and see how it would turn out. I enjoyed it, and hope that my experience encourages others to try the juice feast!
Thank you, Kristi!