1.3.09 Home Alone
G was up and out at 4 this morning, on his way to the airport. He'll be away working for a few days and I am on my own, with just the company of Titi and no one to cook for. It's perfect timing. My horoscope for this month says I am in a highly contemplative and creative phase, one that's ideal for instilling new, positive habits and for taking care of myself. What better time, then, to go on a juice fast? Some people are very freaked out by the idea of fasting, so let me say very clearly here that I am not a doctor, nor a trained fasting therapist. But what I do know is that fasting has been used for thousands of years as a means of cleaning out the body and refreshing the mind. Our bodies—like the sun and moon, the tides, the stars—go through cycles, with highs and lows. During a low phase we may feel sluggish, bloated, weighed down (some people experience this as depression). This is an ideal time to lighten your body's load by fasting. Fasting is not starvation! It's a way to let your organs rest a bit, to get rid of the toxins that build up from chemicals, pollutants and over-indulgence. Along with a good diet, regular exercise and supplements, fasting will help you fight off illness and disease, maintain a high level of energy and improve your mood. I try to fast at the beginning of each season, so about 4 times a year.
For my juice fast, I will consume up to 60 ounces of fresh green juice a day, plus about the same amount of water. The ingredients I juice include parsley, cabbage, spinach, kale, watercress, apple, pear, fennel, carrot, ginger and lemon. If I feel like I really need something more substantial, I may have a smoothie with coconut water and banana. It's best to avoid chewing when you fast (gum, etc) as this starts the secretion of digestive enzymes into the gastrointestinal tract which, with no food in your system, can lead to discomfort. Because pure juice doesn't contain much fiber, it's good to use a fiber supplement, like psyllium husk fiber or bran, when you fast. This is also an ideal time to use an enema, and to dry-brush your skin (brush toward the heart with a natural bristle brush). These practices also help to eliminate toxic build-up. Side effects from fasting will vary greatly. If you have addictions to caffeine or alcohol, or have been eating lots of sugar, you may experience headaches or feel grumpy the first day or two. Positive side effects include clearer skin and eyes, improved digestive and bowel function, increased energy, enhanced mood, weight loss and mental clarity. It is often suggested that you eat a very simple, primarily raw diet based on fruits and vegetables for two days before and after a juice fast. This helps to ease your system in and out of the fasting state. So, yes, it's a bit of a commitment. And it takes you out of your normal routine. People around you may resist all this, saying it's kooky, or too much of a hassle. I say, it's something you do for yourself and the benefits to your health and well-being are great.VITALITY JUICEserves 2A nice dose of vitamins C and A, and a hit of anti-inflammatory power from the ginger.3 ripe pears1 fennel bulb1 large bunch watercress1 2” knob of ginger1 lemonSlice the pears and fennel bulb into quarters. Pare the peel and pith from the lemon, and slice in half.Run all ingredients through a juicer.* Pour into a glass and drink immediately.* The one I use, which is not cheap but works very well and has lasted me much longer than other, less sturdy models, is the Breville Juice Fountain Elite.