We challenged a staff writer at the Stranger to take a five day juice fast. We knew it was risky but we felt so strongly about our juice that we decided to take a gamble. Sadly, Anna Minard did not enjoy the fast in the way we expected.
Juice and juice fasting is gaining in popularity and we have found it a great way to re-tune the body, suppress insulin secretion and reduce the taste for sugar. It’s a pretty simple fact those that consume less calories more often than not are healthier people.
Anna Minard took our challenge more as a dare and less with the intention of changing her diet or observing her body without food. We don’t encourage anyone embarking on a short-term fast as a dare. Your body will be giving signals of changes occurring (like acne and headaches) during your time without food. If your only concern is to get through the dare you may not be watching for these signals as a way to gauge what is taking place.
Much has be said about Anna’s approach. Because her fast was not approached with any serious intention the outcome could be predicted. We are quite impressed she completed the fast although some commenters on the blog have argued the technicality of her completion because she consumed a bit of vegetable matter. We don’t adhere to a strict dogma at Strawberry Moon we just encourage you to give your best shot at improving your health. Our main goal with the challenge was just to let people know that a few days without food can be done. Unfortunately we offered the challenge to someone who’s main outcome was to entertain the public with high jinks. Her story and trails will not be the same for everyone.
Half way through the five day fast Anna ate an avocado. Her comments on that avocado are a bit closer to the stories we usually here from clients. Anna’s avocado taste so good because a week of not eating combined with the “burn” of astringent green juice (with or without STI’s) actually cleans fat off the tongue. The more you coat your tongue in fats, sugars, salt and chemical additives the bigger your food “experience” must become. Thus making you need more sugar, salt and fat to enjoy food.
There is a bit of truth in Anna’s assessing that “the science on juice cleansing is spotty”, and Anna is right; your liver does exist to filter out toxins so do your kidneys, lymph system and lungs. Our body is always cleansing itself. Every breath you take is a release of carbon dioxide, a waste gas that can be toxic. Sweat is a known excretory system for metals and waste.
However, to say that your liver “doesn’t need a break” is an absurd statement. If an alcoholic went to a doctor for cirrhosis of the liver would a doctor say keep drinking because your liver does not need a break it will just filter out the toxins? A good Dr would not! She’ll tell you to stop drinking. Is a smoker with emphysema told to keep smoking because the lungs don’t need a break? Only a Dr. at Phillip Morris. If our organs will filter out all the sugar, alcohol, fats and chemicals we consume then why are obesity, diabetes, cancer and psychological deviations at an all-time high?
Anna mentions that “people who cleanse talk a lot about toxins” but failed to mention that we were not those people. We do, however, like to talk about enzymes because enzymes are not crap. Dr. Edward Howell has studied enzymes and his work surmises that heavy consumption of an enzymeless diet leads to lavish secretions from the pancreas resulting in shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stresses both psychological and environmental. Tests have proved positive on many animals but will go undetermined on humans until someone willing offers a set of identical twins to science allowing one twins pancreatic fluids to be drained then forcing both to live an identical existence while being monitored and studied for their lifespan. This is one good reason why the science and study of human consumption will always be spotty.
At Strawberry Moon we sell raw unpasteurized juice and Anna gave quite a humorous description of our juice. In no way did we feel it undermined our product. Our juice is real juice. We have not laced it with flame retardants to suspend the color and prevent separation. We do not pump it with nitrogen to simulate freshness. We do not add color to please your eyes and we do not add chemicals to make it more “craveable”. We crush fruits and vegetables. The enjoyment of that juice is highly subjective.
We encourage short term fasting as way to learn to control bad food habits. We all need to eat and desire to eat. We all seek rewards, pleasure and comfort in food. It’s hardwired into us. Because the standard American diet is filled with high calorie, nutritionally depleted, carbohydrate-laden and reward-centered food, our insulin levels stay high. Studies now show hyperinsulinemia (high insulin) can alter perceived hunger, taste and food consumption. It’s easy to dismiss our constant need to gratify and consume as our nature but what you eat and drink directly affects your desire for food.
Every time you eat, free radicals are released into your blood stream and these free radicals will attack proteins, DNA and cells. The more you consume the more you stress the body. So if juice fasting did nothing else, temporarily halting free radicals should be reason enough to fast.
We are not here to admonish anyone’s lifestyles or ask you to live the life of an ascetic. We, like everyone else, seek rewards, love a good time and indulge to sinful levels. It’s a fine line living like there is no tomorrow while simultaneously living to be well prepared for tomorrow. But if the party is non-stop, it ceases to be a party and becomes a way of life. Strawberry Moon believes that occasionally we all need to step back from our indulgences to make sure that we are able to regulate our hormones, our desires, our weight and our clarity.
In the big picture we had hoped Anna’s fast would shed light on what we believe to be true – that the more we have, the less we appreciate, and the less we have, the more we appreciate.
It's a shame that Anna Minard did not enjoy her juice fast. Wrestling food and alcohol dependancies are hard. Some will kick and scream their way through it, others grin and bear it. Those people who are most seasoned in juice fasting actually have a positive experience. If you are looking to change your eating habits, lose weight, tackle chronic health conditions and feel more alive a little work is the only way you are going to accomplish it. What ever you want in life, you must give up something to get it.