As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently did a 7-day “juice feast” in which I drank only fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices for seven days in a row following Jason Vale’s annoyingly-named “7lbs in 7 Days Super Juice Diet”. I’ve already written about how stupid it all sounds (I normally wouldn’t buy or buy into anything involving the word “diet”, but even book publishers have to eat… or drink as the case may be). But I did it, not so much for the weight loss, but just to see how it would make me feel. I wanted an adventure!
Having finished the seven days (successfully!), I just wanted to share a few random thoughts about the whole thing.
Let me make this clear: THIS IS NOT FASTING
When I told some people about this juicing thing they were automatically like “oh my god, you’re going to to disappear”. I want to stress that this juice plan wasn’t a starve yourself plan. I drank 6 substantial juices throughout the day at 3-hour intervals. Some of those juices got blended with avocado or greek yogurt, so were more like smoothies. It’s tough to count how many calories I was eating, but as a very rough estimate, I’d say I drank 6-7 cups of juices per day plus 1-2 avocados plus 200-400g yogurt. If a cup of juice has 100 calories, an avocado 400 calories and yogurt (I chose Greek!) 100 calories per hundred grams, that’s about 1200+ calories per day. And the plan is flexible – if you’re hungry, have more juice.
In fact, I wasn’t hungry
As much as I was never full, I was never really hungry. There were some days when I didn’t even drink all the juices because I just felt satisfied with what I had.
No planning or thinking required: I like that
Well, there’s a bit of planning – you have to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients. And get a juicer. But the day-to-day stuff is completely laid out on a wall chart. There’s your seven days. No researching recipes or thinking up creative low calorie meals. The work is done. And as much as I normally love inventing recipes, this juicing thing was totally new to me and I appreciated the clear guidance.
I experienced headaches on Days 2 and 3, in the evening, but these went away after that. Caffeine withdrawal? Kale withdrawal? Who knows.
Crazy amounts of energy
So after Day 3 is when things really got crazy. I suddenly had all kinds of energy that lasted from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. It was marvellous. I got so much done. I was focused. I put in lots of time on Smarter Fitter Smoothies. I put in lots of time on everything. I had to force myself to go to bed at night even though I wasn’t tired. I felt like I did things with purpose. I wonder if…
Was it the superfood?
The plan calls for supplementing with wheatgrass (fresh or powder), spirulina, “friendly bacteria” and his “Superfood” supplement. I bemoaned the idea of buying more stuff, so I didn’t, but then had the great fortune of receiving some wheatgrass powder and spirulina samples from Naturya (more on that in a separate post). These arrived at the end of Day 3. So I’m left to wonder whether my energy came from the “superfood” or just the simple fact of my body settling into a juice routine. Regardless, I’m going to keep up with the superfood in my post-juice-feast smoothies and see if the energy wave continues.
Physical energy, too
Throughout the seven days I maintained my usual morning gym routine of swimming and weightlifting and even upped the ante a bit with some afternoon cycling on my new bicycle trainer. My workouts that week were better than they’d been in months. I was swimming faster, lifting more, and generally just feeling more focused on my activities, and thus, pushing myself harder.
Sorry to sound so smitten but
I felt better at the end of those seven days than I’d felt in probably years.
But I was glad when it was over
It felt so good to chew food again and to eat things that were (a) hot and (b) SAVOURY. In fact I made my first savoury smoothie the day after the juice feast.
Whole food is hard on the body after a week of juicing
Jason’s book stresses that you must ease back into normal eating slowly. Days 8-10 should consist of smoothies for breakfast, raw salads or soups for lunch and a protein-rich dinner. So that’s what I did – lunch was an apple, avocado and rocket salad and dinner was a thai-style fish soup with lots of vegetables. But even then, my stomach felt off on Day 9, like it was sore from all the hard work of digestion! So I kept Day 9 pretty light with a juice for breakfast, a small salad and juice for lunch, and another salad with grilled fish for dinner. Today is Day 10 and I am feeling much happier on the inside.
What about those 7lbs?
I guess for a lot of people this is what it all really comes down to. I lost 6lbs. I wasn’t able to measure body fat so I don’t really know how much of that weight loss was water, fat, muscle, etc. As much as I didn’t do this to lose weight, when I looked in the mirror at the end of it and saw just a HINT of an abdominal muscle, I felt kinda pleased. Hello Christmas six-pack.
Expensive, but not as much as I thought
I put the vegetable ingredients into Tesco’s online shopping cart and the grocery bill came to £43.68 (with about £15 coming from the 85 apples!).To me that isn’t absurd for a week of groceries. The real expense comes with the equipment and the supplements, if using. The juicer alone cost £199 (you can get them cheaper, mind you, but expect to pay at least £80). And if you buy his recommended supplements, you’re looking at another £50 for spirulina, wheatgrass, psyllium husks, “Friendly Bacteria” and “Superfood” (I didn’t use the latter three). Plus the cost of the book and the iPhone app (which is awesome), about £10.
So in total it costs about £200-300 to do this thing.
I only wish I knew more about why the plan was laid out the way it was, in the given order on each day. Why did I have to wait three days to have the glorious yogurt and spirulina smoothie?! This was not covered in the book, or if it was, only in fluffy, non-scientific terms. I want someone to explain the way I’m feeling so I know how to make it last!
How long can I keep this up?
I’m still feeling pretty awesome and incredibly motivated to KEEP feeling this way. I just have this worry – now that I’ve stopped juicing, is all this awesome energy going to wear off? Well, I guess that’s the next adventure. Let’s so how I long I can keep it around for!