My Notes on an Unofficial Juicing Cleanse

I have done a couple different kinds of fasts/cleanses and am by no means an expert in this field. In fact, I believe, even when the “experts” explain the details it really comes down to your own personal experience with it. Interact with it. Observe your body. Watch what sensations arise within you. Take it easy on yourself, both emotionally and physically. And most of all, know you are powerful.

First, because I am on a juice cleanse (in my case, drinking between 75-128 oz. of juice a day depending on my body’s desires) does not make me weak. I have felt periods of questioning whether I will be okay on this cleanse (almost feels like withdrawl symptoms), however, the more I move into the cleanse the more I feel like I am actually the same. And remember, at any point during a fast you can return to your normal diet — it is not like being on a cruise ship out at sea, you can come back to shore when/if you want.

Keeping this in mind can dissolve fears surrounding our connection with food. We have been conditioned over many, many centuries that we need solid foods to survive; not only that, but we need a LOT of it. In the United States, we have access to a wide array of meats, produce, and grains. And what has happened as a result is a “craze” about combining foods together.

We have processed grains with processed sugar being combined with meats and produce like potatoes, broccoli, etc. A classic American meal: Burger (meat) on buns (grain flours, sugars) served with fries (potatoes in heavy oils) and soda (sugar, water, caffeine). What you have is, “indigestion.” “Not me, I eat healthy,” you may think. A classic healthy American meal: A salad (vegetables) with nuts (protein) and fruit (tomatoes/avocados). This is a less destructive form of indigestion, but still the same. This may not be noticeable every time, or may not even happen every time, or even to every one, but chances are your body is being taxed with keeping up with this barrage of diverse food. It is secreting enzymes and other acids to break down this in your stomach and small intestines, all to get just the vital essence from food. Imagine cracking open a boulder the size of a car to get the nutrients the size of a basketball as a parallel to our eating habits.

With this said, there are two things juicing does that I would like to point out:

It makes the vital essence of food easily available for the digestive system to absorb. When this is done, the body does not have to work for calories, protein (yes, juice has protein), natural carbohydrates (sugars), and best of all: vitamins, minerals, and precious antioxidants!

It is an automatic boost in fruit and vegetable intake. Mother always said, “eat your veggies,” and plenty of scientific research is out there reinforcing the incredible health benefits (vitality boost/longevity, weight loss/balancing, heart disease recovery, liver disease recovery, cancer recovery) of increasing your produce consumption. Regardless of these stories, the question is, “how do you feel?”

For everyone, the last question will result in a different answer. It all depends where you are in your “health” evolution (I put health in quotations because I wish not to create an argument that fruits/vegetables and juicing are the way to health — there is no singular way, this is just an option to explore). Because we are all at different stages, I recommend doing juice cleanses multiple times before you make a conclusion about how it works for you. The first time I tried a cleanse/fast, I found it incredibly difficult not to eat food; not because of hunger pangs, but because of the daily ritual of going to the refrigerator or cabinet. By the 3rd or 4th fast, I began to feel the detachment from food’s control over my subconscious mind.

I found one helpful way to respond to those oral cravings was to make myself a flavorful juice. Often, the fixation would disappear immediately. At times, my mind would tell me I was being weakened by this cleanse, and that I needed food in order to get myself back to being strong. In these moments I would lay down or take a nap: honor my body in some way other than eating. “That sounds like self-denial!” you may think. Yes, it sure does sound this way. Our mind is a powerful — and I mean, POWERFUL being. Once we realize this, we can realize the “tricks” it plays on us based on our conditioned behaviors (voluntary behaviors that we are used to repeating over and over). And, further, once we realize this power, we can learn that denying it for the sake of mental strength and clarity is invaluable. We will no longer controlled by what we “don’t” think. By this, I mean, we are no longer stuck in a conditioned behavior that actually requires no thought, hence, “what we ‘don’t’ think.” It is a reaction based within the mind telling us why any other way of thinking is absolutely wrong. This is a big reason why fasting/cleansing may actually be a great way to honor the body — treating the body as a temple, a god.

In our culture, we often disregard the body’s needs and desires. And often, we do this by ignoring or suppressing it in one form or another. Caffeine stimulants and “energy” drinks are a way to suppress exhaustion… yes, EXHAUSTION. Our bodies are exhausted, and crave healthy restoration, but we have stimulants intended to push it forward. Our mind and our culture has become the slave-drivers of our body. Another disregard for the body are drugs and alcohol. They suppress our fears and discomforts in the world: our inhibitions. And inhibitions are nothing more than conditioned behaviors; ways for our mind to hold us hostage from the simple things we truly want. And strangely, when we deny ourselves in this way, we become upset. Our mind becomes upset because we denied ourselves something simple. A strange conflict exists within us.

It has been said, alcohol is a way to energetically release what we are withholding; a way for us to honor what we want. For many, exists sexual repression and an inability to cope with the cravings for it, men and women alike; when one consumes alcohol, suddenly what has been repressed is released. Some get angry when they drink. Unable to express their discomforts openly in a sober state, alcohol releases it. Some get chatty, laugh, and have fun much like a child (they play). Unable to do so in a sober state, alcohol releases the inner child. Unfortunately, alcohol also wreaks havoc on our body. It destroys our liver as well as deadens every cell in our body with it’s acidic nature (ph balance of anywhere between 3-5.5).

Our culture suppresses the body’s essential needs! And, it is my belief that we suppress healthy practices. Observe, while you are on your fast, what things your mind will say that are in direct conflict with the body’s needs. Often, your mind will speak based on its own fears: not being accepted, not being loved, not being successful. These are not body-based-needs, these are mind-based. Mind-based fears will rarely harm you, but body-based fears are worth paying attention to (such as standing on the edge of a 5th story balcony with your eyes closed: probably a fear that speaks to your body’s need of not falling 100 feet to a cement surface). Mind-based fears will rarely, if ever, hurt you. Find them. Move into them. Move through them. Listen to your body. Honor it. And while you are cleansing, know that you are completely safe and healthy.

It will take some time to transition to a liquid diet. If you find yourself getting hungry, honor yourself! Do not let your mind take charge of being the fasting-police. It will be happy to play that role if it is a way to make you miserable. So make yourself a small, simple meal that involves little food combining. And, by personal preference, I recommend organic or healthy live foods. No Big Macs or “Happy” Meals. Laugh, if this does arise. I had a craving for Burger King when I smelled it one day on the fast. My mind’s memory finds this to be quite a joyous place to eat, but my body’s memory knows this to be indigestion heaven! Above all though, trust yourself. Know that whatever you are doing is beneficial for you… we are all progressing at a different rate. And after you satisfy your body’s craving for food, return as you were to your juice cleanse. Just because you had food does not mean you cannot continue on with the enlivening experience of juicing!

As a last note on exiting the fast. Be sure to gradually move out of your cleanse. Try not to bombard your digestive tract with a large quantity of food after this period of rest. If you feel like you have bombarded it, this is okay; love yourself, and know that all is well, and all will be well. You have already taken steps to honor your body with more awareness of its needs: there is more growth on the way, and you hold the power to continue this growth.

Accepting Ourselves

Sure, accepting ourselves is an easy mantra to repeat over and over in any self-help script. But, what the hell does it mean? What does it feel like to accept myself? What does it act like? What does it sound like? These are the real questions that come up when I think of accepting my Self. And, I suppose, until one practices long enough with the intention to accept their Self, they will only be feeling out what it is and isn’t in varying moments.

Something that I experienced that brought my mind to a deeper awareness of what accepting myself is like, came during a conversation with my sister. Simply put, she said, “instead of working so hard trying to accept others, spend that energy accepting your Self.” The thought is profound. In many non-western spiritual lineages the teachings stress the idea that there is no Other, there is only the Self. So, here we go again, accept the SELF. Accept it how it is, rather than wondering why there is such difficulty with how you fit in the world around you.

I have a habit of unknowingly abandoning the Self. Every time that I believe that I am wrong, and fight endlessly with conflict around me, believing I am not accepting others enough, or understanding/loving them enough, I am essentially abandoning my Self. I am saying my needs and feelings are not as important as trying to figure out what ways I can sacrifice my Self in order to meet people half way. The truth is, there is no need to fight myself. I can accept that my beliefs are valid and appropriate based on my own experience. It is a fine line between close-mindedness and protecting the Self. However, in all reality, decisions will always be made.

Living in this modern world, we are slammed up against each other. People share tight spaces at home, at work, and in community areas. It isn’t until we can “escape” to the country, mountains, remote beaches that we can find solitude. In this, we are subjected to others’ ideas about how to live daily. Our boss decides what cubical we sit in or what music is played in the shop. There is a highly refined process we are participating in, and it is always our choice to accept or reject what is in place. It is inevitable — whether it is conscious or unconscious. Certain things are more valuable to us than others. It seems that denying ourselves from what we value only creates more disharmony in our lives. And when we believe that someone else holds the power, or is the source of our suffering, we are denying our Self happiness. How we attain this happiness is not by someone else’s pathway to resolution. It is through compassionate acceptance of ourselves, knowing that we know what is best for us — and that we are the only one responsible for insuring this process to be a healthy, reflective one.