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After juicing, it's the eating that's hard

The last meal of my juice fast, but

The last meal of my juice fast, but all the ingredients needed to keep juicing. (July 18, 2013) Credit: Erin Geismar

What’s the hardest part about a 10-day juice fast? As it turns out, it’s day 11.

Last week, as the end of my juice fast approached, I realized I would soon need to plan to eat a meal again. After 10 days without consuming solid food, suddenly, my first meal seemed daunting. Should it be healthy? Or should I just go crazy — pizza? A cheeseburger? And everyone kept asking me about it, which only added to the pressure.

One thing stood out in my mind. The juice fasting was easy. The eating would be hard.

I took on this juice fast for a couple reasons. I was interested in the mental challenge and hoped that after the juice fast, I would be less tempted by things like the office candy jar. I wanted to cleanse. Since I had been “cheating” a lot from my mostly-vegan diet, I thought the juice fast would be a good way to start fresh and recommit to a healthier lifestyle. I also looked forward to the other rumored benefits: clarity, increased energy, and a healthier appearance. And of course, the weight loss is not a bad bonus.

During the fast, I certainly felt like I was succeeding at all of those things, and in the end, I lost eight pounds.

But transitioning back to food was difficult. At first, it felt funny and I could feel every bite sitting in my stomach. My first meal was more of a snack — hummus and pita — which gave me a good start to my healthful ambitions. But over the next couple days, all the pats on my back (both from others and myself) gave me a dangerous sense of entitlement. I deserved that Snickers (plus it was snack sized), I deserved a bagel (it is my favorite food), I deserved the lasagna (it was a small piece, and my dad claimed the best my mom had ever made) and I deserved to go out for sushi (I hadn’t eaten at a restaurant in nearly two weeks, after all).

It was a slippery slope right into a pile of guilt. I was eating worse than I would have before the juice fast.

But at the same time, I also missed juice. Regardless of what I ate, I felt like I was missing something. On a few occasions over the weekend, I found myself looking up juice bars so I could get a fix. Ten days on the stuff and the process of making and drinking it really becomes ingrained in your daily routine.

Now, I’m about five days out. I’ve gained back a few pounds, which is to be expected when going from all liquids to solids, but I’ve started to balance out. I’m coming back to my vegan senses and planning healthier meals for the rest of the week. And I’m most definitely still juicing.

So what’s my final take? Give it a try. Even if you don’t do a full fast, incorporating juice (read: pure nutrients) into your diet can’t be a bad thing.

But whatever you do, remember to keep your goals in mind when you’re on and off the juice.

If interested, here are a few of the resources I’ve used this week:

Reboot with Joe
The Juice Master
Crazy Sexy Wellness