Oct 29, 2010

The Lure of Fasting

So I was going to write up a recipe for a childhood fav of many - delicious, crunchy, smile-on-ur-dial,
CHOCOLATE CRACKLES I made the other day for the college girls... or possibly show all the photos from the dinner I made Brock for his birthday... but right now I feel the urge to write about something completley different (sorry girls, recipe next post I promise).

I just read an article posted by Gena from Choosing Raw (my favourite blogspot hands down) titled

"The Lure of Juice Fasting"

- appropriate title having succumbed to it myself on previous occasions. I've even written about the benfits of juicing here and when I feel it's right to be drinking more juices here, and then how I went on one juice fast here, here and here.

It's an intersting topic of debate it seems - Is juice fasting "good" or "bad"? Is juice fasting NECESSARY?
And since I began dabbling into RAW foods last year, the concept has always intrigued me. I was an advocate you could say. But I also felt like an imposter. Surrounded by like-minded people, the "raw community" are usually all for juice fasting. It makes sense; their diets are usually already so clean that fasting is easy(er). Yet something about it was always hard for me. For many reasons I felt juicing was great; some beneficial - I wondered how I would feel? Perhaps my skin will clear? Perhaps my digestion will improve? Will my energy levels soar? Etc etc etc. And all those reasons are great, and valid, and were enough to give it a try. Numerous tries. But I know some of my reasons, disguised by good intentions, were not so well intended.

But back to JUICING. On a very basic level, the benefits of juicing are HUGE. I've read alot about it, spoken to people about it, listened to others about it, and tried it myself. It can be liberating, cleansing, uplifting. But it can also be painful, tiring, and very tough. It all comes down to the individual and what their diet was like to begin with - in my opinion.

I believe that if an individual eats wholefoods in their most natural state; sprouts and sprouted nuts and seeds, organic fruits and vegies, pure water, pseudograins such as quinoa, buckwheat, and millet, seaweeds, cold pressed oils, good fats, superfoods, etc to obtain optimal nutrition, and chooses NOT to eat processed, refined, synthetic foods, then juice fasting shouldn't NECESSARILY be necessary. If however the diet in discussion is one high in refined processed foods and lacking quality wholefoods then yes, I believe juice fasting (even for a day) would be of some benefit. However, and perhaps ironically, going the whole hog and juicing for weeks straight from a meat/dairy/acid diet I would not recommend (unless of course it was in conjunction with a series of colonics - another can of worms I could write about for ages). Yet these people would no doubt benefit more wouldn't you think? Once they're past the first hurdle at least.

Personally, there was always something about juicing that didn't quite gel for me. Was it willpower - or more a lack of? Was it the lengthy time it took in preparing my juices that got to me? Or the difficulty in seeing everyone around me eat solid foods whilst I had told myself I wasn't allowed too? I wanted to be the girl who could fast for weeks and weeks and look AMAZING, feel SENSATIONAL, and be BOUNDING with energy. Perhaps living amongst the chaos of Sydney makes it tricky, and if I were out on retreat in the middle of the desert of Arizona it would be easier, but whatever the reason/s, juicing for extended periods of time is hard for me to do.

Then reading Gina's post this morning, I thought perhaps it's my bodies way of protecting itself as I can relate to Gina here:

"I’m also on the slender side, and tend to lose weight without too much difficulty if I don’t eat plentifully enough. I don’t think my system would stand up well to nearly nonexistent levels of fat and protein for days at a time."

And for other reasons here; a quote that I could have written myself:

"given my psychological history, skipping meals is a minefield I’d rather not tread upon... A raw foodist friend once tried to explain how fasting helps you move “beyond food,” and to detach yourself from eating. For numerous years of my life I ate sporadically or not at all. The last thing I need is to prove that I don’t need food, emotionally or psychologically. I do need food, but not in a way that’s bad. Realizing this has been one of the major accomplishments of my adult years."

"...she did enjoy the feeling of detachment from physicality, sensuality, which is truly the emotional promise of a fast. This hit home with me, because I believe it’s what so many anorexics seek out, and find, with starvation. Let’s file this under “reasons I don’t think former anorexics ought ever to get too involved with fasting.” But let me also say that, as alluring as that feeling of ethereality might be, I’d like to remind all of my readers that the feeling of solid, grounded, nourishment is sweeter in so many ways. Newman writes, “I wasn’t thinking about food. I wasn’t thinking about drink. I wasn’t even thinking about sex. The appetites that rule me every single day were my slaves, for once. By that third day I wasn’t craving anything. I was free.”

As liberating as it may feel to not be thinking or feeling about food, drink, sex or anything for that matter... it is also extremely numbing in every sense. I can see how that may appeal to alot of poeple, myself included, but having been there I know it's not a particuarly nice place to be in, and one that can also be very hard to get out of. It's ADDICTIVE. And this is where my not-so-beneficial reasons for wanting to fast step from.

"You won’t hear me deny that weightlessness, lightness, emptiness, and cleanliness are all appealing physical sensations. They are, and I wonder if I’ll ever have a day when I don’t sometimes cast an eye backward and yearn for those feelings again. But they’re risky yearnings, and they strike me as inhumane in the deepest of ways."

All that said, I do still yearn to fast. Alot. But is it the healthiest thing for me to be doing given my past? Probably not. Will that stop me in the future? Again, probably not entirely. But at least now I feel I have a better understanding of my (sometimes erratic) thoughts and acknowledgement of how I function (again, albeit sometimes erratic).

Crazy. Does what I wrote even make sense? Who knows. It's taken me a good few hours of thinking and pondering and staring out the window to finally get that out of my head and onto the screen so even if it doesn't make sense, I'm not fussed. I'm used to feeling a little confused :)

Anyways, I'll be sure to post up the Chocolate Crackles recipe over the weekend so be sure to check back. Until then, enjoy the last of the Friday sunshine :)


  1. what an amazing post christie - thanks!!!!!
    i'm also not sure about juicing myself - although my experience with a short juice fast was amazing. then again, i did eat a few green apples through it... hmmmmm thanks again!!!

  2. Wow Christie, amazing that you have been so honest with yourself, and open to sharing that with others too. Thank you xo