Juice Fast Progress

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 31: DONE!!! And notes on food

I'm done! Except... I suspect perhaps I'm not.

We made brunch this morning. It seemed the obvious thing to do - brunch is my favorite meal and food category, and I have been really enjoying the mindfulness of preparing food. This was a little stressy due to a late awakening, but still turned out good.

The food was prepared well, and tasted as it should. I'm hesitating to use the word, 'Delicious', because I was totally overwhelmed by the heaviness of everything, and I felt like a stone after eating. I don't think I had a huge portion. 

I found myself craving a green drink. I picked up another box of juices this morning, and had one. It was fantastic.  So... keeping up with juices + small meals that are not butter-themed. And lots of soup (I love soup!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 30 pt 2: One drink left.

6:30 yoga, 9pm final drink... and then what?

I was telling Stacy this morning that I can't imagine NOT having green drinks at this point.

Day 30: Oh sure, NOW it gets easy.

I'm walking on air today.

I've been going through this thing assuming that when I'm done, all the weighty, heavy, sluggishness will eventually return as I gradually devolve back into a fried-starch and red-meat based diet.

Why, though? This is great... I feel great, I'm happier. And... the little bits of soup I've had here and there I've actually enjoyed way more than the burger and fries that I usually have.  Why not just keep doing a version of this? Lots of green drinks, more soup, perhaps when nobody's looking, the occasional piece of cheese?

Thank you Stacy, Mary, Nicole, and everyone at Global Yoga.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 29 pt 3: A Weird Thing Happened

So, as has happened a fair bit during this fast, I had to leave work today because I just got exhausted and needed to lie down for an hour or two.  Every time this has happened, I've ended up being very energetic at night, and have used the opportunity to get work done later (which I believe is our real natural cycle anyway. YOU GO, SPAIN.)

It was different today. I had an extremely difficulty morning - angry, irritable, and difficulty rallying to do anything. When I got home and slept, it felt 'urgent'. I was really having trouble keeping my eyes open and my head up.  I slept for about three hours, instead of one or two, and literally couldn't lift my head off the pillow at one point when my phone rang.  However, while this was happening, I had the weirdest sensation. I could tangibly feel a sensation all over my body - a tingling (good, not like leg-asleep). I honestly felt like my body was morphing in real time. In retrospect, it felt like going into a tiny cocoon.

When I woke up, my body shape was visibly different. Enough to be surprising. My entire torso seemed smaller.  And, most exciting of all... the shirt that I've never worn because it never fit....  (HELL YEAH!!!)

Day 29 pt 2: TWO TWENTY EIGHT.

Two. Twenty. Eight.

Wow.... just wow.

Day 29: Not quite.

My friend Barb once said, "Having too rigid a definition of who and what you are is just asking the universe to fuck with you."  I'm probably misquoting a word or two, but I'm getting the basic thrust correct.

Today lacks most of the joy and peace that yesterday had in such abundance. And I'm every bit as irritable and impatient as I've been in the worst of times. It's a Fuck You Friday, and it's only Wednesday.

I know that some days are just better than others, and I don't really need to read into it all that much. I am still very happy that I've done something good, and I trust that I'll continue to feel better, despite the occasional crappy day.

Today is the first day of my FIFTH WEEK. I am 94% done.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Man, I can TASTE THE FINISH LINE. Which, I might add, would be a fantastic semi-ironic catch-phrase for a sports drink.  PowerCrusherAdeGator: TASTE THE FINISH LINE.

I was telling Stacy last night that, compared to where I started, this change in my body (and mind, spirit) seems more significant than the three months of Teacher Training. Admitted, when I went to TT, I had been doing yoga almost every day for 6 months, so I was in fightin' shape before I started, whereas with this - I was on the, "all meat & bread, all fried, all the time" diet before I started, so the comparison isn't really fair.

Still, I can't help but be stunned at how much you can really change yourself in how short a time. All you have to do is commit to something crazy.  I look at the changes that a single, measly month has brought and think - not only am I feeling wonderful and thin and young and bright, but my attitude about life and the world around me has changed quite a bit.  I find myself being less negative, less snarky, less critical, and less concerned with being "right".   I find myself walking more slowly, smelling the morning grass and the flowers on the air of spring. I'm paying attention.  What an extraordinary gift!  And, really - all things considered.... what a cheap price to pay for it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 25, 26, 27: Nearing the Finish

I'm going to hold off on summarizing observations, or at least in making them overly grand, until I'm entirely finished with the 30 days.  However, I can't help but notice that... I spent this weekend feeling fantastic in every way. When I see my face or my whole body in a mirror, I like what I see, for the first time in a very, very long time.  Every little injury I had when I started seems gone, or faded into the background.  I've had one and only one migraine all month, compared to almost once a day before I started.

I really do feel like it is a miracle.

Woke up in the middle of last night screaming and gasping for air, like I was drowning. I forgot about it until this morning. I also woke up to write myself an elaborate design note (still in my iPhone) for a simulation system that I first started thinking of in Bali.  So, I can only imagine what strange dreams I had.

For the rest of this week, I'm slowly going to be reintroducing a little bit of food - miso soup, some avocado - to ease back in to what I am QUITE certain will be a glorious victory brunch, and then off to visit friends in faraway cities to celebrate.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 24: Enough already

This final stretch is tough. I feel soooooo weak. I've been very irritable and short - yesterday there were kids crying near the day care and I was genuinely upset with them. When you find yourself actually thinking, "WHY WON'T THAT ONE-YEAR-OLD JUST SHUT UP?", you know you've turned the grouchiness corner.

I had to eat a little bit of food last night (indian lentil soup), because I was just spinning in my head, in an almost panicky way, "must eat must eat must eat must eat must eat must eat". I spent a lot of yesterday counting the days, the hours, the minutes left...  I realize this is mostly mental, but still - whatever this is, it is hard.  I'm having difficulty finding enthusiasm for anything, which sucks.

It'll pass.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 23 pt 2: Final Quarter

As of my 3pm drink, I've passed 3/4 done.

Hunger in the last few days has been apocalyptic. Pang, pang, pang.

Day 23: You kids get off my lawn

I'm super-irrationally irritable today. I have no idea why. I can definitely say that I'm ready to re-join the food eaters, though.  One week left.

I can do it, but man - I'd kill for some breakfast tacos.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 22: Parallels

So, according to the Juice Fasting 'what to expect' link that Nicole sent me last week, in days 16-30, the physical cleansing begins to be 'complete', and the body shifts to emotional, mental, energetic cleaning.

But, I mean... just because physical detoxification was physically challenging, that doesn't mean that emotional detoxification would be emotionally challenging, though, right...?    Right?   Oooof.

I'm going back to my blanket/couch-cushion fort. I shall only be disturbed for Cinnamon Buns.

(Also, 3 weeks DONE! First day of week 4!!!)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Day 21 pt 3: HUNGER

Man, this last stretch is challenging. I am really, really, really hungry.

Day 21 pt 2: One more thing

Hey, if you're reading this... throw down a comment. I could use the moral support! (Nicole & Stacy, you have been doing this, and it's awesome).

Day 21: Final Third

Today is the first day of the last third of my fast, and also the last day of the third week.

It's getting to the point where I don't really even know how to keep this interesting... I feel like it's just more of, "I feel great, I'm wearing clothes from 10 years ago (the stylish ones), I am more positive and happy, why don't we all do this all the time"? 

I am thinking more and more about how to make this feeling last beyond the fast, while still getting to embrace the loving preparation and sharing of food.  I don't have any answers yet.

One humorous thing that I've noticed is what I call, "subconscious eating". Yesterday I went to the grocery store to get butcher bones to make bone broth for a friend who just gave birth.  While I was waiting for them to package things up, there was a display with samples of chips & salsa.  And then suddenly I had one in my mouth. From a consciousness point of view, it was an immediate jump, as though my brain was like, "Right, so - the conscious part keeps thwarting my attempts to get us food, despite all the extra focus and alertness I gave it. Time for plan B. We need to turn off the conscious part for a few seconds - long enough to get chips, but not so long as to end up walking into traffic."  I'm not trying to shirk responsibility for phantom snacking, I just think it was funny that the willpower part seemingly got circumvented.  Very sneaky, brain...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Day 18, 19, 20: Enlightenment, Slips

This was an epic weekend. We had friends in from out of town, Avatar won the VFX Oscar, and I sat through not one, not two, but three gatherings of friends in which food was lovingly prepared and consumed. I managed to succeed at not cheating, other than a small taste of the homemade breakfast hash at one particular gathering.

At yoga on Sunday morning, I felt like my body had mostly adjusted to this new nutritional foundation. I felt light, strong, and entirely without panic. I think that's the thing I notice most about this process - a lack of panic, anxiety, and a noticeable decrease in stress, in every-day things.  I am calm and cheerful as a default, and that's really refreshing (and new).

I said to Mary after class on Sunday that I didn't know that this process would be a miracle. Indulging my love of hyperbole, for sure, but it really does feel somewhat miraculous.  My body has changed more in 20 days than I would have believed possible.  On Friday night, I wore pants that I got as a gift on my 25th birthday. On Saturday, I wore the pants that I'd been keeping around as a 'maybe one day' hopeful thing. They were loose. 

So... all of this makes me feel pretty bad about totally screwing up last night.  For some reason, our fireplace turned on in the middle of the night and I couldn't find the remote to switch it off. As I wandered around the kitchen at 3am, looking everywhere for the remote... it got me.  Our friends had ordered pizza from Little Star - deep dish, Chicago Style - and there was like a little less than half a piece left. A taste turned into more tastes turned into there-is-no-more-pizza.  It was phenomenal tasting, of course.  I feel like I weigh twenty pounds more this morning. I'm not beating myself up about it too much, but I can clearly feel that it has sorta damped the feeling of great change.

Still, I can't be too disappointed, overall. I feel wonderful, and today is a new day.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Day 17: Ow

A strange side effect of this fasting is that my flexibility has increased dramatically, seemingly by itself. It's not in response to any aggressive stretching on my part. This is fun and interesting, but it also means there's all these new places to find in the poses in Yoga class.

Last night I pushed too hard in class, I think. I managed to fight off the dizzyness, but my whole upper back and neck feel like somebody beat me with a bat. A small bat, to be sure, but a bat nonetheless.

I think this part of my back has basically been frozen - when I move my shoulders, my shoulder-blades make this gross clicking noise as the bones scrape against each other. The tightness back there is enough to make veteran massage therapists express surprise.  I think I'm just starting to heal and break down that area, and that's where the discomfort is coming from.   Still, I'm grouchy as hell this morning.  I'm reminded of something Mary says in class from time to time, variations on, "It's hard to be enlightened when your spine is in pain." (Pardon the misquote, if I have...)


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Day 16: Past Halfway


I won't say it's easy.... but it's definitely easier. My focus and concentration have come back, and every day I feel lighter and more expansive. My dreams and daydreams are filled with leaping flips and flight.

I feel like my appreciation for food has (and will remain) changed. I don't want food in a hurry - just because I want to be able to savor and indulge every little bit of every little bite. I want to spend days making Thomas Keller and Grant Aschatz recipes. (Though I don't want to buy any sodium alcinate).

It's funny - I didn't get into this challenge for the purpose of doing a cleanse. Honestly, I mostly did it to see if I could, and because I could tell my body needed clean nutrition and this was the easiest way to do it. If I had decided to do something involving prepared food, I would not have been able to keep it up, or it would have been incredibly expensive.  But, though I didn't do this to cleanse, the cleansing effects have been so obvious and dramatic.  All the yucky crap that came out of my lungs and sinuses, to say the least...

I feel like the cleansing has moved out of the physical and into the emotional and energy. I have so much more conscious control over my focus than I did just a few days ago, I have such an easier time maintaining calm and not getting carried away or upset about anything.

I would recommend this journey to absolutely anyone and everyone.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Day 15 pt 2: So close to halfway...

I'm two drinks away from being HALFWAY DONE.

And... in some weird miracle... today I'm a focus machine.  Concentration, focus, all of them are through the roof.

Day 15: Through the fog

The dizzyness is gone! The dizzyness is gone!!!

I feel light and glowy today. I am curious how long my concentration will last. Most days it seems to fizzle out around 3pm. 

According to that juicefasting link, I should be getting into the last phase of cleansing - glowing for the next 15 days or so. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Super helpful information

This describes my experience so far, pretty much to the letter. If this is to be believed, sometime around day 16 (Thursday), I should be in cleansing nirvana!


Day 14 pt 2: Soup Cheater

I went home early from work today. I was still dizzy from yesterday's collapse, and still felt weak. I slept for a few hours, and when I woke up, I decided, with some determination: I SHALL HAVE SOUP.

It's kinda cheating, but... I think the wise path through this fast is to listen to my body - not to be indulgent with cravings - but to listen. If I'm so weak I can't work and sleep all day, I need more than what I'm giving myself.  So... Let Them Eat Soup!  (but just a little).

Interesting info on dizzyness and fasting

This article describes pretty much 100% of how I feel.


Day 14: Collapse

I collapsed in yoga last night. It was gradual - nothing exciting or dramatic, but still a bit frightening.  I had noticed that, towards the end of the standing series, I was feeling weaker and weaker, and my balance was off. Then, just as the first set of Triangle finished, I felt a distinct 'moment' of release in my body, like the cords had all just been cut.  I was instantly super dizzy - as though my inner ear had been swollen or otherwise messed up.  I sat down and waited for the floor series - but when it came time for the sit-ups, I just couldn't do them. It wasn't like, "this is hard, and I don't want to push harder", but instead like a complete failure - the muscles were simply not responding to instructions. 

So, I left class. I haven't left class since teacher training. I probably would have felt embarrassed or ashamed, but in this case, I was so freaked out that I wasn't thinking about it.  My whole body was shaking. I drank a juice and laid down. Later, I tried to walk back to work with Stacy, but couldn't make it, and she went to get the car to drive me home.

Mary gave me a big bag of navel oranges, and when I got home, Stacy made me Lentil soup.  I've made a mental note of the brand and type of Lentil soup. I want to try it when I'm back in the 'real' world and see if it is, in fact, the most delicious thing in the world. Because last night, it was.

I couldn't sleep, so I stayed awake reading the new 'Art of War' translation. Today I feel a little better, but still dizzy, like something is wrong in my brain.  I can't help but ask myself the question - is this bad? Is this malnutrition? Or am I breaking through some serious detox walls?

I have enough strength to continue, and at this point, it's no longer that difficult to just have the juice. So, I continue.  BRING IT ON. 

Monday, March 01, 2010


Still having tremendous difficulty focusing, particularly at the end of the day.

Day 13. Changes sinking deeper.

Coffee tastes wrong today. I guess this is the last thing to go - I've gotten rid of the fruit bowl in the morning, and yesterday I did not resort to the "part of an avocado" cheat.  But I've been perfectly content to continue drinking coffee - I figure you have to have an outlet somewhere, even if it does mean you're doing ten steps forward, one step back.

But today the coffee is bitter and stale tasting. I don't think they made a mistake making it, I think I'm just noticing how icky coffee can be, at its core. I sincerely hope this change isn't permanent. I love my morning coffee.

I'm starting to feel more and more small, subtle changes. My flexibility is through the roof, and I seem to just have a much more nuanced control over my body. I did cartwheels and roundoffs while we were at Pixar this weekend, and I was amazed at how light and agile I feel.

Almost half way.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 11-12. Starting not to notice...

It's getting easier, in the sense that it's no longer novel, and I'm no longer spending all of my time thinking about it.

I had another weird and wonderful abstinance brunch today. Brunch is overwhelmingly my favorite meal. My birthday meals are always "breakfast for dinner". I pretty much like it all, but I particularly love when traditional dishes have been refined in some interesting and clever way. Baked eggs in a metal crock pan, roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms... I love it all. Today I went to brunch with a bunch of friends, sat in the sun, and sipped coffee while my friends ordered and ate. In some strange way, I feel like I got almost as much enjoyment from brunch as I would if I had eaten. The smells, the imagining the food from the description in the menu, the beautiful balance between soft and crisp where toasted...

The fasting magnifies my sense of smell. It's wonderful - I feel like I can smell fresh herbs from a block away, and smelling food, deeply, feels satisfying, almost as though there were some consumption involved.

I'm so glad I'm doing this. The journey is strange and inward. I like how it's about so much more than just food - about the idea of reward, the ways we show caring and comfort. I like seeing how food is a focal point for so much human expertise and the urge we have to create beautiful things... and eat them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 10: Calm

First day I've not had the fruit bowl. I still haven't completely given up the morning coffee, though... and I think I'm basically okay with that.

Between the Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, the Sun Chlorella, and the morning body brushing, I feel very awake and alive. It's exciting.

I got some very frightening news last night. The building I own a condo in has been leaking in the rain severely, and we need to do a staggering amount of emergency repairs. What it means is that, basically, I'll owe our HOA between 20k and 30k sometime in the next few months.  Understandably, my mind is absorbed with this, and there's a dull, panicky anxiety suffusing through the day. I know that there's nothing to do but deal with it - go to the bank, ask questions, make the best decisions, and ride it out.  In a sense, it's almost not that scary because there really aren't very many things I can do. So I just have to walk the path, a step at a time.

I'm surprised, though, at how the panic and anxiety produced an intense and immediate desire for comfort food. I guess it's not that surprising, and I'm glad I resisted, but yeah - as soon as this thing hit, I was instantly dreaming of Stacy's Thanksgiving Turkey and all the carb-heavy joy that went along with it.

Mmmm. Mashed potatoes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 9: A Juice-Fasting Pu**y

Chadd was kind enough to talk shit last night at yoga, upon hearing that I'm having a bowl of fruit in the mornings, he cheerfully told me, "That's called being a juice-fasting pu**y".  I have to admit, call me a guy, but this kind of thing makes it a lot easier to stay tough.

Class last night was great. I was weak, but it was so encouraging, it was such a touchstone of certainty that I'm doing something healthy. I can feel it, on my own, in class - that my body wants to do this.

Mary recommended a number of new additions to my daily regimen, all of which I've incorporated. They're interesting.  They are:

1. Brushing my body twice a day with a body brush, to help the skin shrink along with my body (which is shrinking fast).  I got a great bristley brush and have done this twice now. I feel like a well-groomed horse.  Seriously, though, this was invigorating, it made me instantly feel buzzy and alert and grinny.

2. Two shots of raw apple cider vinegar a day.  This is also related to helping the skin keep up with the change in body shape. This is not that much fun, but pretty easy to get out of the way.

3. Organic mouth wash.  The fasting causes your teeth and mouth to get covered in this weird film. Mary says that this is literally the toxins and crap being expelled. Even after you brush your teeth rigorously, the film comes back really quickly. The mouthwash helps this. But YUUUUCK.

4. Sun Chlorella.  I'm just shy of becoming adult-diabetic, and have pretty intense blood-sugar highs and lows. The Sun Chlorella helps regulate these, plus it's interesting - like a little packet of blue-green algae every morning.

Anyway, I like that things are getting weird.  I've taken Sun Chlorella before, and it's like Nature's Adderall - very speedy, kinda fun.  Plus it turns your spit spinach green.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where'd the Energy go?

Like a piano falling on a zombie, so too goes my Energy.

Seriously - I can't keep my eyes open. I slept a ton last night (over 8 hours, which for me is like a year). This is adding to the difficulty.

Fortitude! I hope! Zzzzz....

1/4 done.

As of this moment, I'm 1/4 done.

Day 8. Reflections on Minor Failures

Last night I slipped a bit.

I was not feeling all that great - weak, dizzy, and like I was starting to get sick. I really felt like I was missing something, not like I was just facing a crazy craving. I decided to have an avocado and some miso soup - both of which seemed reasonable.   We went to the store, and the avocados were just in terrible shape - gross and mushy.  The only miso soup we could find was instant, and this turned out to basically be liquid salt.  To replace the avocado, we got some mild, organic guacamole.

The instant soup was super gross, but I just inhaled the guacamole. Humorously, I felt super full, like I had gorged myself, after eating just a few forkfuls of this.

I would have preferred not to have slipped, but I really felt shaky. It's weird - today I have lost that feeling of being light and agile, and instead feel slow and heavy, like normal.

Still, I'm determined not to let this small feeling of failure corrupt the effort. Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mental Game reveals its strength.

Much like Sauron held back the true size of his troops until finally opening the Black Gates to reveal the utter destruction of the free peoples of Middle Earth, so too has the mental challenge portion of this fast only now begun to reveal its true and epic strength.

For there are pictures, smells, suggestions, discussions, and dreams of FOOD, FOOD, FOOD, EVERYWHERE THIS FOOD.

I shall seek solace in distraction, which weirdly DOES feel like cheating.

Day 7. A week with no solid food?

I'm surprised that everything feels so normal. I've now almost completely cut caffeine out of my diet. I've gone from a triple-shot espresso drink, to a drink with only one shot, and a few more days from now, I should be off completely.  I am still having a small bowl of fruit in the morning, but this does not feel like a cheat to me.

The miracle of food, and the pure human pleasure of preparing and sharing home-cooked food is more vivid to me today than it has ever been. I am hungering for the human connection that food brings.  The names always hint at some mysterious past - the way that a piece of Mediterranean food can remind you of the wind from the desert, just because of its name.

Bring it on, 23 more days. Bring it on.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 6: Half awake, half dreaming.

I feel like the game is changing from a physical challenge to a mental challenge.

Last night I had a little bit of pickled cabbage and a quarter of an avocado. For some reason, I'm not troubled by this.  I was proud of myself for sitting at a table at one of my favorite restaurants and watching to great friends eat wonderful smelling food and not being overly tortured by it. I actually really enjoyed just drinking in the food smells.

I've really been noticing how food is so much more than food. It is the biggest experience of a 'culture' that we have, it's probably the first place where we start to get curious about the rest of the world, and dreaming of world travels. I also think food is the first place where rifts begin to be healed. I remember eating Afghani food shortly after the 2001 attacks and thinking that we must have more in common with each other than the news would believe, if the food from that mysterious place was so delicious to a white kid from the Chicago suburbs.

I also think food is essence of 'reward'. I was thinking about how I feel so safe and content when I am eating some kind of food that I associate with celebration, like Chicago Style Pizza, or a bad-ass Steak. It makes me feel like my life is where it should be, if I can facilitate something I love so much.

24 days to go. Then, probably, pizza, steak, and afghani food. Probably not all at once.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 5: Challenges appear.

Driving to Healdsburg last night, at around 9:30pm, is when the first of the freakishly intense hunger pangs hit.  They weren't so much a feeling of emptiness in the stomach as it was an intense psychological compulsion to get a steak. It was not, "man, I'd love a steak right now". It was, "YOU MUST FIND A STEAK RIGHT NOW OR YOU ARE GOING TO DIE.".  I did not succumb to the temptation, and I'm proud of that - I did have a few slices of cucumber and a carrot in Healdsburg, though.

The main thing that has me freaked out is that I don't know how to objectively reassure myself that I'm not actually hurting my body.  I feel alert, but I also feel very weak and this cough has lingered. I'm coughing up a lot of infected, gross, thick phlegm. I doubt that this cough was entirely caused by fasting, though I feel like I'm lacking something that I might need to combat it.

I've been doing this for long enough now that it doesn't feel novel to my body. Since the last 5 days have definitely felt longer than 5 days, there's less thinking about how many more days I have to go.

On the upside, I was around a fair amount of debauchery, chemical and otherwise, last night, and I did not feel any desire to participate. That's something of a new thing for me, actually - I often abstain from indulgences, but when I do so, it is an act of will to overcome the desire for participation and immediate gratification. This was different - I could imagine what it would feel like to be drunk, or various kinds of stoned, and I just really didn't want to feel that.  I'm glad I got to experience that.  I also laid down a fantastic Electro set kinda out of the blue, so... go go gadget new alertness.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 4: Sailing.

So, I find myself really resolute about not cheating even a little bit. There was a tiny voice in my head that was all, "maybe you could just have a little bit of grilled chicken now and again". I've done fasts like that, and I know they are still great, but I am just completely curious about what it will be like to really just DO THE HELL out of this.

That being said, I'm also resolute about participating in "life stuff". Last night I picked up my friend Meredith at the airport and we had a drink at the Burningman bar across the street (Noc Noc). I didn't feel bad about this at all. If I had had six drinks or snuck a piece of pizza or something, yeah, that'd be cheating - but hanging out with an old friend, having a drink is joyous.

We went to the 9am yoga class at Global Yoga this morning. The room was, as always, packed mat to mat. Chadd taught a magnificent 'sprinting' class. He didn't hold the poses crazy long, but there was this rushing, whooshing, energetic flow from each pose to the next - there were savasanas, but the energy stayed really high. The final breathing was this incredible, synchronized celebration of sound and air. Chadd actually said aloud, 'Wow, that was like, the best breathing ever.'  I'm not making up the inclusion of the word 'like'. NorCal represent... 

I feel amazing. My class today was still a bit weak, stamina-wise, but no panic, no fear, and when I was in the poses they were so open and expressive.

Here's what bugs me. I feel fairly certain that, after this fast is over, I'll eventually cycle back to a lot of my bad habits. I have just noticed that this is how life seems to be, and I don't judge myself for it. It almost feels natural. Still, I know that when I'm in a phase of eating crap and not going to yoga and stressing out at work, I really really loathe the idea of eating healthy, going to class - I find myself actively craving roast beef sandwiches and french fries, almost defiantly.  And when I'm in that place in life, I'm almost invariably grouchy, pessimistic, unenthusiastic, and uninspiring.  I would love to be able to have this version of me be able to remind that version of me, "hey, even though you don't want to... go do this, you'll feel wonderful, YOU KNOW YOU WILL."

Stubborn bastard.

Friday, February 19, 2010


So... though my stomach is rumbling a little bit, I have a surprising amount of energy. I feel spry and jumpy (in a good way) and I just feel a swell of enthusiasm. I'm overcome with the desire to get up and do things - small things, big things...

I'm starting to just accept, and attempt to work around, the fact that I really just can't program or concentrate in a single sitting for more than about an hour at a time. I need to get up and walk around, do something else with my brain for a little bit. I don't feel like this will negatively affect my performance at work too much, though, because my need to click on random, meaningless internet crap is significantly diminished.

Plus - and, again, I know this is a temporary thing and not the focus of this endeavor, but... I lost another three pounds since yesterday, and the difference those pounds is palpable. My clothes feel almost loose - my shirt that was too tight is draped falling straight down, and I just generally feel 'light'.

I love this so far. I'm preparing myself for the mental challenge of it - mostly by acknowledging that it definitely will be a mental challenge - but so far, it's easier to do this than not to do it.

Day 3: Already getting easier?

This is getting a little bit easier, though I am knocking on wood.  I find that it helps to have things to do to avoid downtime, where food fantasies can kick in. I had a giggle last night - I'm unabashedly a foodie, and in that context, giving up food altogether for a month is extra crazy.

I do find that I have trouble concentrating and focusing for long stretches of time. I wonder, though, whether that will ever change. I read an article (a published paper) somewhat recently which attempted to make the case that depression and obesity are actually ideal fitness for the performance required to sit and program for long stretches of time - the depression helps create a desire for isolation, the obesity (and the sugar binges which precede it) help create a constant high level of blood sugar, which (according to the paper) helps in concentration on abstract problem solving.   Basically, it seems like "spending all day sitting and programming difficult things" can be intrinsically unhealthy.

I realize it's only day three, and I further realize that weight-loss is not the focus of this fast, but... my clothes fit me today. They're not tight. I'm not holding my breath and stomach in all day.  Though I know this will probably go away when the fast is over, I do wonder... if healthiness in the body comes from loving your body (cue masturbation joke from Taisuke, Francisco, Joe...), then doing something which may be temporary but gives you a taste of feeling good and proud and happy with yourself can't be bad? I feel like this is a way of laying groundwork for actually preferring eating mostly vegetables, instead of truly craving chicago-style pizza every day. (Which, of course, I do).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Orange Drinks

The orange drinks are a challenge. The ginger is SO SPICY, it makes it hard to drink them quickly, and the ginger spice just builds up and builds up.   I used to just pound them as fast as I could, but I'm making a conscious effort to really taste things.  "Always taste what you're taking".

Day 2: Morning

Getting to sleep last night was hard. My stomach was rumbling, and I was super alert, in that druggy kind of way that fasting seems to produce. 

Last night's yoga class was a bit eye-opening. I was very weak and had poor stamina, but there was very little panic and I was surprisingly flexible. I also noticed that my willpower was much stronger, despite my body being weaker. It may not have seemed that way to anyone looking at me, as I sat out about half of the standing series, but I was repeatedly surprised by being able to find new places in poses.  I found a new place in both Balancing Stick as well as Floor Bow... yay!

This morning I am definitely noticing cravings, with a vengeance.  I went to the cafeteria to pick up a fruit bowl (and oatmeal for Stacy), and the sight of a delicious fried egg with toast was really difficult.  FORTITUDE!

I have a cough that sorta came out of nowhere last night, and my joints feel swollen - particularly my fingers - so typing is hard and painful. In general, this just adds to the feeling weak. I realized last night that I have no objective way to 'know' that I'm getting enough of whatever nutrients my body needs.  I don't really know this in normal life either, I just solve it by overeating consistently...  (the shotgun approach to nutrition).  But, I realize that I'm trusting Mary and the yoga studio completely, without having really done the work to understand the nutrition and logic of this on my own.  I have a book from Taisuke and Brenda about raw food nutrition - I think it's time I did more than skim it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1: A few observations

I'm noticing a few things.

First - I am just shy of tripping my ass off. My scalp is tingling, colors are vibrant... I assume this is the beginning of the detox? BRING IT ON.

Second - I notice that if I let more than 3 hours go by without a juice, I start to notice an inability to keep focused. (Or type).

Third - I have been reminded of one of my favorite parts of fasting (juice or otherwise). So much more time in the day! The acquisition and consumption of food takes up so much time... It's great to not have to think about it.

0 days down, 30 to go

Hello friends.

I'm starting a 30-day juice fast today. The juices are being expertly prepared by Mary Jarvis at my favorite yoga studio, Global Yoga. Each day I pick up 5 juices - 3 of which are the green drinks, which just emanate 'livingness', 1 orange drink, and 1 watermelon-based drink. Depending on the day, the mix of juices may include more than 3 green drinks.

So... taking stock. It's been a long three years... almost four years, now, since Bikram Teacher Training. I've moved to San Francisco from New Zealand (though I miss NZ more every day). I do feel like I have a baseline of health in my life that I didn't have before I found Bikram Yoga - a sort of enforced minimum. I don't (usually) feel wretched or hopeless in an ambient way, which I did feel before all this. Plus... I got to have that feeling of knowing that at least once, at least for a day at the end of training, I achieved a body that was, for a fleeting moment, magnificently healthy.

But... the yoga has slipped away from me, little by little. I am still going weekly (sometimes less), and I love our studio. I even love class, though the old "can't breathe, can't breathe" panic is back. My septum is severely deviated, and I have less than 10% airflow through one nostril, and sometimes as low as 20% normal airflow through the other. There are times, particularly in a humid room, when I just have no air flow through my nose at all, and the panic just sets in immediately. But... that's always been there, and long gone are the days of yoga every day for three months. Part of this is just time - our work has long hours which are very draining, and if the day also includes yoga, there isn't much time for much other than going home, eating a quick bite of something, and falling asleep. That's hard to maintain every single day, it makes me feel like life has become a race away from something.

Ultimately, then, it's just a search for balance - how much yoga is enough so that I feel my body staying healthy and getting healthier, without feeling like my life has evaporated? I don't know the answer.

I do know that as of this morning, I weigh more than 260 pounds, which is a new personal record. I know that I can feel my heartbeat in a way that I have not used to. I know that my diet has started containing more and more alcohol, more and more pizza and grease, and that my cravings for junk food are strong. By way of illustration: today I'm starting a 30-day juice fast, and today is also 'free donuts' day at work. I ate the donut. (But before the first of my first box of juices, so technically it wasn't breaking the fast...). Old injuries seem to be reappearing. New injuries seem to appear for no reason, and both are getting inexplicably worse.

Why a juice fast? First, I trust our studio, and I trust that the complement of juices that I'm drinking daily are providing me with enough nutrients to live healthily. Seeing the International Yoga Asana Champions (dig it) train in Mary's studio, some of whom were only consuming the juice (Emily!), convinced me that I don't need protein powder or supplements or anything like that. Secondly, the juices taste really alive and delicious. I still struggle with the orange ones, but the greens are just wonderful. I've had an 8-day juice fast before, and it was very doable. Lastly... I feel like I need a big, measurable change to help me kick the bad habits that I've picked up, and I feel like I'll have support and encouragement on this path.

So, wish me luck!
5 juices x 30 days = 150 juices.
1 down, 149 to go.

I'll be gradually weaning myself off coffee, rather than going cold turkey, and I'm going to continue to have a bowl of fruit in the morning. Steamed spinach with salt and Olive Oil is also allowed. I'm intent on not making a huge deal about having food here and there with visiting friends or special occasions, though I won't use this as a loophole.

Mary is taking a 'big chubby before picture' at Yoga tonight, which I'll post here.