Last week on Dec 12th, it marked 6 months since I’ve had a drop of alcohol.
This blows my mind. When I made the decision to finally quit drinking for good, I knew it was time but I had this idea that there would be a gaping hole where wine used to live. This hole would leave me sad, bored, boring, unhappy, less cool, scared, and not sure how to navigate life.
It turns out, I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life and only slightly less cool than before.
It’s a worthwhile exchange.
It took me three solid attempts to quit drinking before I finally stuck it, but I thought about quitting approximately 2 million and 2 times before it materialized.
Thinking about quitting was much easier than actually quitting for a lot of reasons, but mainly, keeping it a thought meant that I didn’t have to tell anyone. And if I didn’t tell anyone, no one would show up and hold me accountable when I convinced myself that I didn’t need to quit drinking after all (because convincing myself of this was inevitable).
I have mentioned my drinking before and when I hit my one year mark of going without, I will write a full on fuckery about it. I bring it up today because today’s fuckery is all about dropping shitty, unhealthy habits.
There is no easy way to stop an addiction – or it wouldn’t be an addiction.
But there is a way to make it slightly easier on yourself, especially in the beginning.
And as “GOOP” as it sounds, doing a juice fast is where it’s at for getting rid of cravings while healing the body AND putting an end to the mind fuck that goes along with being addicted to food and/or alcohol.
This is because when you’re on a juice fast you have fewer choices to make. And when you’re not obsessing about what you’re going to eat next or how many glasses of wine you’re going to try and keep it at tonight, you have space to breathe, process and heal.
On the physical side, doing a juice fast floods the body with nutrients while giving the digestive system a chance to rest. When the digestive system isn’t hard at work digesting food, it has the opportunity to make much needed repairs to our cells.
In general, I’m not a fan of detox diets, miracle superfoods, or anything else that attempts to circumvent eating a nutrient dense diet, drinking plenty of water, getting good sleep and moving your body.
That said, sometimes we need a kick off place in order to easily move into that.
Doing a juice fast is one of the very best ways to accomplish this. I don’t know that I would be 6 months without a drink if I didn’t do a juice fast at the beginning of my sober journey. So for me, juicing will always be in my good books.
Today I’m talking with one of my readers, Sarah. Sarah recently did a juice fast and it turned her life around. Her dedication and metamorphosis is inspiring beyond words and I’m honored that she took the time for this interview.
Read on and be prepared to get pumped up for what I have in store for you at the end of the interview.
Here’s my interview with Sarah. Enjoy.
Hi Sarah! You are rocking the shit out of life! What motivated you to do a juice fast?
I decided to do the fast to rid myself of some very bad habits which had become my daily routine. I had coffee to get going every morning, snacking between meals throughout the day and wine every night which would always lead to more snacks in the evening. I had 25 extra pounds on my 5 foot frame and I was sick of not feeling up to par and not looking my best. I needed to break the sugar / alcohol / cheese / coffee addictions. A fast seemed like the quickest method to turn my life around.
Did you have fears or hesitations going into it?
I decided that September 1st (2015) was a great day to begin my fast. It was a new week, a new month, and I was motivated. I had no fears about starting. I made no plans for that entire month that might include eating out or socializing over food or drink. I had fasted before, so I knew I could do it again. I simply needed to keep at it until I could be around those trigger foods and control my desire to consume them. That takes time.
I read in several articles that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so that was my target this year. I managed to go 26 days which gave me a little wiggle room to transition from liquids to solids. By the time the fast was over, I was slim, in shape and most importantly, in control!
26 days is fucking amazing. Was there a specific day or set of days that were toughest for you? How so?
When starting out, those first two days are a nightmare. The coffee withdrawal is severe and the headaches are some of the worst I have experienced. By day 4, the headaches are gone, but the cravings are still difficult and I went through many battles in my mind about whether it was all worth it.
I had to change my way of looking at food – not as depriving myself of my comforts, but as a healthy step forward to rid my body of the built-up toxins and unhealthy fat. There were many days throughout the fast when I just wanted to say ‘fuck it’ and eat like a truck driver, but once you fast for several days, you don’t want to have to start all over again! so you just keep on plugging away until food no longer consumes you.
I found that I was able to use the time which would have been spent cooking, or cleaning up what I cooked, to draw and create, or walk and do a workout. There is so much more time when your whole world is not centered around food…..You no longer spend your time wondering what’s for lunch, what’s for dinner, what will I make to eat tomorrow, etc.
Food becomes what it always should have been – fuel for your body, not a mask to deaden feelings, or comfort for what ails ya.
How do you feel after the fast compared to how you felt before you started?
My fast ended September 27. I woke up knowing it was the right time to break my fast and I looked forward to the food I would eat (a hearty veggie soup). It was heavenly and I savored every bite and appreciated the tastes and textures. I actually felt a bit sad to break the fast because it had become so easy to not eat or think about food. But of course, I had to resume eating, only now I have the tools to eat the foods I want to and turn down foods that do not serve my body well.
Those addictions were ingrained in me and to fight through them was hard, but to come out on the other side, lean and energetic without cravings was worth every struggle along the way.
Can you talk about your cravings for certain foods before, during and after the juice fast?
I was a chip junkie! Anything salty, crunchy and cheesy was ‘my thing’. I could easily sit down and eat an entire large bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos or Buffalo Blue Kettle chips, family size bag of Cheetos, or a bucket of movie popcorn. If I popped corn at home, I popped several bags! As if the salty foods weren’t enough of a problem, I would always want something sweet afterwards. And don’t get me started about not being able to function in the morning without several cups of coffee!
My life had gotten away from me. My cravings ran my life!! After the fast, which gave me the time to eliminate all those trigger foods, I do not have ANY cravings. I actually rarely get hungry now, and when I do, I am careful to eat only nutritious foods.
The first thing I do when I feel hungry, is test myself with a glass of water. Often my desire to eat is just my body misreading the signals and I am thirsty, not hungry at all. Once I know it is food that I need, I will munch on carrots, frozen grapes or pea pods while I prepare myself something healthy and yummy.
I have been put to the test many times since the fast ended – playing cards with friends, going out to lunch or dinner, and out to the movies. I no longer have wine to socialize, or eat junky stuff while waiting for a meal. I sneak pea pods into the movie theater and drink water or tea. The cravings are gone and I DO NOT miss them running my life!
How many pounds/sizes did you end up losing?
I started my journey at 150 pounds (68 kg) and 27 days later, I was 133 (60 kg). The following month I still had my occasional juice and smoothie, and ate sparingly, losing another 9 pounds (4 kg) effortlessly.
I went from size 14 to a 4 and feel terrific. I could probably lose a bit more, but if it is supposed to come off, it will. I no longer need to worry about it.
A lot of my time used to be spent in my closet trying to find something slimming to wear, now everything I put on looks great, so that aspect of my life is gone. I don’t have to think about faking it anymore!!
What did a typical day of food look like for you before the fast?
Before my fast, a typical day of eating started with toast with egg and cheese for breakfast with coffee – lots of coffee, then lunch out with the girls which always meant soup, salad and dessert, then home for snacking while fixing something for dinner….then after dinner was wine, tv and chips or crackers. I struggled every waking moment to keep my calorie count below 1200 and berated myself when I could not.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
Now my typical day begins with a banana/avocado smoothie and a cup of tea. Lunch is usually greens and roasted veggies with an apple for desert, a smallish dinner and crunchy veggies for snacking in the evenings. I no longer bother to track my calories since the ones I eat are utilized efficiently and my weight stays the same or continues to drop.
Was there anything unexpected that you learned about yourself while going through your juicing experience?
I learned a few random things along the way.
ONE: You can’t start a fast until your brain is ready for it. You must mentally prepare. Set a date, and read up on all the benefits you will experience until you are excited about the changes to come.
TWO: Friends and family and even strangers, cannot relate to what your fast is all about. They will try to talk you out of it, preach about a lack of protein or balk at going without meat, cheese, dairy, sugar, etc. and even tell you that you will become unhealthy – this ‘advice’ usually comes from someone who doesn’t give a shit about the food they put into their own bodies and are overweight themselves.
I have learned not to tell anyone about the fast, unless they mention the amazing changes they see. I also learned that most people have a multitude of excuses for why they are not in shape, or do not exercise or eat right.
Even if they like what you have done, they have excuses for why they could not possibly do it. I already know all the excuses, I have used them all for years. Ignore them. Maybe they will see the light someday, but it is not your job to try to make them do it.
THREE: The biggest thing I learned is that it just takes time. You need time to lose the weight, time to work on your muscles, time to detoxify, time to meditate away the impurities and let your body heal itself.
What is a few weeks or months or even a year out of your entire life if you will eventually be healthier and stronger in the end? It is the most worthwhile thing I have ever done for myself.
FOUR: Learning that I can fix myself again in the future, IF I ever need to, is an invaluable thing to know!
Thank you Sarah!
Is she amazing and 100% inspiring? Yes she is.
Sarah emailed me last week and told me that she reached her goal weight of 120 pounds this week (54 kg).
So she has lost a total of 30 pounds (13.6 kg) since September with the combination of juice fasting and eating a plant based diet. And even more importantly, she is free of food and alcohol controlling her life. Which – believe me, feels even more empowering, joyful and freeing than reaching your goal weight.
Sarah is absolutely right that doing a juice fast takes planning. The first time I did a juice fast I ate a shit ton of oily Dim Sum the day before my fast and drank an entire bottle of wine the evening after my fast. This is the perfect example of how NOT to do it.
There are things that will make a juice fast easier, and things that will make a juice fast harder for you. This is exactly why my 5 Week Plant Based Reset includes a juice fast. I take everything that I know about juice fasting and guide and support you through the process. And since this program is live, everyone will be going through it at the same time, so you won’t be alone when those detox headaches hit.
My 5 week clean out is more than just a juice fast. It’s 5 whole weeks of cleaning out the gunk, getting rid of cravings and unhealthy habits, and bringing the body back into balance, health and the ideal weight for your frame.
If you feel tired, sluggish, bloated, heavy, and all around not good and you’re ready to do something about it, sign up now for my next 5 Week Plant Based Reset. This isn’t a flash in the pan diet, this is dedicating 5 weeks of your life to understand and implement a lifestyle that can stick for good.
If you do it now you will have time to mentally prepare and you won’t be able to talk yourself out of it, come up with excuses, or convince yourself that you don’t need it. If you have to convince yourself you don’t need to do something, that’s the very thing that you should be doing.
Trust me, the excuses I made to convince myself I didn’t need to quit drinking were hilarious.
My favorite was when I would tell myself that I already ate really healthy and exercised regularly, so drinking brought balance to my life. Yeah – I told myself that.
Here is the perfect recipe if you have lots of cooked brown rice and you don’t know what to do with it.
It’s easy to the point of being stupid. Seriously, it’s a no-brainer. Follow along. You’ll see.
Brown Rice Casserole Recipe
Brown Rice Casserole Recipe
- 4 cups cooked brown rice 555g
- 2 cups raw broccoli 165g, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes 160g, chopped
- 1/2 cup raw carrot 70g, finely diced
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 18g
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion granules
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked rice, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, and nutritional yeast and stir until everything is nice and mixed up.
In a smaller separate bowl, add the non-dairy milk, tahini, paprika, onion granules and sea salt and whisk until everything is combined.
Add the liquid mixture to the rice mixture and stir.
Add a tiny amount of olive or coconut oil to a paper towel and grease an 8x8 inch baking pan, wiping off any excess oil.
Add the rice mixture to the pan, cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, take the foil off the baking dish, turn the heat up to 400°F (205°C) and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with preparing to shed habits from your life that no longer serve you.