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Water Fast vs. Juice Fast: the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

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Water Fast vs. Juice Fast: the Good, the Bad, and the Hungry

Fasting.

Some swear by it as the cure for every ailment. Some only do it when they are stranded by accident in the woods and can’t catch a chipmunk. For those who have never tried it, it sounds, at the best, intriguing, or at the worst, miserable. For those who embrace it, it is enlightening, empowering, and healing.

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Let’s peel back all the hype and just look at the basics of fasting. Are there health benefits? Absolutely… when done correctly.

Fasting can be as complex or simple as you make it. Some people consider cutting a certain food group or favorite indulgence out of their diet a type of fasting. Others think fasting should be performed for religious reasons and nothing should enter the mouth—not even water. Since the first is much too broad and the second is only for the devoutly called, I will focus on a fasting that is a bit more mainstream. The two most well-established types of fasting are juice fasts and water fasts.

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Water Fasting

The name is self explanatory: you just drink water for a set number of days. I have only done one long water fast in my life; I didn’t follow the rules and started the fast when I was working a very physically-demanding job. I made it to day five, and then broke it.

If you decide to do a water fast, I highly recommend doing so when you don’t have to do large amounts of physical exertion. I was a sales rep that walked throughout offices carrying multiple 25-pound boxes of product, and I also got a shipment in my storage shed during my fast of over fifty heavy cases that I had to unload and stack by myself. By the final day, every time I got out of my car, I had to lean against it for a few minutes to make the world stop spinning.

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The main benefit people claim from water fasts is the body’s ability to detox with the energy normally utilized for digestion. Your GI system also gets a needed break. I did lose weight quickly on the water fast, which was another nice benefit, and the hunger pains stopped after the second day. I felt miserable most of the time, however, with headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and general weakness. I tried to push through it, as I couldn’t slow down due to work. Had I done it correctly and rested, I’m sure my experience would have been much different. Those who swear by water fasting say they notice a clarity of mind, peacefulness, increased energy, weight loss, and general healing as positive results.

Juice Fasting

Juice fasting is done by using a juicer to extract fruit and vegetable juices from fresh produce. You then drink different recipes throughout the fast. It is a much gentler way to fast vs. straight water fasting, in my experience. You don’t slow down your metabolism as much as you would drinking only water, as you still consume calories and important nutrients from the juices.

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I am a much bigger fan of juicing and have completed multiple juice fasts. My longest fast was 14 days: while drinking just juice, I experienced many of the amazing benefits of fasting with no unpleasant side effects. I felt healthy, energetic, calm, and lost weight. I was even able to run light training 5Ks during the fasting, although my times were not as impressive as on my regular diet. Other people, whom I have coached through juice fasts, report similar benefits.

One of the best sites that I have found for information about juicing is Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The site was created from a documentary about a very sick Australian man who did a 60-day juice fast while on a trip to America, and turned his health around. I have utilized this site and free information for most of my recipes and as a resource during my fasts.

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While fasting may seem crazy to some, its benefits can’t be ignored. I have personally experienced the rewards of doing a fast the correct way, and the drawbacks of fasting the wrong way. My best advice is to do your own research and check with your doctor to determine if fasting is the right course for your health.

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Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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