30 May 2013
Whilst on holiday I read a really interesting article (I cannot remember where it was, but I think it was in the May edition of the US Marie Claire) which I memory-banked with the plan of writing a blog post on the subject matter when I got home. What grabbed my eye and touched a nerve-ending was that the article was on juicing, and in particular, juice cleanses and juice fasts or detoxes. Jucing is something that my mom and I have been doing for a long time – I remember making awesome juices with her back in university, if not before then, and she has had a juicer forever. But juicing for me has always been a complimentary thing to my regular diet. Occasionally, if I’m in a rush, I will have a juice for breakfast, but I will always follow that with a midmorning snack and regular meals (the stomach growls – they’ll get to you and everyone else within a 50m radius).
Last year, the juice fasting fad hit South Africa, and a lot of my friends and family have tried it. I even downloaded an iPhone app with the instructions for a 5 day juice detox (this was pre-wedding, obviously). Andrew and I were going to do it together, but being the master investigator he is, he spent two days researching the ins and outs, the negatives and positives, and came to the conclusion that overall, it was an unhealthy way to try and lose 5kgs in a week. Reports of tooth decay (fruit is full of sugars), massive fatigue and dizziness, hair loss and other side-effects made us reach the conclusion that we’d rather just eat less and run more. Of course the side-effects listed above probably only happen to serious and regular juice-fasters, but still, I love my body and don’t want to put her through that shock for five days (she says, having another glass of wine and lighting a cigarette).
Then I read this article (yay! It was the US Marie Claire, I have just googled and found it) and the plot thickened even further. I am so glad I did not do that fast. In a nutshell, eating disorder clinics in the US are calling juicing a gateway method to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Fasters get addicted to the feeling of emptiness they feel on a juice fast, as well as to the subsequent weight loss (hey, don’t we all like to feel lighter) but then battle to return to normal eating habits afterwards – so fearful are they of feeling full or putting back on the recently lost weight. Doctors are beginning to warn that juice cleanses have moved away from providing a healthy detox for the body to providing a path to eating disorders. Eating disorder clinics in the US are acknowledging this by adding juice fasting to the topics of concern they discuss and deal with with their clients.
You see, I’m glad I didn’t do the juice because I’m a bit of a teeterer. I teeter on the edge of being a healthy and balanced individual and an obsessive and slightly looney one. I’m not a stupid kid, so when I start eating less and losing the balance, I can convince myself in my head that I’m actually doing the right thing. In university I had my wisdom teeth taken out and couldn’t eat properly for a week. Of course, I lost weight and thrived off all the compliments I recieved afterwards on my new slimmer physique. I had also grown rather attached to the feeling of emptiness in my belly and my food portion size halved while my exercise routine increased to maintain my slimmer body. I kept it up for a very long time, but I think I can say now that I’m a pretty healthy
wolfer-down eater of food and I’m only 2 kgs heavier (what is 2kgs in the greater scheme of life anyway) than when I was diet and gym obsessed. My mother in law often remarks in amazement that she has never seen a girl eat so much (awkies). I love my breakfast of poached egg and avo, a big fat chicken salad for lunch and meat and veg for dinner. But if I had taken on that juice fast… I might be straight back to that slightly obsessed girl I was a couple of years back. And as it says in the article, women with Type A Personalities (that’s me!), or whom have suffered from an eating disorder before, should rather just stay away from the juice fasts. In fact, any behaviour where one becomes obsessive with food, or the patterns of food-eating (or the lack there of in this case) is dangerous. Most doctors advise that if you are going to do a juice fast, it should last no longer than two days. So I think I’m just going to stick to my one yummy juice a day, as either a mid-morning or afternoon snack, and if I’m keen to lose a little weight and feel healthy, I’d rather cut out the booze and bad carbs and get pounding the pavement.
Teetering on the edge of darkness is just not worth it. Rather get off that scary tight-rope and come back to the light. Unless you’re a Victoria’s Secret model, the world is not going to end because of your unwanted three kilograms of extra body weight. I promise.
Drunk on Juice + Other Ramblings (this blogger describes herself as a “skinnista” and is an avid juice faster… er. Ok.)