How to Do a Five Day Juice Fast

Tuesday Feb 24 | BY |
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Last Friday, I completed a five-day juice fast!

I’ve done a bit of fasting and cleansing over the years, but my last juice fast was back in 1999!

I’ve always fasted on water a day or two when I felt the need for it and did a few longer fasts as well. (I did a five-day water fast in December 2013, a 23-day water fast in 2005 and a few 3-4 day fasts). But I had little experience with juice fasting.

I decided to give this a try because a new juicing company started in my city. They deliver freshly-pressed, organic juices to your door, and offer a 3 or 5 day cleanse service.

I liked the idea of having all of the juices prepared for me and delivered to my door. That way I could just focus on doing the juice fast and not having to worry about shopping for produce, juicing it and cleaning up the juicer!

Last week, we experienced some extreme cold here in the East, so the juice deliveries made even more sense!

For $285 CAD ($225US), I signed up for a 5-day juice fast. I got two deliveries of juice per week — six juice per day —  a total of 30 juices!

Juicing on my own would have been less expensive, but I probably wouldn’t have done it at this particular time if I couldn’t have had this convenience.

The Juice Plan

The six juices by Dose are formulated according to a specific nutritional plan. They provide 1400 calories a day in total.

One of the juices isn’t even a juice: It’s a hemp seed milk, containing 400 calories and 23 grams of fat. I was skeptical at first, having always eschewed fats on my cleanses, but this addition worked out well and made the cleanse easier to follow, with good benefits still.

I drank one juice every two hours, from 8 a.m., in that order:

Juice #1 – A green juice with pear and grapefruit
Juice #2 – Hemp seed milk (contains dates)
Juice #3 – Apple, beets, carrots, kale, and lots of good stuff.
Juice #4 – A citrus based juice
Juice #5 – A carrot juice with some apple
Juice #6 – A green juice, with some apple

So I drank three liters of fresh juice every day, including the hemp milk.

As for water, I didn’t drink much, even though it was recommended to drink half a bottle between every juice.

Here’s how it went:

Day 1 — An easy day. I had good energy and didn’t think much about eating solid food. I felt more tired than usual in the evening and went to bed early.

Day 2 — I woke up feeling refreshed, but it was a tougher day. I started to crave “real food” throughout the day and felt more tired than usual. This is the day where I thought to myself: I should have signed up for a three-day cleanse instead! In the evening, I tried to get some work done, but couldn’t concentrate. I tried to read a magazine, but couldn’t focus either. I ended up watching a few episodes of 30ROCK before passing out at a ridiculously early time.

Day 3 — I woke up at 4 a.m., stayed up for a while, and fell asleep until 7 a.m. More juice got delivered in the morning. The day went well! I took a quick nap midday. I didn’t finish the hemp milk all at once but finished it later in the afternoon. Overall, this day was easy, and I didn’t think much about food. After drinking my last juice at 6 p.m., I drank half a bottle of carrot juice from Day 5… naughty me!

In the evening, I did not have the concentration and focus problems that I had on Day 2. Much less fatigue.

Day 4 — The wind turned! I felt good all day, and for the first time I thought “I could do this for longer.”

Day 5 — Day 5 was a breeze. I had great energy and mood. I was happy to end the cleanse but felt it certainly had started become easier and almost like a way of life.

Benefits of My 5-Day Fast

I lost 5 pounds. I regained 3 pounds after eating again (it’s water and glycogen weight), but I’m still down 2 pounds “permanently.” I felt light and energetic during the fast, and that feeling has remained. It reinforced my commitment to eating a high-raw diet.

I felt the fast improved my taste buds. After the juice fast, natural foods tasted great… and I found I reduced the amount of seasonings that I used. I felt more drawn to fruits and vegetables, and processed foods had no appeal. The juice fast did not make me “crave everything.” In fact, a simple salad was the best way to break my “fast”!

I felt extremely hydrated after the fast and had much less interest in consuming salty foods. I was craving clementines!

Overall, I felt great.

I think most of the benefits of juice fasting are in the long-term. It’s not about going on juices for3 to 30 days ONCE and then eating whatever you like after. It’s about using fresh juices, cleansing, and a high-raw diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. I might even try a day of juice fasting per week for a while or something along those lines.

How to Do Your Own Juice Fast

Juicing my veggies would have been cheaper. I would have needed a couple of hours for shopping and probably two or three juicing sessions of about one 60 to 90 minutes each (including cleanup). Having the juices already made from a company made it easier for me to give this cleanse a try.

If you’re looking to try a juice fast, I think both options would work well. You certainly don’t want to be juicing every day. Fresh juices made with a good juicer will keep at least two days in the fridge, so juicing a batch in advance is the best option for saving time.

Plan for about three liters of juice every day. Replace one of the juices with an almond or hemp-seed milk (a blend of seeds or nuts, water, dates, maple syrup and a little sea salt), to feel more satiated. Use about 1.5 ounces of nuts for one portion.

If you find the juice fast too difficult, it’s okay to eat some salads or almonds, or a piece of fruit. You’ll still get a lot of the benefits if you continue the juice fast and add those items, rather than quitting entirely.

Make sure you drink enough juice. Calories consumed during the juice fast should be a drop from your normal intake, but it shouldn’t be TOO dramatic.

Overall Comments

I still prefer the 3-Day Cleanse, also known as the Weekend Cleanse, that Kevin and I designed last year (we’re about to release a new version soon). The 3-Day Cleanse was more compact and gave similar results as a 5-day juice fast.

However, I found the juice fast, with the addition of the nut milk, a breeze to follow (for the most part), and would definitely do it again.

What about you? What’s your experience with juice fasting?

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.

15 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. Great article Fred. I had a similar experience, which I’ve described on my blog here:

    https://joshuasteiner.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/my-fear-came-true-i-wasnt-hungry/

  2. chusmacha says:

    With regard to semantics or language, what is meant by using the word “high” along with the word “raw?” Are we supposed to already know what the term “high raw” means? Please explain. The word “high” could be synonymous with the word “loaded” for some people.
    Also the term “juicing” could mean different things depending on context. Juicing could mean drinking a glass of juice or it could mean using the machine we call a juicer to make the juice. I know you guys are very serious into health, but sometimes the words being written and spoken leave me gasping for an explanation. KUTGW

    • Kevin coined the term “high raw” to describe a diet that includes a lot of raw foods as its CORE but is not a 100% raw. It’s a reference to his book “High Raw” published a few years ago. By juicing, we mean using the machine to make your own juices.

  3. Shoshannah says:

    You talked all about the juices you got from Canada but failed to mention who. I would be interested in that if you can please pass on that information.
    Thank you, Shoshannah

  4. Joe says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    The last juice fast I did was a 3 day – but I was teaching full time and travelling around the city. It was hectic, but I felt good! I like the idea that we should exercise while fasting as well. There is something about the stress response of combined exercise and fasting.

    Although – many times I start a fast and break it in the evening because it doesn’t feel right. I think it is important not to let the ego get in the way and to do what feels right to the body, especially in winter. It’s not a failure in my book. Sometimes it’s good to hit hard and challenge yourself – sometimes it’s good to rest and listen to the experience.

  5. Peter says:

    Thanks Frederic – great info!! Years ago I learned the importance of raw foods from you.
    DOs – I have been doing juicing for many years – mostly veggies, all kinds – take the place of salads and more. Still trying to do juices in the morning and the rest afternoon. Something like 90% organic, 10 – 20% cooked. This year age 85, no med’s. Over the years few health problems, but keep going almost as good as 60.
    DONT’S – Never give up – Depend 100% on Higher power and do not stop learning.

  6. Desney says:

    Hi, I’m at day 5 in a 7 day juice fast and found similar effects regarding tiredness and lack of concentration. I wanted to start the fast before I started studies again to clear my mind and try to focus better and hopefully have better results from study. My caffeine and sugar addiction added headaches for the first 3 days which is understandable. Hoping to get more energy and not crave all the sweet things again. Being motivated to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol levels too should help. Thanks for your input too.

  7. Jacek says:

    I’ve often read that after juice is made, you should drink it within 20 – 30 minutes because after that it starts to lose its nutritional value. If that is true why would you choose to buy juice that has been made earlier that day, or who knows when? Maybe even the day before?

    • That’s a really good question! It’s really not necessary to drink the juice right away. Juices pressed in a good-quality juices WILL retain their nutrients and will keep for a few days. The higher-quality the juicer, the longer they’ll keep.

      Often we get so focused on the details that we lose the BIG PICTURE. Then, it becomes very inconvenient to follow this lifestyle.

      Fresh juices contain WAY MORE vitamins that our bodies actually need. Even if a juice lost 10% of its vitamin C after a day, it would still be way more than what you need.

      Juicing in advance is more convenient and makes it more likely that you’ll actually do it and incorporate juicing in your life! In my opinion you get the same benefits whether you drink the juice right away or juice in advance for a few days.

      I don’t know why, but in the world of Natural Health people get bugged down by the details. This quest for perfectionism makes them lose the big picture!

      I also get criticized for saying, for example, that you don’t need to eat 100% organic for this lifestyle to work. 99% of the benefits come from eating those fruits and vegetables (instead of other foods) and not from whether it’s organic or not or juiced right away.

      I want more people to embrace this lifestyle. If it’s too complicated, only a few select people will do it! Focus on the 99% that truly matters and relax a little about the 1%. That’s my motto.

  8. Alice says:

    Frederic, is it okay to do the 5-day cleanse and start a gym membership, with moderate cardio and weight training at the same time? I am tried of feeling sluggish and would like to take a week off to jump start a program toward better health and shape up the body. Thanks!

    Alice

  9. Try fasting of any kind while making meals for your children and meat-&-potato-lovin’ husband. Now there’s an accomplishment!

  10. Ruth says:

    loved the article but was amazed to read that the juices could be 2 or 3 days old and that you recommended making up a batch in advance and keeping in the fridge. They will loose nearly all their potency in that time. For maximum effect juices need to be made fresh and comsumed within 20 minutes.

  11. mango says:

    If you can read spanish, here is my little experience with juice fasting.
    chefmango.blogspot.com.es
    It felt like there were already tons of stuff in english about this subject, so it made infinetely more sense to create a blog in spanish to trasnmit all this inf to people whom could not read english , only spanish .
    Enjoy 🙂

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