Part of the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program I’m currently doing is a three day fruit fast. After several weeks of simply observing your diet and incorporating whole, fresh foods, this is an opportunity to cleanse. The idea is that eating a diet of only fresh fruits gives the body a break from digesting heavier foods and allows the body to get rid of toxins.
While this “fast” is scheduled to occur during the fourth week of the program, I began early. As part of teacher-leader training at 502 Power Yoga, we are focusing on living authentically and with integrity…which has meant going back and cleaning up some “messes” in our lives. This might look like reconciling with an estranged friend, or expressing feelings that you have bottled up. Along with cleaning up a metaphorical mess this past weekend, I realized I wanted to physically clean our apartment as well; it was a little overdue. What was really overdue were some household projects I had promised to follow through on in March but hadn’t. I felt revitalized to relieve myself of that burden (and it just so happens that week three’s focus was Vitality.) With all the cleaning I was doing, it just felt right to begin the fruit fast.
This is how I envisioned the fruit fast going:
I love eating fruit, and it makes up a large portion of my diet. Thanks to my mom, nectarines are one of my favorite foods, and since college I’ve eaten a banana every day. I bought a watermelon, three cantaloupe, apples, bananas, mango, berries, avocados and tomatoes. I pictured myself feeling completely free of bloating, with boundless energy, and the “glow” suggested in the book. I envisioned that I would document all the gorgeous fruit creations on Instagram, or at least photograph them for this blog.
This is how the fruit fast actually went:
I wasn’t able to follow through on the suggestions that I always take the time to prepare full meals, by beautifully arranging fruit, or that I fill my time with activities that nourish me. I knew I was off to a rough start when I had to get up at 4:45AM the first day to work 6AM-4:30PM. Besides breakfast, I mostly ate on the fly. I made time to photograph only two of my meals. I ended up working more throughout those three days than I ever have with this job…maybe that was part of the challenge.
The first day I was exhausted. I took two naps totaling 2.5 hours. The second day I was lethargic and cranky. When the girl I nanny for told me she was getting bored waiting for her piano teacher to arrive for their lesson I said, “Well there’s nothing I can do about it.” I would never normally say that the way I did! By the end of the second day, I was so frustrated that I was cranking (is that a real term?) to my husband that I really didn’t like this program. Finally, on the third day, I woke up refreshed: I was in a happy mood and had enough energy to run and go to yoga.
On the second day I was really ready to pass judgement on the fruit fast. I couldn’t find any benefits in it. On the third day, I took a step back. Here is a breakdown:
- I felt tired and irritable the first two days
- I felt bloated from all the water in the fruit
- I felt happier and more energized the last day
- I had enough energy to go on two 5 mile runs (in the middle of the day!) and practice yoga twice
- I did not need caffeine to feel energized
- I enjoyed making my breakfasts, which included banana ice cream and a banana-mango smoothie
- I craved pizza in the worst way (what?)
As I normally eat a plant-based diet with plenty of fruit and little processed food, I think the effects of the cleanse are hard to gauge. It would probably be a better exercise to do following the holidays, after I’ve indulged in stacks of cheese and crackers, several glasses of wine, and gobs of cookies. If I ever do it again (and I’m still hesitant about it) I’d also aim to do it with time off from work, as being away from home so much forced me to eat on the go. All in all, I still believe that everything in appropriate moderation is the best diet.