Yes, I’m doing another juice cleanse. No, this isn’t going to be a regular thing with me. In my experience, a juice cleanse isn’t a weight loss technique. The weight you lose is mostly water and quickly comes back. Worse yet, any meaningful exercise program you have in place will have to be sidelined — both for the duration of the fast and for several days afterwards. Here’s where I think a juice fast is excellent. For a short period, you eliminate any possible thing from your diet that could be problematic for you in terms of sensitivity, allergies or intolerance. Then, if you do it right, after the fast, you slowly and one at a time reintroduce food groups. That should help you pinpoint what specific food group or food is bothering you.
For most of my life I’ve had stomach issues. I’d been to countless doctors who ruled out all the really bad things and the obvious causes. Things got better when I left my milk-guzzling family (seriously, my family of four could go through a gallon a day!), went to college and substituted coffee for milk. After my first semester, I returned home, was served a big glass of milk and within 15 minutes was writhing on the floor with severe stomach cramps. Lactose intolerance. I haven’t had milk or ice cream in nearly thirty years now. Although, I did convince myself that cooked milk, like in a latte, or milk that had undergone an enzyme change, such as cheese or yogurt, was okay for me. I still had episodes, but I never really pinpointed what it was. So my motivation for the juice cleanse was to finally isolate and eliminate the problem foods. Of course, if you read the posts on my three day fast, you’ll know I wasn’t as scientific going out of it as I should have been. I did discover that other forms of dairy really are a problem for me. I suspect there are other foods that are triggers. With another fast, this one for five days, I hoped to be more scientific and pinpoint the problem foods once and for all.
This is all the long way around to tell you that I’m not doing this for faddy reasons. And although I loved the juices and will probably incorporate them into my diet, I don’t think I’d ever do a serious juice cleanse again — at least not for more than a day or so. The point being: I have a strong motivation to be absolutely scrupulous and scientific and make this current juice fast completely effective for my purposes.
Good thing, too. Because, through a series of mix ups, it turns out I had an important dinner party right on the evening of Day Four. Not any dinner party, but a good friend’s birthday. And not any dinner, but a dinner cooked by another friend who is a San Francisco fireman. If you know anything about firemen, you know these guys take their food seriously. They all cook for each other while on those long shifts and the chef-ing becomes quite competitive .
By the way, Firefighter John is pouring the better part of a bottle of whiskey into his Whiskey Peppercorn Cream Sauce. Yeah, that’s just just one of the amazing dishes I would be missing out on.
What was I going to do? I’m on Day Four of a six day fast. The key for me was “re-entry”. And I really couldn’t plunge into all the key food groups — red meat, wine, cream AND BACON — mid-fast. That would mean doing this thing all over again.
But let me clarify that “ate” has to be carefully defined. I ate in what I’m calling “The Carrie Bradshaw Method”. Do you remember that episode where Carrie goes to Los Angeles and arranges for lunch with a former friend. This friend was massively overweight in New York, but now he’s lean and mean. As lunch gets underway, it becomes clear why. He doesn’t eat any more. He just chews. Then spits each bite out in his napkin. Of course, a solution to my dilemma. On a juice cleanse I can’t eat anything, but I can chew. I had one tiny bite of everything. And let me tell you, Chef John packed so much flavor into every dish, one tiny bite was more savory than a full pot of anything anyone else could make. My only variation to the Carrie Bradshaw Method: I didn’t spit my bite out into my napkin — ew gross. I politely excused myself and sent my tiny masticated mouthful directly into the garbage disposal.
On second thought, maybe Sex and the City isn’t the appropriate reference here. It doesn’t really do justice to Chef John’s masterful meal — even though I didn’t swallow it. I know! Who’s read the Illiad or the Odyssey? Remember how the Greeks were always roasting up an ox for some God or Goddess? Do you know how that played out? Apparently, the Greeks believed that the Gods fed on just the essence of that roast. So once they’d sent the aromas up to Olympus, those practical Greeks tucked in to a big barbecue. There’s my analogy: Chef John’s dinner was so divine that just the mere essence of it — the taste and the smell — were food for the Gods. So I played Athena for the night.
NOTE: While my friends were bemused, forebearing and understanding about my juicing during a dinner party, that doesn’t mean I was cut any slack. Instead of obsessing about food, I was running around taking notes and pictures, gathering recipes and planning blog posts. But I left my blogging notebook lying around at one point and found someone had written in some additional thoughts for me.