10-day juice challenge: Social media diary

How do you like ‘dem apples (juiced)?

Food bloggers Wentworth and Isabella kept a diary
of their 10-day juice challenge

Monday 8 to Wednesday 17 May 2017

Choose a tab below

Juice diet intro

We’ve completed the juice challenge. We’ve seen times of hunger, times of light-headedness and other minor physical effects. But it has been a good experience for discipline and is the start of a new journey.

Now we must ensure the weight doesn’t bounce back and that still requires a disciplined diet. In our upcoming review of the cleanse we’ll talk more about this and examine topics such as: does a juice diet really detoxify the body; what about the lack of protein; can you continue an intense workout regime; can ketosis be achieved on a juice-only diet; what the hell are electrolytes; and hey, what have you done with my fibre? Follow the quick links below:

wentworth isabella firstworldnomnoms - juice challenge
A few years ago, before things started heading south and pudgy

About us: We are Wentworth (37) and Isabella (36), a British-Australian couple who have been married for 10 years and live in Bangkok. Writing a food blog and drinking alcohol to excess (like many Brits and Aussies) has its pitfalls. Both hobbies mean it can be hard to keep the waistline trim. So we have decided to tackle the 10-day juice challenge with our daily juices delivered by Lifestyle Juicery.

Wentworth is a freelance writer/editor (which means his office is Bangkok’s coffee shops), and Isabella works in international development for a UN agency. We have active lifestyles, exercise regularly and eat a varied and nutritious diet. But we also like to indulge in some of the finer things that Bangkok has to offer.

Why the juice diet?

After watching the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, we were keen to learn how the diet could help us with our own personal goals. In the documentary, Australian Joe Cross is morbidly obese and stricken with an autoimmune disease. He endeavours to drink only fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days in an effort to lose weight and reclaim his health. And it worked. Joe lost 32kg (82lbs) and cured his chronic urticaria disease. The theory is that the body is flooded with micronutrients and toxins, processed food etc are avoided, giving the body time to heal.

Our health goals

Wentworth: “Part vanity; part health reasons. I’m average height and slim build but am keen to see what a 10-day disciplined approach to dieting can achieve for the last few pounds. I have also suffered from chronic back pain/autoimmune disease (my dark passenger) for the past five years and have read several accounts that a 100% organic, whole-food diet can help to ease symptoms.” Weight-loss target: 2 to 3kg.

Isabella: “I take part in CrossFit gym classes or intensely train solo five times a week. I’m looking to use these 10 days to prove to myself I have the discipline, and as a kick starter to maintaining a healthy weight loss over the next few months.” Weight-loss target: 6kg over the next few months.

Overall, what we are keen to learn from this experience are:

  • The effects on:
    • Weight loss
    • Our skin and those dark circles around the eyes
    • Muscle fatigue and chronic pains
    • Our sleep and general well-being
  • The effects of going into ketosis – a rapid fat-burning stage that should occur four days in (more info below).

The rules of the 10-day challenge

  1. Weigh ourselves at 6.30am every morning before the first juice
  2. Drink six 500ml-bottles of juice every day
  3. Steer clear of all solid food, coffees, alcohol, etc.
  4. Drink plenty of water and only the raw juices supplied.
  5. If in need of something between juices, drink herbal teas, freshly squeezed juices (no added sugar) or raw coconut water.
  6. Continue exercising. Wentworth: swimming and the cross-trainer machine. Isabella: CrossFit classes.

An environmental note

Thank you to Lifestyle Juicery for ordering extra glass bottles that we will return to the delivery person every two days.

Disclaimer: Our juices were created, juiced and delivered to our door by Lifestyle Juicery in Bangkok. We did not pay for this service but have tried to maintain a fair, unbiased assessment of the experience. We conducted this experiment with a genuine interest to learn more about this approach to disciplined fasting. We also read a lot on the subject to increase our knowledge of the science. We have produced this article to share what we have learnt along the way.

Our review

Introduction: hunter-gatherers turned lazy grazers

Eev led the hungry clan over the wintry plains. The women, who usually contributed the greater share of the food, found their sources had dried up. Not for the first time, nature had withheld its fruits. No time now for Eev to worry about balancing her macros, limiting her salt and sugar intake or counting her calories.

The summer crop had failed to produce its seasonal bounty of vegetables, roots, squashes and legumes. The temperate forest, usually a forager’s paradise of fruits, nuts, berries and seeds, resembled a bare pantry. The eastern steppes, ordinarily a golden sea of grain, offered not one kernel of wheat nor a smidgen of a threat to her gluten sensitivities.

Eev was beyond hunger. She had a constant, dull pain in the stomach and an occasional feeling of light-headedness… not too dissimilar from her last attempt at the Atkins diet. With a dogged determination though, she led the group onwards.

Cave-woman-dragging-a-caveman

Our hunter-gather ancestors did not concern themselves with trivialities such as dieting. Eev never complained to say “I ate and drank too much at the tribe Christmas party last night. I need to stick to salads for a while”. They went many hours or even days between meals in search of food. Evolutionarily, it’s a practice our bodies are accustomed to. Our metabolisms are designed to shift from using glucose as the primary source of energy to fatty acids and keytone bodies after 12 hours.

The custom of predetermined fasting has also been a part of human tradition and religion for many centuries, whether it be Ramadan, Yom Kippur or Navaratri.

Studies on the effects of fasting can be clouded by the conflicting lifestyle factors of the people who participate in a trial, such as smoking, taking oral medications, and their typical food choices and other eating habits. But the evidence these days overwhelmingly supports the practice. The benefits of fasting include reductions in body mass, blood pressure, total cholesterol, insulin sensitivity and oxidative stress.

The Macdonaldisation of modern diets: living in times of plenty…

However, in the modern world we have become obsessed with constantly feeding ourselves while exercising little restraint. We eat on the move, commuting with fast food bags and plastic containers in hand. We graze between meals, sharing sugary treats with our office buddies to stave off the boredom associated with unhealthy 8-hour stints of desk jockeying.

We lack the discipline of our ancestors and succumb to an infinity of new temptations created by the imaginations of merciless corporations. Just eat a healthy, balanced diet we’re told. Yet, it’s depressingly hard to achieve in our marketing-saturated world.

Put simply by Isabella in her nasally Australian twang: “These days we have created a society of wusses, afraid of a little hunger or boredom.”

Our health goals: why we did this

Earlier this year, we stumbled upon a film called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. In the documentary, Australian Joe Cross is morbidly obese and stricken with an autoimmune disease. He endeavours to drink only fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days in an effort to lose weight and reclaim his health. And it worked. Joe lost 32kg (82lbs) and cured his chronic urticaria disease. The theory is that the body is flooded with micronutrients. By giving processed foods and other vices the boot, the body is free to heal itself.

fat sick and nearly dead-sub

People often have complex reasons for playing with their diet. Sometimes it’s for a quick weight-loss fix. Other times it may be to address health concerns or chronic symptoms. No one method works for everyone and every individual faces different lifestyle challenges that may hinder their efforts.

In our case, our primary motivation was to use these 10 days to learn if the diet could help us with our own personal goals.

In a typical week, we eat nutritious and balanced diets: lots of salads and very few processed foods (just bread and cheese when dining out or chocolate treats). However, writing a food blog and drinking alcohol as a sport on the weekends (like many Brits and Aussies) has its pitfalls. Both hobbies mean it can be hard to keep the waistline trim. We wanted to give our modest weight-loss goals a kick up the fat arse.

Wentworth: “Part vanity, part health reasons. I’m average height and a slim build but was keen to see what a 10-day disciplined approach to dieting could achieve for the last few pounds. I have also suffered with chronic back pain – an autoimmune disease (my dark passenger) – for the past five years. I have read several accounts that a 100 percent organic, whole-food diet may help to ease symptoms.” Weight-loss target: 2-3kg (6.6 lbs).

Isabella: “I take part in CrossFit gym classes or intensely train solo five times a week. I’m looking to use these 10 days to prove to myself I have the discipline. It will also act as a kick starter to maintaining healthy weight loss over the next few months to get beach body ready for Ibiza in August” Weight-loss target: 6kg (13.2 lbs) over the next few months.

Fitting our lifestyle: The appealing nature of juicing

The wonderful thing about a juice diet that is delivered to your door is you don’t have to use your brain. The meals (if you can call them that) are planned for you and the calories counted. You achieve a caloric reduction without the nutrient deprivation. In fact, it floods the body with micronutrients that are essential for cell regeneration.

Juicing removes the insoluble fibre from your food – typically fruitspa and vegetables (but you could probably juice a cow in some of the powerful machines on the market). Removing the insoluble fibre (the solid walls of your food) allows for increased absorption of the soluble fibres (the liquid) that contain health-promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including enzymes.

Genuine, fresh juices made from 100 percent real food are more expensive than processed, commercial juices because kilos of fruit and veg are required to make them. Check out the sciency section for for our research into:

  • So many conflicting messages: which diet works for me?
  • Fat burning: can you achieve ketosis in a juice fast?
  • The benefits of time-restricted fasting
  • The rebound dilemma: how to avoid regaining weight after the low-calorie diet
  • The insoluble fibre dilemma
  • The protein dilemma
  • Detoxification is a myth; or is it?
  • What the hell are electrolytes?

The benefits to using Lifestyle Juicery’s delivery service

reboot Lifestyle Juicery

  • Lifestyle Juicery has calculated the caloric and nutritional value of each juice. Doing this ourselves would get messy and is hard to do out of a laboratory. Otherwise, juicing equipment is very expensive
  • The company provides easy-to-read pamphlets on the science, as well as how to prepare for and come off the cleanse.
  • We were appointed a coach, Jason, who has a background in nutrition and sports science and was available to advise us on the appropriate plan and our dietary needs including additional protein. Jason was available online and by phone to answer our questions throughout.
  • The company was very supportive when we requested glass bottles instead of plastic. We were concerned about the environmental impact. That said, the glass bottles are very heavy. It is challenging to carry your bottles on the move and keep them at the right temperature.

To maintain weight:

  • A man aged 37 of average build and height requires approximately 2,200 calories per day
  • A woman aged 36 of average build and height requires approximately 1,800 calories per day

Our juices, plus the additional protein powder averaged 1,000 to 1,400 calories per day. So long as we didn’t stray, we were set to lose weight.

Delicious juices: All day long

The 500ml juice bottles were numbered one to six with the most ‘exciting’ flavours topping and tailing our day. We generally began a day of liquid consumption at 7am, consuming each subsequent bottle every two and a half hours. The sweet carrot, apple and ginger breakfast juice felt like a treat to start the morning. The almond and cashew nut milk fused with wild honey was enough to fill the belly and take you into the night.

We’ll be honest. Despite our usual preference for healthy food, one or two of the juices took some getting used to. Green juice number one – spinach, apple, broccoli, cucumber, ginger, kale and lemon – didn’t taste too healthy. But our hearts sank a little in the countdown towards the second green champion – kale, celery, broccoli, bell pepper, ginger and lemon.

Other highlights (really) were number three – coconut water (great for electrolytes – see the sciency section) and cinnamon – and number four – beetroot, kale, carrot, apple and broccoli (no really). By the end of the cleanse we were begging for healthier and Jason swapped two of the treats for a spirulina, kale, apple and pak choi combo (as delicious as it sounds!), and kale, apple and lemon.

In general, we never felt too down about the experience as it appealed to our health-conscious sensibilities. We found the flavours for all the juices were well balanced. Lemons, gingers and celeries were used to good effect to add the right amount of tang or zing.

Disclaimer: Our juices were created, juiced and delivered to our door by Lifestyle Juicery in Bangkok. We did not pay for this service but have tried to maintain a fair, unbiased assessment of the experience. We conducted this experiment with a genuine interest to learn more about this approach to disciplined fasting. We also read a lot on the subject to increase our knowledge of the science. We have produced this article to share what we have learnt along the way.

14 things we learnt

14 things we learnt from juice fasting

  1. Its simplicity. Isabella said: “Not having to think about the composition, nutritional value, calories or location of your next meal is a bit of a luxury.” This is a quote from a gal who has dedicated her career to international development and to feeding millions more than Jesus’ paltry[1] sum of five thousand. For a workaholic like Isabella, this also freed up some of her exhaustive decision-making power for more important things.
  2. Cravings. A conflicting sensation for the bulk of the experience was the persistent hunger. Yet, we had both lost our appetite and couldn’t name a food we had a craving for. Towards the end however, Isabella’s mind occasionally drifted to a plate of the Thai dish moo grob (look it up). Perhaps she was craving the fat.
  3. Hair and skin. Isabella’s hair became very dry. This shows the importance of both fat and protein in your diet. Wentworth didn’t notice it up top on his bare scalp. People who didn’t know about our diet did comment on how well we looked after the cleanse.
  4. Sleep. The juice diet affected our sleep. Sometimes we slept for just four of five hours. And still, we’d feel rested the next day. This was counterintuitive to our predictions as we thought the body would require more rest time for repairs.
  5. Protein. We had to use protein powder to add some extra calories and maintain sporting activities like swimming and the gym.
  6. Discipline. There is no need to be afraid of hunger. Be comfortable with it. We didn’t experience any difficulties concentrating at work in the mornings and have appreciated our solid meals ever since. By the sixth day, we found it easier to hold off the first juice until midday. The hunger really was only triggered by breaking the night’s fast with the first sip.
  7. Entertainment. We found there is not much else to do in Bangkok that entertains us like eating and drinking. Pretty sad, aren’t we?
  8. The experience. Working on this project together was fun.It really helped to have a buddy to support the emotional journey. We also discovered how nice it is every evening to spend time splashing in the pool together, either care-free chatting or problem solving work spats. But will we forfeit our lavish dinners out and writing our food blog entirely? Will we heck?
  9. Chronic pain. Wentworth experienced a lot of muscle pain and discomfort. He has struggled with this ‘dark passenger’ for several years and, despite recording his experiences in a diary, has identified no clear linkages between his lifestyle and the start of each mysterious pain episode. If there is any truth to the theory that environmental toxins are stored in your fat cells and are released into the blood stream during weight loss, then it’s entirely possibly Wentworth experienced this. This episode of pain cleared up as soon as we returned to solid foods. (We tackle this theory in the sciency section).
  10. Caffeine. Neither of us are physically addicted to the caffeine. It was no issue giving coffee up for 10 days. It didn’t make us tired and there were no withdrawal symptoms. We do, however, both love the ritual of the ‘warm hug’ in the morning and the chance to work in a cafe environment.
  11. Time-restricted eating. This is the way forward for us. It suits our extreme personalities and offers a multitude of health benefits (more info in the sciency section). Our aim is to restrict the eating window to eight hours each day. Whether that’s holding off until lunch during the working week, or knocking it on the head early after a boozy Sunday brunch. We’re both comfortable going Cliff Richard style with two meals a day.
  12. Weight-loss results after 10 days. Isabella: -3.7 kg (-8 lbs), Wentworth: -3 kg (-6.6 lbs). However, body composition is king. Isabella’s clothes still fit the same at the end, and she didn’t ‘feel’ any slimmer. Weight has to be lost slowly to maintain muscle mass. We explore on our blog in a bit more detail what this means.
  13. Post cleanse. Once we returned to solids, we both experienced a dip in energy levels, including light-headedness. We’re not sure what this was, but fortunately, we were at a beach resort for the weekend so were able to take it easy.
  14. The weigh-in. Two weeks later. Isabella: -3.2 kg (-7 lbs), Wentworth: -3 kg (-6.6 lbs). However, body composition is king. Isabella’s clothes still fit the same at the end of the 10-day experiment and she didn’t ‘feel’ any slimmer. Two weeks later she has pretty much retained the weight loss but gone harder at CrossFit and consumed a lot more protein. So was it fat, muscle or water retention? We explore this in more detail in the sciency section. We both feel the function of the juice fast as a path corrector has been invaluable.

(1) Paltry, not poultry. N.B. Isabella doesn’t discriminate against other animals in her work across agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

Try it yourself

About Lifestyle Juicery

Lifestyle Juicery - juice challenge

Lifestyle Juicery is the original raw cold-pressed juice delivery company in Thailand and Malaysia. They launched in Bangkok in April 2013 and in Kuala Lumpur in December 2013. Thei nutrient-dense less sweet blends of functional beverages, along with unique customer care process continues to #inspirechange in diets and lifestyle across Southeast Asia.

Get a discount with Lifestyle Juicery

Fancy trying the cleanse? Visit the Lifestyle Juicery site here and use the code “expatlifeinthailand” to claim 1,000-BAHT discount.

The code works for any of the 4, 6, 8 or 10-day cleanse programmes. You’ll also receive one free Detox Booster Set for each juice delivery (valued at 200B per set).

Instagram diary

Our daily juice cleanse diary

The juices arrive – 7pm, Sun 7 May 2017

Day One – Mon 8 May 2017

  • Sleep: Both mildly disturbed but 7+ hours
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Starting weights established. Targets: Isabella: 6kg over the next few months. Wentworth: -3kg
  • Work: Isabella: At the office. Wentworth: Struggled my way around cafes with Wi-Fi without buying coffee. Plenty of waters instead.
  • Exercise: Isabella: 30mins cardio. Wentworth: 20mins swimming.
  • General well-being: Both generally hungry but coping easily. The juices are tasty and with 2.5-hour intervals, it feels like you’re drinking constantly.

Day Two – Tue 9 May 2017

  • Sleep: both mildly disturbed but 7+ hours
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 24hrs (1 day): Isabella: -0.8kg. Wentworth -0.7kg
  • Work: Isabella: at the office. Wentworth: disappointed to find the British Neilson Hays library is closed for renovations.
  • Extra energy sources: Wentworth: 1 tbsp flaxseeds and 1 tbsp chia seeds blended into a juice.
  • Exercise: A splash in the pool together.
  • General well-being: Wentworth – I felt the strong ginger (in the delicious carrot and apple breakfast juice) bring out a rash on my cheek. That rash had been on and off for the last year but hadn’t been around for a few months. But it disappeared by midday. Any doctors know the cause of this? By the end of day 2, I had more aches and pains in my upper back than for the last week. It could be from working at a desk. But I have a mild tension in the forehead too. Probably need more water. And what’s this with the furry teeth?
    Isabella – I’m really surprised that I’ve had no withdrawal symptoms from the caffeine. Been working hard for 11 hours so no time to think about the hunger.

Day Three – Wed 10 May 2017

  • SleepIsabella: a solid 9.30pm-5am. Wentworth: 8 hours with a 2am toilet call.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 48hrs (2 days): Isabella: -1.6kg. Wentworth -0.6kg
  • Work: Both from coffee shops today. Also heading back to the amazing new TCDC.
  • Extra energy sources: Isabella: 1 scoop pf protein powder (120 cals). Wentworth: half a scoop of protein (60 cals).
  • Exercise: Wentworth: I went for maximum effort on the cross trainer so I was pushing my lung capacity. Then 10 lengths in the pool. Isabella: My CrossFit deadlifts session at the gym felt fine.
  • General well-beingIsabella: I generally feel well with good energy but with that persistent feeling of a gnawing hunger. Wentworth: Good energy in the morning. But from midday, my limbs and back muscles became increasingly tight and sore through the afternoon. This is one of my (autoimmune) pain episodes breaking out. It involves fiery and tingly skin around the backs of the legs, arms and a heavy forehead.  I’ll be able to tell tomorrow how long it’ll last. It’s not pleasant but something I’m used to. Perhaps it’s the stress of the diet on the body. Or perhaps it is the toxins being released from burning fat? I’ll write more on this soon. I know mysterious/chronic pain is a common issue for many people.

Day Four – Thu 11 May 2017

  • SleepIsabella: Took a while to get to sleep and had a lightly disturbed night. Wentworth: Woke up at midnight and couldn’t sleep for 1.5 hours but then slept through and woke feeling refreshed.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 72hrs (3 days): Isabella: -2.1kg; Wentworth: -1.1kg.
  • Work: Back to the office on the river for Isabella today. Wentworth will continue taking advantage of the month’s free membership at the Thailand Creative Design Centre, Charoen Krung Road.
  • Extra energy sources: Isabella: 30g of protein powder. Wentworth: 15g of protein, 1tbsp of flaxseeds & 1tbsp of chia seeds blended in.
  • ExerciseIsabella: CrossFit deadlifts session. Wentworth:
  • General well-beingIsabella: a scratchy throat and intermittent cough. “It feels really positive to know that you can live with ongoing hunger through the day. Before agriculture, we didn’t have the option to catch food immediately.  The discipline is good for you.” Wentworth: Felt a little light headed at the start of the day. The muscle pains from yesterday wore off towards mid afternoon. Felt good energy in the evening and not too hungry.

Day FIVE – Fri 12 May 2017

  • SleepIsabella: “Worst nights sleep ever!” Her itchy cough the guilty party. Wentworth: Woke up at 2.30am to someone coughing and decided to watch the English football. I couldn’t get back to sleep again. My own fault.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 96hrs (4 days): Isabella: -2.7kg; Wentworth: -1.8kg.
  • Work: Isabella: In the office today. Wentworth will continue taking advantage of the month’s free membership at the Thailand Creative Design Centre, Charoen Krung Road.
  • Extra energy sourcesIsabella: 30g of protein powder. Wentworth: 15g of protein, 1tbsp of flaxseeds & 1tbsp of chia seeds blended in.
  • Exercise: Wentworth: I took myself to maximum on a 10-min cross-trainer session, creating that lovely burning sensation down your lungs, like embarking on a frosty London marathon morning. I noticed the muscle fatigue on a 10-lap swim of the pool: the triceps feeling like the after-burn post weights session. Isabella: Another CrossFir session.
  • General well-being: Wentworth: “I felt fine waking up and after my exercise (despite lacking energy) I  had no muscle tension or pains. As the day wore on, so did my muscles. It feels like hot, tingly flashes on the hamstrings and around the knees, a warm, heavy forehead and a tight spinal column. Isabella: “I have good energy and am just hungry in between juices.” Day five is the first that we both felt we’d noticed some weight loss around the midrift. For example, when I push my Buddha belly out, what previously took the shape of a child’s balloon, now doesn’t protrude so far. And the fat feels less dense.

 

Day SIX – Sat 13 May 2017

  • SleepIsabella: 8 hours but broken from 4.30am. Wentworth: 8 hours with a couple of toilet breaks.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 120hrs (5 days): Isabella: -2.7kg; Wentworth: -1.8kg.
  • Work: Nope, a day of chilling, reading cinema, gym and sauna.  
  • Extra energy sourcesIsabella: 30g of protein powder. Wentworth: 15g of protein, 1tbsp of flaxseeds & 1tbsp of chia seeds blended in.
  • ExerciseIsabella: smashed it at the gym. “My recovery feels a lot slower but it’s always harder if I’ve missed a few weeks having been on a work trip.” Wentworth: 20 laps of the pool and a steam sauna.
  • General well-being: Wentworth: Woke with a mild headache which was on and off through the day. Nothing too annoying. The tingly muscle pains were there up until exercise and the steam room. They came back towards the end of the day, which, after five years, I’m used to. Did someone turn up the air-con in Siam Paragon today? We both really felt the cold. Also irritable at time. Isabella: “I have constant hunger but can’t think of anything that would be appetising. Good energy but didn’t space the juices properly.”

Day SEVEN – Sun 14 May 2017

  • SleepIsabella: Pretty disturbed. Wentworth: 8 hours with a couple of toilet breaks.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 144hrs (6 days): Isabella: -3kg; Wentworth: -1.8kg
  • Work: Isabella: yes, to clear her email inbox in the cafe this morning. Otherwise, a big fat day of chilling together and massages.
  • Extra energy sourcesIsabella: 30g of protein powder. Wentworth: 30g of protein.
  • ExerciseIsabella: 4 rounds of 45 secs of each major muscle group. 30 min treadmill uphill walking. Steam sauna. Wentworth: Light cross-trainer. Light weights of major muscle groups. 20 laps of the pool and a steam sauna.
  • General well-being: We both had a lot more energy today. Isabella: “The hunger really comes on at night. Painful”! Wentworth: Feeling a lot better today in the muscles but a little tender. This round of the dark passenger is probably clearing.

Day EIGHT – Mon 15 May 2017

  • Sleep: Isabella: “Disturbed from the crook in the neck from the bloody massage I received yesterday” Wentworth: 7 hours with one toilet call. Not bad.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 168hrs (7 days): Isabella: -3.1kg; Wentworth: -2.5kg
  • Work: Isabella at work and Wentworth working from home
  • Extra energy sources: Isabella: 30g protein powder. Wentworth: 45g protein.
  • Exercise: Both a splash in the pool and steam sauna.
  • General well-being: Today Isabella found herself stuck in a meeting that refused to end — 5 hours between juices!  “To be honest the hunger was pretty good at keeping me awake and alert.” Wentworth: “A sense of fluiness but without the flu. Back muscles tight today and the spine cracks when I flex it. Possibly from the weights yesterday. Experienced couple of dangerous sharting episodes.”

Day NINE – Tue 16 May 2017

  • Sleep: Isabella: “I only had 5 hours sleep last night, 10.30-4.30.” Wentworth: “6 hours for me. I woke up to a magnificent storm at 3.30. So thunderous it penetrated my earplugs”
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 192hrs (8 days): Isabella: -3.1kg. Wentworth: -2.8kg
  • Work: Isabella: In the office. Wentworth: digital nomadding
  • Extra energy sources: Isabella: 30g protein. Wentworth: 15g protein
  • Exercise: Wentworth: 10-min burst on cross-trainer in the morning.
  • General well-being: Both feeling fine this morning. No real pains aside from those caused by the weights session (and Isabella’s masseuse). Wentworth: Didn’t drink the first juice until midday (16-hr fast). Good energy in general but some back discomfort for 2 hours during an intense office session. Isabella: good energy all day.

Day TEN – Wed 17 May 2017

  • Sleep: Wentworth: Awake from 1.30-3.30am. 6.5hrs sleep. Isabella: Terrible. Woke up 4.45am.
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 216hrs (9 days): Wentworth: -2.7kg, Isabella: -3.8kg
  • Work: Both in our respective offices today. The power went out in Wentworth’s office block so he got an early mark!!
  • Extra energy sourcesIsabella: 30g of protein. Wentworth: 30g protein and a 330ml coconut water.
  • Exercise: Wentworth: 20 laps of the pool. Isabella: Shed loads of sled pushes in CrossFit.
  • General well-being: Wentworth: Didn’t drink the first juice until midday (16-hr fast). “I had a lot of energy in the morning up until the first drink. Then I felt lightheaded so drank the juices in quick succession. Isabella: good energy but craving fatty foods all day. “I’m really ready to return to restaurants now.”

FINAL WEIGH-IN – Thu 18 May 2017

  • 6.30am weigh-in: Results after 240hrs (10 days): Isabella: -3.7kg (-8 lbs), Wentworth: -3kg (-6.6 lbs).

2-week followup – Wed 31 May 2017

  • Sleep: Summary of our general sleeping
  • 6.30am weigh-in: Isabella: -3.7 kg (-8 lbs), Wentworth: -3 kg (-6.6 lbs). However, body composition is king. Isabella’s clothes still fit the same at the end of the 10-day experiment and she didn’t ‘feel’ any slimmer. Two weeks later she has pretty much retained the weight loss but gone harder at CrossFit and consumed a lot more protein. So was it fat, muscle or water retention? We explore this in more detail in the sciency section.
  • General well-being: We have both continued the time-restricted fasts; not eating until midday. Then only eating two meals a day. We have both felt sharper of mind and focused at work. We both feel the function of the juice fast as a path corrector has been invaluable.

Sciency bit

Appendix – who wants some science?

So many conflicting messages: which diet works?

The science behind healthy eating and fat loss is highly disputed. For decades we’ve been told that fat is the devil in the guise of a macronutrient, and high cholesterol is dangerous. Now sugar is the demon. Meanwhile, dietary trends come and go. One minute, cabbage-only diets are hip. Then its Paleo, Atkins, gluten-free, low-carb or the 5:2 diet.

Most who eulogise one dietary fix or another aren’t qualified specialists. Doctors and nutritionists themselves can’t even be certain of the science. Just check out this Intelligence Squared debate titled The Bittersweet Truth About What We Eat which discusses the facts and fallacies of ‘anti-sugar’, the importance healthy gut bacteria and the possibility that rice can be substituted for ice-cream.

Scientific research to analyse the effects of a diet isn’t consistent or conclusive and certainly can’t provide a one-size-fits-all solution. This is because there are millions of internal and external factors (such as pre-existing conditions, medical history, daily stresses, exercise, dietary patterns, environmental pollutants) that affect every individual differently.

One common thread in diets that help more people achieve success (and those mentioned above) is that they reduce the amount of calories you consume. The simple equation rules supreme: calories in minus calories out. Just make sure you eat a balanced, nutritious diet, minimising processed foods such as pizzas, pasties and sugary drinks.

It is often said by nutritionists that your diet has 90 percent of the bearing on the outcomes of weight loss. The other 10 percent may be your exercise and the discipline it helps to install in you to maintain your healthy-eating lifestyle.

Fat burning: can you achieve ketosis in a juice fast?

A definition of ketosis: When the body does not have enough glucose for energy, it burns stored fats instead. This results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body. Some people encourage ketosis by following a diet called the ketogenic or low-carb diet. You may have heard of the bullet-proof coffee: a shot of espresso with butter, coconut oil or similar fatty delight. This is said to super-charge your day and help you focus on your work for the next couple of hours. However, it can take several days of very low carbohydrate consumption to achieve this consistent state.

Science hasn’t yet fully understood the effects of fasting and the process of ketosis, but they are both common and naturally occurring bodily processes. Ketone bodies, for example, have been found in the blood of individuals who were under great physical exertion, as well as those who were sleeping, although obviously at very different levels.

Even if we’re not fasting for treatment of a serious chronic condition but for simple detox and general improved well-being, we should remember that part of the concept of detox is the breakdown of inferior materials and the rebuilding of new healthier cells.

How it works. During a low-carb/calorie-restricted diet, being in ketosis and depleting glycogen stores only accounts for about 2-3 lbs of the weight loss. (1lb of fat is made-up of 3/4 water, so really a lot of water is lost initially).

To quote Paavo Airola, a proponent of juice fasting:

“…your body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, aging or dead. In fasting, your body feeds itself on the most impure and inferior materials, such as dead cells and morbid accumulations, tumors, abscesses, damaged tissues, fat deposits, etc. Dr.Buchinger Sr., one of the greatest fasting authorities in the world, calls fasting – very pertinently – a “refuse disposal”, a “burning of rubbish”. These dead cells and inferior tissues are consumed and utilized first. The essential tissues and vital organs, the glands, the nervous system and the brain, are spared.

“…During fasting, while the old cells and diseased tissues are decomposed and burned, the building of new, healthy cells is stimulated and speeded up… Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are not wasted, but are released from the decomposed cells and used again in the new-building of young, vital cells. As you know, your cells are made mostly of proteins and the complete set of all the essential amino acids is needed for the effective building of cells. During fasting the proteins needed for new cell building are resynthesized from the decomposed cells. Thus the body is using and re-using the same proteins and other nutrients over and over where they are needed.”

The rebound dilemma: how to avoid regaining weight after the low-calorie diet

Did we relapse or even crash? How easy is it to put weight back on after a juice diet?

Harvard researchers have demonstrated that on a ketogenic diet the levels of the hormone cortisol increase by 18%. Meanwhile, the level of the active thyroid hormone (T3), which controls the speed of your metabolism, decreases by 12%. The result of both increased cortisol and a slower metabolism is fat accumulation.

This highlighted to us the importance of increasing the carbohydrates and calories gradually whilst maintaining an active lifestyle.

Incrementally, we reintroduced solids, carbohydrates and more calories to the diet. We drank juices on the first day after the diet and at one solid salad. The key is to eat some proteins, less than you would normally, and stick to those that are easy to break down, such as white fish, eggs and a sprinkling of seeds. For the next week, we avoided animal proteins and carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, bread, potatoes) and all processed foods.

By day four, at a beach resort in Krabi, we ate a light lunch that included Vietnamese fresh rice paper roles (not deep fried) stuffed with greens, a big tiger prawn green salad, and mackerel and Thai herbs for green variety. Probably around 400 calories in total. Still below the calories for the day.

Critically for us, we maintained the extended fasting period by not eating a traditional morning breakfast. We broke our 16-hour fast at midday and restricted each eating window to eight hours each day. On our return to work in the city, this has been easy for us to maintain.

The benefits of time-restricted fasting

Studies have revealed that animals that restrict themselves to a 9-12-hour feeding window (but eat same number of calories per day) see decreased fat, increased glucose tolerance and increased muscle mass, improved lipid profile, reduced inflammation, and higher mitochondrial volume.

What we know for certain about humans is the following: It takes 10-12 hours for our liver glycogen stores to be depleted after eating. This is followed by the fatty acids being liberated from your adipose tissue (or wobbly fat). The fatty acids are transported to the liver and converted into keytone bodies which are transported to other tissues like the muscle for energy. This is when you are at your most efficient fat-burning stage.

Also, fasting activates many repair processes, including the repair of damaged DNA, cells, mitochondria and proteins. You must be in a fasted state to repair damage which is why most repair processes occur during our sleep.

Prolonged fasting (4-5 days) in particular causes a dramatic increase in autophagy (clearing damaged cells for energy) and apoptosis (causes damaged cells to self-destruct), followed by a massive boost in stem cell production. Both prevent damaged cells from becoming cancer cells.

Concomitantly, Isabella and I have decided to jump on this band wagon so we can fall off the drinking wagon and back into the arms of our beloved wines and craft beers. So long as we can guzzle them within the restricted 8-hour window.

The insoluble fibre dilemma

The 2 main types of fibre in fruits and vegetables: insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, helps to keep the bowels regular, and makes you feel full.

Soluble fibre supports good bacterial growth and digestive health. It also regulates blood sugar control, may lower blood cholesterol and slows the transit of food through the digestive tract.

Insoluble fibre slows down the absorption of many micronutrients. When you remove the insoluble fibre you are left with the fluid part of the fruits and vegetables. It allows easier assimilation and absorption of the vitamins, minerals and other important phytonutrients across the digestive tract. So basically, juicing helps to fast track our nutrients. More info here…

The protein dilemma

Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein: our skin, muscles, organs and glands, for example. We need protein in our diets to help our bodies repair cells and to make new ones.

The amount of protein we need to eat each day varies by individual and changes with age, activity levels and health conditions. As a guideline, the US recommended daily consumption for protein is 46 grams for adult women and 56 grams for men. More info here…

How to consume enough protein on a juice cleanse. Many plant-based foods (avocado, beet greens, broccoli and kale, to name a few) contain a surprisingly high amount. In fact, our juice cleanse (which, remember, included a daily 500ml nut milk), contained roughly 40 grams of protein every day. As we wanted to continue working out, we added either flaxseeds, chia seeds or protein powder to one of the vegetable juices each day. This boosted our protein intake by roughly 15-30g and our calories by some 100 to 200 per day. This is all detailed in our daily diary.

Detoxification is a myth; or is it?

At the turn of each new year, we are flooded with marketing messages proffering solutions to cure our gluttonous selves, and to purge our bodies of the toxins associated with overindulgence through the festive period.

However, don’t be fooled by the marketing hype as there are two definitions of detox. The first is an authentic medical term for the treatment of people with life-threatening drug addictions. The other is the word that has been hijacked by business people to sell a treatment that supposedly eradicates the toxins that have accumulated in your body.

Overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine may cause harm but they are not poisons that accumulate in your body. Your kidneys, liver, skin and lungs are constantly detoxifying. Healthy organs are the detox centres of the human body. If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, it would probably kill you or you’d require serious medical intervention.

So put down those ridiculous dietary supplements, and bin those potions, face masks and detox shampoos.

…Well this is how the argument goes from one side of the internet. Depending on the search term you plug into Google and the source, there is a lot of contradictory evidence in the world of science, let alone on the internet.

Therefore, Isabella and I are careful about how we use the word detox. On the counter side of the argument, scientific studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency in the 1980s measured the chemical contaminants and agricultural pesticides in human fat samples. They clearly demonstrated the build up of man-made toxins building up in the fat. More info here.

So we are still confused by it all. We certainly won’t attempt a new year detox to negate the effects of caffeine, chocolate or alcohol. That does appear to be a whole load of old tripe. But we are conscientious about avoiding carcinogenic materials like the cooking oils reused by street vendors here in Bangkok. And we will continue preparing our own salads throughout the week to consume as many organic ingredients as possible.

House, Series 1, Episode 11: Detox

Coincidentally, Isabella walked in on me watching a rerun of the US medical drama House during the cleanse – completely unrelated. This is the series where a grumpy physician leads an expert team of doctors at a Chicago training hospital to solve a mystery illness, break ethical medical codes to test it, send the patient into cardiac arrest or a frothing seizure, lose the faith of the hospital’s board of directors, before he miraculously discovers the cause was a dead cat that was buried in the back yard. Well this episode was coincidentally titled “Detox”.

In the episode, it eventually transpires that the cause of the boy’s illness was acute naphthalene toxicity, originating from the termites in his bedroom wall. The patient had been losing weight and even more rapidly while in hospital. As the naphthalene was stored in the patient’s fat cells, when he lost weight the naphthalene was released causing harm to his body. On discovering this, they began feeding the patient with the right macronutrients to help him regain weight and he recovered. In the same episode, Dr House experienced the other form of detox – turning ‘cold turkey’ as he attempted to prove he was not addicted to pain killers by rejecting them for a couple of days.

What the hell are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are nutrients that help to regulate your heartbeat and allow your muscles to contract. The major electrolytes found in the body are calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphate and chloride.

To maintain constant electrolyte concentrations in our body fluids, these electrolytes must be replaced. Fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources of sodium and potassium and replace lost electrolytes. Don’t worry about consuming too many. Excess electrolyte levels in our blood are filtered out by our kidneys.

If you think of the muscles and neurons as the ‘electric tissues’ of your body, electrolytes help to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells.

Electrolyte levels are kept constant by our kidneys and several hormones. But the level of an electrolyte in the blood can become too high or too low. Body electrolyte levels tend to alter when water levels change in the body; when our level of hydration goes up or down. When we exercise we sweat, the electrolytes we lose are mainly sodium and potassium.