The feast in the fast

Photo by Sarah Shoen

It was the first day of spring. I packed away the last of my sweaters and scarves in the boxes labeled, “stuff to wear when it’s too cold to do anything.” Cleaning my apartment, I noticed dust in the corners of my kitchen floor and piles of stuff I hadn’t bothered to look at in months. When I opened my refrigerator, empty containers and a carton of expired milk stared back at me. It was time to dig deeper and continue my spring cleaning beyond my floors and countertops. It was time to cleanse my body.

I wanted a fast approach, of course, and I wanted something a little more approachable than lemon water with maple syrup for seven days. Scanning the pages of a book written by a popular yoga teacher, while thinking of what margarita I was going to order that night, I came across something that was not too harsh and not too delicate. I found the three-day fruit fast. It sounded like the perfect way to start spring.

A fast can be scary. It can be hard and, yes, unappetizing. But sometimes in life, especially when the snow melts and the flowers bloom, change is necessary and surprisingly satisfying.

My first step was to take an hour and examine what I had been eating. I had a journal handy, and I wrote down what I ate on a day-to-day basis for at least a week. This step was perhaps the hardest because I began to realize how much was actually weighing me down, both mentally and physically. Rightfully so, I began with honesty.

The second step was to promise myself that I would be OK without that triple chocolate cupcake, that warm cup of locally brewed coffee and that first, refreshing sip of cider. In order to reduce headaches while on the fast, I began to phase out refined sugar, alcohol, wheat, dairy and caffeine. This step brought on a sense of letting go and moving forward. It’s about putting down that sugary drink after work and progressing with courage.

The third step was to take take a giant leap of sweet faith and enjoy three full days of just fresh fruit. On a typical day, I would drink hot water with lemon, lots of coconut water and peppermint tea. I’d eat a carton of strawberries, bananas, avocados and tomatoes.

With only a few days of cleansing my body, I felt a somewhat surprising increase in energy, a clearer mind and less tension. You’d be amazed, but everything seems to work better without large portions and empty calories. Colors were looking brighter, smells more intense, feelings of curiosity and clarity felt stronger. And after it was all said and done, and once I noticed how my life can improve by taking the time to detox, I then returned to my normal habits, with balance and fresh perspective. Because it’s not about giving up the cookies or promising yourself that you’ll never have bread again. It’s about understanding what it is you truly desire with food and in all aspects of your life.

And so now I’m free to walk the streets of downtown Asheville, enjoy the warmth of the sun and spend evenings down by the French Broad River.  After all, I still needed to unpack those boxes labeled, “stuff to wear when it’s too nice out to do anything but smile at the sky and enjoy a burger and a beer.”

Within the fast, there lies a feast. Tis’ the season to dig in!

To learn more about local juice cleanse options, take a look at last week’s food article, Spring Cleaning. 



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