Friday, 21 August 2015

69 Day Juice Fast

"Travelling across the country on a juice fast is not as hard as you may think"

Did you say 69 days without eating food? 

No shreddies or cheerios in the morning, no scrambled eggs or pancakes, waffles with whip cream and strawberries, no peanut butter oozing over warm fresh baked bread? No aged cheddar cheese sliced thick sitting beside a plate full of grapes or melted parmesan over linguini noodles for lunch. No Lasagna, no fried potatoes, no grilled salmon, or home made pizza? No nacho chips, or candy bars, no soda pop or chocolate, ice cream or yogurt? And to think…I could have eaten all of that on any given day. 

(Me at 235 lbs drinking my 3rd can of pop that day)
I did not enter my fast lightly. In fact...The day I began, I was tipping the scales at 235 lbs on a 5 foot 9 inch frame. Standing there in the morning mirror clutching the flabalanche that had gathered in my mid section I cracked some final jokes to myself as I smooshed my left side together with my right pretending to talk out of my belly button. (I'm not alone here...admit it)

I thought of the heavy steps I took up the stairs everyday, the out of breath moment after running ten feet to a ringing phone. I thought of the sore back from sitting, the wheezing while I tried to fall asleep. The constant runny nose that was often followed by a barrage of sneezes that left my children in laughter as I often reached 8 or 9 in a row. My sense of smell had been on strike for 2 years running and every muscle and joint in my body was on stand by alert when I did something that required more activity then getting off the couch and walking over to the refrigerator. 

So there I pondered with a sad little smirk on my face. I had reached a moment that many others before me have experienced. A second in time where the daily routine wakes up from its comatose state and says no more! I had reached "The turning point!" 

I spent the next several hours consuming something other than food….information. I researched everything I could about paths I could take to regain control of my health and stop this out of control locomotive from having a major derailment. 

Earlier this year, two of my friends had suffered minor heart attacks...and one of them was younger than me. Finding myself in the middle of a “jammer" (as my dad would always call it) at my age, scared the hell out of me and I do not want to be laying in a bed somewhere down the line saying I should of done this..or why didn't I do that. 

I had juice fasted before. My longest fast was for 30 days...but that was more than 5 years ago. I had done a few shorter ones over the years, but this was going to be something different. A catalyst to a new lifestyle. A change in my habits and a reprogramming of my system to not only regain control, but reboot my cravings and channel my energies into something that would positively impact my life and of those I love around me. 

So I began…On May 25th…I started the path and commitment to detoxify my system and the routine I had been following for far too long. I took some time to create this little chart and post it on my wall. Using a countdown for continued inspiration to complete my quest to fast for 30 days was a good idea for me, as I could not only see my progress, but I physically got to cross out these days helping establish my efforts of doing something to change my life. 

For those of you who are instantly thinking that a juice fast is an unhealthy choice to jump starting a better lifestyle, simply do the research from both sides. There is a ton of information for and against fasting, but for me, doing something extreme to counteract the abuse I had put on my body was exactly what I needed to do. And the path I was previously on, was digging a future hole in the ground much earlier than I wanted. 

 We govern ourselves daily by our values, principles and the laws of the world. We stop at red lights, we wait in lineups to pay for our groceries and gadgets, we don't steal, or fist fight on the streets, we teach our children honesty, integrity, respect, and inspire them to be inspired by the world around them. Love what you do and do what you love. But when it comes to food, we find ourselves turning away from what we know is right. We have all seen the effects of Coca-Cola on the rusty bumper of a car or what happens when you mix it with milk. We know that caffeine leaches nutrients from our system, and the cream and white sugar that invades our coffee has us lining up for 20 minutes outside of Timmies just to get a fix.

 We are fully aware that fast food (for the most part) utilizes a bulk buying and production mentality that provides us with a low quality nutrition with little benefits to our system. Our palates seem to be the ones in control. MMMM sweet Chocolate ice cream, or salty french fries with gravy and cheese poured all over them. But I ask you this…when you have ran, or exercised for a long time…spent the day outside at a beach with your kids and a kite or chasing down a frisbee…when it comes time to quenching your thirst…how many of you have guzzled down a cold bottle of water and thought… “That is exactly what my body needed.” We aren’t stupid…we know when we make bad decisions and we justify those to ourselves a million different ways. “It’s just a small piece of cake…one more cookie isn't going to hurt me…its thanksgiving, another helping ain’t a big deal. I’m joining the gym tomorrow anyhow…” But for me…enough was enough. 

When I close my eyes and see myself at 45 or 50…or dying before 60 like so many people before me…it certainly should have enough weight to wake me up. Both my mother and father passed before their time. Both of them on the vices they couldn’t seem to live without. My father drank, and even tho he stopped 7 years before he passed away, the damage had been done to his liver, his stomach, and the habits he had built up were much harder to reverse or undo and eventually, they took his life. My mother, a smoker from 12 years of age. I would hide those cigarette packs, beg her to stop, send her information about quitting, even get mad at her for letting something take such a hold on her, so when the call came in that she had lung cancer at 58 years old…none of us were all that surprised. She passed away the next year with so many dreams and goals left to be accomplished. Sad…so very sad. I don’t smoke…I don’t drink…but I sure like to eat. Was the path I was on leading to a similar fate? I want to be able to run and play with my kids. I want to be able to run and play with my kids, kids. 

So day by day I drank brocolli. I drank carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, apples, oranges, pineapples, grapes, cucumbers, lemons, grapefruits. I drank around 6- 8 cups a day. 1-2 litres, spread throughout the day. And I’m not going to lie to you…the first 3 days were the hardest of them all. By day three my body was mad at me. My mind and my body stepped in the ring duked it out for the title belt. Engraved on that belt was a little word called habit. And I clutched on to a close friend of mine Mr. Will Powers who has a strange way of getting me through difficult moments in my life. It was Will that pushed me up over the edge of day 3 and another 66 past that. But North, there were only 30 numbers on your chart…why on earth go for 69 days? Ive never been one to do something thats driving me…half assed. I went all out because I set some serious goals. 

By day 20 of my fast, my beautiful wife started a fast of her own. This made things much more fun and exciting as we started creating new concoctions, and having someone to go through a fast with is even more inspiring.

 (Here we are with our friend Natasha Kyssa at Simply Raw Express picking up juices the night of my daughters graduation ceremony...we paid $70 a plate, and we brought some cold pressed juices instead...this was an awesome commitment. ) 

Rach had set out on a possible 30 day fast herself…the only challenge for us at this point was our summer vacation was just around the corner. We were scheduled to leave on day 41 for me, and day 21 for her. This vacation was taking us across this beautiful country with 5 of our children in the back of a big blue van. 

So...on the day we left, we made enough juice to get us to Thunderbay. We had a stop along the way…and of course, for those of you wondering…we did not have our children on this fast. A juice fast is an independent adult decision that takes more than interest and excitement…it takes responsibility and research and we never considered for one second putting our children onto it…that being said…giving our children tastes of our juices was fun for us as well. Some of the juices are amazing…others…well…without the right mix of fruit and vegetables, you get some pretty interesting tastes that could stop a juice fast dead in its tracks. This is where knowledge and a heck of an open mind come into play. 

We found a juice bar in Thunder bay called Kelly’s Nutrition Centre.  The staff were incredibly helpful and gave us a pretty kick ass deal on the juices we bought. This got us to Winnipeg. The Green Carrot was the next stop on the path. A combination of Apple, Mint and Pineapple (aptly named AMP) was a personal favourite…This got us to Edmonton…where we stopped at Glow Juicery, and luckily, in this journey, my Aunt Candice, who we were going to visit in Northern B.C. in a little town called Burns Lake (3 hours past Prince George), was quite intrigued by this journey of juicing we were on. She was so intrigued after we shared with her our adventures so far, that we offered to pick her up a juicer in Edmonton...and she happily said You Betcha!.

You see, my wife and me were thinking, if we can just make it to Burns Lake…we can enjoy Candy’s homemade Scones or Blueberry Pancakes. Surely my uncle will make some salmon on the bbq on one of the days we were there…but with her interest of getting the juicer…this opened a whole new perspective…What if we stayed on the juice fast for our entire vacation? The mere fact that we were considering going to Scones or pancakes or salmon certainly meant that the re-programming was not complete. So we stayed on…dug in…and committed ourselves to our entire holiday. Our friend Natasha Kyssa (pictured above) owns a restaurant called Simply Raw Express. She has written books and followed a particular lifestyle for the last 25 years. She lives clean, raw and not only looks amazing, but has a youthful edge about her that both me and Rach (my wife) desire. Before we left on our trip, we had a little epiphany while visiting Natasha’s establishment. When talking about our excitement about what we were going to eat in B.C., Natasha simply stated… “As great as that food sounds…its always going to be there” (Lightbulb) 

The two of us have lived looking at the plate on the table as if we were going to be left out if we didn’t get the last piece of pie…or baked potato that sat staring up at us from the serving dish. 

So what if we didn't eat it? What are we really missing out on? This would be a first time in the history of our vacations where we came back home weighing less than when we left. Feeling better, younger and more inspired than when we drove out of the driveway to start this epic quest. 

So hells ya we were gonna stay on this fast until we drove back into the driveway on august 1st. And we did. 69 days drinking juice...feeling young...looking great and energized beyond all words. 

My story is merely a drop in the bucket floating on the sea of the world. Thousands of people bigger than me have beaten their demons and not only lost a tremendous amount of weight, but have increased their lifespan and quality of life by making decisions that just make sense. 

To date I have lost 53 lbs. Rach and me have entered the Ottawa half marathon coming up in October. We are climbing weekly with our children, swimming as much as we can, working out and pushing ourselves to where we want to be. Young and living life as hard as we can. We have both now started eating only raw foods, and have to say...we are really enjoying the options and the tastes that are available to us. Thank you to all of you along the way who gave us support, took the time to listen to our stories, got inspired and made some changes yourself which re-inspired us to push harder. Great new things are ahead and I for one am excited to run towards the horizon.

- North Easton

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