I just read an interesting interview on the Nutrition & Physical Regeneration blog, where Dr Richard Schultze discusses his experience with therapeutic juice fasting and its ability to allow the body to heal. He cites some pretty amazing successes.
Now, I have my own opinions about where the benefits are coming from (I also practice fasting regularly, without juice, and find that even a 24 hour fast soothes my digestion; I know the importance of enzymes; etc), but I'd love to know what other paleos think, given that the idea of using herbs and fruit is quite a traditional practice, although consumption of just the juice without the pulp isn't something I've heard of very often in this context. I'm also learning a lot about medicinal uses of herbs at the moment, and some of that information aligns itself with what Dr. Schultze reports.
One of the other ponderings currently running through my brain is whether juices would be an effective replacement for glucose IVs etc during hospital visits (assuming the visit isn't going to impact the efficacy of the digestive system). The idea of a glucose IV now makes me a little nauseated, especially given that when I recently had some 75% dark chocolate, I felt really ill afterward, whereas 85% doesn't bother me. I suspect some juices might be quite high in sugar and have a similar impact, but perhaps not as extreme as a glucose drip, but I really don't know the impact of IV drips on blood glucose and insulin. What do you think?
Even if we know raw vegetarianism isn't the ideal way of living healthfully, do you think medicinal juice fasts could be helpful to paleos in certain circumstances?
EDIT: People, I'm not intending to juice fast. This is a theoretical, hypothetical question. I'm interested in the practices of using foods & traditional medicines as treatment for diseases, etc. I'm more than happy with my own eating habits, and I'm really healthy. I just want to learn things outside of what I already know. We already accept that vegetarianism is very helpful for certain types of people, and for others (like diabetics), zero-carb protocols are very healing. Why not consider juice fasting as well?
UPDATE: An 'interesting' take on the juice fasting concept by the mainstream media: A Strange & Green Journey
i guess my fundamental problem with it is twofold:
Please please dont take this the wrong way, i am not a re-enactor or whatever, but certain foods/manners of eating that are very unnatural (in my opinion) just seem to me to be less-than-good for us. I know that certain unprecedented things (like taking isolated cod liver oil) can have very beneficial effects for us, too. This one just strikes me as dangerous.
I do concede that it would prolly clean you out or whatever. If you really wanna strip your guts out yknow?
After being diagnosed with Celiac disease, my body's absorption still was terrible, so I began juicing twice a day, but pretty much all vegetables. I will throw in a tart apple or a lemon. But there is no way I could eat all the food I'm juicing, however, I can get all the nutrition. I have never fasted on just juice, but it was something my mom did when she had breast cancer. She actually beat her cancer naturally, and juicing was a big part of that.
When I was in the hospital I refused an IV and had my friends bring me coconut water and other juices instead. Let's just say that even though coconut water is all natural and whatnot, I did not feel awesome.
If a fast soothes your digestion, maybe there is something in your diet or gut that's still not quite right.
I used to be a heavy juicer because I was a raw vegan. I enjoyed juices very much, but overall I don't think they contribute to a healthy sustainable gut bacterial colony. Frankly, they often gave me the runs. As far as healing properties, teas are a much much better choice. You can make them with healing herbs and not take the hit of the sugar from juice.
Weren't you doing VLC? I don't think that is great for the gut either. Even Far Northern peoples eat some very high-fiber foods like kelp or pine shoots.
I think you need a good balance of animals foods + vegetable foods to keep your bacterial colony happy + a probiotic to make up for the years you ate the Western diet. Cooling Inflammation has lots of good info about this.
still, having done the master cleanse, i can tell you that those mythical toxins are in fact released during the process - whether from the liver or the gut. Whether or not you re-absorb a lot of them in your colon before they can be evacuated is of concern however. – patrick3000
Schulze addresses this in the interview. The old school natural hygiene fasting folks thought the body would get rid of these toxins in due time, and for a longer fast, in my experience, that is correct. But Schulze is more aggressive on this point, and adds his herbal compounds and specific juices to the regimen to make sure you have a bowel movement at least once a day.
It's not just fruit juice - you can do celery and herb juices too, according to the interview. Carrot and beet juice would pump up the sugar a bit, but not as high as fruit. – Girl Gone Primal
Not only that, but during a therapeutic fast, the body maintains very tight control of blood sugar regulation. This is something you only discover through actually working with people on fasts, rather than imagining "oh my God, its a sugar dump." :-)
By the way Girl Gone Primal, I'm not picking on you - you have done a great job here. I'm just using some of what you wrote as a jumping off point for further explanation.
Not gonna win me any friend amongst the juicing crowd: but this is garbage. Schultze's language reeks of snake-oil. I mean snake-juiece. Sorry. – Patrik♦
"Man cures his colon cancer by juice-fasting. The cancer came out in the toilet." Are you effin' kidding me???!!! Holy God. It is even worse than I thought. In the future, let's not post questions about absolute bullshit on PaleoHacks. Thanks. – Patrik♦
I don't believe many of the 'miracle cure' aspects of the interview, sure, but that doesn't mean the wider applications should be ignored outright. Most of the world would never believe that zero-carbing could cure diabetes and not end in heart disease, but there you go... I hoped paleo people would be open-minded enough to at least consider traditional medicines, etc. – Girl Gone Primal
"Belief" is not required here. It doesn't take much leg work to find people who have benefited in exactly the way Schulze describes from juice fasting and other herbal therapies. The "bullshit" is the way modern medicine has deluded us into thinking they are somehow the answer (or there is no answer other than poisoning, cutting, or otherwise mutilating your body) for degenerative disease. Clearly they are not.
I guess that the good old-fashioned Paleo logic would apply then; if we evolved eating whole fruits and veggies, odds are we're better off eating them whole as opposed to juiced, but that's probably getting a little over-the-top. – Fearsclave
That logic might be your death sentence if faced with an incurable disease and a broken body that needs something more than a dietary change to reach equilibrium once again. :-) My point is this interview isn't really about a normal diet, though you can clearly see where his sympathies lie. Hopefully you have a better understanding of my use of the interview from the first answer.
i guess my fundamental problem with it is twofold: the pure bolus of sugar dumped into the system
Is this an reaction from having experience with juice fasting both personally and with others, or is this something you think might be a problem?
the seriously unnatural, unprecedented nature of it.
Fasting has a long history, including even juices.
Please please dont take this the wrong way, i am not a re-enactor or whatever, but certain foods/manners of eating that are very unnatural (in my opinion) just seem to me to be less-than-good for us. I know that certain unprecedented things (like taking isolated cod liver oil) can have very beneficial effects for us, too.
Cod liver oil also has a long history.
This one just strikes me as dangerous.
I do concede that it would prolly clean you out or whatever. If you really wanna strip your guts out yknow?
Does this come from your own personal experience of fasting and fasting others? Does this come from a perusal of the literature on the subject? Or is this just something you are feeling in your gut, that you don't want to strip? :-)
As far as healing properties, teas are a much much better choice. You can make them with healing herbs and not take the hit of the sugar from juice.
Far from me to disagree with one of my favorite bloggers but frankly herbal teas (as normally sourced and used) suck, they are what I call "herbal light". Not really powerful enough to do anything, other than convince people (wrongly) herbal therapy doesn't work.
At any rate the point of the article is juice fasting, and fasting for healing with teas can often be as aggressive and as unpleasant as fasting with water. Tinctures are better, with teas and juices. Also many people fast only with green juices to keep the sugar somewhat lower than juice. But this is all variable depending on a number of factors. For someone who is just juicing as an adjunct to their diet, it is certainly something to consider. For someone dealing with an "incurable" disease, there are other factors to take into account, since the body operates differently during a fast than it does while eating normally.
I don't understand the terminology. Fast means no food. Juice is food. A juice fast is anything but a fast.
The historical use of the term fasting means abstaining from some types of food. It can include a liquid diet all the way up to and including only consuming water, but it is not limited to that.
Alright, enough. :-)
I still read a lot of raw food community blogs too, where juice fasting is a big thing, and it looks to me like people who are successful at it (1) mostly juice vegetables and leafy greens, to keep the sugar content of the juice low, and (2) use some means to still prompt the body to eliminate released toxins or byproducts of the healing via the digestive tract and via skin (enemas, probiotics, skin brushing, exercise). Here is one example: http://www.courtneypool.com/ Point (1) prevents juice fasting from being a glucose IV. I think juice fasting works for a lot of the same reasons paleo works -- your body doesn't have to struggle with digesting grains, dairy, or legumes.
How long were thinking of juice fasting for? I think another question is how juice fasting compares to IF. Given the body's need of protein and fat, I would question how paleo it is to choose a 5-day juice fast over a 36-hour IF. But a 36-hour juice fast and a 36-hour IF would be very similar in benefits, I think, especially if you have trouble with regular IF. This all assumes, of course, that you're using fresh juice you've made yourself with low-sugar produce.
Well if the 'juice' where made of lower sugar veggies, it would probably be a far sight better than the regular SAD diet or even many vegan diets littered with sugar, starch, and high fructose corn syrup. So I am not surprised that some or many people have felt much better on it. Basically, it would be a short stint of eating much less crappy foods. Even regular juice would probably be an improvement for many on SAD! And if it did not go on super long you probably would not yet experience any serious nutrient deficiencies. For those who have yoyoing blood glucose levels (most people these days), some sugar would probably prevent them from going into withdrawal symptoms.
However, that is not to say juice fasting would be even NEARLY as healthy as just eating healthy food all the time like we advocate. I think part of the popularity of juice fasting is people want a quick fix that they can do for a few days and then be 'fixed.' But unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way when it comes to eating. You can't juice fast and then go back to eating crap and think you have actually fixed anything really.
I imagine the benefit lies in the rest that your digestive system gets.
This is one of the huge benefits of IF and results in alot of positive health benefits.
Fruit Juice is absolutely not worth the resulting liver/metabolic damage.
Short term vegetable juicing with care taken to reduce lectin load would be great for anyone coming off SAD