There has been a few experiments I have wanted to do lately. Instead I have been extremely tied up with work, working a crazy number of hours overtime. When I finally came out of it and got some time off as compensation, I immediately wanted to get started.

Listen to your body

My first option was a repeat of my polyphasic sleep experiment. I learned so much during that experiment, and I have wanted to do a fresh attempt since. I have realized later on from reading more about it that I must have been very close to adapting by the time I quit — so my feeling is that it should be more successful the next time.

Whenever you deal with experimenting with yourself and your own body, you need to know how to listen to the signals your body sends you. My situation this time was simply that I was too exhausted to try sleep experiments. Working so hard had built up an energy deficit that took just over two weeks to recover.

Experimenting with sleep during that period was simply not an option (though I did sneak in a small experiment a few weeks later when my time off was up… but more on that some other time), and by the time I was rested enough it was too late to start a successful polyphasic sleep adaptation..

The polyphasic sleep experiment will have to wait until my vacation this summer.

Juicing

I went to my second option for a personal experiment, which was juicing. I had heard about people doing juice feasts before, and wanted to investigate further for myself. If you haven’t heard about it, juice feasting is essentially a cleansing ritual, similar to fasting in a way.

The difference between a fast and a juice feast is that on the feast, you should be drinking enough juice to cover your normal energy intake. Whatever amount of calories you normally eat, you should drink instead as freshly made juice. Since juice is easy to digest, this gives your body a chance to focus on repairing itself and cleanse out toxins.

I felt like I needed this badly, since my crazy work period had been accompanied by an equally crazy amount of bad fast food.

Another thing I have heard of is people using juicing as a way to lose weight. The bad fast food had predictably made me gain a few kilos and grown my stomach region a bit, making me feel bloated. Combining these two approaches felt like a good fit for me.

Getting started

To my surprise, Lethania decided to join me in this experiment. So we got a juicer, the Philips HR1861 Pro Aluminium Juicer. It is a fantastic machine, which makes making any kind of fresh juice a breeze (the hard part is carrying the fruit home). Compared to other machines I have seen and to squeezing with a manual juicer, it is much more efficient (much less waste).

Note that the whole point of this is to make juice from fresh fruits and vegetables. Buying processed juice in the store to drink is not even near the same thing. If you can afford buying a juicer, I recommend that you do so — the quality of fresh juice you get is amazing.

My first thought was to ease into it by replacing everything but dinner with juice. This worked out really nicely — in fact, it worked out so nicely I never made it past this step.

One thing that immediately became obvious is just how much juice you need to drink in order to fill up to your normal energy. I drank a glass of juice whenever I felt hungry, and I estimate I was still only getting about half of what I would normally need. Combined with a good dinner every day, this was about right to lose weight at a reasonable pace though. If you want to try it, I would suggest drinking a slight bit more (which is what I intend to do when I repeat this).

Another thing that quickly became apparent was the enormous amount of fruit and vegetables needed to go fully on juice. You will get an extra workout just hauling the stuff home from the store. We brought home a great deal of fruit, but it still was nowhere near the amount we would have needed to get enough juice to replace dinner as well. Besides, eating a regular meal for dinner meant we didn’t have to eat a lot of extra supplements.

A light feeling and joy for dinner

My feeling during the experiment is a bit hard to describe. It takes a couple of days for your stomach to adjust, which was somewhat unpleasant but not too big of a deal.

The best way I can describe the general feeling was that my body felt light — almost younger in a way. I definitely felt the lack of energy from getting less food than I was used to, but at the same time my body felt full of energy and my mind alert. It is hard to describe the exact sensation. I was extremely active during the entire experiment, fixing things with the new house, moving furniture and installing things — strangely I felt like I had more energy than usual to keep me active.

One unexpected benefit about going on this diet while at home for my time off was that dinner became a delight. Since food was restricted to dinner only, I only had to cook for dinner (and making juice is extremely quick with a good juicer like the one we bought). Cooking became so much more fun and was worth so much more effort because I was spending so much less time in the kitchen per day! The result was that we made fabulous dinners nearly every day.

As for weight loss, this has been by far the easiest and most painless way I have found this far to keep my energy intake below my normal value. Generally when I lower my food intake, I tend to be much more strongly affected by the lack of energy and feelings of hunger.

The end of the experiment

We went with it for just shy of two weeks. Juice is great, but becomes very monotonous after a while. My intention is to mix things up by going back to juicing every once in a while — definitely a positive experience for me. I do not see any particular reason to go to a full juice feast however — the benefits from part-time juicing are definitely enough to make me think that the extra effort is not worth it.

Most probably I will be doing another juicing period in a week or two, maybe run it for one week, do one week of normal diet and keep alternating like this for a while to keep it from becoming too boring.