I did not have a specific ailment or health challenge I needed to address when I began a 90-day juice fast on December 29, 2007. I merely sought to experience some of the cleansing and detoxification I had heard others speak about. I had just passed my 50th birthday. Up to that point my lifestyle was a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy practices. I was a budding raw vegan who got regular exercise, but I drank alcohol almost daily and my spiritual life was lacking. I worked more than 60 hours a week in a deadline driven business. For 25 years I was a founder and the managing partner in a graphic design and advertising firm. I felt as though the time was right to unplug from the madness for a bit.
The initial days of my fast were the most challenging, simply because I was hungry. Fortunately, I had prepared ahead of time by buying an additional juicer to keep at my office. I had stocked up on produce and experimented with juice blends in the days leading up to the start of my fast.
My prepatory efforts paid off. After the first few days of settling in to a new routine, I was delighted to discover what a long vacation from food could do for me. Most days I had infinitely more energy. I required less sleep and my ability to concentrate was enhanced. I realized I was starting to feel recharged. Additionally, I experienced several incidents of deep cleansing. For example, I had vivid recollections of a tonsillectomy I had when I was seven—down to being able to smell the ether they had given me as anesthesia. I developed a temporary black welt on my tongue that my acupuncturist interpreted—based on its location—as healing evidence from a childhood bout of pneumonia. A mildly annoying skin bump I had for over 20 years faded away eight weeks into the fast, and never returned. My fasting experience certainly made an undeniable impact on my life, but the most lasting of these impacts was not physiological.
There’s a saying that goes “When God closes a door he opens a window.” It’s one of those adages we find ourselves uttering to friends when we hear they’ve been laid off from a job, or that a meaningful relationship is coming to an end. Once in a while, we find ourselves in that moment of in-between: when we are conscious and can actually pinpoint the conclusion of one chapter and the commencement of another. Mine was brought to light by the juice fast. At the risk of sounding unhumble, my business partner and I and the firm we co-owned were quite prominent in our little corner of the advertising universe. We were successful. We “had it all.” And yet—about midway into the juice fast—I realized how miserable I had become. My break from meal preparation and the numbing effects of food and excessive drink forced me to examine what my high-stress, spiritually void and less-than-health-promoting situation was actually doing to me. In looking at the journal I kept before and during the juice fast, I see that my emotional awakenings had made it virtually impossible for me to stay in the status quo.
Not long afterward, I shared with my business partner that I simply needed to do something else. My “something else” became Fork in the Road.
This account will be appearing in a book scheduled for release in October 2012 entitled “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Juice Fasting,” published by Penquin Books.