Is Juice Fasting Just as Good as Water Fasting?

We’ve all heard of the benefits of water-only fasting. You know, the weight loss, clear skin, the improved digestion, the elimination of toxins, etc. And we all want these results for ourselves.

What we don’t want is the, well…the fast!

We don’t want to feel fatigue. We don’t want to feel uncomfortable. And we definitely don’t want to feel hungry.

But apparently there’s a way we can have our cake and eat it too. It’s a little thing called “juice fasting”.

So what exactly is juice fasting and can it really compare to fasting on nothing but water?

What’s the difference?

A water fast, also called a “water-only fast”, is just as it sounds. You consume nothing but water for a period of time. A typical long-term water fast lasts for about 21 days.

On the other hand, a juice fast consists of consuming nothing but raw fruit and vegetable juices. A typical juice fast lasts for about 30 days, although they can last for much much longer since you are still taking in fuel.

Fasting is Resting

Fasting is more than just not eating or only drinking juices. Fasting is really about RESTING.

And I don’t just mean resting the digestive system either. I mean resting the entire body. This means taking a break from life’s daily routine (i.e. getting up, going to work, taking care of the kids, going shopping, etc.) and sleeping as much as possible.

And when you aren’t sleeping, you should be lying down (or at the very least, sitting down) for the vast majority of the day.

So now that we know a bit about water and juice fasting, is juice fasting really just as good as water fasting?

Juicing is Not Fasting

Consuming anything other than water, even if it is in liquid form, is not a real fast. As Dr. Joel Fuhrman states in his book Fasting and Eating for Health:

“Juice fasting” is not truly fasting; biochemically the body does not enter the “protein-sparing” fasting state. In this state the body conserves its muscle reserves and fat is preferentially broken down. This does not occur with juice fasting.

Juice fasting also does not have the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of the pure water fast that are essential for recovery in autoimmune illnesses.

During a water fast, your body goes into a state called ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body runs out of glucose for fuel and has to turn to stored fat instead. This shift usually starts on the second day of fasting and is finished by the third day, but the rate of fat that is broken down will continue to increase for the next few days.

Not only does ketosis mean that your hunger will greatly diminish (even disappear) by day 3, but it also means that you will get rid of a lot of excess weight.

On a juice fast, ketosis never happens because you are still eating. Since you are still taking in glucose from food, your body does not have to turn to its own fat reserves for fuel.

Sure, your body may use some degree of stored fat if you are undereating on calories, but never to the extent that it will on a water fast. You can accomplish the same goal simply by dieting.

And if you are undereating, which many people tend to do while juice fasting, you will still be hungry. Remember, hunger only disappears on a water fast because you are no longer taking in any fuel.

And remember, fasting equates to resting. Juice fasting cannot compete with water fasting in this regard because your body still has to work to digest the juices you consume.

Juicing is Still Eating

Many people prefer juice fasting over water fasting because they equate not eating for a period of time with starvation. They are afraid that if they consume nothing but water for more than a couple of days that their body will start to consume its own healthy muscles, tissues, and organs.

This could not be further from the truth. Again from Fasting and Eating for Health:

When no calories are consumed, the body is living off its nutritional stores, primarily its fat reserves. The innate wisdom of the body is such that while fasting, it will consume for its sustenance superfluous tissues, carefully conserving vital tissues and organs.

The body’s wondrous ability to autolyze (or self-digest) and destroy needless tissue such as fat, tumors, blood vessel plaque, and other nonessential and diseased tissues, while conserving essential tissues, gives the ability to restore physiological youth to the system.

By removing or lessening the burden of diseased tissue, including the fatty tissue narrowing the blood vessels, fasting increases the blood flow and subsequent oxygenation and nutrient delivery to vital organs throughout the body.

Human beings have evolved to fast when we are in poor health. You will notice that other animals do this as well; they lose their appetite and refuse to eat until their health is restored.

This would not make sense if once we stopped eating, our body immediately started catabolizing all of our healthy organs. Instead, the body uses up everything that is unnecessary or harmful, such as excess fat and diseased tissue.

And your body even has a signal to let you know when this process is over…HUNGER! You know when it’s time to eat again once your hunger returns.

On a juice fast, you will never be able to experience the deep healing that occurs on water-only. Your body has to deal with the digestion of the juices you consume first and foremost rather than the elimination and repair of diseased and damaged cells.

NOTE: While water-only fasting is clearly an evolutionary survival mechanism, that’s not to say that it isn’t risky. People tend to be in very poor health, much more so than they often realize, and complications can and do occur during a long-term fast.

This is why it’s always recommended for anyone planning to fast for more than a few days to seek qualified professional supervision.

Is There Any Reason to Juice Fast?

Not really. As I mentioned in this article on juicing, juiced foods are refined foods. Juiced foods have had their fiber removed and can no longer be considered a whole food.

And while people like to consume juices for cleansing and detox purposes, this is completely unnecessary on a simple whole foods diet. As long as you are eating a healthy raw vegan diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, then you have no reason to juice fast.

If you do feel the need to cleanse for whatever reason (i.e you spent the week munching on veggie burgers and vegan burritos, perhaps), take a trip to Banana Island (nothing but bananas and water) instead of juice fasting. Eating this simply for a few days or so will help you get back on track without sacrificing your need for calories and satiation.

And if you can take the time to rest, don’t be afraid to opt for a short 1-3 day water fast.

Go raw and be fit,


Are Microwave Ovens Dangerous?

Katherine asks:

Could you do a blog post on micro waves and if you think they’re dangerous, etc.?

Sure thing! :)

First, by putting your food in the microwave, you are cooking it. Cooked food is damaged and deranged food, even if it is “only” defrosted in the microwave.

For instance, one study from 2003 showed that broccoli heated in the microwave lost 97% of its flavanoids (antioxidants), compared with boiled broccoli which lost 66% and steamed which lost about 11%.

There are several additional studies showing vitamin C loss, as well as the derangement of proteins (one reason why mothers are warned never to feed microwave-warmed milk to their infants).

Second, the radiation from microwaves has indeed been shown to be dangerous. A recent study included in the European Journal of Oncology concluded that radiation emitted from digital cordless phone base stations negatively effect the heart (e.g. irregular heart rate, rapid heart rate, etc.)

What does radiation from a cordless phone have to do with microwave ovens, you ask? The amount of radiation tested, 2.4 GHz, is the same amount emitted by microwave ovens.

So if you are going to heat your food, don’t use a microwave to do it. Steaming or even boiling retain more nutrition and are safer options.

Hope that helps,


How to Create a Full Body Strength Routine

One reason people don’t commit to strength training is because they don’t know where to begin or how to create their own program. They feel that they have to rely upon outside sources, such as DVDs or personal trainers, just to get started.

And as we all know, these sources cost money. Sometimes LOTS of money. No one wants to spend their hard-earned cash on something they don’t want to do (but feel they should do) anyway!

The truth is, putting together your own full body strength training program is totally doable. You don’t need any outside assistance, you don’t need any equipment, and you don’t need to spend any money!

Creating an effective routine is literally as easy as 1-2-3. Here, let me show you…

#1: Lower Body

Choose one exercise that works the muscles of the lower body, i.e. glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, etc.

Here are just a few:

  • Squats
  • Hindu Squats
  • Lunges
  • Calf Raises
  • One-Legged Squat
  • Wall Sit

#2: Abs

Choose one exercise that works your abdominal muscles, i.e. rectus abdominis, external obliques, etc.

Here are just a few:

  • Crunches
  • Sit Ups
  • Bicycles
  • Russian Twists
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Supermans

#3: Upper Body

Choose one exercise that works the muscles of the upper body, i.e. chest, back, triceps, biceps, etc.

Here are just a few:

  • Push Ups
  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Pike Presses
  • Handstands
  • Reverse Push Ups

The Routine

Now that you’ve decided on 3 exercises, it’s time to put them together into a routine. Here’s an example:

  1. Squats
  2. Crunches
  3. Push Ups

Set a watch for 5 minutes. For each exercise, do as many repetitions as you can within that time limit before moving on to the next one.

There are many other routines you can try to add variety and further challenge yourself.

For instance, you could time yourself and see how long it takes you to do 25, 50, 100, etc. repetitions of each exercise. You could also make the routine into a circuit, where you do a few repetitions of each exercise back-to-back and then repeat for multiple rounds.

No matter which routine you create, the most important thing is to make sure you keep track of how many repetitions and/or the speed with which you do each exercise. This way, you can accurately monitor your strength gains over time.


The real key to any fitness routine is progression. Without progressively increasing the intensity, duration, or frequency of your workouts as you become more fit, you will not continue to see improvements. In other words, you will plateau.

Don’t worry, this is an easy fix.

In terms of strength training, your goal is to increase the intensity. One way to do this is to add some resistance. For instance, if squats are becoming too easy, try adding some weight by holding dumbbells at your sides.

Another way is to create an unstable surface to work on. So if crunches are a breeze, try doing them on a stability ball.

The possibilities for increasing the demand, and therefore continuing to see the results you want, are endless.

See, now how easy was that? :)

Go raw and be fit,


Wow Your Friends and Family With These Raw Creations

One of the biggest problems with going raw is feeding family and friends when they come to visit. For the vast majority of people whose taste buds are accustomed to fatty, salty, sugary foods, it can be pretty difficult to win them over with simple fruits and veggies.

Sure, you can feed them the tantalizing over-salted, over-spiced, over-processed foods of the high-fat raw food movement. But do you really want to offer your loved ones such slop?

Don’t you want to show them what healthy raw food feasting is REALLY all about?

Well then, my low fat raw vegan recipe book is for you:

“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”

Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal

Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes is full of delicious 100% raw vegan delights that will tantalize even the most overworked taste buds and tummy.

Here are just a few recipes from the e-book that are particularly great for social events:

  • Mona’s Very Pear-y Salad
  • Karmyn’s Better Than Candy Confection
  • Melissa’s Carmel Camel Dip
  • Karmyn’s Fat Free Veggie Dip
  • Michele’s Groovy Green Wraps
  • Connie’s Kitchen Sink Fruit Bowl
  • Mizpah’s Mango Kiwi Green Salad
  • Mizpah’s Marvelous Tomango Soup
  • Michele’s Pizza-ettes
  • Ellen’s Radically Raw Pizza
  • Michael’s Raw Cau-Bouli Salad- Ellen’s Sweet Marinara

But really, any of the recipes will do just fine.  Even smoothies can be prepared right beforehand and kept cool in an ice chest.

So if you want to show your friends and family what it truly means to rawk it raw, eat tons of delicious food, and get healthy and fit, check out “Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes” at the link below:

“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”

Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal

Go raw and be fit,


Still Stuck on Cardio for Fat Loss?

So my article on cardio and fat loss didn’t convince you, huh? You just don’t believe that high intensity interval training (HIIT) results in more fat loss than steady state cardio.

Well, maybe this intriguing case study will convince you! :)

The Twin Study

Let’s take another look at PACE and Dr. Sears’ Twin Study, which examined two 18 year old female twins with very similar body compositions (both started with 24.5% body fat).

At the start of the study, the twins were put on the same exercise program of running one mile three times per week. After 16 weeks, one twin was participating in interval training (i.e. 6 sets of 50-yard sprints followed by 30 seconds of recovery) while the other twin was jogging for 10 miles.

The results? (page 67):

The PACE twin [the one doing interval training] went from 24.5% body fat all the way down to 10% for a total fat loss of 18 pounds. What’s more, she gained 9 pounds of pure muscle.

The cardio twin lost fat, but not as much. She also started at 24.5% body fat but went down to only 19.5% body fat for a total fat loss of 8 pounds. Not bad, but instead of gaining valuable muscle, the cardio twin actually lost 2 pounds of muscle.

As you can see, the twin doing interval training not only lost MORE fat than her sister, but she also GAINED more muscle. And this was accomplished simply by exercising at high intensity, but for much less time.

More Proof

Here’s another study, provided in PACE, that show the effectiveness of interval training (page 101):

Researchers from McMaster University in Canada found just six interval workouts (short sprints) over two weeks increased oxygen available to muscles and doubled the runners’ endurance capacity.

And another:

Another McMaster University study found that just seven sessions of interval training over two weeks marked a significant increase in fat burning for women.

And yet another:

At the University of Cape Town in South Africa, cyclists improved their 40-km trial performance and increased their muscular resistance to fatigue – just from a simple four-week interval training routine.

And one more:

When VO2max (how much oxygen you can take into your lungs) and stroke volume of the heart (how much blood your heart pumps in one beat) were measured, interval training easily outperformed aerobics. VO2max and stroke volume improved significantly more for people who used interval training.

Want more results? Be sure to check out PACE: The 12-Minute Fitness Revolution by Al Sears, MD.

Go raw and be fit,


P.S. What’s even more amazing than the benefits you can receive from adopting high intensity interval training into your exercise routine? Why, the benefits you can receive from going raw, of course!

While it isn’t always easy to rawk it raw in this cooked food kingdom of ours, it’s definitely doable and certainly worth it. And learning some tasty and healthy recipes along the way sure doesn’t hurt!

“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”

Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal

Wanna Burn Fat? Quit the Cardio!

Recently I asked the question: “Is low-intensity cardio the best way to burn fat?”

No way, Jose. If you want to maximize your fat burning efforts, you have to use up more calories while you exercise.

Now you may be thinking that this means working out for hours and hours a day. Think again.

More Cardio Makes More Fat?

Aerobic workouts at low to moderate intensity burn a higher a percentage of total calories used from fat than from carbohydrates. This is what’s referred to as the “fat-burning zone”.

But as I mentioned on Monday, this does not take into account volume. Sure, you may burn more fat while at rest or working with little intensity, but the amount will be minimal because the total amount of calories burned will be small.

On the other hand, while you may burn more calories from carbohydrates than from fat while working at high intensities, the total amount of calories burned will be much greater.

And apparently, the fact that high intensity exercises burn more carbs than fat is actually a GOOD thing for fat loss. As Al Sears, MD points out in his revolutionary book PACE: The 12-Minute Fitness Revolution (page 57):

Burning fat during exercise tells your body it needed the fat. This trains your body to make more fat for the next time you exercise.

Your body replenishes your fat each time you eat and becomes efficient at building and preserving fat necessary for long aerobic sessions in preparation for the next endurance workout. In doing so, it sacrifices muscle and preserves fat.

So don’t bother trying to use this strategy to lose body fat. Your body will fight you in the effort and you can only do it by sacrificing lean tissue like muscle and internal organs.

So if low intensity cardio isn’t the way to burn fat, what is?

Work Out Less to Burn More

Ever heard of high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short?

High intensity interval training consists of maximally exerting yourself for a brief time (which is usually anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds), then actively recovering for a longer time (usually about 20 to 90 seconds), then repeating for 10 to 15 rounds.

Here’s a typical routine:

  • Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds
  • Jog at a slow pace for 30 seconds
  • Repeat 12 times

As you can see, this routine only lasts for 12 minutes. 12 minutes?! Yep, 12 measly minutes.

So why does it work so well for fat loss?

As Dr. Sears says (page 59):

Short bursts of exercise [interval training] tell your body that storing energy as fat is inefficient, since you never exercise long enough to use the dat during each session. Instead you burn carbohydrates, which are stored in the muscle – not fat. Carbohydrates stored in muscle are high-energy output fuels while fat is a low energy output fuel.

Exercising for short intense bursts will use there high output carbs during exercise. Then you start to use slow-burn fat after your workout – while you replenish the carbs. This is known as your “after burn.” And it, over the long run, is more important than what you burned during your exercise.

But just how important is the after burn?

The After Burn Makes All the Difference

Again from Dr. Sears (page 59):

Researchers in Quebec’s Lavel University divided exercisers into two groups: long duration and repeated short duration [interval training]. They had the long duration group cycle 45 minutes without interruption. The short duration group cycles in multiple bursts of 15 to 90 seconds with rests in between.

The long duration group burned twice as many calories, so you would assume they would burn more fat. However, when the researchers recorded their body composition measurements, the interval group showed the most fat loss. In fact, the interval group lost 9 times more fat than the endurance group for every calorie burned!

In other words, your jacked up metabolism – the “after burn” – is critical is you want to effectively AND efficiently burn body fat.

How to Get Started

Incorporating interval training into your exercise routine is super simple, no matter what your current level of fitness.

Here’s a simple routine for a total beginner:

  • Run as fast as you can for 15 seconds
  • Walk for 90 seconds
  • Repeat as many rounds as you can

Notice I said “run as fast as you can” and “repeat as many rounds as you can”. This means that if the fastest you can go is no more than a light jog, that’s fine. And if you can only do that for 10 seconds instead of 15, that’s fine too. And if you can only do one round, that’s also fine!

The point is to work at YOUR maximum exertion, whatever that may be for YOU, and to progress gradually over time.

And if you don’t like running, no problem! You can easily do some other activity, such as biking, swimming, or jumping rope.

Go raw and be fit,