Sunday, December 2, 2007

Transitioning back to solid food

I'm giving myself 6 days to easily transition back to solids after drinking only juice for 60 days. One might think my inclination would be to simply pig out and be done with it, but I assure you this is'nt the case. At this point my digestive system is nice and comfortable with the feeling of emptiness. If I eat too much too fast, or foods that are too heavy (such as nuts and seeds) my system will feel invaded. So I'm doing this in a systematic way that has been designed to reignite my agni, digestive fire.

The first day I simply added an 8 ounce meal of soaked prunes along with all of my normal juices and superfoods.

The second day I added two such meals. It took a bit longer than I expected to have my first prune induced bowel movement. Fortunately things have normalized since then and I seem to be flowing smoother.

The third day saw the addition of 1 orange, 2 pears, 1 apple and 1 cucumber as well as my two prune meals and green juices.

The fourth day, today, I'm also replacing my fruit juices with juicy fruits as well as two prune meals and green juices. Upon waking I drank 1 quart of green juice. At around 10 am (when my digestive fire is strongest) I made a delicious purple apple sauce: Blend 1 gala, blueberries, cinnamon and vanilla.

On days five and six I will be adding baby greens salads with avocado and olives. No nuts or seeds yet! I will also be eating juicy fruits, prunes and green juice.

This should leave me prepared to begin incorporating the full plethora of raw and living vegan foods. I can't wait to get back into sea veggies (nori, dulse, kelp, wakame, arame, etc.), sprouts, hemp seeds, superfood green smoothies, etc. I also love the idea of going for a long hike and simply throwing some simple solid foods in my pack to sustain my journey. Should make life easier!

I'm really excited to use green juices in my daily diet as this was largely absent before my juice feast. What a great way to get mineralized and take some burden off the digestive system!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 60, Breakfeast!

After 60 strong days of juice feasting I've decided to breakfeast. From the beginning I'd planned to juice feast for 92 day only if it felt appropriate. After much internal reflection I've decided that my goals are accomplished today and that it would not be appropriate for my body to go all the way to day 92. I'm not going back to solids because I'm hungry, but simply because my body is telling me it's the right time. I truly enjoy juice feasting and will continue using it as a method for rejuvenation and cleansing. I encourage everyone to try it even if you think it would be too challenging. I promise it's a pleasant and fulfilling experience with immense health payoffs.

I want to express my gratitude to David and Katrina Rainoshek of for their support and guidance during my first ever break from eating.

Watch my breakfeast video to see what I eat as my first meal in 60 days!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Healing my dog Liebe with juice feasting!!

Good news. Juice feasting is not just a powerful healing modality for people. Today, our pets are also suffering from the degenerative diseases of modern industrial society. For this reason many people are switching their pets to a raw and natural diet. My dog is currently suffering from an autoimmune disease that has left her blind and overweight with poor digestion. Her vet wants to put her on corticosteroids which are toxic and damaging to her already weak digestive system. So instead of listening to the money hungry advice of her vet I decided to see how she does on a modified juice feast. As a person who knows first hand how autoimmune disease works I am well aware that the digestive tract must be healed in order to reduce the inflammatory response. In the extreme case of my dog Liebe everytime she ate her tummy would bloat and she would get short of breath. She is simply not digesting properly. Swithching her to juices, miso soup, chicken and veggie broth, green superfoods and curcumin have done wonders for giving her digestive tract a break. I've had her on her juice feast for about 2 weeks and she now looks and acts like her former puppy-like self. She is no longer bloated or suffering, her weight has returned to normal and she can go on long walks again. I have begun reintroducing raw dehydrated dog food back into her diet by blending it with the fluids. We have an upcoming appointment with her vet in order to test her blood levels. I'll let you know the outcome. What I know for sure is that her quality of life is dramatically improving!

* My parents just arrived home from Hawaii and my mother was shocked at how healthy my dog looks compared to before their vacation! She stated that it was like having her old Liebe back.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Drinking the miracles of Nature

Over the course of this juice feast (now on day 57!) I've done much biological reflection in regards to the plants that are currently sustaining me. Here are some jaunts from my journal.

Greens, electrons excited by the sun.

Chlorophyll is the pigment that makes leaves and blue-green algae (such as spirulina and chlorella) green. It is these powerful foods that make such a long juice feast possible. It wouldn't be wise to juice feast without green juice.
As a biologist yogi I recognize that all life is One, and so I delight in discovering the evolutionary trajectories of the different manifestations of life. I hope this gives you a deeper appreciation of the healing juices and superfoods available to us all.
The blue-green algaes belong to a class of organisms known as cyanobacteria, or photosynthesizing bacteria. In looking at evolutionary history we can see that these are the first organisms to develop the ability to photosynthesize (harness the sun's energy using chlorophyll in order to power metabolism). *Their position at the base of the food web, as primary producers, indicates these are among the highest prana (cosmic energy) foods. Pure, condensed sun energy! Each successive trophic level loses significant energy as heat. Higher animals are thus the most inefficient food source when looking at the flow of prana through the food web. Fortunately as omnivores our bodies are equipped to digest pretty much whatever we choose. Hmm, could this be the law of Karma in action? The Karmic, cause and effect, reason I gave up animal foods is that I feel like I've found a more efficient source of fuel that energizes me on a deeper level.

Later in evolutionary history, Nature was dreaming up a more complex multicellular organism that could also photosynthesize. Instead of reinventing photosynthesis, she simply made this new race join forces with the cyanobacteria. This new partnership came to be known as the plant kingdom. It is considered a partnership because the cyanobacteria were literally engulfed into the cells of the plants, exchanging a safe home for the conversion of sunlight into usable energy. Today, studying the plant cell reveals that the chloroplasts (photosynthesizing components) were in fact free living cyanobacteria!

But wait, this situation is not unique to plants! In fact, further inspection of our own animal cells reveals that our mitochondria (cell components that convert carbohydrates into usable energy) were once free living bacteria. This is why mitochondria have a completely separate and unique set of DNA from our own nuclear DNA. It is this evolutionary partnership that forms the basis of the animal kingdom.

Now let's get even more cosmic. Our own planet, earth, is a fragment of a dying star that exploded long ago. This is why the core of our planet is molten rock. As the energy of this old star continues to decay there are organisms that have evolved to feed off of the thermal and chemical energy produced at the bottom of the ocean. Once again we find a unique partnership in which microbes that feed off the sulfur of deep sea thermal vents live inside the cells of animals, such as tube worms, that benefit in much the same way their surface dwelling cousins benefit from symbiotic partners. These deep sea organisms are living a life completely independent of the sun that we require for survival.

Whoa, life is a bit cooler than you thought, huh?

Such observations never fail to send me into deep contemplation into who and what we really are.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Passing through day 50

Day 50 has come and gone. It's hard for my mind to grasp being without solid food for this long, yet it really hasn't been difficult as many would expect. I feel unbelievably clear and fresh. Many people tell me I have a definite glow about me. I sure feel like I'm glowing. It's been such a blessing to have freedom from my digestive system for so long. This has allowed me to work on healing and balancing my subtle energies (which I will continue explaining shortly).
I want to comment on what it's been like being around food and other people who are eating. First of all, I am in a unique position because when I walk by your typical American diner, ice cream or donut shop I no longer even identify what people are eating as food. My biochemical and energetic understanding of food has shifted my perception in regards to what real food is, and let me just say that most people aren't eating anything close to real food! So if antiobiotic, blood and puss filled mamary secretions of a recombinant bovine growth hormone injected heffer are being served as "ice cream" it does little in the way of tempting me. Throughout this feast I have maintained my passion as an organic Live Food chef by preparing some killer dishes and desserts for friends and family. While this is somewhat tempting, I'm not nearly as big a fan of the rich dessert aspect of raw foods as I am for things like field greens salad with a creamy hemp seed and spirulina dressing! I must say that I am really starting to miss my killer salads, green smoothies and superfood tonics.
Another issue I'm starting to notice is that it's getting more challenging to maintain my lean body mass as well as keep my energy up. I've been very active during this feast, but it's starting to get harder to exercise and build my body. I have been advised to add more protein rich blue-green algae, vitamineral green, as well as hemp oil. In addition I'm going to start juicing more yams and maybe a bit more fruit juice. Once day 60 comes around I'll reevaluate where my body is in order to decide if the full 92 days is appropriate for my consitution. If not, I will begin the process of reintegrating solids on day 60, with the knowledge that this has been a truly miraculous journey.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sharing my Sadhana

As someone who was officially diagnosed with an "incurable" autoimmune disease I must say that I'm doing quite well. In fact, I no longer even have what they diagnosed me with! It's not because I took some magic herb, or because I went all organic. Why then am I not only able to live disease free, but I'm getting healthier and more balanced by the day? The answer is my sadhana.
Sadhana is a sanskrit term that refers to the efforts of a yogi. I oftentimes refer to my own sadhana as my 'practice'. The unique thing about my sadhana is that it takes place both on and off of my mat. My mat refers mainly to my hatha yoga practice, which includes my posture awareness work (yogasana), my breath work (vinyasa krama and pranayama), practicing sense withdrawal (Pratyahara), concentration (Dharana), and meditation (Dhyana). I study with amazing teachers such as Debbie Mills who gracefully describes this practice on her website (

Stages of Yoga Asana Practice

Observe the breath,
Focus and calm the mind
Make offerings with reverence and Love
Stand with consciousness by observing the breath and balance,
Establish greater equilibrium "samasthiti" by focusing on breath and balance

Move the awareness from the gross to the subtle while maintaining connection with the physical via the breath.

Focus more on the internal experience of the asana rather than how it appears, or how one thinks it should appear.

Stay with the breath moving towards holding the asana, moving beyond perceived limitations while respecting the integrity of our unique structural makeup.

Counter poses, rest in Savasana,
Move into pranayama
work towards lengthening (double) the exhalation (ex.) to inhalation (in.). then holding after in., then after ex. – internal mantra recitation on hold after ex. offering up mantra recitation along with breath.
Then Pratyahara "sensory withdrawal" in preparation for
Dharana "focused concentration" and
Dhyana "meditation"

Closing chants — for blessing of the practice and uplifting all beings everywhere.

An equally important aspect of my sadhana is the work I do on myself in every moment of my daily life. The purpose of this work is to create balance and therefore peace on every level of my being. Let me start with the most gross level, my physical body. I've practiced eating, moving, sitting, standing and breathing consciously for the past few years. This has ultimately led me to an organic, highly mineralized live food vegan diet. Not because a book told me to. Rather, by honestly evaluating how foods affect my body and whether it is supportive to my sadhana has allowed me to release attachment to any particular diet or food dogma. Ultimately, I've found that raw and living foods are the most supportive. Fortunately, my biology and chemistry degree helps me understand why this is so from the molecular perspective.
Juice feasting is by far the most supportive tool I've found in the dietary pantheon because it really holds space for the deeper work that I'll describe in my next post. It is also working wonders on my physical body as I feel clearer and more alive than ever before. I literally feel like a 13 year old again, except this time without all the crazy hormones and pimples! Score.

Namaste (I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace, When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One),

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A juicy drive across the country

Fortunately, I'm no longer residing in the smokey/smoggy town of Los Angeles. I had an amazing time receiving teachings from Srivatsa Ramaswami and hanging with my older brother. By the end of my first juice feasting month I was ready for some fresh air. So I packed my car up, juiced about 3 gallons, and headed east on I-10. Driving through the valley and into the mountains was eerie because the thick wild fire smoke prevented any clear view of the sky. As soon as I got into the open desert I could feel my lungs open and begin dumping out the toxins. Driving long distances is quite pleasant on a juice feast. Since there's no need to worry about food all you have to stop for is going to the restroom. Unfortunately a full bladder tends to sneak up on you while juice feasting, but there are many rest stops for this very purpose.
Now, I have a history of being a really poor distance driver. I've actually fallen asleep and side swiped my mirror on a mere 1.5 hour drive from Austin to SA. With that said, I had no problem staying alert for over 8 hours at a time. My mind is so much clearer and more alert on this juice feast. The times I did feel like I was fading prompted me to stop and perform rounds of Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutes) until I felt my energy was flowing adequately. In addition, extra bee pollen and AFA (Klamath Blue Green Algae) served to keep me present in my driving. The alkaloids in AFA work wonders on the mind and have a tendency to perk me up.
Before leaving LA I bought a large cooler and stored my juices in glass mason jars. I had an ample supply of fresh juices for my entire trip.

Late the first night I was trying to decide where to sleep. I was just coming up on Tuscon when I had the premonition to exit and head to Patagonia, home of the Tree of Life rejuvenation center. Patagonia, Arizona is a bit of a vortex and I always seem to encounter magic while there. I'm so glad I listened to my inner voice because I ended up meeting some really amazing people who supported some really deep healing work that had come up in my practice. In my next post I'll begin explaining my practice (sadhana) and the different levels of healing I'm bringing about within myself.
Fortunately my friends in Patagonia are very conscious, which means they all have juicers! After drinking all of my road trip juice I simply visited Red Mountain Foods, the local health market, to collect more juicy produce. After three days of recharging in the beautiful mountains of the Sonoran desert I was ready to continue my journey to Houston. I didn't bring quite as much juice, but I found an Asian market in El Paso and bought a case of 9 young thai coconuts. The fresh coconut water mixed with Vitamineral green kept me strong until arriving in North Houston (Spring to be exact) the next day. It was so nice to see my parents, dog and cat. They were surprised that after 31 days of juicing I wasn't thinner than I am. I weighed in for the first time at the Tree of Life at a comfortable 158 pounds. This is great because I initially had fears of losing too much weight on this feast. I started out at about 165 and knew that I could comfortably lose upwards of 10 pounds, but anything more would be less than desirable. David Rain told me that people usually approach their healthy weight on a juice feast, which means if you are already under weight you might even begin to gain. During our meeting I told David and Katrina that I feel like I'm consciously preventing too much weight loss by bringing in other forms of energy such as breath, sunshine, nature sounds, and loving friendships. Katrina said, "you mean you're working with prana". Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Prana is a sanskrit word that refers to life energy. Qi is the chinese word for this very same concept. My yogasana and pranayama practice is the primary way that I cultivate my prana. There are many forms of prana that we require from our environment to survive, from the gross to the sublte. Food is the most gross level that our bodies require. Eating living/raw plant foods feeds you with the subtle life energy of the plant, whereas cooked/processed food only provides your body with the chemical (caloric) energy it needs. Since my normal diet consists of live foods I've really tuned into this subtle energy from my diet. I think this is why I'm now conscious of feeding myself with the other more subtle energies such as breath and sunshine. Think about it, what's the most important nutrient? Oxygen. That's right, life just isn't going to stick around very long without breathing. So by consciously filling my lungs to their full capacity I'm able to take in a lot more energy than I otherwise would. This is fundamental to the Vinyasa Krama (linking complete breaths to each movement) and pranayama (breath work) that I practice. We also need sunshine on our skin for our bodies to produce real vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, not vitamin. In other countries such as France they actually give you paid time off to vacation on sunny beaches when you are diagnosed with cancer. This is because vitamin D is essential for preventing and healing cancer. So what's the story on nature sounds. It turns out that we are deeply affected by the vibrations in our environments. Unfortunately, we have created a reality in which we live in little boxes we call "houses". These squared-in dwellings have a very limited ability to create complex sound reverberations. When we go outside on the other hand the possibilites for complex sounds becomes nearly infinite, which is of great advantage to our mind. It's kind of like the difference between listening to a Bach symphony and a two year old banging on pots and pans. Take your pick.
So how do I get all of this extra breath, sunshine and nature energy? Naked yoga outside of course! I try to do at least one of my asana and pranayama practices outside every day. I feel totally charged after such a session and I can actually see a difference in my energy level.
My plan for November is to continue going deeper in my sadhana and healing practice. I have a one way ticket to Oahu for December 6th and plan on spending my last juice feast month on the islands.