Juice and Laptop | Food Loves Writing

For a person who is regularly bemoaning the complexities of adult life, a three-day juice fast provides a wonderful simplicity. When you remove the daily tasks of buying, storing, preparing, eating and cleaning up after meals, you find yourself with this new and unusual void of time—and in it, a surprising clarity about the rest of life. In those borrowed hours, while you toss a football in the park, while you paint for hours at the table, while you read novels in bed to your heart’s content, all when you normally would have been cooking or eating, you realize something about food you’d never before seen. Because food, in all its forms and flavors, is such a constant, consuming, captivating part of life, even the not eating of it carries weight and significance.

Oranges | FoodLovesWriting.com

Here in our Nashville kitchen, Tim and I are just coming off a three-day juice fast. While we didn’t plan the fast as a way of gaining perspective, in many ways, that’s exactly what it was. We started Tuesday morning, the day after we’d flown back from Chicago. In Chicago, as you’ll remember from the last post, we’d spent a full few days meeting friends at restaurants and ever feasting at my parents’ house. But that trip had followed two or three weeks of frenzied work and social activity around here, in the midst of which we’d hosted family, hosted friends, took on more work projects, watched our to-read piles grow, talked about the future and, more than once, together tried to get my prone-to-wander mind to calm down. All weekend in Chicago, people had told me I looked tired, but when we came back Monday, boy, I felt like it, and with a headache, to boot; that night, we unpacked and bought fruit and then, collapsed into bed at 9:30 p.m. So in the morning, when making breakfast meant pouring coconut water and juicing lemons, I didn’t complain.


All Tuesday and into Wednesday and Thursday, our eating routine was the same: juicing in our citrus press, pulling out juice from the fridge, sipping one of the homemade teas Tim had made and chilled for the week. There was no meal-planning to think about, no need to start dinner prep around 4:30 or 5 p.m., no dishes to clean beyond the glasses we drank from each day. And what we discovered as we found ourselves giddy with unexpected chunks of free time was just how much time the making and preparing and eating of food has been requiring in our lives. There are many reasons this is a good realization—food is necessary, and it’s beautiful, and it brings people together in more ways than one. Investing in what you eat is such a gift, both to yourself and to your loved ones, and it’s one of the earliest things I can remember bringing me sheer delight.

But food is also just one part of life, and that’s good to remember, too. It’s a wonderful part, the kind worth building a blog around, but still, just one indeed. This seems like a funny statement to make here, in a space filled with what we eat. Yet saying it makes this place so much more whole. And this week, stepping away from food for a few days, experiencing how we can find joy and happiness and satisfaction even without it, has enriched our understanding of food and of eating and of the gifts those things give.

So about those hours spent painting: Head over to the Etsy shop and check out the new prints! This shop gives us a lot of pleasure—especially for me, when I think about things that I enjoyed painting being things you enjoy having. If you have questions about products or want something customized, it’s always possible—just contact us on Etsy or via the contact page!

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Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Marie @ Little Kitchie

    I just finished a 5 day juice fast on Tuesday! I was surprised by how much time it opened up because I’m not often cooking long, complicated meals, but with meal planning, grocery shopping, prep work… it does all add up. Hope y’all are feeling great post-fast! Heading over to Etsy now…

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Marie! Our juice fasts overlapped a day! I love it! (And we’re feeling fantastic! Hope you are, too!) Wish you were around here to swap juicing stories…

  2. Erin

    Such insightful thoughts about food. It really does take up so much of our time, and so there are days when I am so glad that we have leftovers or when I decide we are just going to scrounge around the kitchen and I end up with a bowl of cereal for dinner.
    Goodness I could not imagine doing a multiple day juice fast. I feel like I would be so very hungry, and therefore grumpy. Do you ever have any issues with that when you are doing a juice fast?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha! Erin! You sound like me! I will spare you the long, complicated answer to that question and just say quickly that juice-fasting is, for me, one of the easiest kinds of fasting we’ve done. Because the juices flood nutrients to your body, you don’t feel as desperate to eat. Also though, we’ve been doing a variety of “pre-cleanses” over the last year that probably made it easier… I can honestly tell you that I didn’t feel desperate to eat at all. It was refreshing!

      1. Erin

        Ah. Pre-cleanses are probably a good idea. :)

  3. Felicia @ Dish by Dish

    Hey Shanna!

    forgive my ignorance but does these three-day juice fast literally meant you only drank juices and didn’t eat anything? not even biscuits or soup or something? I’ve never tried a juice fast, am not sure if I can last for more than one day!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi Felicia! Yep, juice (and coconut water, tea, water) only — it’s honestly not as bad as it sounds. Have you heard of the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”? It’s worth checking out!

  4. ami@naivecookcooks

    Shanna you are so right…Food does take so time from our lives and day to day activities, that we don’t even realise…I feel like going on a juice fast too atleast for a day in the beginning!! Did you guys felt tired while doing the juice fast?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ami, Actually, we had a lot of energy! This could be because our bodies wanted a break (ha!) and we’d been so tired, or it could be because of some cleanses we’d already done previously. Wednesday, we spent several hours at a park in the sun, and I had more energy than I’ve had in ages. That was probably due at least in part to the sun, though. : )

  5. Lindsey

    Did you follow a specific plan? Or just come up with something on your own? I’d love to do a juice fast but there are so many different ones and none of them seem similar, so I have no idea which is the best or where to start!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi Lindsey! We are using our own plan, but it’s a little more complicated than I’m going to explain here on the blog. : ) I’d recommend checking out the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” for some overview info about juicing — but generally speaking, most people can handle a day or two of juice-fasting, so that’s good to keep in mind.

      1. Lindsey

        Thanks! I’ve not seen that documentary, but I’ve visited the website and looked at the different plans. I already eat a real food diet (well, 80/20) so I’m pretty sure I can handle it, but winter always takes it’s toll and I think a juice fast would help me feel better and get me ready for Spring and all the fresh foods that are going to start growing in the garden and turning up at farmer’s markets. :) I’d be interested to know what was in the teas, if you’re willing to share. :)

  6. Joshua Hampton (Cooking Classes San Diego)

    I’ve never tried juice fasting before and the thought of not eating for even one day is intimidating for me. Maybe one day, I’ll be brave enough to try juice fasting too.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Yeah, Joshua, it’s not for everyone — but it’s definitely worth learning more about. : )

  7. Katie (A Fork in Hand)

    I’m just finishing up with my own spring dietary cleanse and I came away with many of the same insights. I generally do this cleanse twice a year and it never ceases to a amaze me to rediscover just how food-obsessed I really am! It’s always a challenge for me, but definitely more than worth it for the physical and mental reset.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Exactly, Katie. It’s good to not be mastered by anything, even wonderful food!

  8. Joanna

    This is so funny to read because I have been CRAVING juices lately. Not smoothies, juices. Maybe it’s the stress of moving and saying goodbye or that we’ve been eating out lately while we’re in limbo finding a place (and without our normal kitchen!), but I’ve felt a strong desire for fresh greens and citrus. We need a juicer, dangit.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Let me be the voice on your shoulder telling you to buy a juicer! You don’t have a kitchen right now, so it’s practically a need, right? : ) I will say, though, that we did it without a juicer, just with a citrus press and purchased juices. I will also say I wish we were all together to juice-fast as friends. Miss you!

  9. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    My favorite sentence: `even the not eating of it carries weight and significance.´ Perfect.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      : ) I don’t know if it’s acceptable to have a favorite sentence from my own post, but, between us, that was my favorite sentence, too.

  10. Kim

    Ok, ok, fine! I’ll think about opening up the juicer we got for our wedding (over a year ago now!) and venture into the world of juicing. 😉 Honestly, I can’t believe it’s taken so long, but I feel like juicing is everywhere right now, so I might as well get on board, right?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Fun! You got a juicer! Yeah, seriously, juicing is everywhere now — a new juice place just opened up not far from where we live… $5 for a glass makes using a home juicer sound even better!

  11. Kathryn

    I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a juice fast but worried about how I would cope with day to day life powered just by juice alone. I think I’m just making excuses though in case I find out that I can’t manage a life without food, even if only for a few days. I like the idea of the new perspective that it brings though.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I totally understand—the idea is daunting! There are enough benefits, both physically and mentally, that it’s worth thinking about trying some day, even if only for a half day or a day. But maybe someday in the future if not soon. : )

  12. Jess

    Shanna – this is such an interesting and unique perspective on juice fasting. We hear so often about the health benefits, but I love your thoughts on the mental benefits as well. I, of course, believe so much in the value of preparing meals and spending the time it takes to make good food, but your point is well made about the perspective we get from taking a step back. And all that free time! My goodnes – how nice not to have to do dinner dishes for a few days! 😉

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I think it feels especially nice after a long period of heavy eating, haha… taking a break was genuinely a relief because of how packed our days and menus had been. But that said, it really did surprise me how good it felt! Our bodies are such fascinating things.

  13. Michele Jackson

    Shanna, I’m in the middle of day 2 right now. I love your perspective on the extra time gained and the mental benefits. It has been interesting to gain an understanding of my relationship with food – both good and bad and how my body feels “clean.” I thought I was going to wake up starving this morning, instead I felt light and awake. Looking forward to finishing and hoping to stay on a more disciplined path – your recipes will certainly help!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Michele! How much do I love that you happened to check in here right in the midst of your own fast! I feel like we’re on the same team because of it, haha, so let me cheer you on and say, way to go! It definitely takes discipline to plan, let alone go through with, any kind of fasting, but the rewards are many. Hope you feel better and better in the days ahead!

  14. Pingback: Green Apple, Carrot, Celery & Tomato Juice | Cooking up a Storm, Dish by Dish :: Felicia Lim

  15. Pingback: Benefits of Juice Fasting | greenhealthylifestyle

  16. Lilian

    Just discovered this blog & love it (:
    A non-food/writing related question – what kind/brand of paints do you use?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Hi there, Lilian! To be honest with you, my in-laws got me my first set of watercolor paints from an art store, but I later bought more at Michael’s Craft Store–just the biggest, cheapest version–and they’ve been great. Are you planning to paint? Have fun! -s

  17. Pingback: Benefits of Juice Fasting | Green Healthy Lifestyle

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