Not So Fast

Today I am embarking on a modified, partial raw juice fast.

I know. Don’t blast me with warning comments.

Thirst Quencher
Creative Commons License photo credit: Glorius

I know that fasting or crash dieting while breastfeeding isn’t a good idea.

For several reasons.

According to the studies I’ve read, crash dieting, severe calorie restriction, and prolonged fasting can cause:

  • dehydration and reduced milk supply
  • changes in milk composition
  • dumping of toxins into the breastmilk
  • depleting of mom’s nutritional status

Of course, “fasting” according to these studies usually referred to prolonged, severe food restriction, such as in the case of Ramadan and other religious observances.

In the studies I found that mentioned a very brief fast, there was little to no change in the composition or supply of mom’s milk. Here’s one.

I had a normal breakfast this morning (which consisted of a fresh from the farm egg, gently cooked in grass-fed butter, served with breakfast potatoes and a slice of gluten free toast). My plan is to eat a normal breakfast, because I don’t do well without protein in the morning.

Then every hour I’m drinking 8 ounces of a raw juice combo I got from Arden’s Garden (famous here in Atlanta for their fresh raw juices). And drinking lots of water.

If I get too hungry, or weak and shaky, I’ll eat. Maybe a baked potato, a salad, a smoothie made with fruit and coconut milk, or an avocado. A handful of nuts. A banana. Whatever feels clean and light.

I just feel the need to do a little spring cleaning of the body. Do you ever feel that way?

I’ve actually never dieted in my life. I did attempt a fast once, but I was very weak and unhealthy and in the middle of a health crisis at the time. And it was one of those extreme lemon water, cayenne pepper things.  I got really sick and weak and it felt wrong.

Right now, the baby is 9 months old. She nurses a lot, and she eats well at meal times. (She eats an entire egg every morning!)  I would never reduce my calories if she were under 6 months, and I would never restrict my liquids or go on a crazy crash diet that eliminated entire food groups or advised eating just one or two things, no matter how old my nursing baby. I’ll be eating and drinking enough so that I shouldn’t detox, but even if I did a little, it wouldn’t harm her according to this study.

I plan on doing this modified juice fast for 48 hours.

I’ll let you know how it feels when I’m done.

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10 Responses to Not So Fast

  1. Emily says:

    I hardly think 48 hours will affect your milk. Esp. since it’s not a straight-on water-only fast. Saying that in case anyone wants to come on and “warn.”

    Go ahead and cleanse; yes, I do know the feeling of needing that.

  2. Candi says:

    I understand that feeling. I’ve been thinking of drinking a detox tea, but never have before so I get a little nervous doing anything drastic to my body. What you are doing doesn’t sound drastic at all. In fact, I’ve read about the Arden’s Garden 3 day detox juice and it sounds great! You’ll do great!

  3. Fernanda says:

    I’d definitely like to know more about this, Carrie. I’ve been wanting to do a more heavy duty fast/detox myself, but am still nursing my two-year-old so I hesitate. One option is to hold off on having more kids for a while, get this one weaned and then do it, but if there is a way to detox safely with a nursling, I’d rather go that route. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Monica says:

    It’s what I needed to read. I’ve been willing to fast but was never completely sure, as I still nurse my 6yo. I’m not worried about him (he eats very well and will do great without my milk), but about myself.

    Juicing sounds like a good idea. Please let us know how you felt during and after the fast.

  5. Asiya says:

    Good luck! By the way, I know plenty – HUNDREDS! – of muslim women who fast during Ramadan while breastfeeding or pregnant, without complications. Ramadan fasting can’t be considered “severe, prolonged food restriction” since In Ramadan you only fast from dawn to sunset, so you still have 3 meals every day – predawn, sunset, and late night – plus you’re drinking as much fluids as you want throughout the night. Nothing “severe” or “prolonged” about that.

  6. Michelle says:

    It appears am in the minority but I don’t understand why you are fasting in the first place. As the commenter above explained fasting during Ramadan is an annual religious tradition that does not actually reduce the amount of food the person (whether pregnant or breastfeeding or not) consumed in a 24 hour period.

    You observed that it isn’t wise for you to cut out breakfast and it also seems like you have a conscious healthy diet so I guess I can only repeat my question – what do you think you will get out of a two day highly modified fast? I just think you could achieve your spring clean feeling in non fasting ways.

  7. Jenifer says:

    This sounds great! Spring cleaning the body. I like it! The hubby and I are about to start P90 and I’m nursing a 12 mo old … this sounds like a good idea to do now. :-) Thanks!

  8. Brittany says:

    Thanks so much for the info! You can actually get LOTS of protein from plants (and your body uses them better). Not that I’m trying to push you veg or vegan, just saying :)
    I’ve been nursing my baby for 11 months and I wanted to juice only for a few days to get going on my vegetarian switch (for health and for endometriosis) I was worried about it but you’ve relaxed me! Thanks!

  9. Camille says:

    I am breast feeding a four month old but gained a significant amount of weight during pregnancy. I am dying to get it off and want to start my semi juice fast January 1st 2013. I will eat protein in the morning. Nuts, eggs, yogurt and maybe one piece if toast. Then the rest of the day I will drink green fruits and veggies put in the juicer. I feel like I could not eat for a week and all the fat on my body could still provide nutrients for my daughter. Any comments?

  10. carrie says:

    Hi Camille,

    I am not any kind of health expert but your plan doesn’t sound harmful to me. The thing that is important in my opinion is that you don’t let yourself get hungry. A short term fast probably isn’t harmful, but I wouldn’t do it for more than a couple of days. :-)


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