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On the Juice: Day 8

Some people start the New Year off with a few poxy resolutions scribbled down somewhere only to be forgotten by February. Me? I'm going on a two-week juice fast.

Day 8: The Daily Grind
An interesting thing happens when you stop using your mouth to chew. You begin to notice just how often you use your jaw muscles. Every time you take a bite of food, your mandible contracts, retracts and moves side-to-side. It's an incredibly complex ballet of two coordinated joints, requiring eight muscles that extend from the base of the jaw to the sides of the skull well above the brow ridge and temple. These same muscles are used when talking, grinning, protruding the jaw. They are among the tightest muscles in the body.

For me, clenching the jaw is an immediate response to stress. I also tend to clench my jaw or grind my teeth when I sleep. Every time the upper and lower teeth are in contact with each other I know I'm flexing some kind of muscle. Now that I've been chew-free for more than a week, I can tell you that it happens way more often than I ever realized. I can also tell you it's taking a bigger toll than you might suspect.

When moving the jaw becomes a bit more novel, it's suddenly a major event. Because my muscles of mastication are finally having a bit of a rest, they get sort of achy when I try to contract them. It's not exactly painful; more like a little alarm bell ringing, or perhaps a little voice whispering, "shhhh . . . we're trying to sleep." So I'm learning how to back off and let my jaw stay more relaxed. Suddenly, my entire face feels freer. Some of the headaches that I'd always attributed to congestion or cricks in my neck have dissolved, evidently caused all along by a habit I never fully knew I had. I've even started to notice less discomfort when I wake up in the morning, no longer spending my sleeping hours grinding my teeth to nubs.

A lot of really weird things have happened to me since I started this fast. This is among the weirdest and also the most welcome. I'm starting to wonder if I can break this jaw-clenching habit for good. Maybe by exercising some conscious control I can reshape the way I use those muscles and keep reaping the great benefit of not grinding my teeth permanently. Then again, I haven't eaten in eight days, so maybe this is all just a bizarre multiplatform hallucination or something.

Day 8 Hunger Level: I'm starting to understand hunger more on a cellular level. My muscles tire, my gaze softens, and my whole body begins to slow itself down. I might get a little light-headed or sleepy. These are all signals that I need to get some nutrients in me quickly. As soon as I've consumed some juice, I feel awake and nourished again.

Day 8 Energy Level: It's closely linked with the hunger I mentioned above. As long as I manage my juice intake carefully and make sure I have a good mix of short- and long-burning calories in me, I feel almost disturbingly alert and energetic. If I allow that to taper off, I fade pretty fast.

Day 8 Physical Condition: I definitely feel much more sensitive to heat and chill, particularly in my finger and toes. I've been much more careful about drinking extra water and using lots of lip balm, so the dryness and irritation I started to feel in my throat and mouth have lessened. I do feel a bit weaker over all, but at the same time my muscles seem more limber and relaxed. My clothes are starting to fit differently.

Day 8 Mental State: You know, I may not be the best judge of this. I just wrote a whole treatise on breaking my chewing habit, and even from my euphoric food-free state that sounds half-crazy. I think I'm possibly a bit more moody and grouchy sometimes, in particular when I'm running low on fuel. Otherwise, I'm doing just fine.

Day 8 Juices:
#1: Banana, Pear, Lime, Chard, Seltzer Water
#2: Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Banana, Pear
#3: Beet, Carrot, Ginger, Red Pepper, Apple
#4: Purchased Odwalla Superfood Drink (full bottle)

Total amount: approx. 54 oz.

* On The Juice: Day 1. If you can't beet it, juice it.
* On The Juice: Day 2. Fire in the glory hole!
* On The Juice: Day 3. Sipping point.
* On The Juice: Day 4. Brush with destiny.
* On The Juice: Day 5. Food for thought.
* On The Juice: Day 6. Dinner-free dinner party.
* On The Juice: Day 7. The longest chard.


Posted on January 8, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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