Savasana Juice Cleanse Diary – Part 2, and My Thoughts on Deadlifts

Juice Cleanse Diary – Part 2

I got quite a bit of attention for my first juice cleanse post. I thought I would update you since I’m now on my 5th day. I think I would  be enjoying this more if there was more variety in the juices. They all have apple, lemon, or celery flavors. This really isn’t my type of diet. Not that it’s not working. I can definitely tell the difference in my energy level, and an unexpected bonus is that my fall allergies aren’t bothering me as much. I probably won’t do this again mostly because I look forward to good, healthy food as a bright spot in my day. I enjoy eating whole, good foods. I don’t look forward to drinking the juice. So although it has many benefits, it’s not really the ideal way of doing things for me.

yucky juice

Deadlifts: Friend or Foe?

The deadlift is one of the most basic barbell lifts there is. Basic, but not simple. Without proper form, deadlifts can cause more injury than almost any other movement. Let’s talk about why people even practice deadlifts if they are so dangerous. The answer is that they work many of the largest muscles in the body, and this style of lift is capable of moving the most weight. It is also said to increase the load capabilities of the spine by increasing the bone mineral density of the vertebrae (1). This idea has a law behind it called Wolff’s Law. It states that healthy mammalian bone will adapt to heavy loads (2). But you have to subject the spine to those loads if you want the benefits.

Current World Record Holders of the Deadlift

  • 114 Pound Class – E. Sajeeva Bhaskaran: 573.2 pound deadlift
  • 123 Pound Class – Lamar Gant: 639.3 pound deadlift
  • 132 Pound Class – Lamar Gant: 683.4 pound deadlift
  • 148 Pound Class – Dan Austin: 705.5 pound deadlift
  • 165 Pound Class – Oleksandr Kutcher: 793.7 pound deadlift
  • 181 Pound Class – Giovanni Brunazzi: 793.7 pound deadlift
  • 198 Pound Class – Ed Coan: 859.8 pound deadlift
  • 220 Pound Class – Ed Coan: 901.7 pound deadlift
  • 242 Pound Class – Yuriy Fedorenko: 892.9 pound deadlift
  • 275 Pound Class – Konstantin Konstantinovs: 948 pound deadlift
  • 308 Pound Class – Konstantin Konstantinovs: 939.2 pound deadlift
  • 308+ Pound Class – Benedikt Magnusson: 1015 pound deadlift

If you or someone you know has an aversion to deadlifts because of lower back pain, I would encourage that person to check their form with a pro and also read this great article with lots of tips and tricks to improve.

I am a firm believer, however, that strict deadlifts may not be right for everyone, at least at first. There is some hip flexibility that goes into proper deadlift form. A simple solution to this problem is to perform the deadlift with the barbell up on some boxes. As hip flexibility improves, the boxes can be reduced, then removed all together.

Also, anyone with any kind of previous lower back injury should consult a physician before attempting deadlifts. Any deficit in the posterior spine can be a weak spot for the vertebral compression created by a deadlift.

The bottom line is this: a deadlift can be one of your greatest fitness weapons if done correctly under qualified supervision.



1. Granhed HJonson RHansson T. The loads on the lumbar spine during extreme weight lifting. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1987 Mar;12(2):146-9.

2.  Wolff J. “The Law of Bone Remodeling”. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer, 1986 (translation of the German 1892 edition)


Savasana Juice Cleanse Diary – Part 1

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about juicing. Since I don’t have a whole lot of experience with juicing, I decided to go on a 7-day juice experiment to let you know how I liked it and what my experiences were. Cost is always an issue with fresh, cold-pressed juice, so I found a Living Social Deal for a small, local Pittsburgh company, Savasana Juice. With the deal, I got 15x 32oz jars of juice. Since I informed you that juice can oxidize and really doesn’t last more than three days, I’m going to go get more on Wednesday. This juice company has four flavors available. Unlike other juice cleanses, there is no specified order to how you want to drink the juice. For most juice cleanses, green juice of some kind is the first to be consumed, so that’s what I started with.

Kaleypso Cooler: a mix of kale greens, apples, cucumbers, celery, lemon and ginger

For lunch, I had portions of:

Zing!: Carrots, apples, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger


BeetleJuice: beets, carrots, cucumber, celery, apples, lemon and ginger

Melon Moonshine: watermelon, carrots, cucumber and lemon

For dinner, I’ll be eating solid, healthy, paleo food.

The directions for most juice cleanses only allow green tea and water other than their juice. Since I’m CrossFitting every day, and I burn a lot of calories, I’m going to go with 2 meals of juice and a regular paleo dinner. The only other thing I’m adding is a dose of BCAAs. If I don’t take those, CrossFit will make me too sore to get up out of a chair.

I’ve already had my “breakfast,” and most of lunch, and my BCAAs. I’m not necessarily hungry, but I am a little grouchy, and I want solid food. Good thing dinner is solid. Hopefully, a good night’s sleep will help me get over the cravings and moodiness.

Juicing: Hype or Health?

I have had a recent interest in the practice of juicing. This is another thing where the science is still considered sketchy, so I will have to give you my informed opinion.

Juicing can be done with fruits and/or vegetables. The juice can be store-bought or a juicer can be purchased for home use. Since juicers are expensive, and I live in a tiny studio apartment, I don’t have a juicer, but I have tried some store- bought varieties and I’ve had some success with blending and straining.


Juicing really made national news after the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead came out in 2010. This film was about an Australian man who came to the US and underwent a 60 day plant-based juice cleanse and lost over 100 lbs. He was under the care of a physician at the time, Dr. Joel Fuhrman (1).

So, my real question is… Why is juicing better than just eating the fruits and veggies? Do I really need a $300 machine to extract proper nutrients?

There is no reliable scientific evidence for the following, but proponents of juicing say that the machine removes all of the fiber from the fruits and veggies, and this gives the digestive system a break. All of the nutrients and enzymes are much more readily available for absorption, and many times, the juice tastes better to us than the whole fruits and veggies. It also makes it possible to consume huge amounts of healthful produce in one 16 oz. drink (2).  We generally think of fiber as healthy for us, which it is, but fiber is indigestible plant material that simply passes through us. How much our digestive system is bothered by it is really an individual matter, but giving it a “break” sounds more like hype to me.

Then again, how many of us eat kale? I don’t understand how people decided we could eat that stuff. It tastes like grass. But when I blend it with apples and spinach and carrots, it makes a really good green apple-flavored juice. If you’re going to stick with this, the juice has to taste good. But remember, fruit contains a lot of natural sugar and more calories/serving than veggies, so use it to mask the veggie taste. If you expect to lose weight with nothing but juice, it’s gonna have to contain vegetables AND fruits.

Unfortunately, you should make new juice every day. The material that juice is composed of is suitable for being inside a skin or a peel. When exposed to the air, it oxidizes (making it really unappetizing visually), and it can also be a breeding ground for bacteria (3). That article says a week, but I wouldn’t keep it more than 2 days.

Until recently, there were only un-scientific reports and opinions on the health benefits of juicing. However, this year, a case of oxalate nephropathy due to juicing was studied. Luckily, for the reporting scientist, the man in question was curious about juicing, and kept detailed records of his eating habits. He juiced for 6 weeks, and took in fruit and vegetable combinations that are considered healthy in the juicing community. The issue was that he took in too much of certain nutrients and not enough of others. His daily oxalate intake was 1260 mg (the average person consumes around around 100-150 mg/day (4)), and his daily calcium intake was very low (370 mg/day). Calcium binding with oxalate cases oxalate crystals and kidney stones. The oxalate crystal formation ended up causing a 70% decrease in his glomerular filtration rate. He has since only partially recovered from the kidney problems caused by his 6 weeks of juicing.

Figure. Kidney biopsy specimen showed extensive calcium oxalate crystal deposition (arrows) in the background of interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, tubular dilatation, and arteriosclerosis (stain, hematoxylin and eosin) (4).

Figure. Kidney biopsy specimen showed extensive calcium oxalate crystal deposition (arrows) in the background of interstitial fibrosis, tubular atrophy, tubular dilatation, and arteriosclerosis (stain, hematoxylin and eosin) (5).

Now granted, this patient was 81 years old, and already had a few kidney problems, but before juicing, all of his baseline nutrient intakes were in the normal range. Juicing caused the extreme changes in his oxalate, calcium, vitamin C, and potassium intakes (5).

Don’t let this one study discourage you from trying juicing if you really want to. It is totally possible to control your nutrient intake and get into juicing. Here is a handy list of foods by oxalate content.

To give yourself peace of mind if you do consume some higher oxalate foods, keep your calcium intake high. Calcium has multiple functions in the kidneys, and one is to make sure that oxalate is absorbed and sent to other parts of the body (not formed into kidney stones and oxalate crystals). The last nutrient to keep an eye on is vitamin C. If a huge excess of vitamin C enters the kidneys, the excess is converted to oxalate and defeats the purpose of watching oxalate intake (6).

Before I swear you off juicing forever with all these things to watch, I want you to know that the patient was also juicing ALL of his meals. Whenever and IF-ever I decide to juice, it will be one meal a day for a long period of time, OR all meals for a short period of time; not 6 weeks. 3-10 days is the average juice cleanse. Here is one that I really like.


I know it’s expensive, but the juice is soooo good, and they deliver it fresh daily so no pasteurization, and you don’t have to worry about oxidation. You drink six bottles of juice/day, and that last one is cashew milk which is Heaven in a bottle.

As a final note, I have nothing against juicing. I don’t think our primal ancestors did it, and I don’t think it’s necessary. But it might be very beneficial after a heavy slip-up in your diet, like a weekend of binge drinking, for example. A 3-day juice cleanse might be very beneficial for your body. I also think (opinion, remember, not scientific fact) that replacing one meal/day, preferably breakfast, could lend some health benefits. It should work fine for other meals, but it should be consumed on it’s own and on an empty stomach. The whole benefit of juicing is the highly available nutrients. If you consume juice with other foods, then you might as well just eat the fruit or veggie.

There are a ton of websites out there with juicing tips and recipes. I would be here all day if I discussed them myself.  Just remember that anything that claims to be a miracle worker is almost certainly not, and can actually be dangerous if you don’t educate yourself about it first!


1. “Nutrition Research Foundation: Scientific and Research Boards – Joel Fuhrman, M.D., Director of Research”. Nutritional Research Foundation.



4. Eric N. Taylor* and Gary C. Curhan. Oxalate Intake and the Risk for Nephrolithiasis. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2007.

5. J.E. Getting, J.R. Gregoire, A. Phul, M.J. Kasten. Oxalate nephropathy due to ‘juicing’: case report and review. Am J Med, 126 (2013), pp. 768–772

6. Yeong-Hau H. Lien, MD, PhD. Juicing is Not All Juicy.  The American Journal of MedicineVolume 126, Issue 9, September 2013, Pages 755–756