Dear Sproutman: Doesn’t your stomach think it should be digesting with the solids from flaxseed meal or psyllium? — Rob

Dear Rob:Well first of all you need to get finely milled flaxseed. Of course flaxseed has lots of brown flakes that muddy the drink. I do not prefer it. Psyllium and chia are better in this regard. But it is best to get it “finely” ground so it looks like flour. As for digestion, this is soluble fiber as compared to something insoluble like bran. But soluble fiber like flax means it is soluble in water which is why it absorbs so much water. That’s one of its benefits. It forms a mucilage which does not stimulate the flow of digestive enzymes and, like mucous, is mostly impenetrable by our digestive system. That’s why it is not food and how we can take it on a fast.

Dear Sproutman: Can you juice the skin of lemon or grapefruit?—Carolyn

Dear Carolyn: The skin is too strong to juice. Maybe try a tiny amount. If you are using a non-citrus juicer, then peel and quarter it and then insert it in the juicer.

Dear Sproutman: I have so much energy I cannot sleep, no detox symptoms yet. Should the psyllium drink be taken an hour before or after other drinks so it does not grab onto them? —Rhona

Dear Rhona: It is good to drink water after the psyllium, flax, or chia colon cleanses. Yes, an hour wait before drinking a fresh squeezed vegetable juice is good.

Dear Sproutman: I now have a headache, a bit of nausea and aches…… I am beginning to think I might have the flu……any thoughts on how to tell the difference between flu and a detox? – Susan

Dear Susan: Well it’s a good question especially since there is a lot of flu going around and both Massachusetts and New York have declared a flu emergency. But people who are on long fasts can indeed develop fevers and aches as part of the process of detoxification. When you are releasing old bacteria and poisons, they can repeat their harmful side effects on their way out they. But you since you only just started fasting yesterday, it is most likely the real flu. Only long fasts are capable of kicking in an immune response such as a fever. Which is, by the way, a good thing. It is how the body naturally cleanses itself.

Dear Sproutman: I’m so scared there is too much acid in the hot lemon drink and that it will be erosive on my already sensitive teeth?—Rhona

Dear Rhona: Just rinse your mouth out with water after taking lemon. Maybe even neutralize it with something alkaline like a green juice or some other drink.

Dear Sproutman: You say go light on the sweets, but beets and carrots are included on your veggie list. How much / how little carrot? —Rob

Dear Rob: When you mix carrots with other veggies it reduces the sweetness factor. Carrot with beets and apples, however, is very sweet because all three are sweet. Therefore that kind of mixture of fruit juices should be limited to 16 ounces per day. Sweet juice is a great pick-me-up. It gives you quick energy, but personally I use these drinks sparingly, not daily.