February 2013

It’s been about a week since I restarted my juicing reboot. The good news is that I’m down about 12 pounds (I’m counting what I lost before I started blogging about it). The bad news is that I had to take a break when I caught a bad cold and just “needed” the comfort of bagels and crackers — bad, bad carbs. After about 2 days of horrible carb loading, it occurred to me that the whole point of juicing real fruits and veggies was to heal my body, so I have quickly returned to juicing.

The truth about juicing real fruits and veggies — produce in its natural state — is that once the body gets a taste of the good stuff, it craves the good stuff. My body can do so much more with the proper nutrients than it could ever hope to do with refined sugar, preservatives, and whatever else the monstrous food companies decide to allow in their factories and, subsequently, into my food. I’m happy report that just 1 day after returning to juicing, I’ve noticed my congestion has drastically diminished. I’ll take the ability to breathe over a sugar high any day!

So, I’ve been experimenting with produce combinations, and lately I’m enjoying the orange drinks best. Here’s a recipe you might want to try:

3 carrots, 1 peeled lemon, 1 peeled grapefruit, and 1 red bell pepper. Juice and serve cold. 

I do try to drink more green juices than red or orange juices, so the next time I make this recipe, I’ll probably add a couple kale leaves or green cabbage. I also bought some wheat grass to include in my drinks. My brother tells me that wheat grass is disgusting, but we’ll see. I know that wheat grass is excellent for the body, and that is, after all, what this whole endeavor is all about — getting my body to a healthy place.

Today I feel healthy, despite being on the tail end of a nasty cold. This morning I put on black pants that, when I bought them in November, were too tight — my thighs were bursting at the seams. I’m happy to report that not only do the pants now fit, but I even need a belt with them. That’s progress for me, and I look forward to much more of that.

So many years, so many pounds… but I’m back. I’m back to write about the roads I’m travelling in this life. I’m back to write about what’s been going on. I’m back… to write.

In the far too many years since my last post, much about my life has changed. I married my true love, and gained 4 stepchildren and quite a bit of weight, and while each of those things are topics I could write about endlessly, for now, I’ll stick with the latter.

I have struggled with my weight since I was in college, and I’ve had varying degrees of success with my attempts at weight loss. Right before my wedding, I lost 25 pounds on the most restrictive diet I’d ever done,  only to gain it all back within a year of the honeymoon. Now, as I am almost the heaviest I’ve ever been, I’m willing to try almost anything to get to that elusive state known as healthy.

Recently, I was strongly encouraged to watch “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, a documentary about Joe Cross– a once fat, sick and unhealthy man who traveled across the country doing a 60-day juice fast, and tried to educate others (specifically Phil) along the way about the benefits of juicing.   This documentary is a must-see. The idea of juicing is very appealing, that is, until you realize the amount of work involved with juicing, and how drastically different meals and mealtime become. Still, watching Joe and Phil transform their bodies and their lives gave me the impetus to believe I could do it myself.

Juicing is not for the faint of heart or will or pocketbook, and I strongly suggest that folks do as much research as possible before starting a juice only regimen. Me, well, I prepared along the way (not recommended). The first thing I did was buy the juicer. There are many juicers on the market, but because I wanted to be just like Joe and his protegé Phil, I bought what they used — the Breville Juice Fountain Plus. What I like about my juicer is that it is a) affordable, b) easy to assemble and disassemble, c) thorough, and d) the juicer that Joe and Phil used.

My initial plan was to buy the juicer, test out a few recipes for a week or two, then go on a 30-day juice fast. What actually happened was that once the juicer was in my hands, I immediately wanted to begin the juice fast, so I did. I went to the organic market and Wegman’s, and, using Joe’s recipes, bought enough food for 3 days. That may not seem like a lot of food, but 3 days worth of produce filled my refrigerator. Because I’m an organization freak, I bagged the produce for each juice separately  — there were 15 different juices in the first 3 days. I don’t recommend using 15 different juices at a time, but it did afford me the opportunity to try out a lot of different juices to see which ones, and which ingredients I liked and didn’t like.

I managed to juice consistently for 6 days, and lose about 8 pounds in the process. Then, due to poor planning, I stopped during a short trip. Here’s what I learned from my first juice fast.

1. Find 2-4 juice recipes that you can use consistently during your fast. It makes it easier on the wallet because you can buy in bulk, and easier for juicing because you can juice several servings at one time. I use Joe’s Mean Green and the Carrot Apple Ginger juices every day.

2. Fresh juice does not last for days, so plan to juice at least once a day. I juice every evening for the next day. I juice 1-2 servings for breakfast and mid-morning, and then I juice 2-3 servings for my remaining meals. Mean green is delish!

3. Plan to shop every 3-4 days. Produce has a limited shelf life, so buy enough to make it to 3-4 days.

4. Get new containers for your juices. We all have bottles and containers for days, but you want a reliable, LEAK-PROOF bottle designated just for your juices. The smell of spilled celery juice in the car is not appealing.

5. Clean that juicer as soon as you are finished. My juicer is easy to clean, but I can just imagine that letting the discarded fibrous produce sit would create a challenging mess to clean up.

6. Throw the produce remnants in an outdoor trash can or compost heap. I made the mistake of using the kitchen trash can once… but only once.

7. Don’t give up on a recipe without testing with different ingredients. I made one juice that required 1/2 of a red onion — never again. Now I use red cabbage instead with that juice.

8. Always follow soft produce with hard produce. Kale is a great ingredient, but you’ll get more out of the kale if you follow it with an apple.

9. Organic is best… more expensive, but it makes a difference.

10. Enjoy the juicing for as long as you can. Believe it or not, the juice tastes amazing!

Today I’m starting a 21-day juice fast. I’ll be charting my progress, to some degree, along with other stuff.  At the end of these 21 days, I hope to lose some weight, and I hope that my body will become acclimated to a plant-based diet. I also hope that I can keep up with charting…