Last year, after seeing Joe Cross movie, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, and doing a little research I tried “juicing.” What is juicing? Juicing is extracting only the juice from fruits and vegetables. According to my research, a lot of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetable is found in the juice. The information was compelling. It was easy for me to see how this could be true because since the beginning of time, God saw it fit to bless his children with fruits and vegetables. It only made since that if I reduced or eliminated the amount of processed food, my health would reap the rewards.
Juicing had to be the most controversial decision I have ever made. When I told friends and family what I was doing, they either supported my efforts or aggressively disagreed. For the life of me, I didn’t understand why it would cause such strong opposition. Those who disagreed felt removing the fiber from the fruits and vegetables were harmful. Those who supported juicing fruits and vegetables agreed that there were benefits to doing so and, most witness a friend or family member benefit from it. So, I was inquisitive enough to give it a try. Slow and steady.
Like I said, I approached juicing with a slow and steady approach. My juicing regimen was multi-phased. The first phase lasted two weeks at which time I eliminated coffee, replaced my breakfast with a juice and for dinner I had a homemade salad with grilled chicken. I still had lunch and snacks throughout the day. For my breakfast juice, I only juiced fruits (mango, 4 carrots and ginger). It typically made a 14 ounce drink.
According to some of the juicing books and information, juicing fruits should be kept to a minimum because of the possible sugar spike. I didn’t have any problems but I probably didn’t lose as much weight if I had only juiced vegetables. Nevertheless, I still considered Phase I a success because I lost about 3 pounds a week.
I was even able to continue my juicing while on vacation, I found a few juicing shops with tasty juices on the menu. My husband joined me with a juice for breakfast every morning during our vacation (although he added granola to his juice).
While it was great losing weight, there were other health effects that I noticed within the first two weeks of juicing. While I was typically addicted to my morning cup of coffee, I no longer needed it and I felt naturally energized. I wasn’t drowsy by the end of the work day and I was able to accomplish more.
By the end of the first two weeks, I felt brave enough to step up my “juicing game.” Phase II lasted three weeks at which time I replaced one meal and a snack or two meals with a juice. I still wasn’t drinking coffee and I had gotten use to drinking a juice for breakfast. So, on a typical day I would have my breakfast juice, a snack, a vegetable juice (spinach, cucumber, apple. lime and ginger) for lunch, a snack and a grilled chicken salad or fish (salmon, tilapia) for dinner. Sometimes instead of replacing two meals I would replace my breakfast and afternoon snack with a juice. During Phase II I began to exercise regularly and the more I exercised the more my appetite was ravenous. So, I would try to have a lot of protein at lunch like salmon or tuna and just replace my afternoon snack with a vegetable juice.
Since I was making up all the rules (LOL), I did not have any problems with getting two juice drinks in during the day. I juiced vegetables and fruits that I would eat raw or steamed. In phase II I lost about 5 pounds a week.
On occasion I read discussions about eating clean. During those first two phases I felt like I was getting closer to eating clean. My understanding of eating clean is eliminating as much process foods as possible. I know, I’ve heard the argument that most foods are processed to some extent. While there may be truth to that, eating clean would be to eat food that are minimally processed. I even prefer to buy local fruits, vegetables and meat.
Both Phase I and II was designed to help me get to the point in which I could do a juice fast. I read some great success stories about detoxing your body that I really wanted to give it a try. Food and I have an unhealthy relationship in which I have been working on for years. There was a time when I couldn’t fast at all but I have since fasted for spiritual reasons for 24 hours. My goal is to be able to fast for several days.
During Phase III, I replaced 1 meal with a juice Monday thru Thursday. From Friday through Sunday I replaced all meals but one with a juice. I tried to go a whole day with just juice but I lacked sufficient willpower at the time. Phase III lasted 3 weeks for me and on the weekends I was losing nearly a pound a day. I’ve gotten a variety of responses when I share my phase III results with family and friends. They felt like losing a pound a day was too much. I didn’t know how to respond to their feedback except to say that I felt great. In fact, when I went in for a physical not only had I lost weight but my cholesterol and blood pressure had improved.
Which Juicer is the best?
I have tried three juicers. One was a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and two are Breville Juicers. I now own a 1) Big Mouth Juice Extactor (garage), 2) Breville Juice Fountain Plus (keep it in my office) and 3) Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed (Kitchen). Of the two brands, Breville is the best and the quietest. All three were not difficult to clean. I yield the least amount of juice with the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and the most juice with the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain. Cost wise, Hamilton Beach was the cheapest. My Breville was six times the cost of the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor but saved me tremendously in the cost of buying fruits and vegetables. The Breville Juice Fountain Plus and the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain were able to yield more juice from fruits and vegetables.
What are the Pros and Cons?
The Pros are endless. First and most importantly I felt great. While I usually “drag” in the morning without my cup of coffee, this was not so with my breakfast juice. It provided me with the energy I needed to get my day going. I believe it was the ginger in the drink that gave me such an energy boost so I never make a juice without ginger.
Second, my health was improving.
Third, I lost weight and I did it without feeling deprived of food.
Fourth, you can get so many nutrients with a small glass of fresh juice.
Fifth, there are no preservatives in the juice since it is fresh.
Honestly, I can’t think of any cons. When I discuss juicing with family and friends their main concern is the loss of fiber that is extracted from the fruit or vegetable and our body needs fiber. This was a non-issue for me because my meals still consisted of things like almonds, beans, peas and broccoli throughout the day.
My favorite sources for juice recipes were:
- http://juicerecipes.com: I thought I wouldn’t like the Mean Green Juice Recipe but it was one of my favorite.
- http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/30-days-of-juicing: When I wanted to add variety. I got some great recipes from this site. They all sound so tasty.
- http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/category/blog/recipes/juice: Of course, Joe Cross website has great recipes as well.