Tuesday, February 26, 2013

:: Juicy ::

Okay, so I've been meaning to start this post for some time now, but things have just been way too bizzay.  I've had a lot of people PM me about my juicing experiences and I thought I'd just do a quick run down on here.

Weekend before last, I began a 3-Day juice fast.  Guh.  I thought I was prepared...however, I was not.  I couldn't even last the whole day.  I blame too high of expectations right off the bat AND a horrible juice recipe.  I went out without a plan and bought a bunch of stuff.  I combined things and didn't think much of it.  I took one gulp and EW.  It was disgusting.  Too much cucumber was to blame.  I know there are folks out there who would probably have loved it, but not me!  I gagged it down, replacing 3 meals, but ate dinner that night - discouraged.  I thought I was ready.  I was not.  Since then, I've been juicing 1 - 2 meals (mostly 2 - breakfast and lunch), drinking a ton of water, and eating a normal dinner.  I do see another 3-Day in my near future, now that I've found recipes that work for me.  They're delicious   I'll post my go-to recipe at the end of this post.  Here are a few things I learned.  I wish I would've known some of them sooner - it would've helped things move along a little smoother in the beginning.

- Pour juice over ice.  It just works.  Tastes SO much better.
- Find a recipe you like before heading into a fast.  Drink the juice for 1-2 weeks leading up to a fast, and include a ton of vegetables and fruits into your diet beforehand as well.  You'll want to be used to the taste and let your body (ahem, digestive system) become acclimated.
- Start the day with warm water and the juice of 1/2 of a lemon (more info here).
- Make your juice for the day and store in the refrigerator. I have 2 humongous mason jars I use for this.
- Drink water.  Water, water, water.
- If you're going to juice a lemon, peel it first.  I just take a knife and peel off the top layer, leaving the white-ish part of the peel.
- Rinse your juicer right away.  Luckily, mine is really easy to take apart and put back together.  I throw them into a sink of hot, soapy water and then onto a drying rack.  Makes life SO much easier.
- Include lemon and ginger in every juice and add them at the very end.  Don't overdo the ginger unless you happen to really like ginger.  A little goes a loooooong way.

I've almost completely weaned myself off of coffee.  I keep trying to take a few sips, but I'm really not interested most mornings.  The lemon water and a large juice do it for me.  They wake me up and keep my energy levels up more than coffee ever did.  My bowels and digestion have improved, sleep has improved, my skin is awesome and I'm no longer gassy or bloated.

Last weekend, we traveled to Portland.  The first night there, I ate a piece of pizza and thought I was going to die.  I had been juicing the majority of my daytime meals for a week at that point and my guts just did NOT like the greasy pizza.  I eventually went to bed because I could hardly walk upright.  The next morning, I had a juice (found a local juice cart), then ate a substantial breakfast at Pine State Biscuits.  Again, I was so, so sick.  From then on, except for one dessert, I stuck mainly to salads (caesars, spinach) and protein.  I stayed away from dairy and bread.  I find that I do not crave those two things anymore.  I found it very interesting how my body was affected immediately by what I ate.  As soon as I got a juice down, it would feel amazing.

Things I used to crave: sugar (still do sometimes), cheese, milk, bread/chips/crackers, coffee
Things I now crave (this is crazy): juice, juice, salad, fruit, juice, nuts, juice and veggies.  :/  Oh, and water.

So that's the rundown for now.  I'm constantly learning a lot.  I haven't seen a whole lot of weight loss yet (I'm sure I will as I incorporate more fasting and get into a more consistent exercise regimen).  But my body feels amazing and I'm super excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.

As I mentioned above, I will be restarting a 3-Day fast, and if all goes well, may stretch it to 5.  Here's the deal.  Yes, it is expensive to buy organic fruits and vegetables - especially in amounts for juicing.  There are things you can do, like sticking to buying organic for just the Dirty Dozen.  I've found WinCo has great organic prices, but doesn't always have everything I need (they had all but kale last visit).  You can look for a local delivery (I've used Klesick Farms in the past) or visit local produce stands and farmers markets (something I'm excited to do).  I'm saving money that I would normally spend on coffee as well (I am a coffee junkie and those things can add up).  Above all that, my health matters.  I'm not getting any younger.  I need to take better care of myself and get this weight off.  I really and truly believe this will help me do it.  It's usually hard for me to make changes and stick with them.  I needed something that is easy and doable.  Juicing is that for me.  It's something I can incorporate and form into a habit (it's already well on its way) and include in daily routine.  It's something I can get my kids involved in.  I'd love to grow my own little garden sometime.  And, it just feels amazing.

Let me know if you have any feedback, advice, questions.  I will post a few links below that have been helpful to me.  And I will keep blogging about this as time goes by.

My juicer: Hamilton Beach Wide Mouth - Amazon.com  This juicer works great, from what I can tell.  It's definitely doable pricewise and does a pretty fantastic job on those leafy greens.  It's easy to take apart to clean, as well as put back together.  It doesn't have a bunch of small parts, which would drive me insane.  It is loud, but efficient.  The fiber is fairly dry - it really gets the juice out.

My go-to green juice recipe:
1 bunch of organic kale (I use 4-6 stalks)
1 handful organic spinach leaves
2-3 granny smith apples (depending on size), quartered if really large
1 lemon, peeled
1 thin slice ginger
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 handful parsley (occasionally)
1 small handful cilantro (occasionally)

I begin with the apples as my base.  Next, I push the carrots through.  After that, I use the celery stalks to push the leafy greens through, starting with kale, then spinach, parsley/cilantro.  Lastly, I juice the ginger together with the lemon.  Serve over ice.

It's seriously SO good.  This recipe usually gets me 2 pint glasses of juice.  If I'm going to need more, I immediately make another batch and put it in the fridge.

I'm tired, so I'll post more links tomorrow to sites that have really helped me.  And if you haven't already, check out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix or Hulu.  It really motivated me.  And check in with me!  I'd love to hear feedback, ideas or if you think I'm doing things all wrong.

Good night!