Yes, I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Yes, it made me obsessed with the idea of juicing. It's like a 97 minute infomercial for juice diets. I walked away from that movie feeling ready to change my whole world to a juice-centric lifestyle.
That golden idea of juicing got stuck in my head though. The movie makes a VERY compelling case for the health benefits of juice. I was still on board. However, I was lacking one big thing: a juicer.
It's one of those appliances that doesn't have an understudy. Nothing can stand in for it and do a similar job. You can't really do it manually. Have you ever tried to juice a carrot with your bare hands?
So this required a little bit of an investment. But dumping a ton of money into a counter-space-occupant that I may or may not use on a daily basis wasn't something I wanted to do. So I went in search of a good-not-great juicer that could actually extract juice from items I don't associate with juice.
|Hamilton Beach Juicer on Amazon|
I fully intended on juicing all sorts of organic veggies and fruits. I went to Whole Foods ready to stock up. I bought 3 apples, then promptly went to a regular grocery store to purchase vegetables I could afford. I bought some organic, some not. I don't feel guilty about it. I didn't really have any recipes or a plan in mind, so I relied on the contents of my fridge pretty heavily.
As I said, I didn't really have a plan. I thought I would just see how far I could go with it for a few days. No science or any sort of logic fueled my method. This section really should be titled "what ended up happening." I had juice for breakfast, juice for lunch, then a sane healthy dinner of fish or chicken and veggies.
Could I have gone all day on juice alone? Probably. But I was working and chasing after my crawling baby. I needed energy, and I didn't want to risk going into that no-real-food-glazed-over-slow-reaction-low-energy zone where you just kind of exist. I was juicing to live a better life, not to just take up space. Plus, I really like food. Like, a lot.
I juiced both fruits and veggies together. I know it's not good practice among the hard-core juice set, but I like sweet things. Some of the juices just had a little fruit (like 1 apple) and I found that was enough to take the funky veggie tastes out.
I was surprised at how much food was required to create a serving of juice substantial enough to sub in for a meal. Some veggies yielded way more liquid than others. Carrots were my mainstay (I had a lot of them and the juice is on the sweet side). Celery and cucumbers were great and yielded a lot of juice, but celery makes almost everything taste like a Bloody Mary (which can be good or bad). Apples weren't bad, but I expected more liquid from them. Papaya came out a little gloopy, making a thicker juice that I found more filling, but the texture isn't for everyone. Broccoli gave very little juice or flavor.
|Juice colors get weird, but they taste good|
Juicing can be time consuming and a little messy. I tried to make larger amounts of juice at a time so I could sip it over a couple of hours. They say you should drink up as soon as you extract the juice because the nutrients deplete quickly. But I say try not to be hungry. Which means keep the fluids going as long as possible.
The first day was great. I was working at home, so I had the benefit of whipping up a juice whenever I wanted. I drank water in between, and was able to defrost some delish salmon for dinner that night.
First impression: so easy!
On day two, I was prepared and had my ingredients ready to juice up in the morning. I had to go into the office that day. Luckily, I found a juice stand nearby...score! I went there at lunch and got 2 juices - 1 green mix of kale, cucumber, celery, and apple & 1 just grapefruit. I know you're not supposed to go fruit only (because that's what they say) but they had the most beautiful red, fresh grapefruits, and I'm a sucker for in season stuff like that. I saved the grapefruit juice for an afternoon snack, and drank the green stuff. It was SO very good and made me feel so very good. I drank it slowly to avoid any, um, impact, on my digestive system while in the office. I made it home without ever being hungry and made a quick and satisfying dinner. I think it was just chicken and veggies, but after not eating solid food all day, dinners become way way way more satisfying.
Second Day result: I miss food more. I hope I wasn't staring at my coworkers too much as they ate amazing looking salads for lunch.
|Red Velvet Munchkins do not yield any juice, or health benefits|
Talk about shooting myself in the foot. I only had like, 3 mini donuts...but they are the opposite of juice! AND it sent me on a spiral for the day. I had no time to run to the juice stand, and no plan for food or juice. I think I just thought I could get by on water all day. I couldn't. I got a tiny salad of just veggies and olive oil for lunch. It was good. I felt like the juice had reset my outlook on lunch. Just days ago I would've been getting a deli sandwich or trolling the break room for leftover pizza.
Day 3 Result: This is not as easy as I thought.
Day 4 never really materialized. I had a holiday party, so the only juice I had was the OJ in my mimosa.
What I Learned
Juicing is a little more effort than I anticipated. I will probably have one for breakfast OR lunch, but I don't think I'll be going any faster (ha!) than that for the time being. Maybe when the baby gets older, I'd consider going into full-on cleanse mode. I felt great even just swapping 2 meals to start though. It wasn't a full cleanse or fast, but it certainly cleansed my mindset. It let me feel hungry again - which I'm sad to report, I hadn't felt truly hungry in a long time. That meant I wasn't eating for recreation or medication - and that was a win for me!
Next time I will invest time into finding recipes for better tasting, more satisfying juices. And be a little more prepared for the day to day effort of preparing and transporting juice.
Anyone have any experiences with juice? Any recommendations for books or websites? Leave it in the comments or on the Facebook wall.