A few weeks ago I was lying low at home while I kicked a nasty 24-hour bug. Relatively helpless on the couch, I browsed through my Netflix queue and stumbled on the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” As with 94% of films, this movie is pretty extreme. Australian producer, director, and star of the film, Joe Cross goes on a 60-day juice cleanse trying to shed excess weight and a laundry list of health problems as he travels across America championing the health benefits of juicing. Before watching this movie I’d had a few green juices and had even done a juice cleanse with Ritual. But this movie really helped me to understand the health benefits of juicing and inspired me to incorporate it into my everyday life. So I got a juicer.
The essence of juicing is that it takes a big, beautiful pile of fruit & vegetables this big (which you would struggle to eat raw in one sitting)…
…and the juicer extracts all the micro-nutrients to make two juices this big.
- It’s another way to get in your fruits and vegetables
- Gives you a concentrated dose of vitamins & enzymes, which are usually killed off by the heat in the cooking process
- Fresh juice is easier for the body to digest than whole fruits and vegetables
- Juicing extracts as much nutrients from the fruits and vegetables as possible without activating the body’s digestion
- Promotes weight loss, increases energy and longevity
Watching this film and getting a juicer happened in symphony with other changes I have been trying to make in my life. I’ve spent the last 15 years “watching what I eat” or “dieting” or even worse, feeling bad about my body. But for the first time, I don’t much care about the scales – I just want to be better to my body. The penny finally dropped – if you put good stuff in, you get good stuff out. No, I don’t mean out the other end (though you’ll probably see improvement there too!), I just mean you’re going to feel different and if you make enough changes in other areas of your life too – hopefully you’ll look different.
Unlike Joe, I’m not exclusively juicing – I enjoy chewing too much, but I also don’t think I need the complete system re-set that his body required. Most days I’m replacing breakfast or lunch with juice or a smoothie. Come dinner, I’m ready for food but I’m not ravenous. And frankly, it takes less to fill me up.
But more importantly, I’ve found that when I’m taking care of my body in some ways, I start to take care of it in other ways. I drink more water throughout the day. I drink more herbal tea and less coffee – green tea in the morning to gear up and peppermint tea in the evening to wind down (instead of wine). I eat less meat, less sugar. Why? Because I feel good and my body is telling me so. But I’m not rigid about it. If I want a cookie, I’ll have a cookie. If someone makes lamb stew, I’ll definitely have a heaping portion of it. This weekend I’m making duck pancakes. As with everything in life – moderation is key. Maybe I’m finally getting that.
I’ve been reading a lot about juicing. Most people who have started juicing say that they now couldn’t live without it, while others feel that juicing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, I think we can all agree that it would be better if everyone ate a platter of kale, spinach, apple and carrots every morning, but I don’t have the time or the jaw-energy to eat all that. So for me, this is a great way to get a nutrient-rich breakfast at the start of my day. My fiber or “ruffage” (most of which is extracted with the pulp during the juicing process) I get at other points during the day or week.
The thing I hear most from friends and family is: “I’d love to do that, but I couldn’t just have juice for breakfast. I would be hungry in an hour.” In my experience, that’s not true. Maybe the first day or two I felt a twinge of hunger (mostly head hunger), but as soon as I started juicing in the morning I noticed a big change in my mental clarity. I feel vibrant, alive, and easily able to focus. If I have a juice at 7:00 AM it keeps me full until about 11:00 AM. If I’m really hungry, I’ll have a few nuts to tide me over until lunch, but most time I’ll just have a mug of herbal tea or a glass of water and that seems to do the trick.
The other thing that people ask is, “How hard is it to clean your juicer?” It takes me less than five minutes to make juice for two (about 500 ml) and five minutes to wash all the parts and put it back together. Sure, it’s faster to open a pot of yogurt or pour milk over a bowl of cereal (it’s even faster to have no breakfast at all!), but in my opinion, that’s ten minutes well spent.
I’m a juicing convert. Full disclosure: Breville sent me this juicer and I have never used another juicer, but the make and model I have gets the job done. It works great, gets positive reviews, and makes great juice! If you’re even remotely interested – I would consider getting one. It’s a good investment in you and your health.
I’ve never followed a juice “recipe”, I just pulled together some produce and ran it through the juicer. I learned which flavors I liked more and which flavors I liked less and which produce created more juice. For example, celery, cucumber, and apples produce quite a bit of juice, while kale, spinach, ginger, produce less.
Kale-Apple Ginger Juice
Serves 2, about 500 ml
Most of this produce you’d keep in the fridge anyway, but make sure the apple is chilled too. The juice tastes better when it’s cold!
3 large kale leaves
1 medium apple, quartered and cored
3 stalks of celery
2-inch piece ginger
Turn juicer on, add ingredients. Stir juice with a spoon, pour into glasses. Enjoy!