Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Juicing 101

Why Juice? 

Juicing can make you feel great.  It is a great way to get a concentrated dose of nutrients from a natural source. I know juicing can be controversial to some people but if you are interested I suggest watching the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross. You can also check out the website which is a great resource for juice recipes and for healthy eating in general.

What Juicer Do I Use?

The Jack Lalanne juicers are a good option for your first juicer because they aren't too expensive. You can spend a lot more on a juicer if you want but may want to make sure it's something you'll enjoy and stick with.   You can always sell your used juicer to a friend or Craigslist.   Another juicer that I love is the Breville Juice Fountain Duo Dual Disc Juicer.  You can blend and juice with the same unit.  You just replace the top and use the same motor base!

Why Juice Fast?

I admit that the first time I did a juice fast my primary reason was for weight loss. I did lose 7 pounds in 14 days but I came away from the experience with the realization that there were much more valuable results of juicing. The best reason for me is that my juice fast got rid of chronic headaches. Serious, daily headaches I have been struggling with for 20 years were gone completely after 3 days of juicing. The second best reason, and almost as great a reason, is that the juice fast resets your palette and gives you a true appreciation of healthy plant-based foods. This is why Joe Cross calls it a "Reboot". The fast "Reboots" your life and your taste buds and really does make it a lot easier to eat healthy, at least it does for me.

Juicing For Weight Loss?

I think it's important to note that if your goal is weight loss, You'll want to blend primarily vegetables that are nutrient dense and lower in calories.  Only add enough fruit to improve the taste if necessary.  I recommend one piece of fruit max per approximately one 12 ounce glass.

If your goal is weight loss then I strongly encourage you to factor in the calories in your juice drink into your total meal calories.  I like to stick with a 500-600 calorie limit per meal when I'm focusing on weight loss.   This 500-600 calorie limit INCLUDES liquids, drinks and juice.   So basically you should only be drinking water and juice.  You really should limit high calorie drinks to only once a week as a reward if at all possible.  This includes sodas, alcoholic drinks, and sports drinks.  Sports drinks really aren't necessary for the huge majority of people.   Because you ran for a hour doesn't mean that you need a sports drink.
Also, just because you blended enough produce to create 16+ ounces of juice doesn't mean you need to drink it right away.  Buy glass storage containers and store the left over juice in your refrigerator for a couple days.

Don't think that just because you're drinking healthy juice that you don't need to factor it in to your calorie calculations.  If you only slightly alter your food intake for a "diet" and then throw juice in on top of it, you're not doing yourself any favors.
You really should be able to lose a few pounds a week, even with limited exercise, if you do juicing the right way.   I don't recommend it for a long term diet over many months but if you're "dieting" and aren't losing at least a pound a week, you're eating too much and need to look at your food intake.  (Of course you should get a minimum of 90 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week)

You need to get used to eating just enough to satisfy your hunger so that your stomach is asking for more 2 hours later.   Then you have a small, healthy snack like almonds to get you through until the next meal and REPEAT.   If you do this for a few days, you'll realize how easy it is to quickly train your stomach to eat and be satisfied with smaller meals.  After a few weeks of this you'll be surprised by how the weight will seem like it's falling off of you in the middle of the night.   You'll wake up in the morning and will literally feel a difference overnight.  Just repeat this for a few weeks.

As with any diet plan, consult with your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.

How long should I fast?

This is a personal decision best made in consultation with your doctor. Joe Cross and Phil Staples fasted for 60 days in the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I did a 10 day juice fast and the last 2 days I was crazy for real solid food. This upcoming fast I am going to juice for 7 to 10 days. A lot of people drink juice for breakfast and lunch and then have a solid dinner because they don't feel like they can completely give up solid food. Some others go on a raw food diet using only fruits and veggies in place of a juice fast. There are examples of all of these options on the Reboot with Joe website. This is a personal decision for you to make but please make an informed decision after researching the options on your own. 

What about fiber?

The biggest criticism I hear is that you want to eat your fruits and veggies in order to get your fiber. Personally I consume between 30-50 grams of fiber when I am not fasting because I am still eating a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. Juicing is not a substitution for me, rather a supplement. I eat a whole foods plant based diet and I urge you to consider trying such an approach to eating yourself. The more fruits and veggies the better, in my opinion.

Favorite recipes:

Note if you ever find a juice unappealing then just add another half apple or half lemon.

Mean Green Juice 

1 cucumber 
4 celery stalks 
2 apples 
6-8 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage) or use 2-3 c spinach 
1/2 lemon 
1 tbsp ginger

Mexican Style Jugo – Juice 

2 large Cucumbers 
4 cups Cilantro, leaves and stems, roughly chopped and packed into the measuring cup 
1 Lime 
1 Poblano Pepper, ribs and seeds removed 
1 Golden Delicious Apple 
(sometimes I add greens to this juice)

Paradise Green Juice 

1 cup of fresh spinach 
3 leaves of Kale 
1/2 bunch of cilantro 
1 to 2 Carrots 
1 cucumber 
1 red Apple

Sunburst Juice 

1 orange 
1 red bell pepper (red capsicum) 
3 carrots 
1/2 lemon

Apple, Celery, Carrot 
1 apple 
2 stalks celery 
4 large carrots