The Juice Experiment: The Reflection

When my husband and I first started talking about this, the testimonials we came across all touted the health benefits about doing a juice fast. And I am not talking about losing weight. I mean, they discussed the energy, the surge of nutrients, the cleansing of your system, the clearing of your skin…the wonders of the universe, basically. I went into this thinking it was a healthy lifestyle choice. But in the end, this total absorption with juicing to the exclusion of healthy balanced meals was just a diet. It really was just a drastic reduction in calories.

And I don’t do diets.The entire time I wasn’t really thinking about health or nutrients, I was just thinking about my weight. I had pretty great results for just one week. I lost about an inch on my waist, and about 5 solid pounds. Pretty unbelievable for only 5 (and 1/3) days. If nothing else, that would motivate me. Looking back, I appreciated doing this for a week so that I could get a sense of what I liked about juicing and which combos really appeal to me. And I did get about 3/4 of the picture below inside of me!
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I may do this again (fast, that is) right before vacation, but probably not just for kicks. It is really inconvenient. You have to be home at all meals. Unless maybe you live in California, there are probably no healthy juice places around you, so you can’t do it while you are at large. Although… my sister did tell me that they have a juicer at her office, which I thought was pretty progressive. But she said that she never used it because the clean up was a hassle. It is. Like, a big one. You are cleaning up all the time. It’s messy and particles splash every where. And like I said before, fasting is boring. And tedious. Plus, for really fresh vegetables, you have to go to the grocery at least twice a week, too.

This also produced a lot of pulp by-product, which I did not really deal with because I was feeding it to my worms for compost. We ran every batch through twice to get as much juice as possible out and saved the rest for the little red wrigglers. In the future, I may play around more with that because the daily output of pulp in this reboot was a bit too much for my worms to handle. I’m just hoping to get to it before the smell gets too bad. Maybe I can play them some classical music to motivate them.

Also, the pulp is still food, and could be used for a lot of things, which made me feel bad about just tossing it to the worms. There are lots of good ideas like at this the kitchn.com site. But I couldn’t eat anything so I sure the heck wasn’t baking or making pancakes or cheese spreads. It didn’t occur to me to freeze it, though. That is a good idea. However, if you are going to save the pulp for cooking, I suggest you remove seeds and parts that are fibrous or tough. Maybe even peel things like ginger and sweet potatoes.

On a good note, since I was using a lot of citrus, I ended up with a ton of zest, which was a nice by-product. Plus I threw all the peels down the disposal, so it smelled very fresh.20130420-222049.jpg

Overall, the process was interesting, especially being a couple that had never juiced anything before. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to use my juicer a lot, and already have some ideas percolating. I would likely use it as an occasional meal replacement or supplement. But the secret to not going crazy and wanting to binge all the time is by balancing the juicing with real, healthy meals.

If you are thinking about rebooting, I would suggest the following:

1) Do it with a partner. It’s no fun to juice alone.

2) Supplement with whole fruits and veggies. Not having something solid is really psychologically challenging.

3) Adapt recipes to what is in season, on sale, and what you prefer. Skipping all that meat should really save you money, so you should bulk out your juice with whatever is cheap and not blow it in sticking to a certain recipe.

4) Never prepare juice with a white shirt on that you plan to wear to work! Wear an apron. Carrot and Beet juice stain.

5) Choose a time frame where you have nothing going and can be home for most, if not all, meals. Having to attend events where you are the only one not eating is weird and not helpful to your task. Also, spending several dollars on an Odwalla is not my idea of a good deal.

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