Tag Archives: beets

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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The Juice Experiment: the impulsive decision

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Last week my husband and I made a really impulsive purchase: A Breville Juicer. It was the middle of the week and my husband was watching a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I was inadvertently watching it with him–he was right next to me, after all. I have to admit I was impressed with the story, though I questioned why the guy had to come to America…maybe because there is absolutely nothing in the middle of Australia, certainly not enough fat, unhealthy Americans.

Anyhow, this Australian guy named Joe drives across America in a zippy little convertible. He vows to drink only juice made from fruits and vegetables for 60 days, and munches the occasional apple. Of course, at the beginning he is fat, sick, and nearly dead, by all accounts. Not surprisingly, by the end he is kind of a hot Aussie, replete with wet, half-naked at the beach imagery. All that, plus he’s loaded. Not bad, Joe. Oh, and along his trip across America he meets many fat Americans, and one fat guy named Phil reaches out for help. Joe comes back and then starts Phil’s journey. Again, not surprisingly, Phil drops a ton of weight. He does not reach hot status, though. By now we all see the other probable genius of Joe’s trip, the marketing! Reboot with Joe is born– and my husband and I are completely reeled in. We rose to the challenge–but decided on just for one week.  We recognized our limits–and we were both average, healthy, and no where close to death…

So before we could think twice about it, we ordered this fancy juicer. And once we ordered it we were committed. That doesn’t mean, however, that we did not immediately have second and third–and fourth– thoughts about juicing. We read soooo many accounts, including many blog articles that started out just like ours did. I appreciated Beach Veg*n’s recital of her 2 week juice fast. It was honest and realistic.  But we also read several stories about the health risks and side effects. We had a lot of concerns: would we stick to it? would we be impossible to deal with? would we be cranky? was this a good idea to do during a work week? and what the hell is this I hear about body odor or bad breath?

When we got the juicer last Friday, we immediately opened it up and tried a tester juice with fruit on hand: 2 pears, an apple and strawberries. It was delicious, and our resolve was immediately strengthened. We put our doubts aside and decided to move forward.

We planned to start on the following Sunday because we had friends coming over for dinner on Friday and then a dinner thing on Saturday…plus we had to do the grocery shopping. I told you–it was an impulsive buy. So after a last hurrah of Sunday pancakes, we set out to do our grocery shopping. We went to a chain grocery store we know has great produce prices (Sorry, but Dominick’s just wouldn’t have cut it on this one.) I do not exaggerate when I say we bought a *$&# load of produce.

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My husband did a lot of research on recipes and then tallied the number of fruits and vegetables we would need. I highly recommend this so that you can avoid going to the grocery store several times a week. We bought what we thought we would need for most of the week, but left some things for the trip in the middle of the week so our leafy greens could remain fresh.

Our normal food budget is $100. This grocery trip cost us around $50. But…due to some health and weight loss concerns, but husband decided to supplement his juicing with sources of protein, so we spent an additional $25 at Dominick’s. If we ever do a one week juice fast again, we would probably not spend as much money on the actual produce. We bought things according to recipes that were not necessarily in season or on sale. For example, the grocery store we were at had strawberries on sale for a dollar. ONE DOLLAR! Meanwhile, the blueberries were terribly over-priced, $2.50 for a small container. Of course, we bought two containers. If we were more experienced and comfortable switching things around (I totally was) we would have bought just the strawberries. So the bottom line is that this experiment will probably not be much under our $100 budget. This juicing thing chews up produce like it’s its job!

Check Back in for our progress!