So I’m sure by now you have heard of, seen or read somewhere how amazing this juicing thing is, how good it is for you, how great you feel and how much energy it gives you. If you’re a sceptic like me you probably thought to yourself, that it’s probably just for health freaks, sick people, people on crazy extreme weight loss regimens or vegan yogis. You’re probably thinking, “No way can I go a whole day without real food!”
Everyone who knows me personally can say one thing for sure, I love food. Cooking, eating and exploring food are some of my very favourite things and most meaningful experiences. So it took me a while to warm to the idea of trying a week of only blended juices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As with any choice you make with respect to habits and health, the decision and commitment has to come only from you; it’s the only way you will stick to the plan and be successful.
My decision came from reading (especially the book ‘Clean’ by Dr. Junger MD, also check out his website www.cleanprogram.com for more info) and research into the benefits of juicing – not as a permanent thing, but just something to do once in a while, or anytime you feel your body needs a ‘reset’. As a result of processed and unhealthy foods, environmental pollution, chemical exposure (through cosmetics, workplace exposure, medications, etc), our bodies become a battleground where our own immune systems are fighting against a constant influx of unnatural and potentially harmful elements.
Thankfully, as our bodies are designed so perfectly, we already have everything we need to protect and rebalance our systems within us. The bacteria that lives and grows within our gastrointestinal tract is fully equipped to handle most of the harmful things we put into it. However, because of all the constant eating and drinking that we do (some more than others) our gut never really has a chance to replenish that bacteria to help protect our bodies. According to Dr. Junger, this can result in a plethora of health problems, ranging from allergies and acne to many more serious diseases.
All juicing does is quite simply give your gut a rest – a much needed break from all the digesting it does on a regular day. Keep in mind, fresh juices made with healthy fruits and veggies can contain all the nutrients that you need to function normally throughout your day. They are just provided to the body in a pure, simple form, easy to digest and absorb quickly, so your GI tract can go back to making that oh so important bacteria that protects us.
Don’t get me wrong – carbs are good, fibre is good, and you can go back to eating that stuff in moderation after your juicing is over. But give yourself and your body a chance to rest and recuperate from all the junk we expose ourselves to daily. And trust me – you will feel amazing. It’s not hype. It’s not a fad diet, it’s facts. Juicing is awesome.
Here are a few tips to help you on your juicing journey, and make success more likely:
Buy or borrow a good juicer
I was very concerned about drinking juices with gunky sediment or clumpy chunks in them. I knew for sure this would be a turnoff for me. There are some really good juicers out there that pulverise and strain the juice, so basically it’s the same consistency as drinking a store bought juice (the non-pulp kind). I found this was very important to me, but maybe you’re not so picky.
Plan and prepare
Decide you are going to do this and prepare for it. Go shopping before the week starts and get lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies (local and organic if possible, but if not, don’t beat yourself up – baby steps). The worst thing that can happen is coming home from work starving and tired and realising you don’t have good stuff to juice so you just end up picking up take-out or giving up altogether.
Find flavours and combinations you love
I didn’t think I would love veggie juices (probably stemming from my texture fear) but I found I loved celery, spinach and kale in my juices! Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Carrots provide a great base for a lot of juices, so have a lot of those on hand. Ginger and lemons are also a nice way to kick in a zingy flavour to your juices and offer fantastic acid-balancing and immunity-boosting elements. Have fun with it, experiment and find your favourites. Remember, if you love the flavours in food, you will probably love them in your drink. DON’T ADD SUGAR, find sweetness in the ingredients you choose.
Find something to do with all your extra time
This isn’t a joke. Sometimes we don’t realise how much time and effort goes into preparing meals, cooking, eating and cleaning up after. It really takes up a huge chunk of our time. Cleaning your juicer is pretty much the most time-consuming chore of this whole process, so you will find you have a lot more time (and energy) to do things you normally are always too busy to do like chores, hobbies, spending time with partners, kids and pets.
So the big question: am I going to be starving all day long? The answer is no. If you are making hearty, healthy juices with fruits and veggies, and drinking lots of water (very important), I promise you will not be famished. You will not want to kill or explode on anyone that speaks to you. If you are a very active person that can’t go a day without your workout, maybe have an extra juice or protein shake as a supplement, but remember the main aim of this is to give your stomach and gastrointestinal tract a vacation.
If you are new to juicing and still skeptical, take it in your own time. Maybe just commit to juicing one day a week or replace one meal a day. Ease into it until you realise how great and doable it is. In my experience, most people that try it for the first time are surprised how feasible it is, and many surpass their goal number of days because it just feels so good.
Note: your biggest obstacle, especially if you are a foodie like me, will probably simply be that you really miss chewing and swallowing food, the texture and sensation of actually eating. This is understandable, but just keep reminding yourself that it’s a small sacrifice you are making for the long-term health of your body. Maybe add a meaning or dedication to the sacrifice to stay focused, for e.g. if you are religious, try it during a period of fasting or if not, maybe just visualise others who don’t have any food at all to eat. If you are a person that eats out of habit or boredom (guilty!), water and herbal tea can be drunk as a quick remedy for that oral fixation some of us have.
Good luck and happy juicing!