Juicing… Everyone has heard of it but not many people really know much about it.
Why do people juice? What are the health benefits? How do you do it properly?
Juicing is something that has always intrigued me. But before I get fully into my juicing experiment and some tips and tricks, let’s start with the most basic so you can really understand the core behind this “health nut fad”.
What IS juicing?
Juicing, whether it is something you do for one meal a day, something you use to cleanse your body long term, or something you do as a 2 to 20 day fast, is simply the practice of consuming foods in their liquid form. Of course this does not mean go buy a box of donuts and blend them up. If that was a thought of yours for a millisecond you need to reevaluate yourself and your life choices. Yes, I’m judging you. Good juices are made up of greens, veggies, and fruits; with of the nutrients you want coming from the greens and the fruit thrown in there for sugar energy and taste.
I think it’s safe to assume that a trend would not have gotten as big as this has without yielding some pretty noticeably substantial results. When you juice fruits and vegetables you are removing a lot of the fiber and other particles that take away from the quick absorption of the pure raw nutrients and vitamins. You are also eliminating the substances that are super tough on your digestive system. Thus, allowing those organs to take a break from over working themselves in the breakdown process and focus on rejuvenating themselves and cleaning out all the yucky toxins and crap (seriously). About 70% of our daily energy goes into digesting. Crazy right?! So it’s no wonder these organs that are already working constantly don’t have time to focus on themselves! And we all need a little “me” time, don’t we?
Of course to eliminate your body using up all its energy on digestion you could always just fast completely or do a water fast right? On a literal level, yes. But these kinds of things are not exactly ideal or recommended. By juicing, as I said you are getting just the pure essential vitamins and minerals, your body is able to fuel itself to have that same energy it usually does so it can but in the optimal effort in cleansing itself. Thus benefiting all digestive organs including your colon, kidneys, and bladder. It will also help to clear out your sinuses and lungs, renew your blood cells, and refresh and clear your skin! LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS OH MY!
Also, if it wasn’t apparent, when your body expels things that may very well have been blocking up certain things from working properly AND it can quick utilize and burn nutrients and vitamins, you will in turn lose weight! Most of the weight you are going to drop will be water weight; stuff your body holds on to in order to counter those pesky toxins. For some, like my boyfriend, you can drop 6 lbs in 2 days. Unreal. I actually hate him. For others, like myself, you may not lose anything. That does not mean the fast did not work. It simply may mean your body doesn’t have the extra weight to drop. So actually, I win. (Just teasing) But then comes in the factor of making sure you are doing this properly so as to not completely send your body into starvation mode since starving your body is not condusive to long term weight loss. With that said, I would not advise a juice fast any longer than 3-5 days to anyone who has no experience with these things. Start off small, learn, experience, read, plan, and be confident before consider 2 week to 30 day cleanses and fasts. If you don’t set yourself up for success these things can get very tricky.
Juicing, specifically a juice fast, should be something you go into with the main intention of helping your body function at a healthier, cleaner level. Also, to learn a little about your food habits. If you are looking for long term weight loss this could be extremely helpful. When you are not eating solid foods and have a strict juice schedule that means you cannot just snack anytime you want to. Take notice of the times you get urges and think of if you are actually hunger or if there is something mental or emotional attached to this desire to eat. The answer may surprise you.
Okay so now that we have a really basic description of the trend that is juicing let’s move along…
Incorporating juicing into my lifestyle is something I’ve contemplated for some time now and just had never fully committed to before. (A feeling we all know far too well) So when the time for New Year’s resolutions came around, I decided that I was going to start to implement certain things I’ve been looking at into my fitness regime. One of those things being, you guessed it, JUICING. Juicing, that is, in the form of a “simple” two day juice fast one a month for the entire year of 2014. That means 12 juice fasts. 24 days of juicing. And to make this even juicer (heehee), I have the added benefit of having convinced my wonderful and supportive boyfriend to take this journey with me. Poor guy. Which is even more helpful for all of you because you are going to get feedback from two perspectives.
So being that it is now March 1st, I have, as I promised myself, successfully completed two juice fasts. After my first two fasts I can truly say I have already learned A TON. For everyone that has ever wanted to or been curious about juice fasts, let’s take a little walk into the world of my experiment….
I have spent the last year completely adapting my lifestyle. Doing so was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, both physically and mentally, and I am a much tougher and more focused person because of it. I thoroughly enjoy challenges especially in the health and fitness world. The kick I get out of doing something insane that I would’ve never even dreamed of seeing myself do before is like nothing else. So my ability to push and motivate myself is something I think I can tend to take for granted. The first juice fast was another new experience, a new challenge. I embraced it and went in not really knowing what to expect but just simply wanting to see where I stood. At the start of our second juice fast, my boyfriend and I were both going in a little more ready. We had a conversation that sparked what I think is the most useful piece of advice I could possibly give anyone looking to take a juice fast challenge.
Being fully prepared for your fast encompasses many many things. Firstly, this of course means making a grocery list, buying all your supplies the day before, having full juice recipes ready for each juice, and a juice schedule for each day. (I will share mine with you later on.) Organize yourself on the most basic level in order to avoid any careless mistakes or excuses. Running out of a veggie or fruit gives you the opportunity to throw yourself off. Not having a juice schedule prepared and leaving yourself without a plan adds even more pressure mentally and could allow you to become more overwhelmed or deviate from the fast. On that note,
my boyfriend and I were talking about how our daily schedule and circumstances could really affect how easy or hard completing this fast could be. He brought up the idea of how much mentality really has to do with accomplishing a task such as this. Pr
eparing yourself also means developing the right mentality to tackle this type of challenge. Do not underestimate what you will be facing and at the same time do not look at it as a dark looming cloud.
Like I said I look at challenges dead in the eye and tell myself that I cannot and will not fail at this. Mostly because I am beyond tough on myself. But I realize that not everyone is like that. So how can you better mentally prepare to face a juice fast?
1. Have an open mind to new experiences. Know that no matter what you will learn from this experience.
2. Find someone to do the fast with! Having my boyfriend go through each fast with me makes the two days that much easier because we can both distract and motivate each other. When everyone around us is telling us we are crazy haha and tempting us, we have one another to keep from giving in.
3. Tell yourself that this is not forever. Doing a fast for 2 days, 3 days, 7 days, means that you have a clear beginning and end. It is so much easier to do something difficult if you know that you only have to do it for a certain amount of time.
4. Remind yourself of all the health benefits!! Tell yourself constantly that the way you are going to feel after is more than worth the challenge.
5. Plan different ways to keep yourself busy. Sitting in your kitchen staring longingly at your cabinets and fridge is not going to make the 48 hours (or more) go any faster.
6. Have a reward for yourself. Think of your favorite, HEALTHY and simple (you cannot overwhelm your body coming out of the juice fast), breakfast. Decide that the morning you wake up after successfully having finished your fast you will eat those scrambled eggs and chicken sausage and it will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.
Doing these little things will help you to keep your mind focused and have the end and the goal in sight. A juice fast can be tough but if you go into knowing all the struggles you may face and knowing how you will deal with them, it is something anyone and everyone can do.
A few more general tips for juice fasts:
– Ease yourself into it by eating lighter on the days leading up to the fast. Do not go from big banquets, binging, eating all fast food or junk and try to jump into a fast. It is NOT A CRASH DIET!
– Water water water water water water water. Drink it. Constantly. Consume one full bottle of water after each juice and continually throughout the day. It aids in the digestive healing and curbs your hunger.
– Your juices should not be purely fruits. I know it is tempting to have a good sugary drink. And, yes, a pink juice looks more appetizing than a green one. But you will get the majority of your nutrients from the veggies. So ignore the color, add the right fruits and the flavor will be there without needing an overwhelming amount. Stick to a 3:1 ratio of veggies to fruits.
– If you need something a little more substantial or just something to add a little more flavor cause the water ain’t doin it for ya, add some herbal tea into your fasting schedule. Avoid black teas or artificial cause extra substances is exactly what we are trying to rid the body of but, for example, during my last juice fast I added one blackberry (superfood!) vanilla herbal tea each day that I had in between my snack juice and dinner juice.
– Minimize coffee consumption! This is especially hard for us addicts and because no one should ever deal with me on a caffeine-less day, I did a little research. Allow yourself one cup in the morning if you must but really try to limit your intake throughout the day. Caffeine is an extra toxin and substance that will leave behind a bit of trail, which we are trying to eliminate. But with one cup or two the affect is minimal at best… You’re welcome.
– Consume 4 (breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner) 16-20oz juices a day. As I mentioned earlier, make a schedule for yourself and STICK TO IT. Make sure you are having large juices so that your body is getting that fuel we talked about and you are not simply starving your body.
All in all, juice fasts are a great way to help your body get healthy. The difference I have noticed in my skin and hair is insane. My nails are actually strong and growing. For the first time. Ever. In my life. I can feel my body working better, digesting better. Smaller amounts of food fill me up and I actually feel satisfied. We have 10 more fasts to go. Wish us luck and do not for a second doubt that I’ll be back for another juice fast update once we are a few more down. In the meantime, to all you brave healthy souls… HAPPY JUICING 🙂