Last summer we completed a juice fast and enjoyed a raw food diet. We have been juicing ever since - usually once a day, sometimes twice. We love eating raw foods as well, and feel fantastic when we do.
In addition to the benefit of extra energy, detoxing and improved sleep, a clean diet found us both headache free, with no allergy or congestion symptoms, and for me, less joint / muscle pain. I am more aware of how my body acts and reacts, and I feel clear, both internally and in my mind.
With the holidays here, you're probably giving me the side eye and asking "is she really going to talk about cleansing right now?"
I am! Well, I am going on recent interests, actually - I have had many questions about juicing and raw diets in the last couple months, and several just this week. I am sharing the answers to the questions I received after our juice fast and raw diet last summer, because many of them have come up again recently. I have added information about the second juicer we have now - a twin gear.
While I plan to enjoy my holiday season and yes, there will be indulgence, I am also balancing that with clean eating during the days, and you know, normal life. I also plan to complete another juice and raw foods diet after the holidays, and I know others are planning that as well.
Today's recipe is an old favorite - very easy, bright and vibrant.
pineapple pepper green juice
½ fresh pineapple, skin and core included, top removed
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded
2 large bunches kale
Juice and enjoy!
I want to emphasize that I am not a medical professional dispensing advice, and anyone contemplating a dietary change should first consult their doctor. I am simply sharing my own experiences and what worked for me. Everyone is different, with a variety of dietary needs, and what works for one may not be best for another.
are you getting enough protein?
I have heard doctors, nutritionists, other qualified professionals say there is too much focus on protein. I have been one of these people, always making sure there is a good amount of protein included in each meal and snack. What I have realized is that for short periods of time, I get an adequate amount of protein and other nutrients with a juice fast – broccoli and spinach are both great sources.
Additionally, fresh juice is a highly digestible food that is packed with nutrients, raw enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants. I get healthy fats from avocado or nuts, omegas (flax, chia) – during fast if you do not get adequate fat, your body will be in starvation mode and store fat.
what is grocery shopping like?
I learned very quickly which markets have the most reasonably priced organics. Even more importantly, I learned which markets have the highest quality produce. I stopped the other day at a place on my way home, which thankfully is not my regular market because the produce was sad. Very sad.
Normally the bulk of my shopping is in the produce section anyway, with bulk items and a few things here and there, where I venture into the middle of the store. My shopping now is even more efficient – I have a master list of all the vegetables and fruit we like, and I check what is needed before I leave the house. Portland’s Farmers Markets have been a great source of many of our veggies.
do you use organic, and why?
I buy as much organic as possible, if it looks good. if the non organic looks fresher or what I want isn’t available, I’ll buy non organic. I then make sure to scrub clean (I do this with everything) and in some cases I will take the time to peel the skin. why? little to no chemicals, wax residue or preservatives is a good thing, and the absence of those things also means fresher produce with more nutrients. also, organic pulp can be used things like dog treats and bread – no waste!
even if you are not using organics, juicing is still highly beneficial.
how can I start?
prepare ahead of time. a week or so prior, cut back and stop coffee, alcohol, processed foods, eating as clean as possible.
if you can fast for at least 10 days you will see benefits. the first couple days of a juice fast, your body is processing the food remaining in your digestive system. the next couple of days, your body focuses on the reserves stored in your liver. after 3-5 days, your juice fast really begins!
Start with your favorite fruit and vegetables, so it will be something you want to consume. Gradually move to most if not all vegetables, with one fruit here and there. Plan to shop every few days if possible, or invest in some of those bags that prolong the life of produce. Know where you can find fresh juice away from home – juice bars, restaurants, gyms, even Jamba Juice has fresh juice!
did you have unpleasant reactions?
since I juice regularly anyway, and eat fairly clean much of the time, I did not experience many of the common side effects of a juice fast. some of the possible temporary effects resulting from detoxing include headaches, dizziness, breakouts, feeling tired or lethargic, weight loss. the first couple of days I was a little tired, and in five weeks I have had ONE headache (a happy and positive side effect!). I lost 10 pounds in the first couple weeks, and another 5 since. I am not in the habit of a scale, and I think the weight loss has plateaued.
the positives include increased energy and we feel incredibly healthy and clean!
how do you know what tastes good, do you have a favorite recipe?
I don’t always know what will taste good – trust me, not all of my juices turn out well! I have had to go back and add some pineapple or apple to mask some pretty bad flavors. I happen to be one of those nuts who likes the taste of green, so most things still taste good to me. I am juicing for Jason, too, and while he likes a lot of flavor combinations too, I do try to make things taste good and have a big collection of recipes for all of your juicing needs!
how long will you do this?
I am currently on a 2 week fast, the end of which is timed with an upcoming event. (We have had weddings, house guests, birthdays and other events where we happily broke fast). We are loving this, and are talking about keeping it up long term in some form. I have some great new raw food recipe ideas that I cannot WAIT to incorporate, and will juice regularly, at least once a day.
are you still exercising?
I am! For the first week, it was very little – walking only. Now I am running (or at least faced paced walking!), lifting, most of my regular activities, at about ½ to ¾ intensity depending on the day.
do you juice once a day to drink all day, or several times a day?
the enzymes and nutrients begin to break down immediately, so I drink it immediately and make fresh juice each time to get the most out of my juicing! yes, I know for many, the biggest complaint is having to clean the juicer:
do you clean your juicer each time?
yes, I do clean my juicer each time – I make myself clean it before I can drink my juice, and it really only takes a few more minutes, at most. I have it down to a pretty quick routine now, turning on the hot water as soon as I am done juicing, grab my scrub brush and just clean each piece as I take it apart, and I have a drying mat I stack it all on. after much use and sitting on the drying rack by my kitchen window sometimes in the sun, the pieces have become slightly cloudy over time. this does not affect the juice or juicer at all.
additionally, once or twice a week I’ll run it all through the dishwasher (EXCEPT the plunger – that will melt / lose shape and not fit right after). yes, it can be a pain with what, six pieces plus wiping down the base, but when I think of cleaning dishes and cooking equipment, I think it more than balances out. if you think of how much time you are probably saving, the extra clean up each time might be more manageable?
what kind of juicer do you have?
we have the Breville Juice Fountain Plus, which is the same juicer Joe Cross has in the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Jason and I saw this movie about a week after we began our fast, and it completely validated what we were doing, and gave us even more motivation. This is a great movie about a couple different people who changed their health and their lives with a juice fast. Though Jason and I did not have any of the health complications the movie focuses on, nor are we medication-dependent, the film is very inspiring and motivating. It’s on instant Netflix and it’s both entertaining and heart warming.
we have added a second juicer to our kitchen - while I still use the Breville, I also love my new juicer, the Super Angel Stainless Twin Gear. This juicer is extremely efficient, producing a large amount of juice and minimal pulp, which is very dry.
It juices leafy greens very well also - I never juiced greens in my centrifugal, instead I would juice and then blend the greens in after. I still do this for more protein (spinach), but if I want only juice, we now have the benefit of greens.
Another benefit of the Super Angel - the twin gear mechanism grinds the produce in such a way that the enzymes do not immediately begin to break down - I still drink most of the juice right away, but if we want to take juice with us to work during the day, it will still be nutrient rich hours later.
I welcome your questions, either in the comments or via email.