Last year, I tried a juice cleanse product from a local business. You can read the review to see what I thought of it, but my thinking has changed due to my recent experience. Since watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross, I’ve been more enlightened about the purpose of juicing and how it works. I decided to give juicing at home a shot around the holidays as I’d have long stints of time without having to be away from home or eat out. I could also make fresh juice each day and go buy new, organic produce daily to ensure I had as fresh a juice as possible. This all matters, and part of why I’m less keen on pre-made options like Joos or other bottled options.
I made red and green juices mostly, and a couple of orange juices by using beets, kale and carrots as the primary ingredients. I’ve made some fruit juices, too, but have focused on veggie juices. I’ve been posting a lot of pics of the experience on my Instagram account, so be sure to follow me (@newbodi) there to see all the great shots and ingredients.
I don’t want to tell you what to drink, or go into the benefits of juice cleanses here. In short, the purpose is to reboot your system, clean it out of all the toxins we take in through our lives, and start over fresh and healthy. It’s actually much easier than you might think or fear, with the key being to keep drinking whenever you have a tinge of hunger (don’t overdo sweet juices like those with apples and beets, using kale and cucumber juice to tide you over), and giving yourself 10-15 minutes after drinking for the feeling of fullness to set in. I won’t say you won’t crave food, but you probably won’t be hungry. That means it’s about emotional needs more than physical ones. Trust me, these juices – if done right (as Joe outlines in his recipes and guides) – will give you the nutrition you need. This is also not a long term thang. Joe has a three and seven day juice fast plan, while longer plans include eating, as well (though he didn’t eat during the making of his movie, and was really thriving after the initial adjustment period, which takes about two days for most people).
While that’s what I don’t want to get into here, what I do want to get into is my learnings. I’ve come to realize a few things once I took the food noise out of the equation.
First, we carry a lot of weight in toxins. I’ve heard this before, but have seen it first hand as I did the cleanse. I actually did a three day cleanse before going away to my in-laws for Christmas and eating things I definitely shouldn’t have (hello chocolate Lindt Santa I ate in like seven minutes after also having all sorts of other sweets and starches earlier (and often) on Christmas day). The way my body reacted to eating those things after a three day cleanse made it clear how toxic they are to the body. The way my body recovered from eating those things during the cleanse I started on the 27th is more proof – both in how much better I felt, but also in how much crud my body wanted to get rid of. Joe touches on it, but yes, you will poop a lot, and it will stink something awful. That’s toxins coming out of your system, and it’s gotta happen. A doc in the movie Food Matters talks of a morbidly obese patient who pooped out 15 pounds of toxins in one day. For real. In the three days since I started, I’ve lost five pounds. I’m not morbidly obese and didn’t have 15 pounds to lose, so I’ve come down to my stable, healthy weight (6’2″, 177). I have also been using a sauna daily to help get toxins out through my sweet, which is definitely helpful. Juicing leads to the release of a lot of toxins, so it’s important to help and support your body through that process. Some people have trouble dealing with toxin release, so you definitely want to be getting it out of your body quickly. Aside from the sauna, another great tip is to drink a lot of water. I mean a LOT. That has the added benefit of keeping you feeling full, so you’re less inclined to actually need to eat.
Second, being free of spikes from carbs, sugar and just getting direct nutrients, my body is extremely responsive to the circadian rhythm. Like annoyingly so, actually. I get overcome with the need to sleep a little before lunch (likely just low blood sugar), but then much more so at the time some countries do a siesta. In America (and many other countries) we fight this need with caffeine, sugar, both or something else. We ignore it and push through. I think we’re probably wrong to do so. The body wants and needs to rest. It is so clear to me, and it makes me wonder how much better we’d all feel if we ate healthy and slept when we needed to based on biology. I’m not debating the viability of this, just the rationality from a health-perspective.
Third, fresh juice makes your teeth kinda gritty. Totally surprised me.
Lastly, things we non-juicers hear about juicing and cringe about are actually delicious to drink. You’d have no idea. Green juice looks gross, especially if it gets a little orange (carrots, sweet potatoes), purple (red cabbage) or red (beets) in it and turns a bit brown. Add the froth that it naturally gets from juicing, and it looks even worse. But, MAN, it’s good. Seriously. I like gazpacho and especially green gazpacho (I don’t care for tomatoes), and my green juice tastes a lot like that. I make mine with kale, cucumber, celery, radish, cilantro or parsley, sometimes lemon and ginger. Seriously, it’s really good.
I know I said I wasn’t going to share recipes, but why the heck not. My red juice based on beets is really good (especially with some green apple in it). I make mine with red and golden beets, green apple (usually), rutabaga (who knew, right?), red cabbage, radish, carrot and ginger. I’ve also done an orange juice with carrots, sweet potato (seriously, I never would have thought of juicing it, but Joe does and I had one so I tried and enjoyed it), golden beets, ginger and lemon. I also throw some cayenne in the mix.
So I’m really happy with how this is going. I’m not really craving anything, I haven’t had headaches or dizziness as some people claim to have or most people fear having. Yes, I’ve had moments of hunger, I’ve had times of seriously tiredness (not from the lack of eating, I’d suggest, but from my body’s normal rhythm), and I’ve needed to stay close to a bathroom.
I’ve used this as a chance to learn a lot about nutrition, toxins in the body and how to reset from the damage I’ve done over the years. And I’ve really enjoyed it. What about you? Will you give juicing a try? Will you clean up your diet and your life to live a happier, healthier way and enlighten.your.body?