{Juicing Journey} For Health & Beauty

A few weeks ago my husband Jeff and I felt like enjoying lazy time on the couch watching a movie, so we took a chance on Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It was recommended by a friend who loves food as much as we do. The film follows the journey of a guy named Joe who was fat, sick and because he was on so much medication, he was indeed almost dead. Joe comes from Australia, but you might think by looking at him that he’s American. He was overweight, his skin looked less-than-youthful, and he didn’t seem to have a lot of energy. I guess we Americans aren’t the only ones with horrible eating habits. Joe decided to get healthy and lose weight by juicing, and he shares his experience in the film.

As soon as it started I realized that it might be a little boring to watch someone’s dieting story. So what that he lost weight? Lots of people do. Let me tell you something: this movie changed my whole perspective and blew my mind, as much as a dieting movie can do so. We watched Joe’s transformation from an out of shape, fat and breathless old man to a healthy, fit, energetic young person. Joe drank only fresh vegetable and fruit juice for almost 3 months and lost a lot of weight. At the end of the movie Jeff and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s Juice!” We don’t have as much to lose as Joe did, but we would like to be more fit and have more energy. Perhaps juicing could help us get there.

We started our Juicing Journey by enjoying a juice for breakfast and another for lunch, followed by a sensible dinner (can you say “portion control”?). In the first week, I lost one pound per day. We entered Week 2 and decided to up the ante a bit by going on a full Juice Fast, consuming only juice and water, and no solid food. Okay, reality check here: have you ever done a liquid fast? I hadn’t. What I found out in those two days is that I really, really like to chew. I like to sit down at the dinner table and enjoy a meal. Jeff felt the same way, so we went back to eating dinner by Day Three of our Juice Fast.

I probably lost about 15 pounds in the first two weeks. I don’t have a scale so I don’t know for sure. I say 15 because I was able to wear clothes after two weeks that I wasn’t able to wear before I started juicing, and the clothes I did wear at the start were suddenly too big. The weight loss is only one piece of this fantastic puzzle though. My energy level and clarity of thought are the real stars of the story. After a few days of juicing for breakfast and lunch I noticed that I had boundless energy. For years I’ve been wanting a few extra hours in the day, and with juicing I feel like I got it. The other thing that happened was that I started thinking much more clearly. I’m able to make better decisions, think more quickly on my feet, and manage my time much better. Who couldn’t use some of that?

I’m still juicing and I see myself incorporating it into my life-long habits. One of the things I love about juicing is that it works very well for any personality type. I tend to live life in bits and spurts, finding myself excited and fully involved in something, then moving away from it as I lose focus, and finally coming back again as I recharge and plug back in. Juicing works for me because I can stray a bit from my regimen and when I am ready to focus on consuming only 2 juices a day along with a sensible dinner, my body and my energy level bounce back immediately after I cut out the excess food and drink a juice.

A perfect juicing day includes my favorite breakfast and lunch juices, a lot of water, and a dinner composed of summer rolls and bok choy salad. I guarantee that if you eat this every day you will lose at least a pound a day.

Breakfast Juice: Apples, Carrots and Mint

Into your juicer will go:

3-4 small apples
Almost one pound of carrots
A few sprigs of mint (I love the orange mint I planted this year)

Lunch Juice: Apples, Swiss Chard and Ginger

Juice up:

3-4 small apples
4-5 Swiss Chard leaves with stems
A piece of fresh ginger – ¼” thickness

A few helpful hints about juicing:

  • Drink a lot of water. It will help you to feel less “foggy” and lightheaded during the first few days while your body detoxes.
  • You’ll naturally wean yourself off coffee. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, enjoy a cup in the morning or one in the afternoon instead of quitting cold turkey. It’s easier that way. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually give it up without even realizing it.
  • Try out different recipes for juices and experiment. Foods that you normally don’t care for taste completely different in juice form, so keep an open mind.
  • Lime, mint and ginger are great add-ins that can completely change the taste of your drink, for the better.
  • Try to find organic produce if possible – all of the chemicals used to grow the food go right into your juice glass.
  • Spray your fruits and veggies with a vinegar/water mixture to clean them before using.
  • Cold juice tastes better than room temperature juice.
  • It’s fun to drink it through a straw!
  • Yes, you’ll be hungry as your body adjusts. Power through it. You can do it. I did, that’s how I know you can.

Good luck, and let me know if you love juicing too!

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45 Comments Add yours

  1. We started juicing in January and absolutely love it! We go down to the market and it’s great fun to choose combinations, especially with the exotic fruit and veg available in Singapore, although we have made some mistakes! Have Fun, Cath.

    1. Jillian says:

      Cath great to hear you love it too! I bet you have all kinds of interesting combos to choose from – enjoy!

      1. Yes we do, will also follow your blog to get some new ideas! Thanks, Cath.

  2. Ona says:

    You have re-inspired me Jillian! I used to juice, and haven’t in years, I think it’s time to go back.

    Perhaps I’ll watch the movie for the motivation factor – it available instantly via netflix and I’ve been eyeing it for months.

    1. Jillian says:

      Ona, yes watch it! Heck, I feel like watching it again too! I feel like juicing is the miracle cure.

  3. Christine says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this! I’ve seen the movie and read tons and tons of literature about the benefits of juicing, but aside from an occasional, once every few weeks juice, I haven’t delved in. It’s great to hear from a “real person” about how juicing changed their eating habits and energy levels. I think a juicer is my next investment…

    1. Jillian says:

      How much could you do with your vitamix? Or would it be thicker juice?

    2. Becky says:

      wait. so does that mean that the Vitamix can’t do juicing that well? I figured the vitamix was good at everything and it was one more reason for me to just get it…do tell, Christine

  4. Amy says:

    Make sure to include lots of greens. A great morning juice is a green lemonade. Those greens definitely give energy and makes that coffee habit disappear without much ado. Here’s to vitality and health! Great to see this, Jillian! 🙂

    1. Jillian says:

      Thanks Amy. I’ve noticed that greens give me so much energy I never knew I had. what is in green lemonade – greens and lemons?

  5. Jill, thanks for this! I started making green smoothies in the blender last week and decided I wanted to start juicing also. Can you recommend a juicer? Hoping to buy a good one that is reasonably priced.

    1. Jillian says:

      Go for it Michelle! I first tried a Magic Bullet because it was cheaper – and guess what? It was cheaply made, and the juicer and juice bounced everywhere around the kitchen. I exchanged it for a Breville Juice Fountain, and I used my coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond. I love it. I put whole carrots in it and it juices them in 2 seconds, and I can put greens in it and they juice up, too. Jeff uses a lower-quality juicer at work and he notices that the leftover pulp is wet, and he wastes a lot of the veggies that way. Our Breville cost more but I think it’s helping us to get all we can out the veggies.

      And I feed the leftover pulp to the chickens, so all is good!

    2. Jillian says:

      Hi Michelle, just checked and see that the model # is BJE510XL.

      1. Thanks Jill! That model looks like a good one, got great reviews on Amazon too!

  6. Thanks for posting this! What model breville do you have? What are your thoughts about it? Do you think it will last for the long haul?

    1. Jillian says:

      Courtney we have the Breville Juice Fountain from Bed Bath & Beyond. It is very sturdy and I would definitely recommend it. The only thing it doesn’t do is juice wheat grass. But it does swiss chard and spinach OK, which the lower-end models do not do.

    2. Jillian says:

      Hi Courtney, just checked and see that the model # is BJE510XL.

  7. techcarellc says:

    Jillian inspired me to purchase a juicer and try this. I had only tried the green juice you can get in the bottles in the grocery store which are pretty good. I was always afraid to try juice made at home that was – ew – green. The first day I started with red swiss chard, spinach, 2 oranges and 2 carrots. I am addicted. I have it every day not in a martini glass which makes it feel like a really special drink. Now I am almost off coffee completely and I feel great! Thanks, Jill for being my inspiration!!!!

    1. Jillian says:

      YAY!!!!

  8. techcarellc says:

    NOW in a martini glass – whoops!!

  9. Ona says:

    Just as an FYI: I used the Omega juicer when I did it a few years back. It worked great on everything. I’m not certain how the price compares to the Breville – just thought I’d throw it out there.

    1. Jillian says:

      Thanks Ona, good info.

  10. Jennifer H says:

    Thanks Jillian! My husband and I have been doing smoothies for breakfast for most of this year, but it’s been a challenge to stay stocked up on fruit (off season – now it’s easy) and I have been buying greens powder . I’ve been thinking about juicing since a friend recommended it – seems a great way to always be able to use fresh and in season ingredients. Do you add any protein to the juices?

    1. Jillian says:

      Jennifer I have been thinking about adding extra things to my juices, like vitamin boosts and protein. I don’t know where to start! Where do you get your greens powder?

      1. Jennifer H says:

        Hi Jillian – I buy greens powder at Four Seasons in Saratoga. They have several brands but I get the Amazing Grass, Green Superfood. We add protein powder to the smoothies but my goal is to figure out how to get protein in there without the powder.

  11. I have been toying with the idea of buying a juicer. I already know that I love veggie juices because I buy them so often, but that’s just the problem… I buy them too often and they’re expensive! 🙂 Thanks for recommending a model and sharing your experience.

    1. Christina says:

      Hey Autumn, I have a relatively inexpensive one and its fantastic. I’ve had it since 2006: its the Waring JEX328 Health Juice Extractor on Amazon for $50.19. I used to juice everyday for about 3 years, and have only recently got back into it. So this juicer has lasted me years with, let’s say, weekly use.

      Here it is: http://www.amazon.com/Waring-JEX328-Health-Juice-Extractor/dp/B000050FB5/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1341054310&sr=8-12&keywords=juicer

  12. Kathy says:

    I like this! We watched the film last summer? fall? must have been fall. Ironically, I had just been diagnosed with psoriasis on my feet, with foot joint swelling, and also had been having random, migrating joint pain, all over for almost a year.

    Prior to surgery earlier this year, about 4 weeks before, I started juicing. I would consume one 24-32 ounce juice, eat bkft, lunch, dinner as desired. Did not lose a lot of weight (not my goal), but, did go into surgery almost pain free, and recovery is awesome. It has been almost 4 months since surgery, and adhesions don’t seem to have reformed, no pain in those areas.

    The mental benefits are phenomenal, also. Regaining mental clarity and acuity: priceless. The juicing keeps the psoriasis at bay, without having to use the steroidal creams. Actually, when I do have to pull out the creams is when I start juicing again. My neighbor was so impressed by my “return to normal” that she is doing it now also.

    My favorite recipe: Spinach, Fennel (the green fronds are actually the best in the winter), and pears. More of a fall/winter recipe.

    My everyday recipe: Spinach or Parsley, celery, fennel (if it looks good), carrots (lots and lots), and apples. Sometimes we add the ginger, and also oranges. If I’m in need of a serious “reboot”, I go to Whole Foods and get some kale, too. I try to make a very large batch at once (4 to 5 quarts), and put them in the freezer until I’m ready to drink them, whether everyday, or just a few a week. Any nutritional benefits lost from freezing are far outweighed by not juicing at all. Doing it once a week eliminates a lot of the time consumption from prepping and clean-up.

    Here in New Orleans, there is a local tv/radio personality who has become a great advocate of juicing. He has suffered from an autoimmune condition (Wegener’s granulomatosis), which did not respond to any treatment. He explains it here: http://www.frequency.com/video/garland-explains-juicing/39223812

    and his recipe is very much like the mean green drink. There are now several Juice Bars (or coffee shops/restaurants serving juices) in and around New Orleans; that is the impact he has had down here!

    Sorry for so long, but it has had a huge impact on my, and my husband’s, lives. It’s very hard to explain the turnaround, without having to take any medicines. I had gone from completing my 2nd half-marathon, to not being able to walk across the street, in a span of 2 to 3 years.

    It’s something I have wanted to talk about on my own blog, http://icookforleftovers.wordpress.com/. Having this blog was my one New Years Resolution’s, but I don’t think I could do it without this turnaround. Simply would not have had the energy to cook, much less the togetherness to sit down and write about it, with pictures, no less! I am in no hurry to go any doctor, anymore!

  13. spr01nk says:

    I started juicing after I saw that film. I was doing it in Germany and my neighbors thought I had list my mind. I enjoy a good dinner also. Not only fir the chewing but because of the importance of communication over a shared meal. When I wad diagnosed with celiac sprue, juicing became absolute in it’s importance.
    I’m constantly trying new recipes and find I’m especially keen on kale with apples lemon and ginger.

  14. Wow! Thanks Jillian for spurring such a good discussion and lots of useful information from everyone. I just bought a Samson masticating juicer (like the Omega) on Craig’s list with the hopes of doing wheat grass also! Just made your breakfast juice this morning and it was great. My 2 year old loves it too! I also did Dr. Oz’s green drink which was very refreshing …. http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-green-drink Thanks again for your inspiration!

  15. Luciano says:

    Hi Jillian. I just saw that movie last night and it also blew my mind as to how much weight can be lost and how healthy one can be just by drinking juice. My mother was currently diagnosed with Metastatic Cancer of the Kidneys and she has been battling Diabetes for a long time now. My mom is a strong woman and she is fighting for her life. Seeing her in the state that she is in now made me realize that I need to be more healthy. I just didn’t know what to do when it came down to losing weight. In High School, I was 135 and fit because I played sports which kept me fit. I’m 29 now and im 215 lbs at 5’6 which is over weight. I feel tired all the time, sluggish and i have no energy. Watching this movie inspired me to do this. I have not started to Fast yet. My girlfriend and I will be starting this weekend and we decided that we want to Fast for 10 days first. One of my main problems is that I LOVE FOOD. I’m afraid that I wont have the will power to go through with this. Do you have any advice to give us? Would it be a good idea to Fast for 10 days without eating? or should we be eating dinner?

    1. Jillian says:

      Hi Luciano, I am sorry to hear about your mother. Good for you for making positive changes! What we put in our bodies has a direct impact on our health. I struggle all the time with making good choices so I understand what you’re going through. I experimented with juicing and decided that incorporating juices into my routine AND eating food was the right choice for me. I found during my juice fast that I really missed chewing food. I only did it for 3 days. When you try the fast, keep your eyes on the prize and remember that if you can get through a whole day, it’s one day closer to reaching your goal. You will feel so good!!! Even if you have one small healthy meal a day (say, a salad and some crunchy carrot sticks or crunchy apples, and a boiled egg), you are still making good choices. My favorite time of day to sit down and enjoy a meal is dinnertime, so I eat dinner every night. Juicing works in the morning for me.
      My fast helped me to identify my weak spots. Carbs are a weak spot for me, and I learned that if I cut them out, I feel a lot better. Cheese and butter are weak spots for me, so I learned that I should cut them out.
      For some of us, like me, this is a lifelong learning journey. It’s about learning to reach for the healthy treats and recognizing that the unhealthy ones might taste good for a moment, but do not contribute to my sense of well-being.
      Good luck and post here with your updates!
      Jillian

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