October 5, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 5 - Call Snookie, I'm Officially a Juicehead

Has everyone gotten tired of hearing about juice/ juicing/ juice fasts/ juice feasts/ juicy-juicy-juice-juice? I know, this is hardly a new topic to be introducing to the blog-o-sphere, but c'mon! We all have our own relationships with juice, our own stories to tell. Surely a blogger cannot be denied her right to discuss her juice tale at length. So relax, take a deep breath, and float with me down this celery-scented river...

Johnny has been begging me to purchase a juicer for years now. He saw a Jack LaLane infomercial at 3:00am five years ago and I guess it stuck with him. He's a bit susceptible to infomercials - he's also begged me to order the Bullet blender, a steam cleaner, velvet hangers, and a lot of other crap over the years - but while those items came and went, the desire for a juicer stayed with him. I was hesitant to cave to his request as I've heard so many people admit, "I bought a juicer, used it twice, then threw it out of my car window while driving down I-10". Our kitchen certainly isn't big enough to house any unnecessary appliances. Would we really drink juice all that much? What if the juice tasted gross?

Then I received the book "Crazy, Sexy Diet" by Kris Carr for my birthday this year. Many peeps are already familiar with her, but in case you're not: Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her early 30s and given months to live. She took a radical approach to her health and as a result, she is now 40-years-old and is cancer-free! Her road to recovery included a lot of juice, raw fruits and veggies, and whole grains. She completely cut out animal products, processed and refined foods, sugar, and alcohol. She credits this diet with saving her life. Pretty cool, huh?

A few weeks ago, something snapped and I finally decided to order a juicer from Amazon. It arrived one Tuesday and sat there in its box, just waiting for me to love it. It sat there and sat there for 4 days. I wasn't sure where to begin and I felt a little anxious about it.

For inspiration, I decided to watch the documentary, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" on Netflix. It follows a guy named Joe from Australia who is 100 pounds overweight and who struggles with health issues, including a rare auto-immune disorder that causes him to have a painful rash over most of his body. He is taking lots of steroids and other medications and his diet consists of mostly fast food and little or no fruits and veggies. One day, he decides he's had enough and he embarks on a 60-day trip around America during which he will consume nothing but fresh vegetable and fruit juice. 60 DAYS!

The results are staggering. Joe is able to wean himself of all medication, including steroids. His rash and other medical issues completely clear up. He loses all 100 pounds and becomes more energized and active than he's been in decades. He's the picture of health and he attributes it all to juicing. And mid-way through the movie, he's contacted by Phil, a truck-driver he met in Winslow, AZ (of all places) and Phil needs Joe's help. Phil is tipping the scales at 400+ pounds, he suffers from as many health conditions as Joe did, and he's severely depressed about where his life is headed. With Joe's help, Phil drops 200 pounds and becomes a health-nut! I literally broke down in tears as Phil, who previously could barely walk, is shown jogging down the road like a seasoned marathon runner. Powerful stuff, y'all!

That was the inspiration I needed. It was all I could do not to pause the movie and go make my juice right away, but the movie was too interesting to stop! As the credits rolled, I unearthed my Breville Juice Fountain from all its packaging. I rinsed it all in hot, soapy water and familiarized myself with the Users' Manual. Then I plugged it in and got to work. My first batch of juice consisted of: 1/2 package organic baby carrots; 4 stalks celery; 1 pint raspberries; 2 green apples; and 1 small bunch of kale. The juice was a strange greenish-brown color and smelled not unlike freshly cut grass. Johnny emerged from the bedroom, all sleepy-eyed and curious, like a tot on Christmas morn'. I handed him a glass of the stuff and we both took a sip. "Not bad!" he said as his eyes brightened. I concurred.

Peany Lyman, decidedly not wheezing the juice. 
I'm not gonna lie, juice might be a little hard to take if you're not already a lover of fresh fruits and veggies. But if you've ever craved a salad or wanted an apple instead of a piece of candy, I think you'd dig this stuff! My first batch was a bit heavy on the celery (Johnny said my breath still smelled like celery later that night, teehee!), but it's been so much trying out combinations of fruit and veggies to see what I come up with. I've loved adding fresh ginger to give the juice a zip, concord grapes for sweetness, and parsley and spinach for nutrition. It's a great way to use up produce at the end of the week that might otherwise go bad, or to buy up produce that's on sale at the store. I can see how people get hooked on juice, just the thought of it is making me salivate as if I were dreaming about a pile of french fries!  

Now let's get something straight here: I'm am, always have been, and always will be staunchly against extreme food fasts. I've witnessed one too many girls in my life hallucinating and on the verge of passing out because they've consumed nothing but water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper in it for 2 weeks straight. Their goal is usually to fit into a cute dress for their high school reunion, then as soon as the fast ends they go back to eating normal food and gain back every ounce of weight they lost. To me that seems a bit counter-productive and I've never wanted any part of that. 

However, as Joe consumed his juice for 60 days in "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", he made me see that "fasts" don't always have to be dangerous experiments you read about in Cosmo. He was monitored by doctors every step of the way, he still consumed a good amount of calories, and his main goal was never to lose weight simply to make the guy who dumped him senior year feel like crap. His goal was to be healthy and that's always an objective I can stand behind.

I don't think I'm quite ready to take the plunge and do an all out juice fast quite yet. For now, I think I'll be happy occasionally drinking a big glass of green juice in lieu of breakfast or lunch. Cheers!


  1. I did a two week juice program after watching that movie on Netflix too. If you haven't seen the website they made yet t is at jointhereboot.com. I loved it but of course once it was over I went back to my old ways. I'm starting up incorporating juice on a daily basis. This morning was kale, kiwi, pear, and apple.

  2. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by. I did check out that web site and it is really helpful! I kept expecting for there to be a membership fee or something, but all the info is free - how cool is that? I think we will try a fast pretty soon, just to see how it goes. Even if you go back to your old habits, at least you're cleaning out your system for awhile!