Juicing Day 28: FAQs

Not surprisingly, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this juicing thing we’re doing. Some of my favorites include “Why the hell would you do that to yourself?” and “Might you die?” The answer to the latter is “no,” unless you have an existing condition like diabetes – and even diabetics have been known to juice fast with success, though I make absolutely no claim to knowledge on that subject. Please: never try something like this if you have a pre-existing condition without first consulting a medical professional.

We have made ourselves aware of the risks and dangers and things to watch out for. There is a lot of negative feedback on juicing (as well as a lot of positive), and I wouldn’t go into anything like this without understanding those concerns. Especially with extended juice cleanses, the concerns are really important.

In no particular order …

Did you hide all the real food in your house? No. In fact, I have a set of massive jars on the counter full of pasta, marshmallows, and a gallon-size jar of semi-sweet chocolate chips staring me down every time I juice. We did have to empty out a lot of our refrigerator to make room for produce, but there is still plenty of “normal” food around. This was intentional. We didn’t want this cleanse to disrupt more in our lives than it had to, and we didn’t want to simply shield our eyes from tempting yummies. It really hasn’t made things more difficult having it in plain sight. Maybe in the beginning it did, but I’m over it.

Verbatim: I’m curious to hear about the poops. I am not above answering that question on a public site. It has been all over the place (not literally – SICK!). On average for me, “the poops” are more, shall I say, aqueous? However, in the first few days it was quite the opposite and we needed a couple of natural laxatives. We have also been taking cayenne supplements, which is a laxative in itself, so that could also be contributing. (Read more on the supplements we’re taking). It’s really mostly how your body processes it once things level out. Constipation is extremely common, as is diarrhea. Lately, things have been very average. Sorry to disappoint! I know you wanted some really exciting shit stories. Oh! Oh! Scratch that, I’ve got one! Beet juice makes your poo bright fuschia. It is hardcore. You should try it.

What juices are you drinking each day? In the next few days, I will post EVERYTHING WE’VE GOT. Check back for full access to our daily menus and intake, grocery lists and quantities, all of our custom recipes, and weight tracker.

What about protein? Aren’t you losing muscle? I am not, but Andy has started to. Do you have to ask why? Fine. I am fatter than him. Now you know. I’ve been keeping that a secret all these years and now you just made me expose the truth. In all seriousness, fat is much easier to burn off and convert into energy than muscle, so it’s what your body tries to take care of first. Andy had little fat to begin with, so he started ingesting more calories via protein supplement around Day 19.

My body still has plenty of fat to feed on, and so our experiences with this fast are radically different in this respect. That is important to note. Everyone’s body is different. Everyone is starting from a different place of health. You need to pay attention to yourself, read signs, and act accordingly. Example: We go on a walk just about every day. In the beginning of the fast, I would begin to tire early on: Aching back, thirst, and general crankiness. In the past week or so, Andy starts feeling tired early-on, and I literally need to break off to run around the block. I have begun wearing tennis shoes instead of my usual flip-flops so that I can feed the urge to run when it comes. I am bouncing off the walls (I embrace House of Pain every day now).  Don’t worry, I go back for Andy. He’s usually settled comfortably underneath the steps to this beauty of a crackhouse on our block.

Are you adding any dairy in? Can you juice bacon? Nope. No dairy, no meat, no oil (exception: flax and fish oil supplement, raw nut oils), no salt (except for those times we cheated). We add raw, natural sweetener (raw honey or raw coconut nectar) only to the nut milks, and in very minimal amounts. For instance, I use two teaspoons of honey to a full quart of nut milk.

What other supplements are you taking? Here is the list with some basic explanations.

What about all that sugar? I totally get the concern about sugar. That’s my main concern, too. We try to do about 50% vegetable juices, but it doesn’t always happen. Our original goal was 75%, but we couldn’t stick to it. Even so, it is a lot of sugar. We take the CinSilin supplements to help with that, and I’ve noticed no negative impact from the amounts of fructose we’re taking in.

Is this just to lose weight, or for overall health, or what? I sort of answered that in the Day 1 post, but to expand:  This is actually not primarily a weight loss push, but that is absolutely an added benefit! It is a test, of sorts, to see what affect it has on other things I have going on, namely allergies, a pitiful immune system, and addictions to fatty, processed foods. I’ve been to see a number of people about the allergies (including an allergist and a dietician), and tests came back negative. Yet I still had incessant sinus issues, eye irritation, post-nasal drip, fatigue, and frequent headaches.

The juice fast is an attempt at kickstarting a healthier lifestyle, but also committing to something that will put me in a great starting place: Higher energy and clarity, tip-top immune system, lighter, and diminished dependence on bad foods.

The outcome as of Day 28? I sleep like a log. The sinus inflammation and eye irritation have improved, but I still have some post-nasal drip. I do not get headaches anymore, and as I’ve mentioned maybe 50 times, I’ve got all sorts of energy. Other bonuses include: 20 lbs lost, vastly diminished muscle tension, and a clear mind with laser-like focus (for me. I’m pretty ADD, so take that for what it’s worth).

What if I just want to lose weight? Would you suggest juicing? Doing it for the weight loss alone is definitely tempting. But so far, even though the cravings aren’t as ferocious as the first few days, they are still there and I don’t see this as having any lasting impact on weight. I don’t kid myself that this is a fix-all, because it is not, and I know I will want to pig out on pizza again in no time. But it is a pretty great jump start and reset for ongoing healthy habits, and if it kicks some addictions to salt and fats, all the better! The greatest thing is that my immune system is up and running again. I feel healthy, strong, and clear as opposed to lethargic, congested, and head-achey.

I’ll also note that I do consider this extreme. I mean, holy hell, we’re not eating food for 30 days! Sometimes extreme is good. Some people get their stomach stapled, some people start spending hours every day at a gym. Our bodies can handle and benefit from being pushed, but as with anything else, you have to listen to your body and proceed with caution (steps off soapbox).

How did you prepare? I very loosely used pointers and info from a ton of websites, and as you know, the internet cannot lie. I don’t have all of them, but I did save a few blogs and articles:

I also watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (a documentary on Netflix Instant if you’re interested), but that doesn’t really tell you much about the process or offer planning information. It’s more of an awareness campaign and a way for some guy to make some bank. Still inspiring, though.

Anything else? Just ask!

Advertisements

Juicing Day 27: Inception Nut Milk Recipe

Are you ready for mind-bending deliciousness? Brace yourselves, because this recipe is just that, and I somehow came up with it myself. Shocking!

It’s completely raw.

It’s dairy-free.

It’s low-fat.

It’s like a creamsicle full of crack and unicorn magic. (Not really. I wouldn’t know what either of those tastes like.)

I call it … well, you already know. Don’t you sense an over-the-top illustration coming on?

Please make this. You will not be disappointed.

Inception Nut Milk Recipe

(Makes 9 cups)

~Ingredients~

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • zest of one whole orange
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. raw coconut nectar (like this)
  • 2 Tsp. pure vanilla extract (use a raw variety or make your own if you’re hardcore)

~Instructions~

  1. Follow steps 1-3 of the easy nut milk how-to, combining the orange zest with the nuts as you puree them. Freeze nut pulp for later use in cooking or baking!
  2. Whisk or blend in the honey, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Note: The coconut nectar does not add coconut flavor to this drink. But that does sound fancy, doesn’t it?
  3. Serve over ice, freeze into actual creamsicles, or imbibe via beer bong. Your choice.
  4. Let me know what you think!

Juicing Day 24: A One-Night-Stand With Gelato

On Saturday night, we broke our fast for just. one. meal.

Prior to venturing into the juice fast, we bought tickets to a rooftop Sunset Dessert Party fundraiser hosted by our friend Zach to support our friend Melanie in her run for the American Heart Association at the Chicago Marathon this fall. Did I mention she also goes by “Chef” Melanie, as in mad-skills-with-food Melanie? Yeah. Her victuals of choice are gelato-themed pairings and she owns and runs Gelato Vero here in Chicago. Yeah, again. Commence the breaking of a 22-day fast.

We were lucky enough to have been invited to one of her underground dinners last Cinco de Mayo, and we have been avid fans of Melanie’s food and Melanie herself ever since. Saturday’s flavors of gelato and sorbet included watermelon rosemary, spiced cranberry, orange cardamom, and the most uniquely delicious: sweet corn gelato, which tasted exactly like salty, buttery, fresh corn on the cob … incredible and oh so impairing to mind-mouth coordination.

Back to the fact that we cheated: It’s all good. Interestingly, this served as a really informative experiment of sorts with unexpected results. As we drove to the event, Andy and I wondered if going back to the juice the following morning would prove excruciating once we had indulged in real food. Partway through the event, I leaned over to Andy and said “I kind of want some juice.” Andy’s response? “Me too!” Y’hear that? We both couldn’t wait to get back to juicing.

This is not to say the food and wine and gelato wasn’t delicious and fun – it’s just that we’ve settled into this comfortable zone of nutrition through juice. I cannot believe I just typed that. Anyone of you who knows me in real life is all “WTF times a million??!? Someone throw a beer in her face right now.” But it’s true. We’ve built a little juice love nest and we’re pretty happy here. Don’t get too worried – we are definitely also excited to work “real” food back into our daily lives. It’s a confusing time for us, like puberty or rumspringa. Oh my God, we’re Amish! (But not the totally fake kind – remind me to tell you about that sometime.)

Feelings and Things

  • Still not downing enough water.
  • Still sleeping like a baby.
  • Had some concerns about becoming overly ketotic last week, so we picked up some ketone strips to pee on and test our ketone levels. We were slightly ketotic, which is okay for a little while if you have some cushion to lose (which Andy does not) and you’re not diabetic. But it is not something you want to ride on for too long. Andy has been having additional protein drinks, and with a little more nut milk it’s all under control.

Juicing Day 20: Anatomy of a Fresh Juice

Well, if it ain’t our 20th day of juicing! What can I say I’ve learned so far? Probably number one is this: If you don’t like a vegetable, chugging it in its juiced form will not make you grow to like it. I am going to say it outright: I am SO SICK of vegetables. Fruits? No problem! Give me all of the fruits! I will drink all of the fruits and be the merriest berry there ever was. But our green juices are just making me want to vom every. single. time. That’s not exciting when over half of the juices we make are veggie-based because, you know, sugar.

Today I thought I would share with you the anatomy of a juice. Pretty simple, really.

Juicing Day 18: Taking Supplements While Juicing

Before I get into it – there’s a Groupon deal today* for the Dash Premium Juicer in case any of you have been pondering a purchase and don’t want to lay down more serious bank. (Thanks, Megan!)

I get a lot of questions about “filling in gaps” during our juicing cleanse. While I don’t think supplements are an absolute necessity during a juice fast, we do take some every day. We have a pretty sweet “pill packing” system involving a saran wrap roller from Home Depot, too, so we have a 30-day stash of grab-and-go supplements instead of having to fill a pill case, which don’t even fit everything we take in a day.

Here is what we’re rollin’:

  • Omega-3 Fish oil
  • Flax seed oil
  • Resveratrol – This makes you live forever. No questions, just trust.
  • Cinnamon supplement – This helps keep blood glucose levels lower, which is especially helpful during a juice fast when you’re consuming a lot of sugar from fruit. We take trunature® CinSulin®.
  • Cayenne – The higher the heat, the more effective. This cleans you out real good-like. We take a capsule of 100,000 heat units. You can mix regular cayenne pepper with a little water and shoot it down (we’ve done this and it’s not that bad), but most cooking-grade cayenne peppers are only about 30,0000-40,000 heat units. You can find 90,000+ loose cayenne pepper, but it might not feel so nice going down the gullet.

Rarely or never used (but we have it on hand):

  • Protein powder – We have used a single scoop of protein powder thus far. You just don’t need it, even with exercise. Plenty of protein comes from the juices, and green juices especially pack a punch of amino acids. Now that we’re having nut milk, too, we are completely set.
  • Natural laxative or Psyllium husk – We have the meetyourherbs™ supplement, which contains dandelion root, chicory root, fennel seed, caraway seed, boldo leaf, cumin seed, and fennel seed essential oil. I only used it a couple times in the beginning and have been fine since, but it’s good to have on-hand, I guess. Psyllium husk is another natural laxative, and we have it in “powder” form, which in actuality would be better deemed “weedwhacked hay.” It doesn’t dissolve or mix well into drinks and I hated how it felt in my throat, so I never actually use it.

That’s it!

*Still not getting paid for this, dangit!

Hand-Wash Only: A Failure in Urban Domesticity

I have a confession to make. I’ve lived outside my parents home for a decade this month, and I have yet to obey a single “hand wash only in cold water” garment instruction. This avoidance isn’t based in fear. It is pure, unadulterated urban inconvenience.

Now before you go wondering how I’ve made it this far in my adult life, let me make a few excuses clarifications. My hand-wash only garments have been washed. They just haven’t been washed by HAND. Typically, the clothes needing to be dry-cleaned or hand-washed get tossed into a basket or otherwise set aside for months on end, until one day I say “I’m ready!” and off to the dry cleaners they go, together as family. Oh, “dry cleaning isn’t the same thing as hand-washing” whaaaaaat?! Yeah, I know. I know it’s not and I am probably inviting the formation of some sort of cloth-laundering chemical mutant by allowing hand-wash only fabrics to come into contact with that powdery crap or whatever it is that dry cleans clothes (scratching with your fingernails? That usually works okay, too).

Let me also clarify that I pretty much know how to wash something by hand IF I have the right set-up, which is pretty simple:

Requirements for successful hand-washing of garments:

  1. Giant basin for washing, set at not-back-breaking height.
  2. Giant basin for rinsing, set at not-back-breaking height.
  3. Washboard.
  4. The giantest basin to hold the other two giant basins and catch any splash due to overly zestful washboarding and/or rinse-sloshing. Set at not-back-breaking height.
  5. Retractable outdoor clothesline.
  6. Sunshine, mid-80s, low humidity, and a light breeze scented with the fragrance of nearby lilacs.

See? I know what I’m doing here. Allow me to further clarify that I have washed many a garment by hand. My parents essentially have the above set-up, so it was never a big deal at their house. I also hand-washed some in India, where it was not uncommon for a flock of young men to stand idly by your machine and watch everything going in or coming out of it. If you leave to go do something and happen to come back two minutes after your dryer times out? Forget about it, your clothes have just been hauled out, dry or not, by somebody else. Sometimes that would happen while the dryer was still running if you weren’t nearby watching it like a hawk. Sometimes a pair of underwear would go missing. Fun times. So, when I didn’t want to deal with that, I washed certain articles of clothing by hand in my room. Hated it.

I’ve also hand-washed out of necessity while traveling. I even found a BAR of laundry detergent at a 7-11 in Shanghai that was molded with a washboard-shape BUILT IN. Now that was a little gem I should have held onto.

But when it comes to my own city, my own apartment, I just can’t ever get up the energy for a good ‘ol scrub-a-dub of delicates. Until the other night, that is, when I finally gave it a go. My set-up was decidedly make-shift:

Requirements for unsuccessful hand-washing of garments in small city apartment:

  1. Five-gallon pail for washing, preferably in the form of an old shitsand cat litter container. Set on floor of bathtub so it’s impossibly awkward to reach into.
  2. Five-gallon pail for rinsing, also a repurposed shitsand container. Also set on floor of bathtub so it’s impossibly awkward to reach into.
  3. No washboard. Use gloved hand to swish unemphatically.
  4. Shower rod for hanging “rinsed” clothes, ideally placed slightly outside the tub area so all drips fall directly onto the bathroom floor.
  5. Cram yourself into tub with washing and rinsing pails. Dim lighting is ideal to appropriately match the angry, foul energy you are emitting.

I got through two dresses, and after the second one dyed the wash water purple, I called it quits. URBAN DOMESTICITY FAIL.

Just earlier in the day, I had picked up an antique glass washboard at a garage sale, observing how wonderful it is to not have need for such tennis elbow-inducing items anymore. We have Wii for that now. And tennis, for weirdos. Next time I’m out garage-saleing I am picking up every antique gadget I find. Surely if I don’t it will come back to bite me in the ass as it did this time. If it turns out we have NO use for an 18th century lead-lined produce pickler, not to worry! I will hang it on the wall and call it “country cute,” and whimsically ironic hipsters and middle-aged women will swell with competitive angst and hope (respectively).

Join me next time when I take on cleaning second story windows FROM THE OUTSIDE!

Juicing Day 16: Lemon Aid Recipe

A favorite has been found! This juice in particular is so very perfect and refreshing for our afternoon at the beach that I highly recommend you make it yourself. Like, right now. And then go to the beach and drink it and be happy. See how happy we are?!

That IS Andy's happy look.

Lemon Aid

Adapted from The Juicing Bible – 2nd Edition

Serves 1 (I recommend making this in bulk. Because of the citric acid in the lemons, it will remain fresh at least one day if kept cold.)

  • 2 lemons, peels removed
  • 1 two-inch slice of watermelon, cut to fit juicing tube
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 tsp honey (Optional. We didn’t use it)

Directions: Put produce in a juicer. Duh. Whisk in honey if you want it. Enjoy!

Juicing Day 15: Halfway Done. Going Nuts!

Today marks the halfway point! It’s all downhill from here! (She says, listening to The Civil Wars and sippin’ on peas and carrots. It’s the new gin ‘n’ juice, trust me on this one.)

To commemorate, I went to Whole Foods and bought a donkey-load of raw nuts for mass nut milk production.

Side note: I just spelled “bought” b-o-t and then corrected it to b-a-u-g-h-t. Clearly there is something in this peas and carrots juice that isn’t vegetable. Shhhhh.

The first batch will be hazelnuts, already taking a pre-gametime soak, a la the ludicrously fratty Ryan Lochte canyoubelievethisguy?

Other nuts pictured here: almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios

We’ll try them all individually to get to know the flavor of each, and then will come some fun with mixing and matching. This newfound obsession has come at a price, however. And that would be … uh, the actual price. Nuts aren’t cheap! Does anyone know where to go for inexpensive raw organic nuts? Whole Foods has the bulk section, which is great, but it’s still not cheap. We will be sticking to only 1 or 1.5 cups each of nut milk a day, too, since they don’t offer quite the punch of nutrients that our other juices do, and can be high in fat and carbs.

Last night we played a very challenging two matches (four games, 25 pts each) of beach volleyball in our last set of the season (SO SAD!). We came home exhausted, covered in sweat and sand and beaming from ear to ear. Sometimes Chicago gives us gunshots (okay, that’s more than “sometimes” on our block), and sometimes it’s just the best place you could ever ask for.

Feelings and Things

  • I feel wonderful. Nothing special to report!

Juicing Day 14: Boys and Their Nut (Milk)

As I mentioned, my parents were in town earlier this week and made us some amazing juiced gazpacho. I’ve been holding out on this next thing, though, because it is so important to our juicing cleanse that only a whole new post would do it justice. I hope you’re ready, because I can hardly contain myself. My parents also gave us a NUT MILK BAG. I’ll pause to wait for all LOLs to wrap up. Nuts. Milk. Bag. Bah-ha! Okay.

Ready? Oh, good. Ahem. Nut milk bag. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

What this gem of a product is, if you haven’t yet guessed or googled (and undoubtedly gotten some interesting search results) is a fine mesh bag with which you make homemade raw nut milk. You can also use cheese cloth, but a bag is washable, reusable, and generally very convenient. After opening the package, not five minutes later Andy had retrieved a glass bowl and measured out water for our first batch. See, my parents were extra smart and also bought us some raw almonds.

We can definitively say that after 13 straight days of juicing, there is no love like nut milk love. It is creamy, slightly sweet, and fills some nutritional gap or flavor profile we’ve obviously been missing. This will likely be a daily snack from here on out – I think just a cup or so will eradicate our occasional cravings for something more substantial.

I am SO happy right now! Here’s the how-to:

Please excuse my devastating photoshop "skills."

Andy froze the remains for future use in cookies, bars, pastas, and whatever else. I know – hold the phone. Did you catch a theme throughout this post? The theme is ANDY DOING KITCHEN THINGS, and it is something to behold. [Obligatory joke about boys and their nuts] I encourage you all to juice fast your male partners for two weeks and then place in front of them a bag of raw nuts and the nut milk bag with instructions. Please send photos.

Juicing Day 13: Gazpacho

This weekend my parents came to visit, and you know what that means: Free food! Luckily my parents are good for much more than free food (and free laundry), which fall somewhere in the middle-to-bottom portion of the totem pole of Important Parental Traits but are on the totem no less. Obviously, this time there were no delicious shared meal experiences because this time, we juiced. And juiced. And juiced. And my parents watched on in admiration and pity, happily noshing their wine, cheese, and crackers. They did, however, sample every one of our juice varieties and had good, if not bordering-on-great, things to say about nearly all of them.

Four years ago during the last Summer Olympics, my family rented a magical geodesic “dome home” on the shores of Lake Michigan. My brother and sister-in-law, Joe and Lisa, made this Alton Brown Gazpacho recipe that makes you stabby when you’re making it because it is so much chopping and mincing. Not to worry – it brings on a peace treaty immediately upon consumption because it is that good. My mother, forgetting said stabby state, decided she wanted to commemorate our family Dome Home trip by once again making the famed Gazpacho. Indeed, stabbiness was felt by all, which is never a good thing when there are actual stabbing utensils in use. But in the end it was worth it.

I am happy to announce that if you convert this into a juicing recipe, the taste is phenomenal and the preparation is easy! My parents made this juiced meal for us in addition to their regular-style gazpacho, and it has been my favorite vegetable juice recipe thus far.

The makings of gazpacho juice. No chopping required! Ignore the coffee in the background. That’s for the humans who entered our home and dared to consume normal food.

Full disclosure: We did NOT include the olive oil, but we did add into the juice the worcestershire sauce and salt (gasp!). This was my first conscious cheat, and Andy’s second, since he got a juice from a juice bar that also included worcestershire. Oh, alright, dammit. It’s my second conscious cheat as well because last week I consumed this whole grape:

Size gauge: those white things to the right are bell pepper seeds. It is the world’s smallest.

Anyways … GAZPACHO!

Feelings and Things

  • Feeling super! No complaints, and really no cravings yet today.
  • Weight loss is tapering. I lost .5 lbs in the past two days. This is normal, and I think it also has to do with being more active and my body recognizing the need to store up more energy.