Written by contributor Emily McClements of Live Renewed.
Spring is here, even if only on the calendar; where we live in Northern Indiana we still have snow and freezing temperatures. But still, Spring is a great time to think about refreshing and detoxing your body after the long winter months.
Juicing is a great way to reap the benefits of eating, or actually drinking, large quantities of fruits and vegetables. Juice fasting has become popular due to documentaries like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change. My husband did a ten-day juice fast in January as a way to kick-start his weight loss goals, train his palate to enjoy more vegetables, and help him move toward a more healthy, whole foods diet. He lost fourteen pounds in ten days, and has kept the weight off as we have been continuing to drink juice together as a family on a regular basis since then.
While there have not been specific studies done to show the benefits of a juice fast, some sources state that drinking juice from fresh fruits and vegetables allows you to intake more vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients than eating whole fruits and vegetables, boosts your immune system, helps your body to remove toxins and can even reduce your risk of cancer.
Getting started with juicing is easier than you might think, the most important thing is to first invest in a quality juicer. There are lots of types and brands out there, and our family has been very happy with our mid-priced version, although my husband wishes we had invested a little more to get a juicer with two speeds.
Next you need to stock up on fruits and vegetables. Of course, you want to buy organic if you can, or at least try to follow the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists, but because of the large amount of fruits and veggies you will be buying, price is also a factor.
For our family, we’ve decided that it is more important to drink such large quantities of vegetables and fruits than it is to make sure we are purchasing all organic produce, but we do try to buy organic when we can.
If you’d like to begin juicing, here are three of our families favorite juices to help you get started.
Delicious Breakfast Juice
This juice is the perfect mix of sweet and sour, if you want to add some greens you can include a handful or two of spinach or kale for an added boost.
- 4 carrots, peeled is not organic
- 2 green apples
- 1 lemon, peeled
Mean Green Juice
This is a great juice to drink in place of lunch.
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 green apples
- 4-6 Kale leaves, or two handfuls of spinach, or both
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1″ piece ginger root
This is a dessert juice, and is great after dinner, or really any time of day.
- 30 purple, black or red grapes
- 1 basket/pint blueberries
- 1 handful of mint
If you’re interested in doing a juice fast, it’s definitely important that you do your own research and talk with your health care provider before beginning. My husband also has a few other tips that helped him make it through his 10 day fast.
- Use chia seeds to add protein. Mix 1/3 cup of chia seeds with 2 cups of water and store in the refrigerator. Eat a tablespoon or two of the chia “gel” as needed.
- Also, he used almonds for added protein eating a handful or two, especially in the evening. Ten days is a long time to go on only juice.
- You’ll feel pretty bad for the first several days, but hang on, because after around day 3 or 4, you will start to feel much better and have so much more energy.
- Drink lots of water, and even some coconut water. It helps you to feel more full, and also helps to keep you hydrated as you body works to flush out toxins and absorb all of the nutrients from the juice.
For more reading and research, check out rebootwithjoe.com and runningonjuice.com.
Have you made your own fresh juice at home? What is your favorite recipe?