Monday, August 11, 2014

A'Juicing We Will Go.

My body has declared war on dairy. I won't go into the specifics because, ewwwww. 

I figured it would be a really sad transition, as I have always joked that right thigh was named Goat Cheese and left thigh was Super Sharp White Cheddar. Also, I adore ice cream. But the whole endeavor hasn't been nearly as painful as I expected it to be. Even Spouse is surprised. 

It has meant re-figuring recipes and life, basically. Mainly, my beloved protein shakes that I was using for breakfast and dinners are out, as they are whey based. That was a huge blow, because in the mornings, I need things that are grab and go, things that need very little prep or thought, because I am not that person in the morning. 

At the same time I made this discovery, another friend was navigating the world of paleo, and another a world with braces and lots of food allergies. The confluence became The World of Juicing. 

Huge caveats: I have always poo-pooed juicing as a fad, and only something truly committed vegan-y types do, so I approached the whole thing with a super healthy dose of skepticism. Also, I did body testing and menu testing before I realized it was the dairy, so not a random decision made lightly or without research, I promise. My daddee didn't raise no eejits.

My friend with braces had purchased a book on juicing that included recipes, I did some googling, etc. and basically, I decided for what I was interested in doing, substituting a few snacks/meals, not just juicing alone, I should give it a whirl. Certainly could not hurt. 

My first forays were luckily timed with great sales at Whole Foods on prepared, raw, cold-pressed juices. First BluePrintJuice, then Suja Elements juices. My biggest surprise was how full they made me and how long the energy lasted,using juice as a meal replacement. I never would have imagined that. 

After a few days with juices substituted for afternoon & morning snacks, and supplementing other fruits and vegetables for lunch, I decided to just buy a low-end juicer. I had received an Amazon gift card + had some credit left from a returned purchase, so got a centrifugal Hamilton Beach one for $50. 
There are seven parts: the base, the pulp bin, the screen, the screen collar, the big mouth top, the plunger, and the juice jar. It all comes apart really easily, is easy to clean, and easy to put back together too. Also, every part, except for the base is dishwasher safe. 

I've been juicing for over a month now, dairy-free for about a month and a half, and feel really good. One interesting side effect was, without dairy in my diet and adding juice, I lost 6 lbs. Since I made the changes simultaneously, hard to say if it was just one or the combination, but I've been able to keep most of it off, just through my regular exercise plans and decent eating. Certainly notice a difference on days where I've imbibed......Had been at a plateau, so it really helped honestly. 

Another part I like is I really am eating more frequent smaller meals. My days basically look like this:
- I've added Orgain Vegan Nutritional Shakes to my morning. 16 grams of protein, no dairy, decent stats on everything else, and I got my first set for 50% off. 
- Usually about 11 a.m., I have 10-12 oz. of a juice I've made. 
- By 1 p.m., have something light (maybe a veggie stir-fry with rice noodles). 
- Around 4 p.m., another 10-12 oz. of juice, then I basically wing it for dinner. Maybe I'll have another Orgain shake. 
- I am still drinking a lot of water - at least 100 oz. a day.

With apologies to the lovely vegan peeps I know, I had always said if I ever had to become a vegan, I'd just.give.up. I mean, what's life without cheese and ice cream? But I'm actually enjoying an almost vegan lifestyle. Except for 1-2 servings of meat a week, I am a vegan - just I'm pretty sure that does actually count....... 

I still don't have a set plan each day, which I hope will come as the whole lifestyle becomes routine. We've also had a crazy schedule of late, lots of fun houseguests or just day travels to see people, so honestly, that has contributed to not having a better plan of action too. 

I'll write a post soon about combinations and what has worked for me, etc. I did an epic juicing session yesterday and broke a few rules. Ideally, you want to juice and drink the stuff within 72 hours at most. I made enough for about 5-6 days worth......but I wanted to be able to show maximum numbers of combos, and how much juice you get from x amount of fruits and veg. 

I shall close with some random thoughts on juicing in general and the juicer I have (for now. I know I'll upgrade to a masticating juicer at some point): 
1. You will notice an increase in your grocery bill. I did a cost breakdown and we are adding $30-40 from produce, but the produce has been lasting over a week for some of it (carrots, oranges, heartier items). However, given that I am not buying the protein shakes in the morning, not to mention, we aren't buying other items for snacks and meals, the juicing is actually a little bit less expensive for me
2. It is more economical to buy bags of produce, like carrots and oranges. 
3. You want to be as organic as possible with your produce. It really does make a difference, I promise.  
4. My juicer is tremendously LOUD. Like I use foam ear plugs and warn Spouse when I'm going to use it loud. You will want to keep this in mind. 
5. It is best if you clean the screen after at least every three sessions of juicing, i.e. if you are making multiple juices, clean it between juices or if you are simply juicing different fruits and vegetables one at a time, clean after two or three of them. The more clogged the screen is, the less juice you will get, and the wetter the pulp.
6. I compost the pulp and detritus from prepping the fruits and veg, but there are lots of resources on the interwebz & Pinterest on how you can use the pulp for cooking & baking. 
7. I'm surprised at how outside the box I've gotten in my combinations. Honestly, only had one juice that I tasted and poured down the drain, because it was just gnarly. 
8. Pineapples are not that hard to break down. I always thought I'd need a jack-hammer but super easy and really yummy!
9. My cravings for super sugary foods has almost gone away. Perhaps it is because of the inherent sweetness in my juices - but I don't get those mid-afternoon cravings for something sweet and chocolatey. 
10. Most chocolate snacks are made with MILK chocolate, which you know, has milk in it. Learned that one the hard way. Wah wah.
11. This is a graphic statement but seriously: beets are awesome for juicing, but you may experience redness from the beets when you use the lavatory. Don't assume what you are experiencing is blood if you've had a lot of beet juice. But keep vigilant and visit your doctor if you believe it is blood. Sorry. No good way to get around that one. 

Have you ever changed your mind over a food related diet? 

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