Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Update and Weird Things About Beet Juice

Time is just whipping by and I don't get around to posting as much as I used to. Hard to believe I used to post almost every day. I think I said everything I wanted to say, and worked through the issues I needed to for the most part. And now it is just down to the "what I am doing and how it is working or not" stuff, which isn't as exciting anymore. But here it is.

I've been really enjoying the juicing. Some days I have been able to only ingest juice through about 3 or 4 pm, when I feel the need to solid food. Other days I have a hard boiled egg or some Greek yogurt between juices... whatever I feel like having. Every morning I make a green juice and a non-green juice, drink half of the non-green for breakfast and then drink all the juice over the course of the day. I was hoping for more energy but I am still tired all the time. However, I do like how I feel with the juicing, and I find myself craving the juice rather than other foods.

Some notes: one day I had a thick slice of hot wheat bread for lunch. It was homemade (not by me!) and offered with melting butter and it was so delicious, but the rest of the day I felt weird, off, foggy, not as well. I generally avoid wheat (and grains in general) and this just confirmed to me why. Another day, I was too busy to juice in the morning and ran out the door with a Medifast (soy) ready to drink shake. Got home and grabbed a (soy) Medifast cereal, and for lunch had a Bariwise (soy) protein bar. I felt like crap. Sluggish and sort of ill. None of it tasted good to me anymore, either, which is interesting because I used to really enjoy those foods. I had not eaten any soy in over a week and have gotten rid of most of my soy meals; this confirmed that moving away from the packets and soy in general is a good thing. My body likes the juicing better.

Also, I wanted to bring up a couple of weird things about beets. If you start eating or juicing beets, do not be alarmed when your urine or poop turns red. There is something really distressing about seeing red in a toilet, but try to remember that you are just passing the natural color of the beets. No worries. And another weird thing I had no idea about is that if you drink straight, raw beet juice or have too much raw beet or beet juice at once, it can cause vocal cord paralysis, a tight throat, a sore throat, or a scratchy throat. I found this out by juicing two beets, a heart of Romaine, and a carrot and drinking half the batch. Immediately my throat felt sore... kind of like if you had acid reflux and the back of your throat feels raw. I have food allergies so I knew this was not an allergic reaction; there was no swelling. But it was a very uncomfortable, burning sensation. Drinking water didn't make it stop, and neither did eating a yogurt. When I Googled "sore throat from beet juice" I found out I am not the only one. This has happened to other people, even resulting in being temporarily unable to speak. the funny thing is, I had been drinking beet juice before this happened. But in my other juice batches I had used a lot less beet and a lot more other fruits and veggies, so apparently the amount and dilution matters. Just a warning, so if this happens to you, back off the raw beet juice!

New favorite juicer combo:

3 carrots
1 large orange
1/2 cantaloupe (peeled)

SO good and refreshing. And another:

2 carrots
2 Clementines
1/2 cantaloupe
1/2 lb strawberries

Delightful!

I am not going to juice everyday forever, but so far I am enjoying this and I feel it is a step towards a more natural diet. I had not weighed in quite some time this month but this week I weighed in at 229... again. Same as the last time I weighed about two weeks prior. Easter dinner included some salty ham, honeyed carrots, mashed potatoes and a dark chocolate marshmallow egg, and we also had a birthday this week which included a slice of carrot cake.

I am heading out of town for a couple of days and when I get back, maybe I will finally make time to get back on the bike. I honestly have no desire to do it, but I know it's necessary for my health.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Juicer Recipes: Combinations I've Tried

So far, I am really enjoying juicing every day. As I said before, I am not trying to exist on juices alone right now, but am also eating other whole foods like eggs, chicken, and yogurt as well as whole produce like sauteed beet greens. I enjoy nuts for a snack and I am not totally clean in my eating yet, but am cutting way back on processed foods.

Each morning I spend about 20 minutes making two juices: I always make one green juice (made from leafy green vegetables) and then my other juice I vary in color: red one day, orange another, yellow the next. I figure that gives me a wide variety of nutrients and I also get to try lots of different recipes and combinations. I've been writing down recipes I find online and then changing them to suit my needs. For example, instead of kale I often use other greens like Romaine, red lettuce, or spinach, and I cut back on the amount of fruit most recipes call for to reduce my sugar intake.

Here are some combinations I've enjoyed so far:

8 large red lettuce leaves
1 large handful of spinach
2 stalks of celery
1/4 of a pineapple
----------
6 red lettuce leaves
handful of spinach
4 stalks of celery
1 cucumber
2 apples
1 lemon
----------
4 carrots
1 large orange
2 beets
----------
2 handfuls of yellow cherry tomatoes
1 orange
1 apple
4 carrots

I really like the juices and am surprised how satisfying they are. I do get hungry and crave protein but I eat a small amount and then I feel better.

Why am I juicing? Because I am tired of being tired, I want to get a lot of plant nutrition into my body, I believe it will contribute to better health and energy. I am also sick to death of salads and there is no way I would eat a giant bowl of lettuce or other greens every day, but drinking it is a pleasure!

Tomorrow I am going to juice part of a cantaloupe that's sitting on my counter. I will combine it with either Romaine lettuce or an orange and a couple of carrots. I also have lots of other produce to juice, including strawberries, a mango, limes, fresh ginger, pears, broccoli, a sweet potato, kiwis, and I also have some coconut water for when I want to dilute a juice. I feel better than I thought I would so far. Should be interesting to see what the scale says on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Juicer Recipes: Green and Otherwise

This week I am trying out my new juicer: a Breville Compact Juice Fountain. So far, I love it! It is so much easier to clean and simpler to put together than my (very) old juicer, and I get more juice out of my produce. I haven't had time to go to the grocery store yet, so I just juiced the produce I had in the fridge.

This morning I made two juices and I really enjoyed both. They are simple "recipes" that you can modify to suit your tastes.

Green juice: 1 package baby kale + 1 head of Romaine + 1/2 Granny Smith apple + 1/2 sweet red apple + a dash of lemon juice (if I had an actual lemon, I'd have used 1/3 or 1/2 of that instead)

Carrot juice: 1 1/2 pound of organic carrots + 1/2 Granny Smith apple + 1/2 sweet red apple

I started by soaking everything in water and a bit of white vinegar for 10 minutes and scrubbing the carrots and apples with a brush. Then I trimmed the produce and started juicing. I did the carrot juice first and then the green juice, without emptying the juicer in between. The new juicer has a little pitcher with a special lid that separates the foam from the juice when you pour it. I poured each juice into a quart mason jar to store in the fridge.

I am not doing a juice fast, but using juicing to supplement my diet and see if it helps me have more energy and feel better overall. I had black coffee in the early morning, half of the green juice for breakfast, an ounce of walnuts for a snack. Then I was very hungry and had a whey protein shake. In the afternoon, I had half the carrot juice and 2 hard boiled eggs mashed with cultured butter. Around 4, I had the rest of the carrot juice and a bit more green juice. I haven't made dinner yet but will have the rest of the green juice with some protein and vegetables for dinner.

Here is a list of sites I have saved that are about juicing or have delicious sounding juicing recipes. I think it can be tricky to make a tasty green juice (with kale, spinach, collards, or other greens) and I am also trying to limit my fruit consumption to about 2 servings per day. If you have a favorite juicer recipe or website, please leave it in the comments. I will update which juices I think are tasty as I try them.

Top Ten Favorite Juice Recipes

13 Refreshing Smoothie and Green Juice Recipes

Juice Bar Menu (combination ideas)

Green Smoothie Challenge Recipes (I do have smoothies instead of juice sometimes)

Reboot With Joe Juice Recipes (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead)

Blender Babes Juice Recipes

Just on Juice

Going shopping tonight so I can make my juices tomorrow morning. Looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Where'd the Time Go?

Has it been almost a week already since I last posted?? I don't know where the time went! I have been out of town on a trip this week, and am actually still in a hotel right now! So there won't be a weigh in today (nor was I near a scale this week). My eating's been nothing great, for sure... but when I get home I an planning to do a partial juicing... not a juice fast... and not a carb festival either. I am planning to get some extra greens and other veggies in by making juice once or twice a day and also eating lean proteins, healthy fats and whole vegetables. Still want to stay off the grains, and will limit the fruit to 2 servings a day (in the juice, to make the green stuff palatable). Depending on how I feel doing this, I may continue it for more than a few days or might just stop if it makes me feel bad.

My other decision this week is to be completely off soy. I cut way back on soy a long time ago by not choosing bars and shakes that are soy based; however, with my new sampling of Wonderslim and Bariwise meals I have been eating more and more soy because their bars are SO good. I am going to give the rest of my soy meals away or trade them for whey based meals, and just use whey shakes when I need a quick protein boost. Whole foods the rest of the time. I know this doesn't seem like a big deal but it is for me. I have, frankly, been dependent on packets and bars most of the time since I started Medifast in 2010. I guess I got used to the convenience and simplicity of it. So much easier (for me) to have a shake or a bar rather than trying to think of something to eat with the right ratios of protein, fat, and carbs. The farmer's markets will be opening soon, making it easier for me to get back to a produce-based diet... whether that includes juicing or not.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Juice Fasting. Good Idea?

Last year sometime I watched the movie "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" (streaming free on Amazon if you have Prime) and was inspired by the whole "wow juicing changed my life and saved me" thing. I even dug out my old, crappy juicer and made myself fresh juices for awhile. I liked how I felt (I was not fasting, just having juices while also eating some regular healthy meals) but decided it was just too many carbs for me. After all, I've been low carbing in one form or another most of the time since early 2010, ranging anywhere from 50 to 100 grams of carbs per day. Juicing gives a lot more carbs... although I am not sure how many more... even if you use a lot more veggies than fruits. Higher carbs have, in the past, made me feel unwell and headachey. So, I pretty much ruled out juice fasting due to the carb content and effect on blood sugar.

However, lately I am just feeling so much of the "fat, sick" part and my mind has gone back to options like doing a Whole 30 or a juice fast. From what I've read online, most people doing an exclusive juice fast will still get about 40 grams of protein per day just from the juices. But I just don't know. Have any of you tried a juice fast? Had success or difficulty? I am in research mode but I am just so tired of feeling like crap and I wonder if this is something that might help me dig out of my rut of eating protein/veggies/protein bars and shakes for several days or a couple of weeks and then falling apart and eating a standard American diet for a couple of days, undoing any weight loss I had from the low carbing. I feel like I have been eating chemicals, at least for some meals on some days almost every month for the past 4 years. In fact on super busy days I have fallen back on eating almost everything from packets. I could try 'just' going back to eating whole natural foods, but I have even struggled with that in the past... sticking to it, getting weight loss results from it. I am not even sure if I could stick to a juice fast if I feel even crappier while doing it. But I dream of better energy, better sleep, feeling lighter, having less pain. Nothing I have tried so far has given me these results. Maybe the nutrients of a juice fast would.

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