Glowing. Smiling. Bathed-in-light. Happy. Perfect.
These are the words I used to associate with people who drank green juices. They were surrounded by an aura of health, vibrancy and happiness. Movies, blogs and filtered Instagram photos had warped my perception to the point where I believed drinking a green juice was part of some perfect, unreachable reality. Without being aware of it I’d let the idea of consuming everyday vegetables developed an artificial patina of perfection. I believed that only beautiful, successful, healthy, stress-free people could drink green juices. I didn’t think I could ever be one of those people. Green juices represented a lifestyle which I desired to live but didn’t believe I could.
Why is it that we allow ourselves to place certain people, ideas or things up on a pedestal? What causes us to think that others are somehow more worthy, more capable, more deserving? How had I let something as simple as eating fruits and vegetables become something outside of my grasp?
Time spent watching a series of documentaries and reading a number of books led me to believe that these people are living healthy, beautiful lives, but that their lifestyle wasn’t a fantasy I could never attain. I decided the best way inspire a significant mental shift was to embark on a 10 day juice detox. My goals were to increase my nutrient intake, decreasing my cravings for anti-nutrients and giving my brain time to adjust. A few movies & books that really got me motivated were: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Crazy Sexy Juice, and Super Juice Me (along with a whole heap of blogs!).
A Locavore’s How To: Juicing Vegetables
Step 1: Do your research. Research the pros & cons of juicing and find a program that makes sense to you. As I’d been introduced to the idea of juicing by Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead the movie, I looked up Joe the Juicer’s 10 day plan. I liked how the plan was simple, well laid out and had a specific time frame. The plan included recipes for 10 different drinks, how much to drink each day and offer recommendations on which combination of drinks provided the best nutrient profiles.
Step 2: Buy a juicer. This step was a big one for me. I didn’t really want to spend the $180 on what could be construed as a fad diet but I did A LOT of research. Then I eventually went on Amazon and pressed Buy Now. That small action kickstarted a huge transformation. Not only is owning a juicer an essential step to start juicing, but once I’d invest in the equipment, I knew I’d have to follow through. I bought a Breville Juice Fountain Juicer and have been very happy with it. This model isn’t the very top of the line but it an affordable version that consistently does a good job. In fact, my sister liked it so much she bought one too! (More on that below)
Step 3: Find a friend. I won’t lie to you, juicing isn’t easy. It takes a lot of willpower to say no to your cravings and having moral support is recommended. It also takes a lot of time to prepare the juice so sharing the burden is helpful. I’d managed to convince my sister to join me and she in turn got her boyfriend involved. Having three people on our team made those tough moments easier to handle.
Step 4: Shop until you drop. I’m only sort of kidding! Make a list of all the vegetables, fruits and herbs that you will need for each drink and go shopping at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. It turns out that the shopping list for three people for ten days of juice was INSANE! Like 60 oranges, 108 green apples, 24 bunches of kale insane. It took three trips to the grocery store with two overflowing shopping carts per trip and a total of $750 spent to stock our fridge. That works out to be about $25/person/day which is more than an average grocery store budget but less than eating out regularly. My recommendation for the price conscious would be to focus on the drinks that use locally available, seasonal produce as this will greatly reduce your cost (and your environmental footprint!).
Step 5: Juice! For the next 10 days, or how ever long you decide, you will spend a considerable amount of time thinking about juice – preparing it, drinking it, digesting it, wishing you weren’t drinking it. You will have good days and you will have bad days. As this is a detox, you may experience some negative symptoms such as severe cravings, upset stomach and headaches. This is your body processing the junk (for lack of a better word) that you’ve been eating. Keep at it, it gets better!
Step 6: FEEL AWESOME! No seriously, it is an amazing feeling to take control of your diet and your life. To know that you have the power to say no to specific foods, to follow through with something start to finish, and to prioritize your own health. I honestly didn’t expect to feel so positive about the whole experience. After the 10 day were complete, I did go back to eating (of course!) but I found it much easier to avoid sugar, dairy and wheat from then onwards. I’ll be sharing that story another day so stay tuned!
So overall, how did I fare? Speaking for myself, I felt less hungry than I feared and I didn’t experience side effects such as stomach upset, exhaustion, or extreme cravings. Instead I was less tired, less bloated, and more in control of my cravings for grain, dairy & sugar. I felt empowered by the knowledge that I could prioritize my health and adhere to a commitment I made to myself. Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I too could juice. During my 10 days of juicing vegetables, and the weeks that followed, green juice went from being something exotic to being a part of my routine.
The experience served to remind me that many limits are self-imposed. There are times when a specific activity can develop false importance in my mind and I start to doubt my abilities. Before moving overseas to live in Belfast, I honestly did not believe it was possible. Before travelling around Asia there were moments that I doubted I ever would. My fear limits me more than any other obstacle. I’m constantly relearning the lesson that I’ll never succeed if I never try. As they say – you don’t have to be perfect to start, but you have to start to be perfect.
Have you ever tried juicing? What are your thoughts on a detox? Don’t be afraid to share your opinions below!
Now It’s Your Turn: My advice is just give it a try. A lot people have reservations about juicing, as I did, but you can customize your experience. Experiment with different flavours, try juicing for a short period of time, have a juice as an afternoon snack! While doing a detox may not be for you, introducing a fresh, nutrient-rich juice into your daily diet is an excellent health booster. My recommendation is buy a Breville Juicer, stock up on your favourite fruits & vegetables and give juicing a try!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Just sharing what I think is exciting and delicious. This post does contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. For more information, see my policy statements here.