March seemed to come like a lamb and go like a lion. Four days sunning myself in Miami ruined me for winter: I came back whining about the cold, and may have skipped a few early-morning workouts as a result. But man, even after the crocuses sprung there was snow and sub-20 degree mornings. Enough.
I took a little running break after my half-marathon in Miami. I still climbed stairs and ran hills and did bootcamp, but there were no runs over four miles. I’d also decided that after I was finished with the races I’d give juicing a whirl, so I did.
It seems I’ve been on a roll with proving my younger self wrong. Never did I ever think I’d take up running, biking, or fishing. I never dreamed I’d give up booze for three months. And I certainly never thought I’d go five days without meat, or bread or … solid food. The decision came on gradually. I was curious if I could last more than a few hours. Would I feel different? Worst case, I figured I could always quit.
A few weeks ago, I ordered a juicer, and started messing around with fruits and vegetables. I read some blogs, gathered some recipes, and decided to try a three-day juice “cleanse.” I also bought a whole lot of fruit.
Under normal circumstances my eating looks something like this:
– 6 a.m. eat a banana and drink water before workout
– 8:30 a.m. latte with 2% milk (about 1 cup total)
– 10 a.m. Greek yogurt. Maybe granola.
– 12:30 lunch: salad with grain. Sandwich/leftovers. Piece of fruit.
– 2:30 Crazy cravings start kicking in. I am starving. Cue cheese and crackers, chocolate, peanut butter filled pretzels. Sometimes all three.
– 5 p.m. Hungry again. Snack.
– 6 p.m. dinner. Protein, vegetable, carb. I try to put more vegetables on my plate than anything else.
While I generally “eat clean” I also have a lot of days where I struggle. Some days I feel like I’m starving no matter how much I eat. I crave chocolate, bread and cheese, especially when it’s cold out. I don’t drink enough water.
My days with juice looked like this:
– 6 a.m.- drink 8 ounces of juice. Go to workout.
– 8:30 a.m. latte (I couldn’t give up coffee.)
– 10 a.m. 16 ounces juice
– 12:30 p.m. 16 ounces juice
– 2 p.m. 16 ounces juice. Eat a carrot/apple.
– 6 p.m. 16 ounces juice
Drink a lot of water.
drink the rainbow
The first day was the hardest, but I never actually felt hungry while juicing. I also never had any of the crazy cravings that normally plague me. I didn’t even THINK about candy or grilled cheese or chips. Occasionally, I would feel an urge to EAT something, but it seemed to be driven by a primal urge to chew than an actual hunger. Hence the apple/carrot a day. I also managed to maintain my workout schedule, though I don’t think I exercised with the same intensity as normal. Yes, I lost weight. And yes, I gained it all back as soon as Easter hit and my mom showed up with a basket full of peanut butter cups and wine. Sigh.
What did I drink? I tried to mix it up, creating my own recipes, and using recipes from other blogs. Some juices were lovely, and a few were really gross, but eventually I tweaked everything to my taste (read: love of kale/beets/ginger).
juice at work
My hypothesis is that the juice nutrient-blast does something to quell my other cravings. But juicing is also kind of boring, in terms of gastronomy. I missed the excitement of creating and eating food, the fun of trying new things. And my social life? Almost nil. So now, I’m trying to focus on incorporating juice into my diet, sort of as a snack replacement. When I get the afternoon munchies, I try and sip a juice slowly rather than diving into the office pretzel bin. If I’m still hungry, I have a piece of fruit. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to 100 percent keep away from the junk, but this seems like a step in the right direction.
A lot of the recipes I followed came from this blog post, which includes a convenient shopping list. But I also tweaked and tailored things, which you’ll see below. A note: your juice yield will depend on a number of things, including the efficiency of your juicer and the size and freshness of your produce. Adjust accordingly.
1 large beet
2 granny smith apples
1 knob of ginger the size of your thumb
2 stalks celery
1 handful kale
2 lemons, peeled with minimal white pith
1 handful kale
2 green apples
1 cucumber, skin on
ginger, if desired
1/3 pineapple, skin removed
handful mint leaves
1-2 green apples
2 grapefruit, peeled with minimal white pith
2 oranges, peeled with minimal white pith
1 granny smith apple
2-3 carrots, top and tip removed