I started juicing two-three years ago. I had been curious about it for awhile, but for some reason just sat on the fence about it. Probably I had a case of the lazies. However, when I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead I ran out, got myself a juicer, and got going on it. I am in no way as bad off as Joe was in the film, but the film educated me about the benefits of juicing and made me wonder how it would improve my health and just general daily life (if you have not seen the film please go see it now. it will change you).
As you all know, I’ve written about juicing and am a big supporter of it. I think it’s a great way to improve your diet and get some fabulous nutrients into your body.
Apparently, my reputation for my love of juicing caught the attention of Williams-Sonoma – also fans of juicing – and they asked me if I could address some questions about juicing. Note, I am not being compensated for answering these questions. I thought the questions were great and definitely worth answering. I hope my thoughts help you think about juicing and how it can be used in conjunction with your practice. Keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor or a licensed nutritionist. These are simply my own thoughts in relation to my experiences.
Do you think its healthy for someone to have fresh juice as a meal replacement? Why or why not?
Yes. I say yes because I do this, and I think it’s a perfectly fine thing to do. If I’m replacing a meal with juice, it’s likely going to be breakfast. I know people say they have a hard time giving up actual food for a liquid meal. I get that, but I am also not a big breakfast eater. Never have been. So my breakfasts are probably healthier when I have 32 ounces of juice.
I also say yes with this qualifier – be mindful about your decision. If you are replacing food with juice, make sure you drink enough juice. I normally need 32 ounces. If you don’t get enough you’ll just be hungry again in an hour or so and that could lead to some junk food eating (wait…how would I know about this?). 🙂 It can take a few days to figure out what works for you so keep some healthy food with you – like nuts or a piece of fruit – so you already have a good snack in place should you get hungry.
The other thing I want to tell you here is drink what you like. I got on a kick once where I had this lovely orange/grapefruit/lemon juice for breakfast. Then I drank some green juice for awhile. You might hear people say to avoid citrus juice or drink only green juice but the thing is, you have to start with where you are, educate yourself, and do what’s right for you.
What was your experience like when you did a juice cleanse? What would you have done differently?
In 2013 I had this idea that I was going to do a juice cleanse. I think it was supposed to last seven days. Prior to the cleanse, I had done a 30-day vegan challenge (well, almost…let’s not forget about that meltdown I had which led me to eating accidental bacon). I had never done a cleanse before, and it was a bit scary. I was not supposed to eat any solid food for seven days. I was to get my nutrients through juice and near the end I was supposed to transition into some smoothies and then back into food.
If you read my juice cleanse experience, you know I made it 2.5 days. On the afternoon of the third day, my blood pressure was dangerously low and my cognitive functioning was impaired. I ate soup and a banana and called it quits. My experiences on Day 3 gave me pause about going further.
My overall experience wasn’t easy. I had headaches and was pretty grumpy in the beginning. But my sense is this is normal for a first-timer.
The thing about the juice cleanse was that it allowed me to explore a fundamental question about myself that I had yet to consider: Why do I do things like this to myself? Why do a juice cleanse for seven days, three days, or even one? Why go to Bikram yoga for 66-days in a row? Why do a vegan challenge? I get this question a lot, and I found the answer during this cleanse.
I wrote a post about this which you can read in it’s entirety here. But here is a brief excerpt of the answer:
My whole life, I realized, has been about not self destructing. When I was a teenager I was the last person my parents had to worry about in terms of drinking and doing drugs. I’d already seen the consequences or had heard about them. I’d already known family members who had those issues. I wanted no part of it. Not even a taste. I was not going down that path. I wasn’t even putting my foot on it.
So that’s the answer. I do these things to benefit my health and my practice, yes, for sure. But at the core I do them because there is this determination in me to not self destruct and to not engage in the types of behaviors that put people over the edge and down into a spiral. There is a determination in me to be good to myself and to nurture myself even if doing so is hard and deemed “crazy” or “weird” by some people. I remember very clearly being a little girl (about 8 or 9) and vowing to myself that I would take care of myself and not follow the path that had been well trodden by so many people before me. I’m keeping my vow. What it looks like in practice evolves as I do.
Of course, the second part to the question at the start of this section asks me what I would do differently. Well, I think it’s really, really hard to do a cleanse and be a regular Bikram practitioner. I think I would have to give up my practice during a cleanse. I imagine that what lead me to my difficulties was that I was not getting enough juice in me. I only went to class once – Day 2 – but I think that sent me down a bad path.
#1: Don’t go to Bikram while you are on it. Just take the time off from your yoga and nurture yourself in a different way
#2: Maybe don’t do a full on cleanse. I think I could maintain a practice if I was allowed some food. I don’t know what this would look like, but I think one meal a day should be food and maybe one snack. Again, this is what I think would work for me based on my experience.
As a yoga enthusiast, what are some juice ingredients you would suggest to others interested in yoga? Do you think its better for someone to drink juice before their workout for more energy or after as a recovery?
I’ve played around with juicing recipes plenty! See here for some of my favorites. During my cleanse, I learned that red leaf lettuce is excellent in a juice! I love using cucumber as a base. Some people like celery. I’ve tried it, and it’s not my favorite thing in the world. But explore. Start with a base – orange/grapefruit/celery/cucumber are all good bases – and then build from there. Pay attention when you go to the store to see what catches your eye. The more you juice the more you get a sense of what you like. Green juice can be strong. Feel free to make it a bit tarter (and less green tasting!) by adding in apples and lemons. There is no shame in that!
I don’t think it matters when you drink your juice. I’m not convinced there’s a right answer here. I’ve done it both ways. I’ve had juice for breakfast (32 ounces) and then taken class, but I’ve also followed up class with a 16oz juice (which I consider a snack). All worked very well for me.
Ready for Your Juicing Journey?
If you are new to juicing, you may be wondering where to start. Williams-Sonoma has a wonderful array of juicers that will get you started. Don’t get sticker shock! I have a Breville, and it is definitely worth the money. I know people with Vitamixes, and every single one of them would marry that thing if they could (and it does more than juice). A straight-up juicer, like a Breville, will be cheaper than a vitamix, but you will be able to do more with a vitamix (so I’m told…I have yet to pony up the cash for one). Take some time to think about what you want the product to do and make the decision that is right for your needs.