The Great Juice Cleanse

First, before I go all crazy with my little stories, let me share with you my favorite recipe for fresh kale juice.  Because if you’re interested in a juice cleanse, or just juicing as a supplement, you’ve just gotta have some kale juice!

Kale Juice For Juice Cleanse or Supplement

My version of kale juice morphed from a recipe I got years ago off Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop blog.  At the time the suggestion was to use agave as a sweetener.  Since then, it has come to light that agave is not the best thing.  Now I use stevia, and will probably continue to use it until someone tells me it’s silently killing me to do so.

JEN’S FAVORITE KALE JUICE

  • 2 big handfuls of kale, with thick stalks broken off
  • couple of fresh mint leaves (totally optional)
  • juice of one good size lemon
  • about 1 cup water
  • few drops of liquid stevia, to taste

Put kale, mint (if using), lemon juice, and water in a regular blender or NutriBullet.  If you are really hard core, you could just drink it like this.  But I like to put it through strainer, using a spoon to push the liquid through.  With this method there is only a small amount of pulp that does not get in the juice, particularly with the NurtiBullet because it liquifies everything so nicely.  Once you have your strained juice, you can mix in the stevia with a spoon, giving it a few moments for the flavor to meld in.

Why the sweetener at all, you might ask?  Well, as I told my husband, some of us are just very sweet and it takes a little extra something to keep us this way. 😉  (Plus, I can get my 2 pickiest kids to drink it, which is a win in itself.)

So, now that you’ve got your juice, do sit down and stay awhile!

Oh good, you’re still here!  So, I’ve got a confession.  I LOVE documentaries.  I don’t get excited about summer blockbusters and I can’t tell you the last regular movie I saw.  (Assuming Curious George’s Big Adventure doesn’t count?)  But give me a good documentary and I’m IN.   One of the latest ones we saw was called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.   The story line involves an overweight and out of shape fellow who is dealing with a terrible disease.   The film follows his quest to regain his health through a juice cleanse.

I really enjoyed the film.  “Wasn’t that interesting?  So, what should we have for dinner???”  Ha!  Look, I can appreciate that it worked for those in the movie who were literally “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  And it was cool to see how quickly their health improved with a change in diet.

But myself?  I am Slightly Plump, Healthy, and thankfully Very Much Alive.  So I’m just not that desperate.  Nor I am medically cleared for fasting, which is a fabulously legitimate excuse.  Though I did feel inspired to get back to hand pressing the kale juice I just told you about. Nutritional power punch + tasty + still eat real food?  Works for me!  My husband, on the other hand, was totally motivated by what he saw.  He was ready to do a real juice cleanse, possibly even for the 10 days suggested in the film.

WHAT?!?

So, being a lovely wife, I agreed to support him in his efforts.  In as much as I would not cook bacon while he was on the cleanse.  Because making a person smell bacon they can’t eat is just mean, isn’t it?  To further show my support, I even volunteered to get the juicer (unopened in the box) out of the garage and make sure no black widows were nesting in it.  Low and behold, it ACTUALLY WORKED!

The juice fast was ON.  (For him.)

As I mentioned earlier, very little pulp is wasted with hand pressed juice.  But I was HORRIFIED when I saw massive piles veggies being put the juicer and a teeny tiny amount of juice coming out, while a whole slew of chopped up bits came shooting out into the scrap bin.  I’m talking close to $10 of organic produce to get MAYBE 2 or 3 cups of juice.  AGGHHH!  The waste!  The grocery budget!  I couldn’t bear to look.  (But I still took a picture.)

This is what came out of the back of the juicer.  It looks like a salad, right?

This is what came out of the back of the juicer. It looks like a salad, right?

“Why don’t you make soup out of it?  A nice vegetable risotto?  Or a chutney?”

“Chutney?  Really?” I laughed, looking at the half masticated bits.

“What’s so funny about a chutney?”

Well, I’m not even 100% sure what chutney is.  But being unable to just throw it away, I tried to make a smoothie with some of it.  GAG!  BLECH!  Okay, the juicer does work in removing ALL the tastiness from the food.  Maybe we just don’t have the best juicer?  But I didn’t like it, not one bit.

“You just throw it away when I’m not looking, okay?”

Beau, who has a pretty good palate for vegetables, asked to try the juice.  GAG!  BLECH!  “EWWW!  ONIONS!”

Yes.  Onion Juice.  We’re talking hard core detox, people.

“Why don’t you juice chocolate?” asked Finn.  Now we’re talking!  That Finn, he’s my kind of guy.

So, long story short, my Rock Star Hubby made it about 3 days on his juice fast!  Go him!  And then he made a fabulous vegetable soup that we were all able to enjoy.  (Not out of the juice bits, thankfully.)

“What should we do with the juicer?” he asked afterwards, contemptuously eyeing the Instrument Of Torture.

He may have had HIS fill of juice, but I sure have gotten a lot of kale into my diet this week to use up the EIGHT BUNCHES we had in the fridge.  I’ve also gotten a fair amount of chocolate, beer, pizza, and hamburgers…

So, while I won’t be going on a juice cleanse any time soon, I will be cutting out sugar and going back to tracking on My Fitness Pal.  TOMORROW.  So those of you who are on My Fitness Pal, come and get me and give me a keyboard lashing if I don’t show up.  If you want to join in the “fun” on My Fitness Pal (because it sounds so fun, right?) I’d love to be Pals with you.  My user name is Snarky Pen.  And my food diary is viewable, so you can look and be all “Oh no she DIDN’T…”  😉

P.S.  If you’d like to read a comprehensive article on the health benefits of juicing, check out this one from Dr. Mercola.

Heath & Fitness: Real Food Please!

The other day my husband was at a party eating a piece of cake.  Someone commented in good nature that it must be nice for him to have such a fast metabolism and be able to eat whatever he wanted.  Little did they know that he does not have a fast metabolism at all.  But after 3 years of keeping off over 50lbs, he knows how to have a treat without getting off track.

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Looking back, we don’t even seem like the same people we were 3 years ago.  But we are.  I am not so different from me plus 50 lbs.  I didn’t somehow acquire superhuman willpower or even the self discipline of an elite athlete.  As you see from the picture, we are TRYING to channel our inner athlete.  (My husband has channeled his far more effectively!)   But sometimes we are too tired and too busy to exercise.  And even though we have gotten a good sense of portion control, every so often we just let our guard down and end up thinking “Why on earth did I eat all of that?!”  Still, the scale may move up and down a few pounds, but overall we have been able to keep in balance.

So, what is the secret?  While it’s more complex than one thing, I will share today what I think has been the biggest factor in our weight loss success.  It’s really a huge factor for anyone concerned about HEALTH, whether they need to shed pounds or not:  EATING REAL FOOD.

We all know it takes work to lose weight.  But I don’t think the reason people stay overweight or regain lost weight is because they aren’t motivated to work hard enough.  Our bodies were made to move and to eat real food.  Today our lifestyles are mostly sedentary.  The Standard American diet, as Michael Pollan aptly described it, is more “food like substances” than actual food.  When you aren’t moving much and are eating things that don’t nourish your body, it will be a struggle to keep your body in balance!  You can feel like you are starving and still see the scale creeping up with every minor indulgence.  And guess what?  Even people who seem to be unaffected by it because they are thin may actually be very sick on the inside.  A person can be a normal weight and be metabolically obese.

For myself and my husband, eating whole, unprocessed food was KEY.  When your diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, clean proteins, and very little sugar, there is really only so much damage you can do!  Even better, we found that eating this way gave us more energy.  Sure, we had to make the decision to exercise, but when you aren’t so physically burnt out exercise is much more enjoyable!

I encourage you to learn more about the food industry and decide for yourself if you want to make changes in the way you eat and feed your family.  I know, I hear ya, “Aint Nobody Got Time For That!!!”  Listen, I’m not saying you need to become a food activist.   But if you want to be proactive about your health, you can’t let the makers of industrial food tell you what’s good for you.  They are not there to benefit you.  They are there to turn big profits, and the more you overeat the more money they make.  As health practitioner Ann Wigmore said, “The food you eat can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”.  Sadly, many people are getting through these tough times by eating cheap processed foods.  The thing you have to remember is that there is a price to pay eventually when you rob your body of needed nutrients. If you’re ready to learn a little more, I suggest watching the documentary Food Inc. as a great place to start.  Once you know what’s in that drive through meal, it becomes a lot easier to keep on driving!

When your body is nourished and in balance, maintaining a healthy weight isn’t such a struggle.  It isn’t a virtue to obsess about every calorie eaten and burned for the rest of your life.  It’s neurotic.  And it’s not necessary to be healthy and strong.  It may be necessary if you want to be a bikini model, but let’s just say that is NOT my field of expertise!  I’m just an everyday person who come bathing suit season is probably going to wish she spent more time exercising and less time typing this article!  But this person is a lot healthier and stronger than she previously thought possible.

P.S.  I hope this information is of benefit to you.  Health is something I am passionate about.  But if you just like to hear our funny stories, that’s cool too.  When you subscribe by email you will always be able to see the subject line so you don’t waste your time opening and reading things that aren’t of interest to you!  Thanks for taking the time to visit us!