Thursday, September 15, 2011

Juicin' Juice: The Prologue

Long time readers of this blog and its predecessor, Tales from the "Liberry", are probably used to seeing ol' Uncle Juice try out a number of dietary lifestyles. Hey, here's another.

While my cholesterol and blood pressure are firmly under control, thanks in part to Crestor and laying off the bacon, my weight hasn't significantly diminished. My doctor, Dr. Ralph, makes this his chief complaint each time I go in for a checkup. And when I first started having my cholesterol issues, Dr. Ralph was bigger than me. But he himself has been on a health kick for the past few months and has dropped 30 pounds, so I have no ground to point any fingers. In my defense, all of the programs I have tried (low carb, MediFast, Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Body, Mediterranean diet--eh, well not so much the last one, as I didn't actually stick to any kind of formal plan and ate Ben & Jerry's with abandon because I was pretty sure Mediterranean people would like it, too) have worked and I have lost weight. It's just the whole gaining weight back once you go off it thing. Well, that and working as a script consultant for a 3 week summer writing camp for kids back in July, where we were basically fed three meals a day of Chik-Fil-A. And 4 Hour Body, which I found to be the most enjoyable of the programs, didn't shed pounds as swiftly as it claimed.

During our recent Netflix documentary kick recently, one of the docs we saw and enjoyed was called FAT, SICK AND NEARLY DEAD. It's the story of an Australian businessman named Joe Cross who suffered from uticaria, or chronic hives. He'd been treated for nine years with no improvement. He was overweight, enjoyed food and drink to excess, but had began to suspect that his diet, with its high fat and processed content, might be the ultimate cause of his illness. So with doctor supervision he went on a 60 day juice fast in which he forwent solid foods altogether and used a juicing machine to extract the juices from an enormous pile of fruits and veggies and mixed that up to drink, three meals a day. The theory on this was that by juicing the veggies rather than eating them whole (which would have been a chore considering the size of the pile he had), he was retaining all the nutrients within the juice of the veggies because none of them could be lost in the cooking process. This supercharge of nutrients, in theory, would allow him to get his daily nutrition without his body having to pull those nutrients out of digesting food, giving his digestive system a rest from the processed foods and give his excretory system time to divest his body of built up toxins. Joe also theorized that by allowing his digestive system to have a bit of a rest, his body's healing systems would have added fuel and nutrients to get to work on wiping out his illness. And he filmed that 60 day fast, which became the first half of the documentary. And (spoiler alert) he lost 82 pounds and his uticaria cleared right up. There's more to the documentary than that, of course, as Joe's story was only half of the tale and the rest is quite compelling. I recommend viewing the whole thing and it's streaming on Netflix if you care to.

But after watching that documentary and the pretty astounding results it depicted, the wife and I decided we'd like to at least give it a short term try. We knew we weren't up for a 60 day juice fast ourselves, but a shorter term 5 or 10 day cleanse (reboot) seemed doable. After all, Joe Cross was not advocating an all juice diet as a way of life; he was merely saying it's helpful to reboot your system once in a while using such a plan, get your body into a more optimum health and then proceed with real food, eating healthier and incorporating juice into the diet as a supplement. He eats and drinks what he wants to these days, but in moderation. And this philosophy is nothing new. Guys like Jack LaLane had been juicing and selling juicers since the 60s.

So we ordered a Breville juicer, cause no one around here sold any that were rated particularly well. While we waited for it to arrive, I began to try out the juicing possibilities by using our blender to blend up veggies, which I then strained through a sieve. The results weren't always tasty, but were pretty darn filling. And sometimes they were tasty.

The juicer finally arrived, but we had a 6 day trip to the in-laws ahead of us in which my mother-in-law promised me biscuits and gravy, so we waited and stuffed our faces with loads of fried things in the interim. (Hey, ya have to build up the toxins first in order to have something to remove.)

I had a couple of days to play with the juicer when we returned from the in-laws. It's pretty sweet. Breville makes a sincerely well constructed machine. There's nothing flimsy or half-assed about this thing. I'm pretty sure it could take a bullet. Or at least juice one. And cleanup for the unit is pretty quick, which is important, cause it makes a contained mess. Juicing veggies and fruit produces quite a bit of pulp, so with two of us juicing our composter is going to be running on overdrive and the farmers at the farmer's market happy to see us coming.

A 10 day juice fast will likely not have radical results for us, but I expect we'll lose a few pounds and have at hand a device that will help us continue to grow more healthy. Will I ever do a 60 day fast? At this point, I'm saying no EFFing way. But can I go off solid food, not to mention coffee for 10 days? I think so. At least the juice part. I'm not sure I can give up the coffee.

Tomorrow, our 10 day juice fast begins.

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