Today I want to share with you my experience with juicing. There’s a lot of online buzz about health benefits of juicing, as well as juicing for weight loss. There’s also a lot of skepticism and warnings against this “extreme”.
I gave juicing a try about a year ago. Together with my husband we decided to do a 3 day juice cleanse to clear some toxins out of our bodies. On the first day both of us felt great, we didn’t feel too much hunger. I felt like I was still living off the food that I consumed the previous day. I drank about 40oz of freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices and as much water as I felt like. By the end of the day I felt excellent – light and clear in my mind. That day I realized how much of my regular eating is regulated by emotions instead of hunger. Drinking only juices and water made me stop and listen to my body’s clues. When I felt hunger I drank some juice and water and it went away. When any craving would appear I stopped and asked myself if it was hunger or anxiety. Very often we feed our emotions not hunger. Realizing this was liberating to me. Almost everyone of us eats subconsciously. It takes a while to become aware of our habits. Juicing made me realize that in the morning I am not really hungry right when I wake up. I don’t need to eat breakfast first thing in the morning just because I always used to do that. I can wait until I am hungry. And I don’t have to eat the same amount every day. I can eat more or less based on how hungry I feel. This is something children are very good at and I’m still learning that from them. If they are not hungry they will not finish everything on their plates. If they are hungry they will ask for more. You can’t force them to eat, even chocolate, they will stop at some point and say they don’t have any more room in their tummies (as my six-year-old says).
Another thing I realized on the morning of my juicing day 2 was that I fell asleep easily and slept really well. I still got woken up several times by my two-year-old son, but I felt rested in the morning. And as a mom of young children you don’t feel rested too often (unless you are lucky to have a well sleeping child). I felt so positive that morning that I welcomed second day of juicing with extra energy. Unfortunately, that energy started dwindling in the middle of the day. I felt more hunger during the day and drank more juices than the day before. I also started feeling some slight pains all over by body. It was probably a sign of some toxins trying to flush out. On the bright side, I read that the longer you juice the more your body is going to cleanse and that it is normal to feel some pain. So it was working. Sleep was great again and day 3 was much easier. I felt so good (and my husband shared the same feeling) that we decided to extend our juice cleanse to 5 days.
On day 3 it was easy for me to distinguish between hunger and anxiety. A lot of people are afraid that they are missing nutrition while juicing and think that’s why they feel pain here or there. But the truth is, you are getting actually more nutrients. On top of that, those are clean and easily available nutrients. They go straight into your bloodstream. The amount of veggies and fruits you consume in juice is incredible. I would never eat 5 pounds of carrots, 3 pounds of apples, a bunch of kale, and 2 pounds of cucumber in a day. It’s just too much chewing. But in juice you can take in all those micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes and feel their benefits in your body.
On day 4 I started getting tired of the very process of squeezing the juices daily. It is great to have all those delicious liquids on hand, but it takes about two hours per day to prepare everything for two people. Of course you can buy ready juices. But honestly, it’s not the same. Unless you have a juicery close by where you can buy fresh juice pressed right there. I kept telling myself that I am doing this for my health, that I would probably spend similar amount of time cooking regular meals anyway. And the plus of juicing is that you don’t have to spend energy deciding what to eat. You know it’s only juice, so decision fatigue is not there. You may get bored with only liquids, but you can create excellent combinations when you want a new flavor. I was putting every fruit and vegetable we had at home through the juicer. That way we had some really unique and truly delicious juices. I will share some recipe ideas in another post.
On day 5 I woke up excited that we almost made it. I started thinking what I would eat the next day. And believe me, I wasn’t dreaming of a huge heavy feast. I was craving munching on fresh fruit and feeling their texture. Overall, I was full of energy and continued drinking juices and water as often as I felt the urge.
In the evening I felt the sense of accomplishment. We did it. I felt light. My mind was clear. I learned a lot about my eating habits very often governed by my emotions.
A few months later we did another 3 day juice cleanse, and after that we attempted another one, but stopped it on day 2 because we realized it was not the right time. We figured out that timing is very important. For us, juicing during work/school days is most optimal. We stick to our routine, there’s no extra activities, no extra excitement. When we attempted juicing during my husband off from work days it simply didn’t work. His schedule was different, the whole family schedule was different and it was hard to focus on juicing. Because juicing is not only about cleansing the body, it is very much about cleansing your mind. If you are preoccupied with new activities it is hard to empty your mind. You naturally fill it up. That was a great time to realize that optimal time for juicing is an ordinary day, when you will most likely not have any surprises. That way you can focus on yourself.
That’s how we came up with an idea of Juicing Mondays. In February 2018, we decided that one day per week we will drink only juice and water. That way every week we will have a fresh start, we will cleanse on regular basis. It will be easier than multiday cleanse as it is easier to squeeze juices for only one day. It is easier to find one calm day per week that three consecutive ones. We chose Mondays because it is the beginning of week and it’s good to start a week on a positive note. But if Monday is a vacation day for some reason, we will change our juicing day to Tuesday. We will not juice during traveling, or vacation. If everything goes well, we will have about 40 juicing days per year. That’s pretty impressive. So far, we juiced every Monday in February and it feels like a sustainable idea.
I will keep you posted on our juicing journey. Let me know if you want to join or Juicing Mondays Challenge. Simply drink freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices (and wter) for one day each week and see how you feel. We can start each week fresh together.