I can’t remember when I first heard about juicing but I remember who specifically made me curious about it; it was Master Juicer Joe (of the Fat, Sick and nearly dead) fame. This man basically changed his life, turning it around one juice at a time and I was just gob-smacked reading all about it. Joe was obese and had been told by doctors he was going to die but after adopting a plant based diet/juicing, he lost over 100 pounds and has gone on to amass an incredible following. You can read all about his amazing story here – http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/ and his wonderful juice resource — http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/
Suffice to say, my interest was immediately piqued and I got to researching pronto! The more I researched about juicing and its amazing benefits, the more it became clear that this was what I needed to jumpstart my journey into being a healthier version of myself.
Now I wasn’t obese (maybe clinically, lol); but I was not healthy. I was unhappy with my weight which I don’t carry well because I’m only a 5’4ft shorty lol; my metabolism was at an all-time low, I was sluggish & lethargic; my skin was in its worst state ever which inevitably came with acne and although the acne was mainly hormonal, my being unhealthy aggravated it; all of which I think is totally unacceptable for someone who’s called Gorgeous Brownskin :D. So I made up my mind and got to juicing.
During a juice cleanse, you are expected to juice/puree all your food – fruits & veggies and just drink. This juice cleanse can be done between 3 -15 days and there are many resources online specifically prepared to cater to the 3/5/7/10/15 days respectively. If you are a juicing newbie, it’s more realistic to start small say 3 days and increase on your next cleanse.
During and after a juice cleanse, one can expect improved digestion, reduced bloating/flatulence and irregular bowels, a jump in your metabolic health, improved sugar levels, reduced appetite, great and healthy skin/hair & nails, weight loss, better energy levels, boosted immune system, reduced risk of heart disease amongst many other benefits.
One good thing about juicing is the amount of fruits/veggies you get into your body daily. If you were given a typical fruit/veggie bowl, you may not be able to finish eating it but once juiced, it’s condensed into a glass and voila! All gone!
The first time I attempted juicing was in November 2013 during which I did a total juice/veggie cleanse for 12 days. This meant that I ONLY ate and drank of fruits and vegetables for the entire 12 days and boy was it tough! I made so many rookie mistakes ha ha and now that I’m a juicing pro (yes I am):p ; I laugh at my old self. However, rookie mistakes or not, it didn’t stop my body from reaping the amazing benefits of juicing so much so that by the end of those 12 days, all my old clothes were fitting well again, I was feeling extra bouncy and my skin was practically glowing. I’m saying this so it doesn’t discourage you guys from trying. Those rookie mistakes are inevitable but however it’s done you will definitely be happy you juiced.
Notice I said I ATE and drank juices and veggies. Yes I did. Some days, instead of juicing say an apple, I’d just chew it up normally. Ideally, during a juice cleanse, you are supposed to ONLY drink all your food, this is mainly because chewing produces digestion enzymes which can make you hungrier if you haven’t eaten but personally speaking there were times I got tired of just sipping stuff and wanted to feel the chewing motions and so I’d just chew my cucumber/apple/guava/garden egg etc. I never just chewed spinach sha, imagine the horror of showing up someplace with spinach stuck on your teeth. Ha!
Now I know that a lot of you are busy with work and life in general and will be wondering how to fit this into your already hectic schedules, so I want you to know it is do-able. My first time juicing, I was working an 8-5 that sometimes dragged to 11pm/midnight, but I stuck it through and so can you. Now Juicing is tedious. This is a fact. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. However, as with most things in life, it is about your mindset, your attitude towards it and creating time for what is truly important; after which it gets easier. Given that a normal work day is already hectic on its own; add the mental stress, constant calculation and hunger that sometimes comes with juicing and you just might have a grouch on your hands. But that’s why I’m here writing this post. I made those mistakes and I’m here sharing so you don’t have to repeat them… consider me your juicing messiah hahahahahahahaha… I’m kidding! I just finished a 14day juice cleanse about 3 days ago and while it’s no walk in the park, some days I think I was just craving attention really with the constant whining (what? Don’t judge me!). This is by far my breeziest cleanse ever because this time, I have tons of free time on my hands and I’m no longer a rookie 😀
Sadly, with my two earlier cleanses I didn’t document/log in properly but I have more than made up for it with the just concluded one. Infact, its gotten so bad that its almost like I have to take a picture of my water sef before I drink it.. ha ha. During this cleanse, my typical day starts at 6am, I get dressed and go for my morning jog, I get back in anytime between 8/9am and immediately make my morning shot – a mix of veggies & fruits. At midday, I have a green salad with lemon juice as dressing and then at about 7pm, I drink my last juice for the day. In the past, I had really bad insomnia (let’s call it that but the truth is I couldn’t sleep at night because I’d been sleeping all day). Nowadays, once its 11pm (after watching Wendy Willams), my eyelids feel like blocks of cement and I’m out; So no midnight hunger/cravings. Yay!
As a veteran juicer now (don’t hate!) :p, I think that before you embark on a juice cleanse, here are some things to take into consideration:
- What is the overall/ general state of your health? This will guide you to know how many days at a time you can juice and what types of fruits/veggies to avoid. Also, consult your doctor if you’re on any medication
- Are you travelling? Crazier schedule? Vigorous activity? This may not be the best time to start juicing, especially for a newbie because you may feel loopy so you may need to reschedule your cleanse to a better time when your work-life balance is better & steadier. This doesn’t mean you should wait till everything is perfect because that day may never come.
- Get your juicer/blender set cleaned and prepped. Some fruits/veggies are better puréed than juiced so you’d need both. However, if you can only afford to buy one thing now, I’d say to buy a blender first as you can blend and strain most fruits/veggies. There are several options of products out there so do your research but remember, the most expensive gadgets are not necessarily the best juicers/blenders. (this will be an entire post for another day)
- You will need containers to store your juices – bottles and/or mason jars. Research says juices keep better in mason jars as it helps against oxidization; but my people, this is Nigeria, I know I’d sooner pour my juices into my empty drinking water bottles than go and buy mason jars with money that I could have bought more products with. Abeg! Use your empty swan/nestle/evan water bottles. A very important tip is to fill the containers to the brim, this ensures that air doesn’t enter the bottle and oxidize your juice, keeping if fresh and drinkable for longer. If your juice is not plenty enough to fill the bottle, add water to fill up. Very important.
- Cut down on food intake 3 days prior to the day you intend to begin your cleanse. Try not to eat anything after 7pm, but if you must, it should be wholly vegetarian.
- Keep a food log. It helps you consciously keep track of what you’ve been juicing/eating and its easier to develop recipes you enjoy and know those you want to skip in the future. Juicing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the taste of your mixes. Also, it is possible to over-drink/eat during a cleanse, so keeping a log with measurements & quantity per bottle helps a lot.
- Stock up. I shop weekly so I try to get what I need to last a week especially as fruits & veggies don’t really keep well, thanks to almighty NEPA. Besides, there’s only so much you can pile into the fridge before the people you live with revolt! Lol.
- Be sharp, it saves you money. For eg. I traveled to Benue prior and knowing I was coming back to start juicing, I took advantage of location/cheap products and bought so much fruits that for the remaining 14 days, I only needed to buy veggies. Also, when someone is coming from home, I always ask them to buy me pink grapefruit at Akwanga because they’re cheap and plenty there.
- Prep your fruits and veggies overnight. Peel the oranges; de-seed the watermelon/paw paw etc. cut into smaller pieces and refrigerate. This is so important especially for busy people because by morning, you just toss into the juicer/blender and you’re good to go. Plus that way, you’d have a cold juice/smoothie which is much easier to drink.
- More greens, less sugary sweet fruits. A rule of thumb is 2 parts green, one part fruit.
- Mix things up. Have all the rainbow colours in your plate/bottle. Green is great but when you feel your energy dipping, it’s okay to eat a sweet fruit. Not only is it good for curbing cravings, it also gives your body sugar for which is a great energy boost.
- Drink a lot of water during your cleanse. Preferably, water infused with lemon slices, cucumber and mint leaves.
- Snack (an apple, carrot sticks, garden egg etc) at least twice a day. This keeps your metabolism going; you don’t want it to slow down. Don’t overdo it.
- Once made, ensure you drink your juices within a 12 hour window. Do not keep for longer than 12 hours or you will have lost essential nutrients.
- One Pro-tip I have for busy people is to make a smoothie for breakfast instead of actually juicing. What you need to do it prep only the fruits and veggies that can be easily blended/puréed such as watermelon, pawpaw, spinach,kale etc. Leave the broccoli/celery,oranges,carrots for evening when you’re back home from work and have time. No, you’re not too tired to juice after work. Lol
- Clean your juicer/blender immediately after use. You don’t want the pulp to get stuck and dry in the juicer, it’ll be tougher to clean later and tedious (this is me assuming you don’t have a house help).
- Have a warm mug of green tea with lemon juice before bedtime. Even better if you add Apple Cider Vinegar.
Here’s a typical Shopping list I use:
Veggies – Spinach, broccoli, kale, celery, lettuce, Cabbage, cucumber, mint, garden egg, avocado, carrot, tomatoes, ginger root, bell pepper,.
Fruits – watermelon, pineapple, apples, oranges, grapefruit (white & pink), pawpaw, lemon, lime, guava, beetroot.
As you’re approaching the end of your juice cleanse, it is important to ease your system back into accepting normal food. Remember that you’ve sort of shocked your body and so its imperative to be gentle at this stage. The end of your cleanse is not the day to demolish a massive bowl of pounded yam and egusi soup.. ha! You’re better off with [pepper]soups, broths, porridge etc. you don’t want to end up on the porcelain throne the next day (don’t look at me)
Juicing is not a fad diet and should not be approached as such. Like I mentioned earlier, I did it to jump start my journey into a healthier lifestyle and since then I’ve done it twice more. In addition, I have tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle overall by eating right and more recently I have started exercising 6 days a week. A healthy and sustainable approach to any type of long lasting weight loss is a total lifestyle overhaul done slowly and steadily over time. Therefore, start easy, 3/5 days at a time is more realistic for a newbie than jumping to 14 days straight. Think about juicing as a less invasive and far cheaper colonic/enema. The benefits are amazing.
Remember not to lose sight of the big picture – a healthy lifestyle, not a flash diet fad. If you don’t love yourself enough, your size -fat or skinny – is not going to change anything. As you take the steps towards working on the outward appearance, don’t forget to work on the inner [wo]man too so that your insides match the outside. A healthy self image is just as important as a healthy body.
The idea has never been to be stick thin, I love being curvy, I’m a proud Tiv woman.
These pictures were taken on day 14 of my cleanse and I wasn’t wearing any makeup at all. Not quite flawless but glowing nonetheless. It works!!!
So will you be juicing? Got any questions? Use the comments box.