June 2012. I'm smack dab in the middle of my Tony Robbins phase and I've learned about the health benefits of juicing and wheatgrass. My gratitude train is running full speed ahead and I decide that it's time to buy a juicer.
I search the internet for juicing recipes and I want them green. Heavy on vegetables and light on fruit. I find a few that seem popular, lots of reviews and recommendations. Feeling confident, I head to the store to load up on kale, red peppers, tomatoes, carrots and any other vegetable that happens to be on my list. I race home, clean and cut up my vegetables and get to work juicing, anxious to feel all the great nutrients transform my body into nothing but energy and good health.
The juice that comes out is an odd color, kind of a green-gray, but I'm not deterred. I hopefully take a big drink and almost spit it out. It tastes like grass…that's been left out to rot. Not only that but the texture is like sludge. But I force it down, determined that health and vitality will be mine!
A few hours later, I decide to have another. Using a different juicing recipe, I again cleaned, cut up, juiced and poured what looked like a color not known to nature in my glass. This one was slightly better, if only because it had a small amount of fruit in it. And I drank the entire thing down.
I didn't intend for this to be a “cleanse” but circumstances led me down that path. The Mr. was out of town for a few days which meant I really didn't have to cook anything if I didn't feel like it. And I really wanted to see how this juicing thing panned out – if one or two juices gave me all those nutrients, imagine what five or six might do?
So I drank nothing but juice for two days. The first day I did fine, a little hungry but otherwise felt normal. But by the second day, I had come down with the flu. Or so I thought.
I spent most of the day feeling terrible. I took my girls to swimming lessons that afternoon and I sat quietly away from everyone, not engaging much with my friends who had their kids in the same class. A few people asked me if something was wrong and I explained that I wasn't feeling well, I thought I must have a flu of some type. It was only when my friend Kimberly arrived and we went through the same question and answer routine that I found out that I most likely didn't, actually, have a virus or flu of any kind. She explained that on day two of a juice cleanse it is very normal to feel that way and that, if I could just hold out another day or so, I would start to feel nothing short of amazing. “Just hold on another day”, she told me, “and you'll feel fantastic.”
When lessons were over I rounded up my girls and began to head home. I was running Kimberly's words through my head, wondering if she could be right. I wanted to listen to her, wanted to hold out long enough until I was on the other side…but my hunger and nausea got the best of me. We were driving by a Wendy's – a place I never went to – and I realized I couldn't get to that drive-thru fast enough. “Would you like to try a combo meal?” was answered with a screaming “YES!!!” and the Baconator was in my mouth before I knew what hit me. I ate the entire thing in one sitting, along with a large fries and and even larger Sprite.
It didn't fix my flu-like symptoms immediately, and I'm sure that jumping from one okay diet to a juice diet straight to a fast-food binge was not an easy transition for my body to handle. But within a day or two I was back to my normal relatively healthy diet and juicing was already just a memory that I likely would never visit again.
So it may surprise you to learn that I've now been juicing daily for over a year, since January 2013. I started again after seeing a juicer on sale and it prompted me to give it another go. The difference this time is that I was armed with a lot more knowledge about juicing, knowledge that anyone considering doing any type of cleanse should take the time to know before making such a drastic change in their diet. You know, like how you're going to feel like a truck has run over you by Day 2. And how you should make changes to your diet before the cleanse, too – switching to all vegetables for at least a week or two so your body can begin to adjust, making Day 2 much less painful (and, in some cases, not painful at all). You see, I learned that the reason my body felt so poorly is that it was busy flushing out all the toxins that were just sitting there not doing my body any favors at all.
But I wasn't doing another cleanse, there was no way I was ever going down that path again. I decided to simply add juicing to my morning routine, not take any drastic measures, just a healthy green juice first thing in the morning.
The first thing I had to do was find a juice recipe that I could happily drink every single morning or I knew this would never work. Considering my last attempt, I wasn't very optimistic. I downloaded a few ebooks on juicing, none of which I cared for very much. I again searched the internet for more green juice recipes, hoping that one would taste miraculously better than all the others. I found a few that were pretty decent, I almost even liked them. And then, the obvious hit me…I develop recipes for a living. I should just develop my own juicing recipe based on flavors that I enjoy!
So that's what I did. And I've been drinking this juice recipe faithfully for over a year – and still loving it! The great thing about starting to eat healthier is that it typically snowballs, I know this because I began exercising on a regular basis soon after my juicing routine began. One fed into the other until I could no longer imagine life without both. My physical state improved significantly but also my mental state is in the best shape it's ever been! The trick was that I had to find what worked for ME – and this spicy juice was right up my alley. It's a little sweet from the fruit and spicy from the jalapeno – my favorite combination. The best part is that it keeps me feeling fantastic!
I do use other juicing recipes occasionally, just to keep things interesting around here. Carrot-orange is AMAZING – my 7-year-old begs me to make it for her. I have a few other good ones up my sleeve, too, and I'm going to share them all. The only reason I hadn't done so until now was because I really wanted to be certain that this was a lifestyle change that I was going to stick with; I didn't want to preach something that I couldn't fully get behind. I would say that every day for over a year qualifies as something I can get behind, don't you?
I would really love to hear what your favorite juicing recipes are and the experiences of those who have tried it. And, if you haven't tried it yet, what are you waiting for?
Spicy Green Juice Recipe
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 bunch kale (leaves and all)
- 1 pear
- 1 green apple
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper
- Prepare fruits and vegetables:
- Wash all thoroughly.
- Remove stem and seeds from poblano and jalapeno peppers and apple.
- Slice all fruits and vegetables into pieces (whatever size your juicer recommends).
- Juice as recommended according to your juicer manual.
- Pour and enjoy!