Sarah’s amazing juice cleanse

My friend Sarah–there’s so much I could say about this girl! She’s a vibrant red-head, knitter of hats and scarves, and multi-lingual world-traveler. She’s smart, organized, and the perfect mixture of dorky and cool. She’s loyal, keeps calling even when I shirk my long-distance friendship responsibilities (which has happened more than once over the years), and is one of the most non-judgmental, open-minded people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Which is probably why we’re such good friends–I can tell this girl pretty much anything.

We’ve been friends since we both studied abroad in Paris many years ago (winter/spring semester of 2004), forming a tightly knit trio with our friend Vessie. We ate pastries, walked the cemeteries, partied til dawn, went to museums, poetry slams, and did more than I can even wrap my mind around. Sarah and Vessie went on to be my bridesmaids the following year, and since then we’ve been hopping on planes in order to together about once a year (though the last time I saw Sarah was Austin City Limits in October of ’10–yikes!). We’ve seen each other through college graduation, job changes, romantic ups and downs, and all the fun stuff you get to live through when you’ve been friends for 8 years.

Anyway! Ever since watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and obtaining my fabulous juicer, I’ve been wanting to do a juice cleanse. That hasn’t worked out yet, though I talked yesterday about how I’m in my 5th week of juicing veggies for breakfast. But! Sarah has taken up the baton of adventure, and she and her lovely partner Jae did the real deal juice cleanse. My favorite line from her post–”that smells like heart disease.” Today you get to hear all about it from her–and wait until you hear how much weight she was able to lose! Please give her a warm welcome, lovely readers!

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Hi there!  I’m Sarah, and I’m here to share a little bit about my February juice cleanse with you.  I’ll share my experiences, recipes and fun juicing facts with you in a second, but first a little background.

Like many of you, I read Jenna’s post on going healthatronic.   I’d used my step-mom’s juicer before and was definitely jealous of Jenna’s new culinary toy, but it wasn’t until I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead that I was inspired to buy my own juicer and try a juice cleanse.  After reading through the FAQs on the documentary’s partner website, JoinTheReboot.com, I discussed it with my partner, Jae.  We decided that in order to make a big dent in the significant amount of weight we both have to lose, we should do a 15 day cleanse.  This, of course, had to fit between our already scheduled Valentine’s Day splurge on the 14th and dinner with the grandparents-in-law on the 29th.  As we ate our farewell burger and fries, we set our timeline and made our list of materials:

Schedule

Feb. 4-14th: Prepare body by decreasing meat, dairy and grains, increasing amount of fruit and veggies.  Have juice for a least one meal a day.  The guy at the Whole Foods juice bar learned my name while we were waiting for our juicer to arrive.

Feb. 15-17th: Kick yourself for starting right after the Valentine’s splurge.  Have juice for breakfast and lunch, with snacks and dinner of only fruits and vegetables.  Deny cravings that pop up whenever you see, smell or think of other delicious foods, by saying things like “That smells like heart disease.” or “That cupcake looks like diabetes.”  Also, the ad tailor feature on Hulu plus is helpful to minimize food-related commercials.  As far as they know, we love Home Depot, car insurance and beauty products. 

Feb. 18th-24th: Slurp up 4-6 16 oz. glasses of fresh fruit and veggie juice daily.  Variety is key.  Check out some of my favorite recipes at the end of the post.

Feb. 25th-29th: Embrace chewing again, but still only fruits and veggies.  I’ve never been so happy to have sweet potato fries!

Materials

Juicer : We bought a Breville Juice Fountain Plus.  It’s great, but just know that the documentary has effectively, if not intentionally, made this brand sell out everywhere in health-crazed cities like Austin, so you may have to order online or be put on a waiting list.  Yes, a waiting list for a juicer.  We ordered online through Best Buy and picked up in store for no shipping charge.

Glass juice containers: Fresh juice is best, but the reality of Jae’ s office job and my early morning knife skills led us to invest in a couple of pitchers with airtight seals so we could make juice ahead of time and send it to work.

Travel toothbrush:  These guys are easy to stick in your desk drawer.  The concentrated pigments from all the fruits and veggies you’re consuming, plus the erosive effects of citric acid mean you’ll probably want to brush your teeth afterwards.  The sometimes startling dyeing properties of beets deserve a special mention. 

Produce cleaning spray and scrub brush: There is so much residual pesticide, wax and other grime on produce, but a few spritzes of produce cleaner and a scrub had me feeling better about what I was putting into my juicer, even if I didn’t run any scientific tests to prove its effectiveness.

More fruits and veggies than I’ve eaten in my life:  With the exception of our typical morning juice and the occasional “splurge” juice, we concentrated on veggies with accents of fruit.  I tried to stay organic as much as possible, but convenience and pricing (5 small Texas grapefruit for a dollar‽ Yes, please!) led me to incorporate some conventional produce as well.  The picture below shows my materials, including the collection of produce stickers I accumulated during the 15 days of cleansing.

I was a little disappointed at the absence of stickers on most of the veggies – don’t they know people want to make collages?

So, that was our plan, and we actually stuck to it!  If you’re like our friends and family, you probably have a lot of questions about nutrition, cravings, energy levels, and other practical matters.  I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have in the comments, but I’ll admit I’m no nutrition expert.  There is a lot of information out there about the nutritional benefits and disadvantages of doing a juice cleanse, especially in the FAQs of JoinTheReboot.com.  Here are a couple of tips that I’m going to keep in mind next time we do something like this.

Master your juicer

Using a juicer isn’t rocket science, but there are a couple of things you can do to make your juicing experience more pleasant.  In addition to the tips on the user manual, I would suggest wearing an apron and juicing the very watery or very fibrous (think ginger) produce last.  Pieces of produce can bounce back out of the tube, decorating your clothing and kitchen with little chunks organic matter or splatters of juice.  This is especially true when a lot of juice gets up in the tube and causes the plunger to float up as if possessed.

Strong just gets stronger

Tread­­­ lightly when it comes to juicing veggies with potent flavors like garlic and mustard greens.  Early on I made the mistake of juicing 5 or more large leaves of mustard greens, and not only did the juice burn on the way down, but I started to cough as I juiced them.  I can only assume this is akin to mustard gas.  One large leaf mixed with a bunch of other veggies was just right to give my juice a little kick.  As much as I love garlic, even a small clove’s worth of raw garlic juice in the mix can prove overpowering.  I cheated with a little organic garlic powder. 

Find a local juice bar

I missed going out, and it’s hard to convince friends to come over for a “dinner party” when dinner is juice.  I started to feel a little grumpy and deprived of social experiences, you know, outside of spending time with Jae.  Juice bars were a great way to get out without the temptations of forbidden foods.  I’m very lucky to live in Austin, TX where there are a number of places that cater to juice fiends, but even places that don’t specialize in juice may offer some of the goodness you’re looking for. 

Keep busy, but take it easy

Basically, it’s a lot harder to resist cravings when you’re bored.  So, I recommend finding a good book, watching a TV series marathon style, going on a walk, flying a kite or just anything that will keep you entertained.  That said, don’t plan a whole bunch of activities outside of the house until you’ve got a pretty good idea of how your stomach is going to react to the juice you’re drinking.  Most of the time I had high energy levels, and I was able to for long walks all through my cleanse.  However, I found it hard to do some of the more strenuous exercises I had been doing before the cleanse.  I got sore more easily and occasionally felt faint if I tried to push the cardio too much. 

Drink plenty of fluids

As I said, I’m no nutritionist, but I can tell you that staying hydrated just plain made me feel better.  In addition to helping you feel full, the extra fluid you consume will help flush out the toxins that are theoretically being released as you go through your cleanse.  In addition to water and herbal tea, unsweetened coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and very refreshing.

It’s worth the sacrifice

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done either.  And no other diet I’ve tried has given me such dramatic results.  How dramatic?  I lost nearly 17 pounds in 25 days.  Yes, some of this is bound to come back as I start to incorporate some more of the foods I’ve eliminated, but I’ve seen how vegetables can play a much larger role in my diet.  In fact, a little more than half of that weight came off before the actual cleanse when I was just preparing myself.  So you can still have some good results without sacrificing chewing.  I enjoy the juice so much that I could see having juice for at least one meal a day on a regular basis, and will probably do mini cleanses off and on as I work my way down to my goal weight.

So, that’s my story.  I’d love to hear any recipes, tips or questions you guys have.  There are a number of recipes on JoinTheReboot.com, and raw food community boards, but below are some of my favorite creations.  All of these make about 30 oz. of juice, so they’re good for sharing or storing.  Here’s the printable version.

Morning Juice

Sweet and refreshing – a great way to start the morning. 

2 small grapefruit
2 granny smith apples
1 large handful of carrots
1”x2” piece of ginger

Purple Goodness

Slightly sweet and full of goodness.

1/3 head of purple cabbage
1 small handful of carrots
1 semi-sweet apple (Jonagolds)
3 cups long-stemmed spinach

Mamma Mia!

A cure for those savory cravings.  Try fresh garlic at your own risk – a little goes a long way.

5 large tomatoes
3 cups long-stemmed arugula
1 zucchini
½ cup basil
4 sprigs of thyme
1 dash of garlic powder

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

I see a future for this “splurge juice” as a dessert or cocktail base.

1 carton of strawberries
3 large handfuls of grapes
3 lemons
½ medium jicama (peeled)
½ cup basil

Faux-jito

So refreshing!  Another juice destined for a little alcoholic addition.

2 cucumbers
2 large handfuls of grapes
½ medium jicama
2 limes
½ cup mint

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20 Responses to Sarah’s amazing juice cleanse

  1. Sarah R. says:

    Aww…thank you for the beautiful introduction, Jenna! I’m so lucky to have a wonderful friend like you, and am honored to contributed to your blog!

  2. Holy cow! I can’t believe you had the discipline to do that! I am definitely impressed–had to laugh at the mustard green incident–blech!

    • Sarah R. says:

      Thanks! I have to say that having someone else do it with me was a huge help, even if we were both a little cranky at times.

  3. Kate says:

    Hi, thanks for this great post, Jenna! Sarah, thanks for sharing. I did a very short juice cleanse a couple of years ago and I had a hard time with wasting all of the pulp. Since then I’ve found recipes for pulp crackers. What did you do?

    • Jenna says:

      Fascinating! Pulp crackers! What a great idea–using the pulp never would have occurred to me.

    • Sarah R. says:

      I’ll have to try some of those pulp crackers! During the cleanse I ended up just throwing out all of the pulp, but just yesterday I made a modified version of my favorite pumpkin carrot mandarin muffin recipe with the carrot pulp. I loved how much faster this was than the laborious grating of carrots of I was used to. I just added back some of the juice to the recipe and drank the rest for a snack.

  4. Suzie says:

    I like the fruity recipes the most. And the strawberry-basil lemonade sounds good. Your tips for denying cravings are great! Sounds like you’ve had a lot of success :)

  5. Kate says:

    So inspiring! Thank you both! Just what I needed to read today.

  6. Veronica says:

    I imagine this is a great detox and can just imagine how wonderful you must have felt afterward. Did you go through a healing crisis at any point? I’m almost sure I would because I went through one just by changing to whole foods and cutting out sugar and flour. Here is an article if you haven’t heard of a healing crisis: http://meghantelpnerblog.com/2012/03/01/is-healthy-living-making-you-sick/ Thanks for your report, you have got me craving juice now! All the recipes sound delicious. I think I’m going to try this after I finish the current phase of The 17 Day Diet I’m going through. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    • Sarah R. says:

      We definitely had some of the healing crisis symptoms listed in the article. However, some are hard to definitively pin on the cleansing because our timing coincided with high pollen counts, and I’m prone to head and body aches due to jaw clenching and sleep voguing (I wake up in the most contorted poses). But yeah, there was a bit of mild suffering to get through, but the physical change and the feeling of achievement were enough to get us through.

      • Veronica says:

        I agree, it’s better to power through the crisis b/c the benefits outweigh the temporary ills. Thanks-I’m looking forward to the cleanse, healing crisis or not. :)

  7. Vesselina says:

    This is awesome, Sarah… So proud of you!!! I love all the recipes – purple goodness sounds amazing, simply because we used to eat a lot of cabbage as kids (sauerkraut was particularly delicious in the winters). And Mamma Mia just reminds me of that one time you made us gazpacho in your tiny little studio in Paris. That was the best gazpacho I have had in my life – still true today!

    But – my top favorite thing (and also so you) – the little veggie stickers – so cute!

    • Sarah R. says:

      Thank you! I admit, I was a little skeptical about the cabbage at first, but it’s become one of my favorite juice ingredients…though my least favorite pulp leftover because it stinks up the trash so much! I don’t know what it was about that gazpacho, maybe we were hungry enough or had consumed just enough wine to make it amazing, but I always strive to replicate it and never can!

  8. Kimby says:

    This was really interesting to read and the recipes are an intriguing combo of flavors. I liked the idea of “recycling” the pulp, etc. — either in other dishes or as compost. Congratulations on going after good health and seeing RESULTS!

  9. Joanne says:

    Ca-RA-zee! I’m definitely interested in incorporating more at-home juicing into my life so this post was one awesome tutorial on the subject!

  10. gordon says:

    my girlfriend and i recently got into juicing and we both have become hooked. we each went on a 7 day juice cleanse and used recipes from blueprint cleanse’s book, the 3-day cleanse. all the recipes were delicious and easy for those that need juicing suggestions. the book also contained a lot of tips and the science behind detoxing and the digestive system. next time, she and i are ordering blueprint’s juice program (they deliver all the juices to you, and everyone raves about them), but i defintely suggest the book, too.

  11. Corrina says:

    I love your sticker collage! My husband and I are day 5 of a juice fast and now I feel bad for how many stickers I’ve thrown away!

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