Saturday, 5 July 2014

What I've Learned About Juicing (so far)

I first heard about juicing when I dubiously asked a girl in the staffroom what was in her flask. When she told me it was celery and cucumber juice with some apples mixed in for good measure I thought she was off her head. Another fad diet I thought. I was pregnant at the time and not really thinking about losing weight or nutrition. After Jamie was born I was aware that my sister in law was getting married in 6 months time and I wanted to lose some weight for the wedding. I had seen adverts on Facebook for Jason Vale's new juicing programme '5lbs in 5 Days'. The rest, as they say, is history. I want to share my introduction to juicing and give you a little flavour for it in the hope that you too will find some benefit in it.

Firstly, it isn't a diet. 

The 'lose xxx lbs in xxx days' can suggest that it is just another diet craze but if you look at it like that you are unlikely to succeed as diets, in my opinion, don't work or certainly, they don't work for me. I have been on a diet since I was 16 and all I have achieved is to gain weight. Juicing for me is about getting the best quality nutrition into my body is the most efficient way. Since starting juicing I have had periods of weight loss, stability and gain. However, I have felt great. My moods have stabilised, I have more energy, I sleep better, my skin is clearer, I am free from allergies, my digestive problems disappear completely and I feel in control around food. It isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle choice. Jason Vale talks more about why juicing is the bees knees here.

You don't have to replace all food with juice

The detox programmes such as Jason Vale's 5lbs in 5 days or Natural Juice Junkie's 'Juice Reboot' are designed to give your body a kick start. It is a way to reset your system and detox your body from sugar, caffeine and the numerous nasties contained in processed food. It isn't necessary to do a programme like this although there are many benefits. Having a young family, I find it difficult to do a total food replacement programme as I am still cooking and sitting with the family at meal times. The first 3 days are the worst as your mind is urging you to fail. We are in effect, addicted to sugar in the same way a drug user or alcoholic is on a biological and mental level so you do have to initially fight through that. As I can't avoid food, it is easier for me to only replace breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. I still have my dinner with my family, I just try to make it as plant based and as healthy as I can (stir fry, salads etc). My eldest son is almost 4 and is very aware of what I eat. I don't want him to see me not eating so that is another reason I don't often do total food replacement.

You can involve your kids

I want to be a role model for my children and as this isn't 'another faddy diet' there is no reason not to involve him. Making the juice is so much fun and he loves helping me squish all the fruit and veg down the chute. This is him having his green juice before our 5k Race for Life last week. Since I have started juicing his tastes have really expanded. He has always been a good eater, loves his fruit but not keen on salad veg. He now eats cucumber, lettuce, celery and pineapple. All foods he would have turned his nose up at before. He calls the juices Elf Juice (green) Santa juice (red) and reindeer juice (orange).

You don't need an expensive juicer

By the best juicer you can afford but don't worry if you can only buy the £30 one from Argos. I started with this cheap and cheerful Cookworks juicer and can honestly say it has been fine. The quality of the juice isn't as great, it can be a bit foamy and you do need to shake it up once it's juice to get rid of the layers. You don't get as much juice using a cheap juicer and that is my biggest gripe. I am just about to buy a new juicer and I am upgrading to an Optimum 400 as I have proven to myself that this is something I will continue to do regularly.

My Typical Day

8am - start the day with a ginger shot (sometimes I make a batch of these and freeze them in ice cube trays)
8.10am - Green Juice
10.30am - Herbal Tea
12 noon - Juice (usually another green juice)
3.30pm - Juice (usually a red/orange juice)
5.30 - Family Dinner
7pm - Herbal Tea

Sometimes if I am hungry through the day or later in the evening I will have a piece of fruit, veggie sticks with houmous or a Raw bar such as these .

If I stick to this routine and don't eat rubbish in between I typically lose about 3lbs a week (6lbs if I juice for dinner too) however, as I said before, weight loss isn't really my focus.

You don't have to drink it if you don't like it! 

I bought the '5lbs in 5 days' app which I loved as it had video demos! I didn't follow the plan but I made all the recipes then picked the ones I liked the best. I can't stand beetroot and couldn't take any of the beetroot recipes from this plan. I am aware of all the health benefits of beetroot and I wanted to find a way to drink it so I kept experimenting and looking around juicing sites. I then came across 'The Red One' on the Natural Juice Junkie sight and can honestly say I really enjoyed it! You do have to just look around and find different recipes to try. My go to guys are Jason Vale (The Juice Master) and Neil Martin (Natural Juice Junkie) and their recipes are really my juicing safety blankets but I have found a few good Facebook pages with hints and tips.

You can make your juice the night before

I don't tend to but you can. I find I am much quicker at juicing now and it takes me about 20mins to juice 3 juices in the morning and clean up. The important thing you need to know about storing juices is that they should be kept in airtight containers (filled right to the top) and in a cool dark place, ideally the fridge. If you intend on freezing them, leave a gap at the top to allow expansion when frozen. Juice made in a centrifugal type juicer can be kept in the fridge should be used with 12 - 24 hours max. Juice made in the masticating juicers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Neil Martin has great info about storing juices that you can read here 

It doesn't need to be expensive

If you buy a masticating juicer, several Kilner jars for storing your juice and shop for all your fruit and veg in the more expensive supermarkets then yes, it can be pretty costly. However, if you buy a cheaper juicer (to begin with anyway), use old rinsed out pasta sauce jars for storage and insulated flasks (I bought mine from Asda at 99p) and shop in places like markets, Aldi or Lidl you will drastically cut the cost of juicing. My weekly juicing cost for fruit and veg is about £30. Natural Juice Junkie even created a Budget Juice Reboot which uses less expensive and more readily available ingredients.


Just move yourself. That's my mantra of the moment. I am trying to move more. I am steadily increasing my exercise. My body hasn't been the same since the birth of my youngest son. I am finding it really difficult to get back into exercise and for the first time in my life I don't want to go to the classes I loved before because I feel really self concious about my current physical condition (nothing to do with weight). This is really my next hurdle.

It's not the same as Juice Plus

I've been hearing the words 'Juice Plus' being thrown around. This is not the same thing. There are no pills or powders here. This is real food. I don't claim to know much about Juice Plus other than this is not it. I want something real that is not overly processed. "But juicing them myself is hard" I hear you cry. It's not hard. Beating Cancer is hard, child birth is hard, living with a 3 year old is hard. Juicing fruit and vegetables and god forbid, cleaning the juicer for 10 mins is not hard. Man up and get on with it.

I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into my world of juice. For the record, this isn't a sponsored post. Nobody sent me free stuff and I didn't get paid. Everything I have written here is truthful and based on my own experience. I am not a nutritionist or a doctor so don't depend on me for medical advice because that would be ill advised. I do have a first aid certificate in the event of a skint knee though :)

Go forth and Juice x

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