A few weeks ago my fiancé and I decided to try a juice fast for the first time. This little endeavor was intentionally scheduled right before a nice vacation week. We had a couple different reasons for trying this, from dropping a couple pounds, to cleansing, to rebooting our nutrition in advance of a little vaca-style food frolicking. Personally, I was also looking forward to kicking my morning coffee habit as well.
We started our juicing adventure shopping for a grocery cart full of fruits and vegetables, including apples, carrots, lemons, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pears, pineapples, mangos, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, kale, parsley, tomatoes, onion, ginger, kiwis, and red cabbage. All told, we spent about $80, with the idea of juicing for two people for four days. That math worked out pretty good as we would have just enough fruits and vegetables to get us to the finish line, spending just $10 per person per day.
Day one started of very well. We were up early and juicing together and filled with anticipation, with just a touch of apprehension. The plan was to make a 32 ounce batch for us to share for breakfast and then make another 32 ounce batch for us to split in half and take to work with us for lunch. Our breakfast juice, made from 12 carrots, 2 oranges, 1 apple, 1 lemon, and 1 beet, tasted great and was very easy to make.
Our lunch juice, filled with more veggies like celery, cucumber, and kale soon became our very first juice fast hurdle as my old juicer (likely from the mid 80’s) struggled to juice the numerous leaves of kale in our recipe and it shut down from over heating. Because of this I made the decision to purchase my lunchtime juice from a place near my office, rather than juice it myself. This decision would ultimately lead to an important personal discovery about juicing for both my girlfriend and myself.
My lunchtime juices would come from one of two different places: The Natural Cafe and Jamba Juice, the later having recently introduced a series of fresh pressed juices to their menu. The Natural Cafe has a simple juice on their menu made of carrot, beet, and celery, but I discovered very quickly, that this can be just a starting point from which to concoct a juice based on any of the vegetables on the menu. Spinach, Ginger, Kale, Cucumbers, and more were easy requests to add to any juice.
From the Jamba Juice menu I stuck with Juices featuring more greens and less fruits to keep the sugar content lower. These included the Tropical Greens, the Veggie Harvest, the Great Greens, and the Garden Medley. The Tropical Greens and the Great Greens however, featured a little bit of a cheat: Chia Seeds. Now I love Chia Seeds and I use them in some of my normal pre-workout mixes, but in a juice fast, I am pretty sure they don’t count. The other big difference in the Jamba Juice drinks is that they are not pure juice, there is actually a fair amount of pulp and fiber in each one, unlike the juice from my juicer at home, which leaves almost no pulp at all in the finished juice. This small difference actually helped to curb my appetite significantly and help me to remain satiated throughout the fast.
After our dinner juice at home that night, I decided to make something a little special to help us enjoy the juicing experience a little more, sorbet. First, I juiced one whole pineapple and one whole mango, then I poured the juice into my ice cream maker and let it run for 30 minutes. The result was a slightly frozen juice with the texture of sorbet and the sweet flavor of a decadent desert. I figured if we were going to be challenging ourselves with a juice fast like this, we should also be treating ourselves at night to a reward of some kind. Not only was it tasty way to the finish our day, but the slightly frozen texture provided a psychological trick to make us feel like we were actually eating something solid.
Our fist day of the Juice fast adventure, we headed off to bed feeling tired and tested, but also feeling proud that we were so far able to rise to the challenge of something like this. We were looking forward to Day 2 with the same combination of anticipation mixed with apprehension.