Friday, February 24, 2012

The Juice is Loose

The last couple months have been a bit rough. Maybe it's the post-holiday lull, maybe it's winter, maybe it's that I haven't had my hair done in over six months. (Yes, the fact that I feel like an overgrown weed has taken over my head definitely takes its toll on my psyche.) I get momentarily inspired, then bogged down once again by something or other. One step forward, two steps back.

One step forward was watching the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. In the film, Joe Cross treks across America, juicing his way from New York to California, his end goal not only to lose weight and rebalance his life and health, but to actually cure the rare auto-immune disorder that had plagued him for eight years. During his 60 day juice fast, he meets as many people as he can, telling them about juicing and a nutritarian diet and how it equates to a longer, happier and healthier life. The film is especially inspiring as he meets a trucker with the same rare condition he suffers from, who reaches out to him for help. It ends up being a life-changing meeting, as this man also takes on the juice fast challenge and turns his life and health completely around.

I literally had to pause the movie so I could jump into the kitchen and make myself a green smoothie--wishing I had a juicer the whole time. Man! I love my Vita-Mix, don't get me wrong. In fact, it was the first of my dream appliance trifecta that we acquired and we use it almost daily. But watching these people juice their way to nirvana makes you wish you can have what they're having, When Harry Met Sally style. In fact, I watched it twice in a couple days.

I figured that the last thing I needed to do was drop a couple hundos on an appliance we may not end up using. I had a brief flash of inspiration to ask some neighbors to go in on a juicer with me, maybe keep it in the bike lounge of our building, but realized that there was no place to clean it. I was pretty bummed that juicing was not in the cards at the present. Falling back to the grind and feeling defeated.

One step forward. Wifey and I decided together to do our own sort of cleanse. Ironically, we started the day after Mardi Gras, despite the fact that we are neither Catholic nor religious. Essentially we are giving up alcohol as well as going back to a low-fat nutritarian vegan diet... for Lent. Or until our trip to Boston at the end of April, whatevs. Getting our groove back, getting our balance back, losing some weight and getting our happy on are the main objectives here.

Then, the day after we started our no-drinking, nutrient-dense extravaganza, wifey watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead with me. Alas! She had the same epiphanous experience I had the first time I watched it. But wifey goes for the gold with gusto. She wanted to get the juicer. Elated, I immediately did some research and found that the machine featured in the film, Breville Juice Fountain model JE-98XL in case you were wondering, was in stock at the Bed Bath and Beyond down the street. Score. 20% off coupon? Check, double score. We were in business for a lot less scrill than I'd imagined.

I procured the machine today, as well as what must have been fifty pounds of fresh produce (or at least it felt that way carrying my one very full grocery bag to the car in on hand while juggling a whole pineapple and my purse in the other. The photo below is my bounty on the checkout belt at the store.) After that, I got my haircut. I was feeling really pretty great about life, and much cuter myself to boot. Wifey got home and we ate some leftover vegan chili and curried wheatberry salad, watched deleted scenes from FS&ND, and started to fall asleep on the couch. I woke up from my brief doze and looked warily at the Breville, which sat on the counter, mocking us.

I had a moment of horror that this was our two steps back. With over one hundred pounds of produce (so it seemed) in our fridge ready to rot, our juicer out of the box but not yet fully assembled, I feared that we would not jump into this as readily as we thought.

I couldn't let that happen. Not when we'd come so close.

So at 9 PM, I finished assembling the machine and brought out some veggies. Screw it. Juicy nightcap. And so I juiced. A beet, two carrots, most of a parsnip, some cabbage, a bit of broccoli, a bunch of kale, and half a cucumber. It made almost three cups of juice, sweet and earthy from the root vegetables, and such a deep beety red it looked like blood. We drank it from stemless wine glasses. I saved the pulp, mostly dry except for the kale and broccoli--I must find tips for getting more juice out of greens--and will make broth with it tomorrow.

And so our juice fast begins in earnest tomorrow. I hope that armed with inspiration, and a crapload of nutrients, we won't fall two steps back this time. I'm ready to feel good again. I am doing at least three days of the juice fast. Wifey plans on doing at least ten. After that, we'll be trying to juice at least one meal a day until May, a feat not too difficult as we already usually blend a smoothie most mornings in the Vita-Mix. It's no 60 days, but we'll see how it goes and do longer if we feel good about it.

My weight tonight was 133.4. I plan on documenting our little adventure here, so stayed tuned.

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