Juicing even fits a foodie like me

By Jessica Jones / Special Publications director features@gulfcoastnewspapers.com
Posted 9/17/13

For those who don't know me, I'm not the type of person who ever considered the word “fast” as an advantageous addition to my vocabulary. I like to eat. I love experimenting with flavors, trying new things and indulging in old favorites. I love …

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Juicing even fits a foodie like me


For those who don't know me, I'm not the type of person who ever considered the word “fast” as an advantageous addition to my vocabulary. I like to eat. I love experimenting with flavors, trying new things and indulging in old favorites. I love steak with red wine, hamburgers with french fries, cheese and crackers, chocolate with chocolate. You get the idea. Taste might just be my favorite sense.

That has been my life, ever since childhood in my parents' Scotch-Irish, meat-and-potatoes style family. But my boyfriend Randall and I heard from several people that we should watch the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” – and watching it changed our entire outlook on food.

I highly recommend you watch this flick for yourself, but the gist of the movie showed a reasonably overweight, middle-aged man who juice fasted for 60 days. He suffered from an immune system disease, so rashes would spread all over his body and he took many pills trying to find relief.

At the end of the 60-day juice fast, he had dropped an enormous amount of weight and no longer needed his prescription medication. During his fast, he encountered a 450-pound man who suffered from the same disease. The man asked for his help, shed plenty of pounds and began getting great news from doctors.

I have been experiencing respiratory problems lately that have just been diagnosed as allergy induced asthma, and needless to say, it's put a cramp in my style, so we've been looking for alternative methods of wellness. Neither of us want a pill collection on our daily menu.

Basically, I thought to myself that if a 450-pound man could survive on juice and water, I could certainly try fasting for a week – long enough to cleanse my body, then continue supplementing with juice indefinitely. Randall must have been thinking the same thing, because as the credits rolled, we looked at each other and nodded.

“Let's go to Wal-Mart,” he said as he turned off the television at about 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 25.

We did so that very minute; we purchased a juicer and a buggy full of produce – about $60 worth that lasted the two of us three days. We spent the next two to three hours chopping and juicing, learning how the juicer worked and finding out when to empty the pulp tray and clean the screen. I'll admit, it was pretty messy and time consuming, but now that I think about it, so were my early experiences with cooking dinner.

We knew from the movie that detoxing our bodies would be unpleasant at first, but would be very worth it. Day 1 nearly killed me, because as I've said, I like to eat. My stomach just felt so empty. When Randall got home and saw my state, he made me a protein shake and I felt instantly better. Days 2 and 3 were hardest for him, but I can tell you, surviving on water, juice and protein shakes, we both felt more energetic than we have for the past decade.

I had planned to stop on Saturday because I knew that Bama game goodies like buffalo chicken wings, cheese dip and salsa would be too much for me to resist. We encouraged each other throughout the week and had gotten past the worst of our detox.

Friday morning, we received news that Randall's mother had gone to the hospital and had to take a sudden trip to Kosciusko, Miss. that afternoon. Not having enough juice prepared to last the trip and the thought of taking all our “special needs” on the road forced us to give in one day early.

On Friday afternoon, we had our first solid food in five days: biscuits and gravy. I almost fell asleep on the spot. Someone must have put sleeping powder in the country gravy mix!

Now, at the end of the second week of juicing, we both feel so much better. I've even had two people comment on how great my skin looks.

Of course, my lungs are not healed yet, but I believe that too shall come. We continue to drink juice for one to two meals every day and try to make healthier choices in general. Knowing myself very well, I do splurge for things I really want. I can restrict myself much more effectively if I have a few rewards to look forward to. I have drastically cut my red meat intake and have eaten more fish in the past two months than probably the rest of my life combined.

As I said, this sort of lifestyle change is completely unlike me. I've always said that I'd like to live as I please and die before I get “old and decrepit.” I had focused on the quality, not the length of life. But here's the rub, at 29, my quality of life has begun to suffer. These lung problems have zapped my energy and dampened my zest for life.

We've both decided that moderation will quell our foodie inklings and that good nutrition beats medication any day. “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” – not anymore.