1: 180 (I MADE IT!)

180 is roughly the number of meals I have missed over the last 60 days.

 

It is also a number that is synonymous in American vernacular for a complete a total change. When we make a “180”, we are turning completely around. No longer facing the same direction, we are moving in a different one. No more facing the same giants or beasts, but now looking down a different path (hopefully armed with the proper tools and weapons to succeed).

A complete 180.

That is what I believe I have made over these last 60 days. And interestingly, I am surprised with how strong I have been. I knew in my gut that I would succeed, but my brain questioned my abilities the entire time. I KNEW I had made up my mind and was going to accomplish this goal! But in those tougher moments I wondered why I was “torturing” myself.

This wasn’t an easy journey. Some parts were very painful (like physically painful). Juicing through Thanksgiving sounded crazy (and it felt equally crazy, let me just be honest). But I did it. And I am better for it.

 

And now…on to my next big adventure. EATING AGAIN! Armed with new wisdom, a better sense of my abilities, and an excitement and craving for healthier versions of my favorite meals!

Operation: EAT TO LIVE is in full affect.

 

I. MADE. IT!

2: Weekday Vegan

As I said in my previous post, juicing is just the beginning for me. I have a long way to go as far as meeting my personal weight and fitness goals, but I feel I have accomplished a lot in the last two months when it comes to my relationship with food. Which, if you remember, was my original  goal. After educating myself on my options, I have settled on a decent plan for my next steps. I will be, what I am calling, a weekday Vegan. 

Knowing what I know now about animal products (meat, dairy, etc.) I recognize that many of those food items introduce toxins into my body that prevent my ability to discard visceral fat. As a woman, I will have subcutaneous fat at a higher level than a man. This is the fat that lines the body, and is a necessary protective layer. This fat, at some level, will always be there. But as you know there are very skinny people on this planet, so it is possible to have a very thin and healthy layer of subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat, however, is the fat that we do not need in excess. This fat pops up to protect our organs when our bodies feel they are in danger and need to be in protection mode. Your body is constantly in protection mode when toxins are being welcomed in. Toxins like processed food, some animal products and the like. Basically, any excess amount of food or drink that isn’t plant-based. The more organic and natural, the better for your health. So, in order to lose that visceral fat, my body must remain a place where toxins aren’t welcome on a regular basis. 

Enter: Veganism. 

Well, veganism Monday through Friday. 

I knowmyself well enough to know that I do not want to live in a world where I can’t ever eat chicken wings. if you know me, you know these are my favorite! So, I needed to figure out a way to limit my meats and dairy, but not set myself up for failure (and one epic binge session). I found several people eat vegetarian or vegan during the week, and allow for meats, cheeses, and eggs on the weekends if they crave it.  Now, it could be that the weekend comes and I do not want anything that is not on the vegan menu. And that is fine! I do not have to eat meat on Saturday if I do not crave it. The point is listening to my body and learning how best to fed it. 

I will continue to juice every Monday. I will have juice and smoothies for snacks or meals each day. This will ensure I am givng my body a chance to reboot periodically (flushing out toxins). I do not assume this plan is perfect or fool proof. But, I am hopeful. 

Hippocrates said, “Let  food be thy medicine, and  medicine be thy food.”

I think he was on to something. 

3: How Juicing Is Different

There are so many diets out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. If you have been alive (and a woman) for any amount of time on planet Earth, you have probably tried your hand at least 4 or 5 dieting options. Weight Watchers. Advocare. Low Carb. No Carb. All Carb (that’s not real, but it sounds magical). Low sugar. No Sugar. Cabbage Soup. Cookie Diet. Kellogg’s Diet. Atkins. South Beach. And that’s just the ones I have heard of or tried myself. There is no shortage of dieting options out there. And sadly, we are so uninformed about our bodies, we will eaily believe the next big fab is the panacea. Because, we want the big fix, the cure all. We want to rid our bodies of the fat that literally weighs us down. And we don’t know enough about that fat to know quite exactly how to get rid of it and prevent it from moving back in to our metaphorical basement like a 27 year old kid. 

So I started reseaching, and I have found that juicing seems to be different. I wouldn’t call it a diet either. Not unless you want to gain the weght back. I would call it a life style, which is really what I needed to change: my life syle with food. 

Juicing is not the end for me. In my next post I will discuss my next steps, but for now, I want to address what juicing does, and how a good juicing reboot can set you up for a successful life style change. 

For starters, when you do a juicing fast, you give your body a break. Your digestive system shuts down and starts  to repair itself. It flushes out waste that has been sitting dormant for a long time (remember that conpacted fecal matter I addressed yesterday?) and gets a chance to breathe. When we overwork any part of our body, it doesn’t perform at its best. And just taking one look at the average American diet, you can easily deduce that our digestive systems are overworked and under nourished. We don’t typically put the proper nutrients into our bodies to help heal them, and that is where juicing comes in. 

When you are consuming only natural, organic juice (no added sugars or animal-based products) you are sending all the wonderful vitamins and nutrients plants have to offer directly into your system. So, your body can repair damaged cells, provide energy, and build up your immune system. Juicing provides a way for you to start using your food as your medicine. It really is quite beautiful. 

If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend checking out some (or all) of the documenaries I mentioned in a previous post. Juicing is not a diet. It is not the cure all or big fix. But it is, as I have found, the most natural way for me to take God’s creation and use it to better my body (which is also His creation too)!

4: Juicing Tips

Here are some ideas/thoughts that came to my mind as I looked back on my process. Some of these I executed well, other I learned along the way.

  1. Get your hands on a good plant-based protein powder and add it to at least one juice per day (breakfast would be the best). I have fallen in love with Vega Chocolate Protein Smoothie
  2. Get a good, quality juicer. You cannot juice with a blender. That’s not a real thing. LOL. I was fortunate enough to get my blender from a friend at a very good price. But, there are several good options out there. I use the Jack LaLanne juicer and it’s very easy to use and clean after the first few attempts. Don’t skimp on a juicer. You want to get the most amount of liquid from your fruits and veggies, so pay extra to get the best if you can. If you cannot, use what your money will buy and don’t be discouraged. When I feel my pulp, it’s still kind of damp and that’s just got to be OKAY! =)
  3. To save on clean up, put a plastic bag in the discharge bin of your juicer. You’ll thank me later.
  4. If you’re juicing AND eating food at the same time, consider saving the remains from your veggies to make burgers, muffins, or breads. The goop from your fruit would taste great in some kind of muffin also!
  5. Document your feelings, measurements, what you’re eating, bowl movements*, everything. Take time to write it all down especially in the beginning. You need to keep track of your body rhythms, and trust the beautiful mechanism God created. It will tell you what you need to know if you’re listening. Trust it.
  6. In order to save me headache over washing so many cups, I ordered these. Sipping from a straw also helped make the juice last longer!
  7. Buy a good set of 12 mason jars. I recommend the ones that have the ounces labeled on the side so you can keep track of your intake each day.
  8. On that note, 64 ounces of juice a day is the recommend amount. I will say, some days I didn’t hit this mark, other I exceeded it. I was training myself to listen to my body, so that’s what I did. I believe it was a wise choice for me.
  9. Understand that a juice reboot is only the beginning of your new life with food. While you’re on your fast (however long) I recommend coming up with an exit strategy: your plan for eating once this is over. You cannot go back to your old habits if you want to see long-lasting results in your weight and you overall health.
  10. Ask for support. My greatest success was having people cheer me on. Also, people holding me accountable is always important to me. I need a group of folks to keep me going when I want to quit, and so do you!
  11. *Bowl Movements are tricky during a juice fast. Everyone has a different experience. If you have questions, ask. =)
  12. Consider doing a juice reboot for any number of days. You DO NOT need to do 60. I would recommend anywhere from 5-10. Days 1-3 are the hardest. By day 4, your body sets into plan B mode and starts working again with much more energy.
  13. Also remember that the first 5-7 lbs you lose are fecal matter, and you will gain those back once you start eating again (it’s just the way our body works). So if you’re doing this for weight loss, you need to remember it takes (on average) 2 weeks to start losing actual fat.
  14. Do your own research. I discovered a wealth of knowledge on the internet, but I had to find the VOICE I wanted to listen to. Everyone is shouting something, and I don’t necessarily want to hear it all. Tune in to a source that is reputable, trustworthy, reliable, and like-able in your opinion. You don’t have to like everything I like; that’s the joy of you being you!

5: Documentaries I Watched

As many of you know, this whole juicing journey started with one simple selection on my Netflix screen. I chose to watch Joe Cross’ Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documentary from 2008, and I believe it’s safe to say it changed my life.

From there, I became fascinated with food-related documentaries, and there is no shortage of them on Netflix. So, below are the ones I have watched (and enjoyed) and would recommend to anyone who wants to start learning more about our bodies, our food, and our options.

 

  1. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  2. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead 2
  3. Vegucated
  4. Hungry for Change
  5. Fed UP
  6. GMO, OMG
  7. Food Matters
  8. Ted Talks: Chew on This
  9. Forks over Knives
  10. Engine 2 Diet

 

6: Preparation is Key

Seriously, the old adage is true: when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

The only way to successfully treat your body right is to plan to do just that. Prepartion is essential to success. We all know that in a pinch, we can convince ourselves to eat just about anything. And there is no shortage of quick, easy, unhealthy snacks available anywhere we look. These snacks and treats resemble food, but they are far from it. 
So, if you want to fill your body with healthy nutrients, and give yourself a fighting chance, you have to prepare ahead of time. This looks different for different folks and families. For me, it looks like grocery shopping on Sundy and portioning, prepping, and cooking all my meals for the week. That is my best option for success. But for others, there are varying techniques. The bottom line is this: make a decision ahead of time to choose what is best for your body, and you cannot fail! 
As the notorious Scar would say, “BE PREPARED!” 

7: Don’t Feel Guilty About Eating Food

Food is GOOD! Any wonder why food and good only differ by one alphabetical letter? I don’t fancy that a coincidence!

Through this journey, I have encountered a lot of people who felt guilt or shame around me when they were consuming food in my presence. I can understand feeling bad FOR me, in that you don’t want to tempt or torment me with something I cannot enjoy wih you. I appreciate the friends who have worked out ways to spend time with me sans food! Those have become new cherished memories for me! But I do not understand feeling guilt BECAUSE of me, in that my presence causes you to feel shame because you think I think food is bad. I assure you, I have never thought food was bad. Even when I decided to juice, I knew the problem wasn’t food, but rather my relationship  with it. 

God created our human bodies to NEED food to sustain life. It must then stand to reason that food has purpose, and that purpose is for our good. So, no guilt! No need for shame! Especially when we make wise decisions with the foods we choose to put in our bodies.

SO eat up, my friends! But choose wisely what you eat. Then, there is no room for guilt on your plate!
Danni

8: The Best Time To Do a Juice Fast

The point is that life is always going to be busy, and sacrifice is never going to be easy. 

Never. 

Always. 

Both. 
The truth is, there is never going to be a good or convenient time to do any length of juice fasting: every day and season presents its own challenges. Therefore, it stands to reason that it is always the best time to start! You can be confident that there will never be a more convenient time to start than today. 

It probably sounds a bit bonkers that I planned to juice through the most food-obsessed time of year (Halloween to Christmas) but I did! And I survived…so I know it’s possible. As a matter of fact, let me tell you what all I juiced my way through:

1. a tailgate party with the  most wonderful foods on Earth. A spinning hotdog machine was there!

2. A weekend camp in Ohio with the  most wonderful looking comfort foods

3. Halloween and all its glorious goodies

4. Thanksgiving. No need to explain.

5. Small group Christmas party

6. Jewish holiday food party (in class Friday)

7. Holiday party with 9th grade (FRIED CHICKEN and pizza everywhere!) …and cupcakes…

8. A trip to my hometown where my favorite pizza and ice cream live

9. National soup day (I missed all the soup at work!)

10. Countless lunches at work as I watched people eat

11. Going to the movies  twice with no popcorn (my favorite snack) or soft pretzels (my 2nd favorite).

I am sure I am missing some major events, but it doesn’t make a difference. The point is that life is always going to be busy, and sacrifice is never going to be easy. We are always required to make choices. Do you want to reach your goal by sacificing, or do you want to satisfy a temporary desire now?
There is ever going to be a convenient time to take care of yourself. Be it juicing or quiet time or cardio or a nap. It’s not going to come easily in any season. But in every season, it will be worth it. 

9: My Favorite Recipes

(People are always asking…so here you go!)
I am a creature of habit, so when I found something I liked in week 3, I stuck with it! This is also why I started taking Juice Plus supplements to ensure I was “jucing the rainbow” (which is the goal when juicing). I knew I was going to get stuck on what I liked, so Juice Plus has helped me reach my nutrient goals even when I lack proper will to vary my grocery list! When I started using Juice Plus, I noticed the biggest shift in my energy levels and my skin! This is also when the weight started coming off at more steady pace. 
My Absolute Favorite Recipe Ever (what I will probably eat for breakfast moving forard)

1 sweet potato

1 pear

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

thumb of ginger

4-5 long carrot stalks

(I add Chocolate Vega Protein Powder to this and MY WORD kiddos, I don’t know what I did before this drink existed in my life!)
2nd Favorite (The Green One)

4 celery stalks

1 cucumber

1 zucchini

1 whole romaine heart

1 large apple

I would LOVE to help you if you have questions, so please don’t hesitate to message me or comment. I learned a lot about fruit and veggie combos that worked for me, and ones that I wish I could forget. Ultimately, know this: it comes down to your taste buds and your wants! Do not be afraid to play around with your juicer and some fresh produce. You might just discover something wonderful!
Danni

10: Relationships are (usually) built around food

In honor of my final 10 days, I will be atempting to blog my top 10 thoughts/lessons/ramblings about my juicing fast. 
To begin, at #10, let me just briefly discuss what I have discoverd about food and relationships. It has become glaringly obvious to me how much of my social bonding has revolved around food! So much, that at first, I couldn’t figure out how to spend time with friends while juicing. I was resigned to living a life of solitude for 60 days because my brain could not comprehend how to socialize without a meal being inolved. 

Thank GOD I am surrounded by people who appreciate quality time and just want to spend it with me! I have been overwhelmingly excited to learn the depths of true friendship when I have watched people go out of their way to plan events with me that do not involve eating. So even though my brain was struggling, I am glad close friends around me are far more creative than I am! I have been able to experience some very fun times and make great memories without eating one single thing. 

So,  special thank you today to those people who have made me feel more special than pizza and chicken wings: you’ve taught me more than you know! 

New Season, New Rythms

When I was going through a very painful breakup, I felt as though God was the closest He has ever been to me. I should say, I was the closest I have ever been to God (he never disipates in His closeness to us). I remember actually crying one day at how GOOD His presence felt: I was regularly overwhelmed with how content HE alone made me feel. It was a bitter-sweet time I remember desperately wanting to escape because of the pain of human loss. However, when I think back to that time, the sweetness of God’s constant presence far outweighed the burden of a broken heart. I just didn’t understand that at the time. 

Now, I am contemplating how to experience God’s sweet presence in a different season. I know our GOd is one who moves forward, not one to have us looking back with longing, so I know He isn’t asking me to go back to that particular place of brokeness, but I wonder, how do I enjoy His closeness when I don’t feel so desperate for it? 

In a new season, I must learn new rythms. I can’t help but question the beat and tempo of this particular time in my life. I miss the desperation I felt for God to heal me, but I do not miss the physical pain of brokeness. I miss knowing I could not make it through a single day without Him, but I do not miss questioning if I could make it through the pain. I miss the times I ran toward God with wreckless abandon, but I do not miss the endless tears. In all of this, what I miss most is my friend. I m not connecting with Him in  the sam way as I was then. I know He is the same. I know He is here with me. I just don’t know what our relationship looks like in this new season. 

New season, new rythms. I want to dance to the beat of His song, and because I know He is faithful, I know He will lead me to His arms. When I seek Him, I always find Him. And in Him, I find HOPE.