Adventures in Juicing

Food
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As a software company we have the usual assortment of software/IT people. During our first staff meeting this year we talked about goals, both personal and professional, and as usual lots of people wanted to lose weight.

Cue the endless stream of unsustainable fad diets. But you can do pretty much anything for a month, right? I decided to play along and do the dumbest one possible – juicing. You just drink juice. Only juice. All day along.

j1I did extensive research and after about 10 seconds of scrolling down the Amazon search results picked the first cheap 4-star reviewed juicer. I paid $40 because I figured I would eventually throw a porkchop into it. That and I was not about to take my chances with my wife’s 16 gear, 8000rpm multifunction transformer of a blender. Pretty sure she loves that thing more than us.

Juicing, compared to regular cooking, is like wanting chicken for dinner and starting with slaughtering a live chicken in the middle of your kitchen. Blood and feathers anywhere. Except blood and feathers are easier to clean up – god help you if you spill beat juice somewhere – tattoo removal is easier.  Once you bring your veggies from the market you have to clean them and put them away (or they will get spoiled) – and it goes downhill from there when you actually start juicing. The prep basically involves cutting, pealing, dicing, measuring and grinding the crap out of everything you want to put in. And unless you’re looking for 10 minutes of setup and cleanup to make an 8oz cup of juice it also involves two large bowls for staging and juice. Which you have to clean up pretty much immediately or the stench will permanently bond itself to whatever surface it touches or gets poured into.

I’m kidding. It’s worse.

I really wanted to hate it

So I juiced for like 3 days before the WDW Marathon weekend and figured if I could run a marathon after a few days of no solid food this might be a nice thing to mix in to pre-race tapers. Much to my surprise, I saw no noticeable drop off in energy either leading into or during the race.

Then I went out to celebrate the marathon and got plastered. Oops.

After the marathon, I decided to give it a shot and actually do some research, try a few recipes, mix it up a bit. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s not what I expected. Here are two main takeaways.

0. You can improve anything with berries and citrus. The base for virtually every juice recipe is a cucumber and either spinach or kale – when juiced, among the most disgusting things you can ever drink. It’s like drinking lemon pledge after cleaning up a murder scene and just squeezing the bounty towel right into your cup. But toss in a few strawberries, blackberries or an orange in and it’s amazing.
0. It kills your cravings. Not in a traditional fad diet sense, where you just lose the willingness to live entirely. More like “I’d like to go to a burger joint… but I’m not really craving a burger”

To be honest, I really wanted to hate it but it doesn’t feel or have the effects of a typical crushed reduced calorie diet where you spend the whole day cravings a snickers while eating celery sticks. It’s just a nice cold drink every few hours and it’s very refreshing. In my experience there was no low energy, no cravings, no disgusting stuff. Except for the beet juice, it will turn your poop purple. But because it didn’t feel act like a diet, it didn’t feel like something I was trying to survive for a few hours or days.

Money-wise over the course of 2 weeks I’ve spent less than $80. Cheapest and the best fruits and veggies are at the farmers market – they tend to be the best and freshest too but that means you have to wash and ziplock them immediately. For run of the mill GMO frankenfruits, Walmart actually tends to do the cheapest by far (huge bag of apples or oranges for $5) but it’s a trade off since they are covered in pesticides you’ll spend more time pealing it.

nakedchickenAll in all, not something I’ll continue doing full time but I think I’ll be sticking with it for at least one meal/snack a day for the craving benefits alone. Cause nobody needs to live life craving a Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa, a taco that features a shell made of fried “chicken” breast at 11pm. Or at any hour for that matter.