I recently watched a documentary by filmmaker Joe Cross titled The Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. He was fat, sick and nearly dead when He did an experiment for 60 days drinking only juice of fruits and vegetables. It is called “juicing”. In short, I was very intrigued about his experiment and got motivated to do my own experiment. I am not fat, but my Body Mass Index (BMI) told me a shocking truth. My BMI for my weight (174lbs.) and my height (5’9 in) came about 25.7 which categorized me as being overweight. What? Me, OVERWEIGHT? Come on! My normal BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9. So I am over but just for a bit. Despite of refining my dieting habits and eliminating bad things, I continued to enjoy eating food specially the Puerto Rican food my Mom and Dad love to cook. I could not say NO to that and when anxiety was high, I admit that food was my first line of relief. My main reason to do this is because of feeling tired all the time. My mind was in a constant fog and my body felt heavy and sluggish. I knew it was because of my eating habits. Everyone who knows me, can tell you without a doubt that I LOVE food. I felt that I needed to detox my body from food, give my digestive system a rest and re-boot my body by juicing only fruits and vegetables like Joe Cross did. I am going to follow his steps adding a twist of my own liking. I was on a 5 day fasting juicing a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
I got in contact with my friend and wellness expert Dr. David Orman for his short version of the color wheel of fruits and vegetables in relationship with the benefits for a particular organ of the body:
Green is the color and sour is the flavor. Good for: liver, gall bladder
Red is the color and bitter is the flavor. Good for: small intestines, heart
Yellow is the color and sweet is the flavor. Good for: spleen, stomach
White is the color and pungent is the flavor. Good for: lungs, large intestine
Black/purple is the color and salty is the flavor. Good for: kidneys, bladder
I started the first day of August with a visit to my Wal-Mart store to buy a quality juicer machine and the food. I thought that if I am decisive and don’t let the other food bait me, I can make it in and out in no time. Just avoid anything that it is refrigerated or canned for now. Why? Most of those foods has preservatives and additives that I need to avoid. Instead I will give my body a rainbow variety of fresh fruits and veggies. So I avoided the refrigerated area and beeline along the aisles away from anything containing the word “hydrogenated” in it, the high sodium, high cholesterol food, high sugar calories, carbohydrates, starch, the infamous red#40 and its rainbow of unhealthy agents. Also the meats, pasta and anything with “added flavor” on the packing. Stick with fresh, green food…period! It proved to be not so easy to do and very time consuming. Too little or too much of this and how much for that? Better come prepared and plan before shopping. It could turn a quick grocery shopping into a marathon grocery shopping.
As with any experiment, I wanted to document everything: cost, daily serving and juicing frequency. I learned my first lesson here: Healthy eating = paying premium for my fruits and veggies and it can be very expensive. I opted NOT to buy my fruits and vegetables in large super markets and visited several farmers market and mom and pop grocery stores for the best deals. It was difficult and time consuming but worth to shop around until I find the right place. My measuring cup was easy: a fistful of everything to toss a salad and make enough fruit juice to fill a 20 oz glass.
I immediately encounter problems with juicing vegetables. Without hesitation I altered my plan and selected a few veggies to juice. The other will be eaten as long they’re green, fresh and uncooked. I started my day with fresh orange juice and apples, served in a chilled 20 oz. glass. Lunch was a green salad and carrot juice. Dinner was salad with a variety of veggies and a mix of carrot, apple and ginger juice. I chose balsamic vinaigrette for the salad…not too fancy, just right. I snacked oats and honey granola bars and Cherrios cereal in between meals. No cravings for sugars or meat.
Breakfast was a glass of Orange juice and apple with a hint of ginger; a cup of cheerios whole grain cereal and a granola bars as a mid-morning snack. For lunch, I mixed a salad with corn on the cob and carrot juice. For dinner, a selection of green salad was the choice. It was pretty boring but no cravings of other food. My mind seemed to be clearer. I am pretty upbeat about my progress and felt with little more energy than usual. I could contribute this as to my motivation to continue this experiment.
Hump day! Middle of the week. I screwed my schedule by juicing at different times. A blend of celery, ginger, apricot, apples, oranges, peaches, bananas, papaya, lemons for juicing and eating cheerios, salad, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, members of the pepper family, broccoli and other veggies either in a salad or raw the rest of the day. Not getting the gist of the eating schedule yet but my mind and body were feeling the changes already. I feel good, at ease with life and not anxious. My digestive system was appreciative of the changes.
I had an unusual feeling today. It was like having a constant sugar high. Maybe it was caused by too much juicing, elevating my sugar levels. My Mom and Sister helped me chopping the veggies and preparing the food so it will be ready to serve. Timing is critical for some fruits and veggies. I know that if I want to keep up with this, I need to learn how to properly storage my food and the right quantities per serving.
This is it, I made it! A 5 -day rainbow diet of fruits and vegetables. I lost 2 pounds in the process and I gained a lot of personal insight by doing this experiment. The most significant are my elevated energy levels and mental clarity. Now, I prepare my fruits, ready to peel and to juice in the morning. Cherrios cereal and granola bars to supplement the snacks at mid-morning. Salad and vegetable juice are the choice for a quick, light lunch. For dinner, fruit or veggie juice with a salad loaded with all the green bells and whistles.
From here on, I plan to continue for 5 more days adding lean chicken breast fillets to the salad, steaming veggies and juicing different blends. Maybe I’ll add two days of full meals of selection of meats and low carbohydrate foods. I like using ginger on anything; it adds a distinctive spice to everything I try and it is good to the digestive system. I am getting used to the taste of celery (without the ranch dressing), kale leafs (too hard to chew) and eating the veggies raw. Carrot juice I like and even a concoction of celery, cucumber and carrot with a dash of ginger. The choices are plenty and there is more information online to plan a weekly meal program. It is certainly a trend that not so many will dare or care to do. Despite of everything we think about fruits and vegetables this is worth trying. It is a good way to detox your body, give your digestive system a little break and lose weight in the process. How many pounds to lose depends how much I commit to it. At least now I can say that I juiced and ate nothing but a rainbow of fruits and veggies for a week and survived. Best of all is that I feel great about myself.