As most of you know, I spent the last few months living in Kigali, Rwanda. I am back on U.S. soil now, just in time for some warm weather, and despite my lack of blogging, I am still alive, well and keeping it fresh with 3HC!
The warm weather often brings a desire for some spring cleaning, and from time to time, no matter how healthy we are or how well we think we are doing in our day to day wellness, lets face it, we all get to a point where we could use a little cleansing to reboot our systems. Let me preface this by saying that myself and 3HC do not recommend anyone fasting without consulting a professional first, but that being said, I, on occasion love to detox my body (and mind) by doing a short juice fast. You may have considered it as well. Maybe you are feeling sluggish, want to jump start a weight loss plan or rid your body of disease and inflammation... whatever the reason, a good juice fast can set you back on track when done correctly.
Drinking green juices daily is a great way to increase absorption of high density nutrients into your system while purifying your blood and cleaning out the digestive tract. But eliminating cooked, processed and refined foods during a juice fast gives your digestive system a break, allowing the body to heal and detoxify.
So what do you need to know before getting started? Well lets start with the basics....
You will need a juicer, or if you are lucky a really good neighborhood juice bar. If you are considering investing in a juicer there are a few things to know. There are two types of juicers: masticating and extracting/centrifugal.
Masticating juicers extract most of the juice by “chewing” the vegetables and fruits with tiny blades that act like teeth, leaving more of the fiber and nutrients in tact. The pulp is then squeezed of any remaining juice before being discarded.
Extracting, or centrifugal, juicers grate the veggies and fruits and then strains out (extracts) the juices by force. This type of juicer is more common, and usually more affordable, but tends to yield less juice when it comes to leafy greens and grasses and often a lot of juice is wasted as it is not very effective in extracting all the moisture from the pulp.
Masticating juicers (which come in single or twin gear) can be costly, but can be more versatile. My champion commercial juicer can juice wheatgrass and grind nuts into butters as well! Clearly finding the juicer that is right for you can be tricky, but rest assured that you will reap the benefits of juicing from whatever you choose.
So now you have a juicer, what you need next is something to put in it! You can juice a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, but be sure to buy organic! It will be difficult to detox when you are ingesting pesticides and chemicals. Also, the fresher the produce, the better.. the more alive and packed with nutrients and vitamins/minerals it will be, and loading up on those is the goal here!
Good things to juice when fasting:
GREENS!!- Spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion, parsley... whatever, as long as its dark and leafy green/red! Leafy green veggies are great for purifying the blood, getting rid of toxic chemicals, cleaning out the liver, kidneys and lungs, improving immunity, circulation and digestion and are full of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. They also have a light and uplifting energy, which will help in the first two days of fasting when there is a tendancy to feel sluggish.
Beets,carrots and apples - The sweetness will help counteract the bitterness of the raw greens. I like using green apples because they are less sweet but you will need a little bit of natural sugar from fruits and sweet veggies to keep energy levels up. Don’t forget to use the greens from the beets and carrots too!!
Cucumbers and celery - the water content in these vegetables often aid in pushing other denser vegetables through the juicer.
Lemon - The citrus fruit is a good dieuretic, helpful for cleaning out the digestive system.
Fresh ginger - Ginger will help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Wheatgrass - Full of essential enzymes, amino acids and alkalizing minerals that help fight free radicals, cleansing the blood, organs and gastrointestinal tract. (Note: wheat grass does not contain gluten, so is safe for the gluten-free)
Cayenne pepper - Adding a pinch or two of cayenne to your juice can help get the digestive system and metabolism moving.
This should be enough information to get you started. Start practicing your juicing skills, experimenting with recipes and warming up the juicer, then stay tuned for part II of Juice Fasting 101 to learn how to safely and effectively detox and juice while fasting!
Keep it Fresh!