I've been juicing off and on for a while now, but most recently I figured it was time for me to get serious and really incorporate it into my everyday diet. Cutting out meat cold turkey *no pun intended* was hard as hell, and juicing made me feel as if I was still capable of making important steps to bettering my diet, even if I couldn't fully commit to a completely vegetarian diet just yet.
Slowly but surely, I became a frequent juicer. I started to juice once a day, every morning. A change that produces a positive effect is never immediate, and this is something that took patience.
After a full month of juicing daily every morning, I noticed obvious differences in the way I looked, in the way I felt, and in the way I moved through the world.
I wasn't tired in the mornings, my skin looked brighter, the dark circles underneath my eyes started to fade, and my energy level changed from that of an 85-year-old slug to that of a 16-year-old gymnast.
Okay, maybe it wasn't that extreme but one thing's for certain is that I felt a definite energy boost in the mornings and throughout the remainder of the day.
I particularly noticed that juicing helped with my digestion. Spicy foods or dairy would usually cause me to have gas pains that probably rivaled labor pains. After juicing for a month, I noticed that when I ate those foods, my stomach didn't react as it usually would. I was beyond thankful. Above all else, the most important change was the feeling of inspiration.
I was able to stick to something that I was passionate about and determined to achieve. Not only did I cut out all procrastination in regards to sticking to my juicing schedule, but any other daily goal that I wanted to achieve, I made sure I got it done.
Incorporating juicing into my diet helped me with an overall positive lifestyle change, and made me realize that slow progress is still progress. Through trial and error, I paid close attention to what didn't work for me, and most importantly, what did work. As a result, I compiled a list of 6 tips to keep in mind when incorporating juicing into your diet.
Invest in a Juicer
I spent a lot of time searching the web for the best juicer, and mistakenly almost bought a blender instead of a juicer. It's important to be careful to not get a juicer and blender confused. A juicer separates the fiber from the rest of the fruit or vegetable. A blender processes the whole fruit or vegetable, including the fiber, which will take your body much longer to digest. With blending, you still get all the nutrients eventually, but you receive the nutrients immediately when juicing.
It took me forever and a day to find the perfect juicer. Something simple yet efficient so that I wouldn't have to spend hours in the kitchen trying to figure out where the power button was. If you're anything like me and everyday you plan to wake up early, eat a good breakfast, and give yourself extra time to relax before work...but by the time morning rolls around, you're over it and instead, hit the snooze button on your alarm 50 million times, a centrifugal juicer should be your go-to juicer.
These juicers are quick and easy to use. They have a wide mouth feed for you to throw your vegetables and fruits in without having to chop them up. This allowed me to stick with my regular morning routine of snoozing the alarm, jumping out of the bed like a mad woman, scrambling to get ready for work, and dashing out the door with three minutes to spare, all while having time to juice.
If you're looking for a great place to start when shopping for the perfect juicer, start here.
Figure Out What You Want to Juice
When I first started juicing, I got something I like to call “juice happy." I was throwing all kinds of fruits and veggies into my juicer at once and my juices would come out very…uh, disgusting. I juiced pears knowing damn well I hated even eating whole pears, so why did I think I would like pear juice?
My suggestion for all juicing beginners is to start with the fruits and vegetables that you already enjoy eating. Juice one particular fruit or veggie at a time, such as a basic carrot juice or a beet juice. After starting with the basics, you can start to switch it up and began mixing your favorite fruits or veggies to make one juice. I noticed when I first started drinking my veggies and fruits, the taste wasn't as palatable as it would be if I simply ate the fruit or veggie whole.
This is definitely something that you will have to get used to, but the health benefits are well worth it. I realized that if you already enjoy eating a particular food while it's whole, you will more than likely enjoy it when it's juiced, but just don't go throwing any and everything into the blender and expecting it to taste magnificent.
Get a Routine Started
When do you have the most free time? Is it right when you wake up, midday, or late at night? Whatever the answer is, this would be the best time for you to juice. Personally, I like to juice early in the am (because I am even lazier after getting home from work, than when I'm headed to work), right before having my first meal of the day, as a fresh juice in the morning on an empty stomach helps your body to absorb the most nutrients. Whichever time works best for you, try to stick to the same routine.
Being able to juice around the same time everyday can be an easy way to always fit juicing into your schedule. Once I got into the habit of having the same routine everyday, it became second nature to me and before I knew it I was juicing without missing any days.
Drink Your Juice Before Oxidation
Juices are exposed to light and air shortly after being extracted from the fruit or vegetable. This makes it difficult to keep juices for a long period of time, therefore drinking your juice immediately after juicing is ideal.
After juicing apples for the first time, I noticed that the longer it took for me to drink it, the browner my juice became. This was due to it being exposed to air for too long, which led to the oxygen in the air reacting with compounds in the apple, especially after coming into contact with my high-speed spinning blender. Although the color turned brown shortly after, it was still okay to drink. Had I left my juice sitting out for a few hours, I wouldn't have gotten the same amount of nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, or minerals.
Pay Attention to How Your Body Responds Each Time You Juice
My number one rule when juicing is that it should never make you feel sick or bloated. Any feelings of nausea or stomach pain is an immediate red flag that your body is rejecting whatever it is that you're putting into it.
Immediately after drinking your freshly blended juice, your body should feel light and your stomach shouldn't feel as if you ate a McDonald's #2 with some Mac sauce. If you get the feeling of being tired or weighed down after drinking a juice, take note of what fruit or veggies you used and the next time that you use those same ingredients, pay attention to see if your body reacts the same way.
Trying to start a healthy lifestyle isn't easy, and can come with many bumps in the road. Stay committed. No matter what. Don't be too hard on yourself if you feel as if it's just too much when first starting. It could definitely be time-consuming, you could start to feel as if you're not doing a good enough job and begin to feel overwhelmed by incorporating this new healthy aspect into your daily routine. But it is very doable.
How many times have you tried to leave that trifling boyfriend or girlfriend and ended up going right back? Think of this as that – you'll finally stick to it one day.
Kiana Cornish is a Brooklyn-bred, born winner. When she's not surfing through corporate America, you can find her somewhere living up to her Virgo traits, stamping up her passport and perfecting her writing craft.