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A Beginner's Guide To Juicing

Wellness

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. OK, 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.

6 Things To Consider When Adding Juicing To 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.

Stay Committed

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.

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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