Juice Fast – Day 8-10

Day 8!  Two more days and counting!  The biggest struggle for me (Laura) right now is that every juice tastes similar.  The vegetable (Mean Green) tastes like ginger and celery and the fruit juices taste sweet.  The fruit juice is made yummier by blending it with a banana.  So I find myself just sucking it down as fast as I can, to be rid of the taste.  We had a treat yesterday, Iced Coffee (decaf) made with Hemp Milk.  Utterly different than normal, but remarkably tasty.  We have both had some minor health changes, but nothing radical (like the folks in the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead“.)

Right now I am wondering what it will be like to “eat” again.  Will my mouth feel weird?  Will my guts?  I am in utter awe that people really do this for 30-60 days!  “Good on them!” as our mate from down under would say.  We have decided that on Tuesday, we will follow a 15-day plan for eating all fruits & veggies.  These are actual meals, so we plan to feed our children in the same way.  To an extent of course.  The plan reccommends no dairy or bread, of course the baby still needs her bottles.  And since she kept handing me the veggies out of her tortellini stir-fry, today, she will probably still get her mini-sandwiches.

Andrew: We’ll see about making the baby sweet on veggies. That’s my goal at least. I started reading a book “Disease Proof your Child” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD. In it, he makes the case for early nutrition (or lack thereof) being the biggest contributor for predicting disease later in life. It’s really got me thinking about how we feed our children.For certain, we do feed them healthy foods, but perhaps still desperately short on fresh produce. This book explains what is needed, why supplements are not adequate and how to change. So far, good reading (though I don’t care for the occasional reference to Humans being another of the animal world).

As Laura said, we’ll be following another “Reboot” program (with some modifications) starting Tuesday. We’ll be doing this for fifteen days and hopefully will use this as a way to get our start in eating a diet of 60%+ fruits and vegetables (most Americans eat 5%). I’m excited about this. We’re not going to stop eating other things we love – just smaller quantities or less frequently. We believe the long-term health of our children and ourselves will be influenced by doing these things. More on that another time.

Juicing is getting old. Or rather, not eating is getting old. My mouth just needs to feel food in it again – plain and simple. I’m not craving much of anything, and not really anything unhealthy either. That’s one benefit of doing this – dealing with cravings and getting to their root. When I’m truly nourished, I don’t need/want the other stuff. Lots of stuff sounds good to me, but I have no plans to gorge myself on unhealthy stuff when this is done. What I do have a hankering for is beans and legumes, stuff like that. Something with some hearty flavor. It’s hard to stomach such flavors in juice – though I have tried!

In the beginning, I thought I might go 3o or more days on this. I’m not giving up, I’ve just learned more about what I need. According to the Reboot “Needs Assessment“, all I really needed was this fifteen day program – not really a juice fast. The juice fast would be better for folks with health problems or a lot of weight to lose. Since neither of this really need such, we don’t get much benefit from juice fasting. So, why continue fasting when we can get the same benefits from the fifteen day program? Nevertheless, I might do this 2-4 times a year just to center my mind and give the insides a break.

On another note… we made the best-tasting fruit juice to date. Papaya, Pineapple, Mango, Kiwi and Green Apple. Wow – it was like something I’d expect to be served in glass with an umbrella on a resort in the tropics. Totally delicious!

So today is it… the last day (shwew!). Tomorrow morning we’ll be eating solid foods once again. Should be an interesting time! We’ll do another post with some final summary thoughts once we’ve made the transition. Thanks for following along on our journey. Best wishes if you go on your own! Please drop us a note/comment if you’re on, or are planning something like this. We’d love to hear about it!

Juice Fast – Day 5 and 6

Welp… both of us had a pretty decent fifth day of juice fasting. My (Andrew) teeth still felt and continue to feel funny and Laura just doesn’t feel anything other than normal – which is kind of a disappointment to her after so many rave reviews from others doing this sort of thing. I suppose if we were coming off diets of processed foods, soda, etc it would be quite a boost to juice raw veggies and fruit exclusively. But because we eat pretty well already, I imagine our results are less stellar than others.

I don’t feel incredibly different either although I have not had ANY pulsatile tinnitus (hearing my heartbeat in my left ear) since we started this fast. That  is quite amazing to me since nothing I have ever done has helped with this. Makes me wonder if my pulsatile tinnitus hasn’t been either blood pressure of blood sugar related? Also, I’ve not had any migraines during this time either. I would not necessarily have them otherwise, but usually I get them around the beginning  week of the month (hey, maybe guys have hormones too 😉 ). Nonetheless, I’m happy to not have had one during this time.

We’re both a small amount trimmer now. I think we’ve each lost about 5-6 pounds. For Laura, that’s a bigger percentage to lose than I and she really doesn’t have room to lose weight. I wouldn’t mind more weight loss for myself, but I tend to think longer, smaller, sustained weight loss is a better indication of making life-enhancing, permanent changes than just getting down a few pounds quickly. There’s still quite a bit of calories in fruit juice (even though we usually only drink fruit juice 1-2 times a day), so it’s not like we’re radically reducing calories as one would in a water fast.

Laura has been struggling today with hunger. I think this is again related to her being very lean to begin with. I think this might be because she fuels herself from dietary fats and carbs normally – both of which would be very lacking during a juice fast. I on the other hand have enough “reserves” to fuel my body without eating additional fats and carbs (keep your head nods to yourself 😉 ). I’ve not really experienced physical hunger any more than normal during these six days. It’s just as manageable as normal life in my opinion. So the lesson to anyone contemplating this… if you at all overweight, you’ll likely not suffer from feeling too much physical hunger. If you’re lean… well then, be prepared for being hungry here and there!

The mental hunger is a different story. Though difficult in the beginning, once I resigned myself to the fact that I am just not going to eat until this is over, it’s been easier to handle cravings. I’ve come to realize how much of my normal eating habits are not physical, but just trying to pacify boredom, stress, etc. In this regard, this juice fasting has been very liberating and eye-opening. Even if I don’t feel any earth-shattering differences, I know that this is causing some great mental and spiritual growth. I suspect these will result in better physical well being in time. I believe our minds must change before we can change our bodies.

We did pickup another juicer – the Breville Juice Fountain Elite. This is a VERY NICE juicer. It’s very sturdy and well-made, is very easy to cleanup, and has a really large opening for stuffing in fruits and veggies which allows for much faster juice making. There’s a less expensive version, the Breville Juice Fountain Plus that is about half the price. This was back-ordered until October, so we decided to get the one we did. It appears to be less expensive because of an 850w vs 1000w motor and also because of plastic chute and juice basin vs. the metal on the Elite version. Still a very nice juicer!

We already had the Omega J8005 Juicer. It’s an awesome juicer too, but is too slow for us to use for two of us juicing at such a constant rate. The processing and cleanup time was too much. For one person, it would be fine. It’s still the best juicer we have because it can juice more foods (ie, wheatgrass) that centrifugal juicers cannot and also does more than most juicers (ie. makes pasta, sauce, etc), but it’s not so efficient for supporting two adults on a simultaneous juice fast. Also, we wanted to get a second juicer so that we could loan one to others who would like to try a juice fast but lack the resources to do so. I hope we can pickup more of the Breville juicers in time to help more people.

Some might say “whoa… $150-$300 for a juicer?!”. Yes, that’s right, they’re expensive. Fresh produce is expensive too. However, none of these things are as expensive as poor health or premature death. Leaving behind a family because of heart-disease , diabetes, or cancer is much, much more expensive than eating well! Don’t value your life or the life of your loved on as being less than the cost of good health! Resist the tyranny of such thinking.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more regarding our progress!

Juice Fast – Day 4

Laura: I love to eat!  This may not come as a surprise to some, but for me I’ve definitely been thrown for a loop by such a realization.  Most of my growing up years my mother would say to me, “you’re the type of person that eats to live, not lives to eat.”   And I have believed it!  Granted, when I am hungry, I am hungry and please stand back until I get something in my belly, thank you very much.  But, I have never viewed myself as someone who loves to eat.  For the last three days my husband has said often, “I am not physically hungry, but I am mentally hungry.”  While I would say I am famished!  This juice is not cutting it!  My belly is hungry!

But today, Day 4 of the juice fast, I awoke feeling fine.  I was not unusually hungry.  We made a yummy breakfast juice – carrots, plum, apple, orange, lime, cherry and mango.  We each had about 20 ounces.  And where as the last three days I was again famished a short while later – today, I was able to wait until our midday “dinner” juice of Mean Green – kale, celery, kiwi, ginger, apple, cucumber and lemon, and feel just fine.  Proving, I think, that my body is “getting used” to this juice fast.  And I was actually able to make my children a nice dinner of spaghetti and salad and not feel that weird thing in my throat that was saying “feed me please”.

The epiphany is that I am mentally hungry, just as my husband had said.  I want to eat!!!  I took our son to the dentist office this afternoon.  The hygienist had cooking shows on the TV.  Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!  So this journey, which I thought was simply about physical health is teaching me so much more.  A greater level of compassion is what I am getting today.  Much greater compassion for those who have little or nothing by way of food.  And a sense of compassion for those who are addicted to food, which honestly, before this I had little if any sympathy towards.

Andrew: Like Laura, I too love to eat – the process of eating, the tastes, textures, etc. It’s really been an eye opener to see how much of life revolves around the next meal. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I am getting a better focus now that my meals are not something to look forward to with great excitement as they were before.

I’m not physically hungry much – here and there at most. I can overcome the mental hunger as well. The thing I am struggling with the most is the repetition of getting the juicer out, and making one of a few types of juice. It’s not that some aren’t tasty, but imagine if all you get to consume for the day is one of several juices that are more or less made from the same dozen or so ingredients! It’s like Groundhog Day around here.

I am finding that this can be helped by drinking some lemon and honey in hot water (yes, that’s okay on a juice fast) and Laura has had herbal tea. Tonight I bought some similar things to try to add some drinkable variety to our otherwise bland-beverage-based menu. Again, it’s not the veggies don’t taste great, but in a world of fat, salt, and sugar, it takes a while to retrain one’s tastebuds to appreciate the more subtle shades of dirt-like taste that are green veggies – and I love veggies! I feel so sorry for the poor saps who try this who hate veggies – man, oh man!

I’m also trying to adjust to the increase in carbs. Yes, increase! I am a protein-metabolism kind-of-guy. I love fruit, but the amount we juice in the AM is a sweetness shock for me. I hope to experiment with mixing fruit and veggies more to even things out. Thing is.. it’s hard to get my head around the idea of mixing some fruits with some veggies. And sometimes, the resulting color is between dark purple and brown  – not very appetizing!

So aside from that, I am missing my daily dose of dark chocolate, good coffee, and lastly, the feeling of food in my mouth. That’s perhaps the weirdest thing. I noticed my mouth feels strange and for some reason, I am clenching my teeth – maybe my teeth are just eager to tear into something?

Every day I have more and more respect and awe for the suckers – err… brilliant men and women… who have done this for sixty days! Wow, that’s a heroic achievement! Lord willing, we’ll make it to at least ten and perhaps more. Stay tuned!

Juice Fasting – Day 3

This is Day 3 and this juice fast is HARD!!  We made a yummy juice this morning – carrot, apple, orange, lime, blackberry and blended it with banana.  I (Laura) had saved some for a mid-morning snack. Then we had to make dinner for our children.  One of our favorite chicken dishes with oven-fried potatoes and steamed green beans, fresh from the garden.  It was painful!!!  Seeing them eat this yummy (and healthy) food while we sipped our green juice – kale, spinach, celery, beet, ginger, carrot.  Hard I tell you!!!    I (Laura) had about 20 ounces, but by 3pm I was HUNGRY! and wondering if this is worth it.  Then we thought back to all of the other hard things in life – natural childbirth, completing a marathon, homeschooling, etc., made a pick-me-up juice – carrot, plum, kiwi, apple, and watermelon and decided to persevere!

Ran across a recent interview with Phil (from “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”)  and he said stick it out to at least day 4. Past this day most of the toxins have  gotten out your body and you start to feel so much better you feel like you could juice forever.

Where would we be without the promise of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  We are going to need to it!!!

Get out of debt, or invest?

We’ve spoken to several financial planners and investment advisers over the years and unequivocally, they’ve recommended investing funds on hand rather than reducing essential debts like mortgages and student loans. Certainly, the math behind this makes sense because good return on investment is based on two things – time and compound interest. The logic goes like this. If you pay off your debt on hand, then begin to invest, you lose those years of compound interest on your investments. For many years we thought this was a wise way to go.

Over the last few years though, we’ve come to see things differently. As our lives become simpler, so our ideas about finances. Our entire western culture is built on a desire to better one’s life in ways that generally allow one to accumulate more stuff. Our education is geared around preparing our children for this pursuit. We make sure they get an adequate education that will prepare them for pursuing the amount of material comforts they’ll need or desire. Once they begin working a job, they begin to prepare to maintain this status until the end of their days.

To us, this seems rather silly. Is not life about more than working a job and having stuff? We’ve come to see that his is an empty pursuit that robs people and families of their essential well-being. It drives families into debt, which results in more work to service their debt. Truly, “the borrower is servant to the lender”.

Once we began to see that money is an illusory carrot dangled in front of the masses of society in exchange for servitude, we began to change our minds about debt. No longer are we concerned about how many thousands of dollars we’ll have when we reach 65. Rather, what kind of people will we be at 65? What kind of lives will we have lived? Will our resources have been used for good, or to line the pockets of the super-wealthy? What will our children be like and what will the experiences of their lives be? Without exception, for us being debt free as soon as possible provides more enjoyable answers to those questions. Are we saying investing is bad? No! But for us, we’ve come to see investing in debt reduction to have far more value to our lives than investing those same funds to get “more”.

Being debt free truly brings freedom. Does freedom have a price? Debt brings a lack of freedom as one is contractually bound to pay back their debt, therefore must gather the resources to pay their debt. This means choosing a job and schedule that gives one the resources to pay this debt. At the same time, we’re living in a culture that encourages more debt. Don’t believe us? Our entire economy is based on this premise. Debt IS currency in the USA. Not sure about that? Do some research on fractional reserve banking sometime.

Being debt free allows people and families to choose to spend their time doing what they enjoy, where they desire to do so, and with whom they desire to do it with. Does that mean NO work? Not usually – but it does give one the freedom to enjoy more trivial work that provides only what is needed. If we were debt free, we could invest a much smaller amount of time outside of our home and interests than we do now. To us, that has far more intrinsic value than any gains we could experience by investing our resources elsewhere.

So get out of debt or invest? Which is it? We would say getting out of debt is investing – and perhaps the best investment one could ever make.

Please share your comments!

The shelf-life of money

Money, as we know it, is quite an illusion. Think about it. We place extreme value on very complex pictures printed on special paper. We live, work, and die to accumulate this treasure that is really no treasure at all, but worthless resources. We cannot eat money, it cannot make us healthy. It cannot keep us warm (unless burned) and cannot keep us dry or secure. Does money let us purchase items that will give us those things? Sure. However, that’s based on an assumption that money will always have the value we place on it today. What happens if and when we no longer value dollars as having value?

As we’ve said before, the path to sustainability also prepares one for weathering difficult times. It’s with that understanding that we propose to you that you think long and hard about this thing called money. Many people will think nothing about storing three months of money in their bank accounts, yet won’t have three months of food on hands. They’ll be very proud of their investments, but have no way to secure clean water in an emergency. Money has no value when people collectively experience hardship. At that point, money is the enemy of sustainability. For many, money is the enemy of their sustainability even now. These are perilous ways to view money. Money is a tool that has an expiration date. It must be used in order to have value.

Are we saying doom and gloom is headed our way? No. We don’t know what the future holds. However, we do know, that our understanding of money depends on the combined support and interest of our culture. If that stops due to a change of mind, calamity, disaster, or any other reason, those with money will find themselves empty handed. We’re not saying don’t have money or don’t invest. But be wise! First invest in tangible resources first that will allow you to sustain your lives and others around you. Many do not to this to their potential peril and destruction.

Many who understand the above just go out and buy gold and silver. Are those things bad? No. However, just like money, they have limited value to the beholder. When the essentials to life are hard to come by, no amount of gold and silver is going to be worth trading food, water and shelter. Don’t misunderstand, we do think precious metals have their place in sustainable living  and are far, far better than dollars. However, they too stop short of preparing a family to live sustainably now and in the future.

I our opinion, money is best used to secure useful resources and eliminate debt than it is to secure and store. Kinda like the old fable “a bird in hand is better than two in the bush”. Money in the bank is only good as long as it can be used for what you need. If you’re lacking essential resources to live for several months or more without the need of purchasing supplies, then you might want to consider using your money more effectively. Get out of debt. Get the supplies to take care of you and your family.

Many will see this as unwise. Oh well! We’re hoping that many will consider these words and think about their future. If we can help, drop us a line.

What does juicing have to do with simple living?

Even though we’re just today starting our 10-30 day  juice fast, we’ve been juicing for quite a while now. We’ve never really blogged about it before but thought it would be fun to document our juice fast journey as we’re going along.

One might ask “what does juicing have to do with living simply?

Good question! To answer, we must look at the big picture of life, health, and wellness. It’s easily understood from anecdotal and probably statistical information that the health of the average American is in decline. True, we might be living longer, but that’s likely due to advances in pharmaceuticals and technologies that extend life for those in poor health. I don’t believe people are living longer because they’re healthier – in fact, quite the contrary.

Part of our philosophy of living simply is a desire to live with as little dependency as possible on practices, systems, and technologies that have not been present from the beginning of humanity. That doesn’t mean we do so in every case – but where we can, we do. The way our current culture obtains and uses food is one such system we are eager to reduce our dependency upon. We’ve gotten removed from some basic wisdom regarding what we eat and how we get it. We believe this has caused a massive up swing in chronic illness, disease, and prescription drug dependency. So eating poorly from a broken, industrialized food system has, in our opinion, caused a massive and expensive dependency on another industrialized medical/pharmaceutical system. Interestingly enough, there are some corporations that control both food and medicine. These large corporations are killing us for profit.

We resist these things by eating as healthy as we can. We’re not rabbits and don’t eat like them! Healthy does not mean vegetarian or vegan in our book, but eating foods that have experienced no to minimal processing and transportation. We don’t do this completely or thoroughly but have still experienced much benefit. As a biproduct of changing our diet, we’ve seen a massive decrease in our sick visits to the doctor (3 or so visits among 6 of us in the last 3+ years). So just by eating differently, we’ve reduced our dependency on the medical and pharmaceutical establishments. This has allowed us to live simpler and less expensively. For certain, our grocery bill has gone up, but ask yourself “would I rather spend money on healthy, delicious food, or expensive, perhaps harmful medicine?”.

Welp… juicing is perhaps the simplest and affordable way to “reboot” or “jumpstart” one’s health. We’re juicing and particularly juice fasting at the moment to promote health and wellness in ourselves as a way to simply maintain our health. Can you see the connection? There’s no point in trying to be simple in every other area of life if we’re slaves to drugs or ongoing medical intervention. What happens if/when those systems are not available? From what we’ve seen, nearly every course taken by those who have beat terminal illness has included juicing. We believe there’s something to this. We’ve also seen in movies like “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” that others have benefited greatly from juice fasting. So, we’re giving it a shot.

Simple living starts with the individual. First they change their mind, then their body, spirit, soul. Then that individual can go on to change their family, their friends, and their community. That’s our goal – to restore ourselves and others to simpler, healthier, and gratifying lifestyles.

If you’d like to join us, or have additional questions, please let us know! We’ll be posting another post later on today that lists what kind of juicer(s) we use and where you can get them. We’ll also start to share our “recipes” for juicing and maybe even some before and after pictures (if we get comfortable with the idea of those being on the internet!).

Happy juicing!