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!!!

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!

Let the juice fasting begin!

My husband has been asking me to add my thoughts to this blog for awhile now.  (I’m sorry, honey, that it has taken so long!)  So why now?  Well, I am about to embark on something that I never thought I would – a juice fast.  I have never fasted.  I know many followers of Jesus feel led to fast and pray at various times, but I never have.

A number of weeks ago my husband found a documentary called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and decided that he would do the juice fast.  Every time he mentioned it to me, I would say, “Great. Go ahead.  I don’t have to do it with you, do I?”  Then I watched the movie last Sunday and when it was over, I had an unexplainable feeling that this was something the Lord would have me do.  For 10 days mind you… the guys in the film juice-fast for 60 and my husband is thinking of 30 days

Many would wonder why.  One friend I told said, “Laura, you look good, you look healthy, your coloring is good.”  Another said, “Oh no, you will waste away, the wind will blow you away.”  I am not fat.  I am not sick.  And as far as I know, I am not nearly dead.  But, do we really know?  Every person I know who has been diagnosed with cancer, was completely taken off guard!  The fact is we all have unhealthy cells in our body that the healthy cells must fight against.  And those healthy cells need the right ammunition, don’t they?  Where does the ammunition come from?  The food we eat!  And high amounts of fruits and veggies have the micro-nutrients that our bodies need.

So in an effort to cleanse my body and in the words of the movie makers, “reboot” my body, we’re doing this juice fast.  The way we ate yesterday, one would think we were going to the firing squad.  For lunch I (Laura) had three pieces of pizza, fruit and a brownie (which I normally would have declined).  For dinner I went to the trouble of making fried potatoes and Eggs Benedict – yum!

This is day one!  It is nine o’clock in the a.m.  I am hungry!  I am a little nervous.  But, mostly really excited!  I think I will start the day with the kind of juice I am used to – carrot, apple, orange and ginger.

Stayed tuned – I will be updating this daily to let you know how the day went, how I feel, etc.  (Who knows, honey, I might actually like this blog business.!)

Sprouts – add this tasty super food to your emergency meal planning

Sprouts: Fresh produce all year long – no garden required!

Many people (ourselves included) who value eating healthy, organic, nutritious foods and who also concern themselves with securing a sustainable food supply will eventually ask themselves the question “How will we continue to eat healthy foods when we cannot harvest from the garden?”. There are many natural and disastrous circumstances that could keep one from  growing healthy produce – namely Winter!

We’re big fans of freezing, canning, root cellaring, cold storage, etc. However, those options don’t provide the participants with fresh green produce (typically). Enter sprouts! Sprouts are just what they sound like – sprouted seeds of vegetables, beans, grains, or grasses that are just days old when harvested and consumed. Sprouts are a wonderful addition to a simple, sustainable, healthy, and prepared lifestyle. Sprouts are super-easy to grow, offer superior nutritional and health benefits, require little to no energy to produce, can be eaten fresh, and require little investment.

Getting started with sprouting

Making sprouts is easy and requires little investment. While you can sprout seeds in mason jars, clear plastic or glass containers, etc. we chose to buy a sprouting kit. The kit below was a small $12-$14 investment was well worth it and allows us to sprout up to three kinds of sprouts at once with just a few square inches of counter space, a few cups of water, and a few days. To sprout three trays of sprouts probably requires us about 30 minutes of total time investment.

A great, simple sprouter

This great little sprouter is available for about $12-$14 at Amazon. Click to see.

The sprouting process is simple. You place a small amount of the sprouting seed (more on that in a minute) on the tray, fill the top reservoir with water, and let it trickle down through all the layers of seeds, wetting each layer of seeds. Do this twice a day and in about three to five days, keeping the sprouting container in a well lit area of your home and you’ll have fresh sprouts ready to eat. How’s that for quick and healthy food?

Sprouts as a survival/emergency food

Sprouts should be added to the food strategy of anyone looking to create a secure and sustainable food supply. Firstly, sprout seeds are vegetable seeds so they can serve the dual purposes of sprouting for food, or growing to fully mature plants in the garden. Secondly, seeds are easy to store. As long as they’re clean, dry, cool, and dark, they should hold up in storage for a between 1-10 years! We consider them sustainable because we can plant the seeds, harvest harvest the crops from those seeds, keep seeds from the crop and store them again and again (if using non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds that is). They’re also great because the don’t require much space, require no real “labor” to speak of (compared to gardening), very little water, and tolerate most indoor temperatures. In summary, sprouts are hard to mess up!

Sprouting seeds – a smorgasbord of flavors and variety

If all you know of sprouting is alfalfa sprouts you can buy in the store – it’s time to expand your horizons! There are tons of varieties of sprouts to choose from. Leafy sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, and arugula. There’s “Bean” sprouts such as mung bean, garbanzo (chick pea), pea, lentil and peanut. Then there’s Brasicca sprouts such as broccoli, radish, mustard and more. Perhaps you might like Grasses (wheat, barley), Grains (spelt, quinoa, kamut), Nuts (almonds, sunflower), or Allium sprouts (garlic, leek, onion). There’s not shortage of things to sprout! You cannot sprout everything (ie. never sprout nightshades like tomato, potato, and eggplant).

When we got started, we were not sure what we’d like, so we purchased a 12lb variety pack (seen below). It’s been a great way to add to our emergency food supply as well as discover what we like. So far, the clear winner in our home are lentils!

This is the 12lb organic sprout seed sampler we purchased. It's a good way to get a lot of seeds, and also discover what you like.

Ancient wisdom with modern repercussions

Sprouting seed has been around for a loooong time! Take a look at this scripture verse:

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. – Ezekiel 4:9

I don’t know about you… but if there were a food that I knew could keep me alive for 390 days eating nothing else, I think I’d add it to my emergency food supplies. In the verse above, God instructed the prophet Ezekiel to make a bread from sprouted grains and eat it (exclusively) for just such a duration. It’s no wonder… take a look at the nutritional value of sprouts:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K
  • Calcium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Chlorophyll
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • All Amino Acids
  • Trace Elements
  • Protein: up to 35%

Do we want to eat sprouts/sprouted bread for 390 days? Of course not. However, it’s nice to know that there are simple, healthy, inexpensive, and sustainable foods that can sustain our lives and the lives of those we love. Heh, sprouting was worthwhile enough for God to instruct Ezekiel to give it a shot – maybe you should give them a try too?!

Please post your own thoughts about sprouts in the comments below.

Preserve Razors: Good for the environment and cheap too!

We’re constantly surprised just how much disposable razors cost. They must be made of gold and silver given the prices of the blade refill packs! In our opinion, the pricing structure really encourages consumers to keep buying the razors anew since it’s usually less expensive than buying the refill packs. So much for re-use!

On a recent trip to our favorite grocer – Wegmans – we discovered Preserve Razors and refill packs. These razors are made largely from recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups! Aside from being made of recycled materials, these were far cheaper than any leading brand we could find. We were able to pick up a tripe razor with extra blade for $4.99. We even found 4-pack refill packs for $5! It would appear that these razors cost 50% less than the major disposable razors.

They work much better than the cheap disposable razors (although they’re not so cheap anymore) – the ones that come 6-8 in a pack – the one piece deals.

This might not sound like big news to living simply, but it’s one more way to make a positive difference for the planet and the pocketbook!