My Experience with Juicing & other Resolutions.

Like many people, I struggle with weight issues. Since my late teens, I’ve tried many diets…the Grapefruit juice diet, the 20 fat grams diet, strictly counting my calories… What always, ALWAYS seems to happen is that I’m very into it for a few months or so, think my life is changed forever…and then bam, something comes up that throws me off the plan & I lose sight of what I was doing. And then the 15-20 lbs. that I’ve lost creeps back on, and I feel like a failure. A complete & utter failure. This has been my routine.

Although I didn’t make any New Year resolutions, I did find myself climbing back on the elliptical earlier this month. I know that morel mushroom hunting season is just a few months away & I love hunting mushrooms, eating them & drying them for use throughout the year. Searching for mushrooms involves a lot of hiking in sometimes very steep terrain. Because I know this, I take to the elliptical every spring in preparation. Funny how mushrooms can motivate me but the idea of living longer & improving my health doesn’t.

Anyway, since I’ve been on the elliptical for a while now, my mind has begun to gravitate toward the idea of weight loss, an eating plan & what exactly should I put in my mouth.  On my Facebook wall, I’ve seen several mentions of the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Last week my husband & I decided to watch it on NetFlix. To say it was inspirational is to put it lightly. Even more inspiring to me than Joe’s story, was Phil’s story…the fellow who went from 429 lbs to 225 lbs & dropped lots of medication & depression along the way. Not only did Phil look like a different person physically…it appeared that he felt like a new person too.

So we decided to juice. Not for the 30 days suggested by Joe & Phil, but for an easy 10. Just enough to kick-start an eating plan that including lots of raw veggies & fruits & lean meats. (If you have Netflix, watch Food Matters. It is an impressive documentary.

So, we needed a juicer. After much research, we avoided the temptation to purchase a Breville, which seemed to be the favored juicer in the documentary. Instead we went with convenience & picked up a cheap GE juicer from Wal-mart for this 10-day event, mainly because of the price, but also because we could pick it up at Wal-mart the same day we made our veggie run.

Jeep loaded with organic fresh veggies, we came home & prepared to begin our juicing fast on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning saw carrots, kale, apple & celery for me. Dave prepared “The Mean Green” juice recipe which seemed to be the staple juice consumed on the documentary. My juice tasted wonderful, Dave’s not so much. I’m really glad that I didn’t try the Mean Green as my first juice, else I don’t think I could’ve made it past the first glass.

But for me, and the reason I am even blogging about this at all, is that this also began a 24 hr. bought with severe nausea. I juiced 2 more times that day, one for lunch & a juice for dinner. By nightfall, I was curled up & on the verge of vomiting. When Dave juiced, the smell wafted through the kitchen door & nearly sent me running for the bathroom. The next morning, after enduring this for 24 hrs. I decided to instead, eat the things that I would have juiced & do that for the amount of time. It took 48 hrs. for my nausea to disappear completely, although I still can’t abide the smell of veggies being juiced. Dave was able to continue for 3 days & then decided to eat raw, mainly because of work. He didn’t experience nausea, but he did experience dizziness while juicing.

In all my research on the web about juice fasting, I have never read about anyone having these symptoms. I have read that the increased consumption of chlorophyll can cause nausea. So maybe that’s what was happening.

The last few days I have been using my juicer to juice a few leaves of kale & an orange & having been using that juice as the base for a smoothie which consists of two bananas & about a cup of blueberries & ice. This I can tolerate.

So….this is what I’ve learned from my juicing experience.

  • If you’re unsure whether or not you will be able to juice for 10 days, choose a cheaper juicer. The GE was a  great juicer. It was loud, but the pulp was pretty dry. For $50.00 it will come in handy around the house for juicing veggies to use in smoothies & juicing oranges & apples& carrots for just a kick of fresh juice. I am happy with that purchase & would have been so disappointed if we had purchased a pricier Breville or Jack Lalanne. It is fairly easy to clean too.
  • After watching YouTube videos of folks juicing, I wasn’t sure how much produce we would need or even how much we would need for each batch of juice. You will need less that you think. I was really surprised at the amount of juice extracted from things like carrots, oranges, apples, celery, lettuce & cucumbers. Leafy greens like kale & turnip greens do not give as much juice.
  • When reading the testimonials, I assumed fresh veggie juice would taste delightful. For me, it did not. The smell, the taste, the color, everything about it was off-putting. Even now, a week later, peeling carrots & cleaning fresh veggie produce, gags me. I can eat the veggies just fine. They’re great! I love raw veggies. But the smell of the peels. Bluck! I don’t know what this is about. Perhaps it’s just me. I would love to read your experience.

So now I’m eating mostly raw throughout the day & am incorporating some cooked foods into my evening meal. More than anything, I’m trying to stay away from processed foods. I’m sweetening with honey. I haven’t eaten any breads. My salad dressing is a homemade vinaigrette that I’ve concocted. I’m even trying to sprout garbanzo beans in my refrigerator for a spicy hummus dip that I was craving four days ago. So we’ll see what happens.

Again, if you’ve tried a juicing fast or just juice occasionally, I’d love to read about your experience. And if you eat a lot of raw foods, I need some great recipes!  As great as fruit & veggies taste, I like a lot of flavor & need to figure out how to get flavor without resorting to processed spreads or dips. So far, celery seed, granulated garlic, honey & olive oil have been good to me & add lots of flavor to my salads.

(I also don’t want to discourage anyone from juicing. But I did want to blog about my experience, since, so far, I haven’t read another account like it. The documentaries I’ve mentioned are available on Netflix streaming & worth the watch, even if you don’t have issues with weight. Food Matters is more about thinking of food as medicine & the value of vitamins & minerals. The information within it, is stunning.)

Riverside Christmas 2011

Before we took down our Christmas decorations & hauled our trees out of the house, I managed to snap a few pictures. My decorations don’t really change that much from year to year, but I did spend some time making some items this year, like the lovely paper wreaths made from vintage hymnals & matching trees. You can see them on our entrance & hanging from a guest bedroom mirror. I also made quite a few ‘trees’, inspired by a tutorial in Country Living or Better Homes & Gardens. (I’ll never be able to find this tutorial again!) Of course, I couldn’t stop with a just a couple. Soon there were trees everywhere, made of paper cones & scraps of linen. Mainly this year, I decorated on a budget. The few items I purchased were cheap & tiny, but I found ways to elevate them & incorporate the collectibles I already owned. What I discovered this year? Don’t underestimate the impact of pine cones. Stash them in terra cotta pots, sprinkle them on bookshelves, line them up along a mantle or fill glass vases with them. They can make a big impact & reinforce a ‘natural’ theme. Use old dishes to make even the simplest Christmas item special. Our Christmas home isn’t spectacular by any means. But it does ‘feel’ festive & special. Here are a few pictures of our Christmas home.

Living With Words – An Etsy Treasury

I love punches of text inside a home. I’m quite smitten with various fonts & love accessories made from paper or neat, letter-pressed cards. Here’s a sampling of some great Etsy finds! (Click the image below to visit the treasury as seen on Etsy. All links are clickable from there.)

Christmas Inspiration

Every year, I dream of putting our Christmas decorations out the first week of November…of getting our house Christmas ready & winter cozy, washing curtains & slaying dust bunnies so that by Thanksgiving, the bulk of the work is done, our home is mostly decorated & all that is left, is our annual tradition of purchasing & putting up our live tree the day after Thanksgiving.

I always dream of this. But it never, ever happens.

Right now, there are ornament boxes scattered, totes full of silver balls waiting to be packed down, garland to be strung, cleaning to be done & dolls to be made.

But next year, I WILL have everything done the first week of November. You believe me, don’t you?

If you’re like me & are still decorating your home for the holidays….here are some of my favorite images to inspire. I come back to these again & again because they make me want to create the perfect country Christmas.

Enjoy! I hope you find them inspiring.

(Most of the above images are from Country Living magazine or Better Home & Gardens.)