Juicing: A Great Way to Boost Nutrition Around the Holidays

Juicing itemsRecently, my wife and I watched the award-winning documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for the second time since it released over 10 years ago. In the film, Joe Cross, an overweight Australian business man sets out to live on fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days to see if he can reverse his autoimmune disease and get off all medications. Along the way, he inspires others to take on this juicing “reboot” as he refers to it. I won’t spoil it for you other than to say it’s a very well done film with valuable information, inspiration and humor along the way.

Needless to say, we were motivated to buy a Breville juicer afterward and begin our own one week juicing reboot. We started the Saturday after Thanksgiving in order to detox our bodies and reset the system. My wife’s goals were to lose a few stubborn pounds and also try alleviating some soreness she had been experiencing due to inflammation caused by diet. She also wanted to see if her allergies would clear up. As for me, I had added a few pounds I could stand to lose and I also wanted to increase my fruit & veggie intake and get my body craving those things daily. We were eating salads and some fruit on a weekly basis but we had also fallen into some bad habits with sweets and things like pizza (one of our weaknesses).

On any kind of fast, whether it’s a water or juicing fast, the first 3 days are always the worst. It’s during this time that the body is trying to figure out what’s happening. If you’ve been used to consuming loads of caffeine, alcohol or sugar, you better believe your body is going to demand those things. As a result of “starving these appetites”, it’s quite normal for people to experience mood swings, headaches, and even some sluggishness. We certainly experienced those things, although not too extreme. I had some minor headaches on days two and three due to refraining from my two cups of daily coffee. Shelley didn’t experience the headaches since she drinks mostly decaf teas. We both experienced the sluggishness and also some mental fog those first three days.

Turning a Corner

I would say we began to turn a corner on day number four. It’s not uncommon for many people to begin experiencing more mental clarity, energy bursts, and decreased craving for unhealthy foods. This was the case for us. Trust me…once you get past the first three to four days, you’re home free. Unfortunately, many people bail before they turn that corner due to the addicting nature of food. Another thing you can expect is sharper senses…sight, smell, taste, etc.

When a person consumes a glass of fresh juice, the stomach receives it as though it’s simply water. Without the extra fiber, fat and protein, the digestion system doesn’t need to send in all the extra tools it normally would to help digest those things. Yes, you get some natural sugar rush, but you also get a rush of nutrients flooding your system. Since the body isn’t working to digest anything, you get the bonus of feeling that extra energy almost immediately. I will say that bowel movements do change with each passing day. As the body detoxes those first few days, you can expect to visit the bathroom quite “regularly” as the body gets rid of the extra baggage. Once you’ve emptied your bowels (each person could vary in terms of the time it takes), the body will simply process the fresh juice as water and you’ll be mostly peeing.

In just one week, both Shelley & I experienced some nice results. I lost 8 pounds and she lost 7. Her allergies cleared up by day four. We came off of the juicing fast with a fresh desire to eat clean and significantly increase our fruit and veggie intake. Not only are we now beginning our day with a green juice but we also intend to do a 5-7 day juicing fast four times a year to cleanse and reboot our bodies.

What a privilege to have access to fresh fruit and vegetable produce all year round for juicing. If you have farmers markets in your area, take advantage of them as much as possible. It’s especially helpful to buy produce when it’s in season.

I highly recommend watching the free documentary and doing your own juicing reboot for at least 4-7 days. Doing something like this after the holidays would be especially beneficial and will launch you into 2018 with a bang!

Here’s to juicing…the legal way!

Below is a recipe we used quite often and now begin our day with:

“Mean Green” Juice

-1 cucumber

-4 celery stalks

-2 apples (Granny Smith or Gala)

-8 leaves of kale (curly or lacinato) with stalks

-1/2 lemon (remove outer peel)

-1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Makes a 20oz glass of fresh juice…cheers!

Don’t have time for juicing raw fruits & vegetables? I’m also a big fan of PerfectGreens by BodyHealth. In my opinion, this is the best-tasting green juice powder available with a sweet apple flavor. Each serving contains the daily recommended amount for fruit & veggies, all with the convenience of being juiced and ready to go! Whether you begin your day with a serving or incorporate it into your post-workout smoothie, you’re going to love it. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your next order.

CJ drinking juice

Lose Weight…Not Energy

Low Fuel

Many endurance sports reward lower weight. But sometimes losing weight can cause you to feel weaker than you did when you were heavier, simply because you’re running on fumes.

If we cut back on calories but maintain our workout schedule, our fuel tanks are going to be running low. Simply put, glycogen depletion can lead to a loss of pure power & energy.

It’s important to time your fueling properly—and consume the proper fuel—to prevent that from happening. Here are six tips to help you run strong while working toward your ideal training & racing weight, regardless of your body type.

Tip #1: Eat to Run

Quality runs and high-intensity workouts will help you lose weight, so you don’t want to sacrifice your performance during these key sessions. Fuel your workouts and cut back during the rest of the day.

That means topping off your tank with a 150 to 200 calorie snack that will provide sustained energy, such as a Larabar, banana with peanut butter, or a light smoothie. If you’re planning to be out for more than 90 minutes, take extra hydration which might include Nuun tablets or Hammer Heed mixed in your water bottle.

Afterwards, have some recovery food available. My personal go-to recovery is a scoop of Garden of Life protein mixed with water in a shaker bottle. It’s 15-20 grams of quality protein that provides my body with immediate rebuilding material.

When possible, time your run so you finish around mealtime. That way, you can just eat as you normally would when finished. Sometimes my wife will have a good breakfast ready and waiting for me upon returning from my long run.

Tip #2: Pace Your Weight Loss

Gradual weight loss will be less disruptive to your training and ultimately less draining than trying to lose a lot quickly. If you’re aiming for significant weight loss, you have to be fine with the occasional failed workout.

I’ve had many high-intensity workouts where my body simply fell short on fuel yet I was still able to finish most of what I had planned. When this happens in training, it’s not a big deal. If it happens during a key race, you may fall short of your goal. This is why it’s important to make sure you have a full tank before that big race.

Tip #3: Eliminate Empty Calories

If you’re running a lot, including racing, and trying to cut weight, you need maximum nutrition with little fluff. That means cleaning up your diet to avoid empty calories.

I enjoy a tasty craft beer from time to time but when I go into lean mode, this is one of the things I cut out. I sometimes refer to beer as “liquid fat” due to its high empty calorie content – a whopping 7 fat calories per gram!

These are things most of us know (heck, even kids know it), but it’s also important to cut out chips, cookies, donuts and soft drinks which are all filled with empty calories. “Empty” means they’re void of any dense nutrition. It’s like filling your car with watered down fuel.

Aim for high quality, real food such as fruits, vegetables, quality carbohydrates (i.e. brown rice, sprouted grain bread), high quality protein sources (i.e. wild caught salmon), and healthy fats (i.e. avocados) as they come in whole foods. I try to get a large green salad with lots of variety everyday if possible.

Tip #4: Increase Protein

Weight loss puts you in a catabolic state so it’s important to take in extra protein to prevent unnecessary muscle loss. Losing muscle will only hurt your running performance.

Research shows that people who eat diets that are rich in protein maintain their lean muscle mass which you need to turn those legs over. This is possible even as you’re trying to lose extra fat.

This is another reason I like having a good quality lean protein powder on hand like Garden of Life. By throwing a scoop in my shaker bottle twice a day between meals, I’m adding an extra 30-35 grams of protein at a cost of only 200 calories. That’s what you call nutrient dense!

Tip #5: Go to Bed a Little Hungry

If you’re looking to maintain fitness while losing weight, go to bed a little bit hungry. It won’t kill you and it’s an easy way to lose a pound a week. In times where I go into lean mode, I typically have a rule of not eating after 7:30pm. If you must eat something after that time, stick with a piece of fruit like an apple or an orange which is low calorie and high fiber.

Tip #6: Make Sleep a Priority

Shortchanging sleep puts your body in a constant state of stress, which increases stress hormones like cortisol which promote fat storage and make it that much harder to drop those pesky pounds. This effect can be even more pronounced if you don’t get enough sleep while also trying to lose weight.

Cutting calories has already put extra stress on your body, not to mention the extra training. Don’t add more stress if you can help it, or you risk overtraining symptoms and a lowered immune system.

Here’s to staying lean and mean on the roads and trails!

 

**If you’re looking to lose a few stubborn pounds without losing valuable muscle mass, look no further than PerfectAmino by BodyHealth. I’ve been using this quality Amino Acid supplement for the past couple years and I also recommend it to those I coach. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your order at BodyHealth.

PerfectAminoXP

Click Here to Discover 6 Proven Practices to Help You Run Faster