To Juice or Not to Juice

February 25, 2013 by Kari Karch


Last week I was out with some of my girlfriends and we were chatting about owning a juicer and how much of a pain it is to clean it. Each one of us owned a fairly expensive juicer and each one of us had used it no more than 5 times. Seeing as how I loved the idea of having a nutritious glass of fresh vegetable and fruit juice every morning, I thought I’d motivate myself to make these tasty concoctions at least once a week. Then it happened, my friend brought up the movie “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” She raved that it was the motivation she needed to kick-start her 10 day juice cleanse. I thought she was nuts. 10 days of only drinking fruits and vegetables? Why on earth would anyone ever do that to themselves?

I got home around 9 that night and was eager to see this documentary of an Australian man on his journey around the United States encouraging Americans to try a juice fast while he was on a 60 day cleanse. 60? Did you just lose a bet or are you a few fries short of a happy meal in general? Who in their right mind would do something so ludicrous? 90 minutes later and a bucket of tears being shed while watching this encouraging film, I decided I wanted to try a juice cleanse. Oh boy.

The film was so inspiring and it really got to the core of why Americans are so overweight and the epidemic is only growing worse at a very rapid rate. The main character, Joe, is just an average guy who needed to get healthy but also had a debilitating skin disease that was cured through riding his body of processed foods and chemicals. It’s sad to think most Americans have no idea what they are putting into their bodies and instead, are addicted to sugar and fatty foods. This movie really struck a chord and if you do get a chance to check it out, it might inspire you as well.

I was already ahead of the game since I lead a relatively healthy lifestyle. I had quit drinking about a month ago, quit smoking a year ago, and work out on a very strict regimen. I wanted to do this cleanse to reboot my body and kick my diet into high gear. But how do you decide whether or not to do a 3, 5, 7, or 10 day cleanse? Well there were many factors including people who did a longer cleanse had more severe health problems and the less amount of time doing the cleanse was just to clean out your system and get your brain back to healthy mode. I was going to try for a 7 day cleanse.

I went and purchased all the colorful fruits and vegetables I could get my paws on at my favorite market late Sunday night and did all the prep necessary like washing everything and making a batch of juice to take with me while I was at work. It’s such a fun process to have all these vegetables and fruits pureed into a silky and refined juice. Monday morning was go time, so I set out to drink about 60 oz of juice plus the same amount of water a day. I was okay until late afternoon when my mind started wandering and only thinking about food. It doesn’t help that I work around food everyday and I have to cook, yet here I am, siphoning down kale and celery juice. Awesome.

I made it through day one only because I went to bed super early to free myself from the hunger pangs I was experiencing. Day two was worse. I started feeling anxious and just not happy-go-lucky like I usually am. All I could think about was eating. And not just eating healthy like I’m used to, but stuffing my face with a juicy, greasy burger with all the fixings. Then my willpower turned on and it was smooth sailing the rest of the night knowing I was doing this to reboot my body and to improve my health. The next couple days were the hardest, but I knew if I just tried to focus on other things, I’d make it through the day. It wasn’t until nighttime that I had the worst cravings, simply because the television would be on and some sort of food porn would dance across the screen just teasing me.

I decided to stop on day 4. Not because I was giving up and throwing in the towel, but because I was listening to my body and I was ready to start incorporating healthy proteins and carbs back into my diet. I felt relived to finally eat a bite of food, but I also was a little disappointed I did not complete the full 7 days. I wasn’t going to beat myself up, instead I praised myself for the progress I did make and the 6 pounds I did lose. Surprisingly, I did not gain back the weight the next week, partly due to changing my food habits all together and partly to stepping it up at the gym.

Overall, the cleanse was a personal decision that really opened up my mind to leading a healthier and happier lifestyle. I would encourage anyone who is in need of a diet reboot to give it a try, even if it was for just one day. But with anything new, please check with your doctor first. As always, happy eating and in this case, happy juicing!

Kari Karch

Kari Karch is a 19-year veteran of the culinary industry, creator of Kiss the Cook, and the head chef and spokesperson for the Kenmore brand. She has made many notable appearances on ABC Morning News, on WGN, on the Cooking Channel and as a judge for the World Food Championships.