Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Faith and the Fear of Breast Cancer

I have had a fear of cancer for a very long time now. I can’t identify what caused this fear to take root in me but I can recall, at the age of 17, sitting on the couch crying for hours waiting for my mom to get home because I felt a lump in my breast. She was concerned as well so she took me to see the doctor who told me it was just a cyst and I was too young to be concerned. The doctor’s words did not abate my fears.

I have been so gripped with fear throughout these years that I neglected my health. I was not performing the self breast exams and I would let several years lapse between mammograms. I didn’t want to know. I preferred not to know. I knew better but I did not do better.

All the while I felt like such a hypocrite when I would declare “I give myself away to you God!” The Holy Spirit continuously reminded me that I was not trusting God with every facet of my life. Instinctively, when I read the bible, I would cling to scripture that spoke to having a long and abundant life. The best way for me to remember things is to write them down so I would write scriptures in notebooks and diary’s. I wanted the scripture to become more than just words on a page. I wanted my being…my soul…to accept it as truth.

But I was caught off guard by what happened last month. It had been a couple of years since my last Women’s Wellness Check so I made an appointment with my doctor for an exam. She spent about five minutes reminding me how irresponsible it was for me to let the time lapse and that I should see her at least once a year for an exam. I agreed. I had nothing to say and accepted her rebuke. I appreciated her concern and had made up my mind that it would not happen again. I just felt foolish for being afraid.

We scheduled an appointment for my mammogram before I left her office. It was basically the same as my previous mammograms except now I had an option for 3D imaging. I accepted that option. I was in and out of the imaging center in less than 30 minutes. It took about a week for a nurse from my doctor’s office to call to let me know all test results were normal and she will see me again next year.

Much to my surprise I received a call from the radiologist at the imaging center nearly two weeks from my exam date telling me I needed to return because my exam showed an abnormality. I couldn’t comprehend a word she was telling me because my mind was trying to recall the phone call from the nurse at my doctor’s office telling me everything was okay. I spoke my full name to the radiologist and asked her is it me she wanted to talk to. She responded, “Yes.” I told her I didn’t understand so she began to explain that I was in their office 2 weeks ago for an exam and the result shows an abnormality so I needed to schedule an appointment immediately for a magnified mammogram and ultrasound. The radiologist call was interrupted by my doctor’s office calling but I allowed her to finish, scheduled a return visit and then returned the call to my doctor.

I had mixed emotions running through me as I spoke to my doctor’s nurse. I was angry because I was certain they gave me the “all clear” just a week prior. I was in denial thinking that this was just an insurance scam….just another reason to bill my insurance and I was afraid that I may have breast cancer. Nevertheless, I quietly listened to the nurse give me the results of the exam.

I received the call from the radiologist and my doctor’s office on a Tuesday and my return appointment was on a Thursday. As I sat there in my robe waiting for my exam, I was unbelievably calm. All the scriptures that I had meditated on came to my mind…”many are the afflictions of the righteous but God delivers them out of them all (Psalm 34:19),” and “consider it pure joy when you face trials (James 1:2-4). I kept saying to myself, you can bank on God’s promises so don’t worry. I prayed that if this trial/tribulation was part of His plan that he would give me the strength to endure. I reminded God that His child…yeah me…was a “punk” and I would require supernatural strength! I was at peace in that moment…I began to cry because I felt overwhelmed by God’s love and affirmation that I was His!

The ladies in the room began to glance my way. Soon one of the nurses approached me and tried to comfort me by reminding me that we don’t know the outcome yet. I told her I was crying because regardless, benign or malignant, I will be okay. I was confident that I would see the other side of this. Come what may….I will be okay.

I wish I could express in words how liberating this revelation was to me. To trust God and His plan through trials and tribulations is a lot different than trusting God through the good times. To completely have faith in Him meant that I needed to trust Him when things are difficult, painful (emotionally and physically), and disappointing! I needed to truly believe that whatever happened God will work things out for my good. God has made us promises and I am learning everyday how to stand firmly on those promises in full expectations of seeing them come to pass in my life.

By living in the fullness of what God has for me I will experience many good days and some bad days but EVERY day He is here with me! And on those bad days, I will call on Him to give me strength to make it another day and to give me wisdom to understand and appreciate His plan for me.

After the magnified imaging and ultrasound, the radiologist confirmed that there was a solid mass there and I needed a biopsy performed. The biopsy was scheduled and I went home. The first call I made after my husband was my mother. I just needed to confirm that I truly honored her over the years. We both laughed and my mom reassured me that everything would be okay.

The biopsy wasn’t the most pleasant procedure but it needed to be done.   And less than 48 hours later, I received the call that the pathologist indicated that it was benign; however, I now need mammograms every 6 months. And, ladies and gentlemen, I will be sure to get them every 6 months.

I have known many people who suffered through cancer. Some have seen the other side to better health and some are resting in peace but both are loved by God! In sickness and in health, through good days and on bad days, His strength is available to us all to endure the journey…we only need to trust Him. Below are some scriptures that have helped me overcome my fear.

My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. (Proverbs 3: 1-2)

Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”(Ephesians 6:2-3)

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all (Psalm 34:19)

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

I Can’t Maintain My Weight Loss! What’s the Deal?

Please tell me I’m not the only one…every year I bring in the New Year with the motivation and discipline of 10 armies. By the time February rolls around I have established a new eating and workout routine in which I typically stick with for 1-3 months so when spring arrives I am eager to feel the warm breeze whisk my “2 sizes smaller spring dress” in the wind. I am committed. I am disciplined. And, I am seeing results. So why can’t I maintain my weight loss?

Well, life happens. You know……stress at the job, at home, with my friends or extended family. Yeah…life. Without fail something happens to test my resolve. And for the past 10 years I have failed miserably at staying on course until I achieved my desired size and weight. Quite honestly, I am not so enamored with how much I weigh but more so my dimensions (inches/size).

In the past 10 years, I have tried at least 5 diets. Let’s see, I have tried Atkins, Medifast, Weight Watchers, the Lemonade diet and now I am sold on the Daniel Plan. In conjunction with my diets I have tried Tae-Bo Original, Billy Blank Bootcamp, Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30, Insanity, Hip Hob Abs and Cathe Friedrich Low Impact Series workout plans.

As you can see, I have inundated my body with the whole gamut of diets. And through it all, I discovered that my problem wasn’t that I couldn’t lose the weight. With every single diet and exercise plan I lost weight. I lost the most weight with Atkins but coming in close second is the Daniel’s Plan (veggie juice, steamed veggies and fish/chicken). Furthermore, with the Daniel’s Plan I felt great.

Since I am not taking any medicine nor do I have any illness that would inhibit weight loss, I have come to understand that for me, losing weight is purely a numbers game. 3500 calories equal a pound. So, if I eat 2000 calories a day but only burn 1850 calories per day because of my sedentary lifestyle then I will ultimately gain about a pound a month (12 pounds a year).

For years, I basically “followed the pack.” Whatever the newest diet or exercise craze, I followed. It wasn’t until my body started to rebel against the terrible way in which I had been treating it that I honestly put thought into my health. I physically wasn’t feeling well so I was forced to consider my health and ways to improve it. After a one on one with my doctor and some time for meditation, I discovered three reasons why I couldn’t maintain my weight loss.

1. I didn’t honestly consider my present circumstances
In other words, I set myself up for failure. For example, when I decided to follow the Atkins or Medifast diet, I didn’t have a long term plan on how I would implement it. I just jumped right in. Neither Atkins or Medifast are lifestyle eating plans. So, from day one I should have mapped out 1) how I would enter and exit the diet, 2) what my short term and long term goals were and 3) what my transition would look like for each milestone.

Furthermore, I should have taken notes on how my body was reacting to the diet. I was keeping track of how much weight and inches I lost but not how my health was reacting to it such as blood pressure and cholesterol. I recall when I was doing the lemonade diet, after 3 days I had to stop because I began to have bad heart palpitations. When I googled “heart palpitation and lemonade diet” I discovered that I lacked potassium which was important. So, while I was losing weight I was getting sick by it.

Today I try to be honest with myself and my level of self-control and self-discipline. I have come to learn that eating is not necessarily my biggest problem…meaning I don’t eat too much over my Basic Metabolic Rate * on a daily basis.  The foods I eat on most occasions are fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken or turkey.  In fact, I have acquired a taste for whole foods like fruits and vegetables. I prefer to juice my veggies in the morning and include veggies in every meal. There is a noticeable difference in the way I feel throughout the day when I begin my day this way.  I am conscientious of days in which I can’t get a veggie juice in the morning and try to fit it in as either a snack or a meal on that day.

Related Post:  Juicing:  My Way

I have also come to the realization that when I desire to eat a whole pumpkin or sweet potato pie it is because I am going through  emotional distress and I shouldn’t rely on food but God to pull me through it. I have been an emotional eater for so long that it is hard to break the habit but slowly but surely I will overcome. Now, when I get distressed and reach for sweets, I try to remember to get a cup of hot lemon water and sit a moment reading the bible or just praying. It works and with time it will become my norm.  This realization has been such a blessing.  Sometimes you may think everything is okay but your actions prove otherwise.  So, when I have this unusual appetite for lots of sweets, I take a moment to consider what is going on in my life.

2. I lacked conviction
When I began each new strategy to losing weight, I typically do so with the end goal of losing weight. But why? So I could look good in my clothes? Well that wasn’t enough motivation for me to stick with the diet so maybe I needed something deeper to have a true conviction. While I was overweight, but some accounts obese, I was happy. I am happy. Since changing your eating and exercising plan can be a big change in your life, how do you reconcile the need to take so much time out of your day exercising and planning meals when you are happy.

I think in my mind, I loved my life like it was (sorta’) so why change. I know I wanted to look like I did in my youth but not bad enough to make the short and long term changes it took to get there. I suffered from a lack of conviction. It wasn’t until those moments with my doctor and myself that the words of I Corinthians 6:19-20 truly entered my heart:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Now I am truly convicted to taking care of this temple. It has not happened overnight and I don’t expect it too. I plan to continue to strive to eat mainly whole foods, preferably organic with chicken, turkey and fish (Daniel’s Plan). Before the words of Corinthians 6:19 truly entered my heart, my body was trying to speak the truth to me as well. I just wasn’t listening.

3. I completely stop exercising
I know…shame on me. I actually love exercising….not the elliptical, exercise bike type of exercising. I actually get enjoyment out of High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting. I love the results I get from those types of exercises but I just need to determine a schedule that I can adhere to and stick with it. I always start out with these lofty goals like I am going to exercise everyday for 2 hours. Yeah, I never find those 2 hours so I let days and days go by. Now, anytime I have time to watch television for more than 30 minutes I get up and spend that time exercising. I figure eventually I will acquire a pattern/habit and my body will be in the shape God intended it to be.
I can’t say the past 10 years have been a waste, I have learned a lot about myself, physically, emotionally and spiritually. And, it is coming to those truths that is allowing me to break free from unhealthy habits.

Resources:
Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator (BMR)
Fitness Pal BMR Calculator:

BMR is the amount of calories burned if sedentary all day.

Review: 10 Juice Recipes

This week, I tried 10 new juice recipes.  I prefer to juice vegetables that I would eat steamed or boiled but this review I tried something new.  I added the following vegetables to my juice plan:  beets, cabbage (red and white), cauliflower, and Papaya.  And, I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the juices I liked.  In fact, I plan to rotate all of these juices into my monthly juicing plan.

My grocery bill for the fruits and vegetables alone was more than $100 this week but keep in mind that I still have plenty of fruits and vegetables left over.  I picked 5 recipes from Drew Canole’s book and 5 recipes from Juicing for Health (see my article on Juicing vs Blending for the link to these books).  I liked the Juicing for Health book the most because 1) they named the juice after its health benefit, 2) nutrition facts were included and 3) there were details about the health benefit of the juice.   One caveat about the Juicing for Health book, I have the Breville Multi-Speed juicer and the amount of juice I yield from the recipe was more than was indicated in the book.  So, going forward I will be using half of the ingredients for the recipes in the Juicing for Health book.

Here are the recipes and ingredients:

Juice Name Ingredients Nutrition Facts
Anti Acne Juice Anti-Acne Miracle Skin
  • 6 Carrots
  • ½ Green Bell Pepper
Not Provided
Get Things Moving Get Things Moving (constipation relief)
  • 8 Large Carrots
  • 2 Kiwis
  • ½ Lemon
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Large Beet with greens
  • ¼ cup Spinach
  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 137
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbs: 42g
Flu Fighter Flu Fighter
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 Small McIntosh Apple (Red)
  • 2 cups Chopped Spinach
  • ½ inch Ginger
  • ½ Cucumber
  • Serving: 12 oz
  • Calories: 49
  • Fat: 0
  • Sugar: 8g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbs: 14g
Acid Away Acid Away
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 Large Celery Stalks
  • ¼ head white cabbage
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup Parsley
  • ½ inch Ginger

 

  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 80
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 15g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbs: 25g
 Recharge Your Alkaline Recharge Your Alkaline Batter
  • Handful of Red Cabbage
  • 1 Cucumber
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1 Lemon
Not Provided
 Body Purifier Body Purifier (Flush toxins)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Cucumber
  • ½ Cauliflower
  • ½ Beet
Not Provided
 Simply Green Machine Simply Green Machine
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 2 cup Kale
  • 2 cup Parsley
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 Celery Stalks
Not Provided
 Heaven Sent Heaven Sent
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • ½ Cucumber
  • 2 Stalks of Celery including leaves
  • 3 Carrots
  • ½ Apple
Not Provided
 Healthful Heart Ginger Healthful Heart Ginger
  • 1 Green Apple
  • 1 Pear
  • ½ Papaya
  • 2 Large Celery Stalks
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 cup Parsley
  • 2 inch Ginger
  • 1 small cucumber
  • Serving: 16 oz
  • Calories: 95
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sugar: 16g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Carbs: 29g

Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

What is Juicing?
Juicing is the extraction of the liquid nutrition from vegetables and fruits through a masticating or centrifugal process. The centrifugal process extracts juice using small blades that spin at high speeds while the fruits and vegetables are push down the chute of the juicer. The juice is separated from the fiber. Some avid juicers report that they use the left over fiber in soups and muffins. Others discard the fiber that is left in the wastebasket of the Juicer. The masticating process is a slower juicing process in which fruits and vegetables are crushed and the juices are squeezed out. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to less heat in the masticating process.

 

What is Blending?
With blending, fruits and vegetables are pureed. Blending uses the whole fruit or vegetable. Nothing is discarded.

Why All the Craze?
Well there are several reasons for this juicing and smoothie rave. I was thoroughly convinced that juicing was the key to better health for me after hearing Joe Cross story. If you haven’t read the book or saw the video, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, please do so when you get the chance. It was all I needed to see. And, now I have my own testimony. Beyond the incredible weight loss that occurs, the improvement in your health is priceless. I have the results of my blood work to prove it. What’s key is that you are disciplined. With just one juice a day I saw an improvement in my health and weight loss.

Which One is Better For You:  Juicing vs Blending?
You receive nutrients from both options. There seems to be a disagreement in the juicing/blending community on which yields the most nutrients. Since blending uses the whole fruit or vegetable, some argue that you receive all of the nutrients but since juicing extracts the fiber you lose some nutrients.

I would recommend that you try both and see which one best fit your lifestyle. I have personal experience with juicing and can attest to the health benefits I experienced. Nevertheless, I like both juicing and blending. Which one I choose depends on the circumstances. For example, if I’m leaving the house and I want to avoid eating fast food while out, I make a smoothie so I will stay full (satiated) for hours.

JUICING PROS

  • In Drew Canole’s book, Juicing Recipes for Vitality and Health, he states: “Ninety-five percent of the nourishment from fruit and vegetable juice is immediately released into the blood stream because there is nothing interfering with the processing once it hits your stomach.”
  • In Drew Canole’s book, Juicing Recipes for Vitality and Health, he also states: “Vegetable juicing is always best when you’re trying to lose weight. The minerals and high-potassium content hydrate your cells and force out the sodium that causes water retention. Regularly drinking vegetable juice helps super-boost your health and remove toxins in your body. “
  •  Juicing makes it easier to get more than your recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies.
  • A 16 – 24 oz glass of juice requires a lot of veggies and/or fruit so you will more than likely get more than your daily allowance of veggies/fruits in one glass of juice.
  • Documented and proven results of improvement in health and weight loss.

JUICING CONS:

  • You lose the fiber when extracting juice so you don’t benefit from the fruits/veggies fiber.
  • Juices are not as filling as smoothies
  • Some centrifugal and masticating juicers can be quite expensive.
  • When juicing fruit you have to be mindful of sugar/glucose levels
  • You have to immediately consume your drink or store it in a sealed glass jar (mason jars) or it will begin to oxidized and may become rancid.

BLENDING (Smoothies) PROS:

  • Smoothies make it easier to get your recommended daily intake of fruits and veggies.
  • Smoothies are filling. I’m usually hungry within 2 hours after my juice. When I first started juicing, I was hungry within an hour.  However, I can go several hours between meals after having my favorite smoothie.
  • I have friends who have replaced 1-2 meals with smoothies and they appear to be losing weight.
  • Reap the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables (Related:  “Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing”)

BLENDING (Smoothies) CONS:

  • You may need to have more than one smoothie to get all of your veggies and/or fruit. This could actually be a good thing. I love my strawberry/banana smoothie so two a day would be great!
  • The reportedly best blender, VitaMix, is over $500; however the Nutribullet is $100.

What are Some of the Best Blenders?

  • Vitamix CIA Professional            $500
  • Vitamix TurboBlend                     $375
  • Blendtec Designer Series             $455
  • Blendtec Total Blender                $400
  • Ninja Professional Blender        $100
  • Magic Bullet                                   $58
  • Nutribullet                                     $105
  • Oster 8 Speed Blender with Food Processor      $55
  • Oster 7 Speed Reversing Motor                           $63

I use the Oster 7 Speed Reversing Motor. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in a blender because I don’t intend to use it frequently. The local Yogurt-Smoothie shop I sometimes frequent uses a Blendtec blender and they appear to be fast and thorough. With the Oster 7 Speed, I have to start and stop blending a couple of times because my fruit clogs the bottom and causes the motor to stop spinning. But, it is not much of an inconvenience for me because I don’t juice often.

What are Some of the Best Juicers?

  • Breville Juice Fountain Elite     $300
  • Breville Compact Juice Fountain   $100
  • Hamilton Beach Big Mouth      $50
  • Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro    $60
  • Cuisinart 5 Speed Juicer        $129
  • Omega Nutrition Center    $228

What are some Great Smoothie and Juicing Recipes?
As I mentioned in my Blog Post, Juicing: My Way, I basically stay on the same channel when it comes to juicing. SPOILER ALERT: I will review 10 Recipes next week, so be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it.

Over the past year, I have accumulated quite a few recipe books. I have listed them below in ‘Recommended Reading.’ From this collection of recipes, I will pick 10 recipes to illustrate next week so Stay Tune! If you want me to review a specific recipe, be sure to let me know in the comments below. I will try to include it as one of the recipes.

My favorite smoothie recipe consist of ½ frozen banana, 4 frozen strawberries, 1 scoop of whey protein, about 4 ounces of Passion Orange Guava Juice, ½ individual container of Greek Yogurt, and ice. This recipe is delicious and very filling.

Recommended Reading/References:

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

 

My Juicing Experience:

I began my juicing journey in April/May 2013.  After feeling a lot older than my age, I began researching ways to feel better.  I thought my eating habits were okay.  For decades and decades, my primary source of meat was fish, turkey and chicken.  While my family does eat beef, we typically do so only about 5-6 times throughout the year.  I really don’t like the taste of pork so I don’t eat it.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t “big” on the veggies but I did incorporate several servings throughout the week (mainly broccoli, spinach and corn).

It wasn’t until I saw Joe Cross movie that I understood what the problem may be.  I never any considered the effect of processed food on my health.  All the sides I made to accompany my family’s meals were processed.  So I joined the “juicing revolution.”

Related:  Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

In my blog, Juicing: My Way, I outlined my slow and steady approach to juicing.  When I first started I was buying standard fruits and vegetables but then quickly changed to organic after reading about the pesticides used on standard fruits and vegetables.  It was an expensive decision.  Organic versus standards more than doubled my grocery bill.  Through my experience I learned that I didn’t have to buy all organic.  Instead, fruits and vegetables with a thick outer layer like oranges and pineapples I bought standard but vegetables and fruits like apples and cucumbers I bought organic.

This “juicing revolution” brought my attention to quite a few things.  First, I needed to be mindful of what fruits, vegetables and herbs I was juicing if I was taking medication.  This was not an issue with me but when recommending juicing to family and friends I asked that they checked with their pharmacist to be sure that the vegetables and fruits they use in their juice wouldn’t cause a negative drug interaction.

I no longer have to be convinced if juicing is good for me.  I can say with a resounding “YES!” that it is positively good for me.  Not only did I lose weight, I lowered my cholesterol and blood pressure.  My fingernails stay long, strong and healthy and my hair grew at a very good pace.  AND, when I had to stop juicing for a few months while we sold our home (the realtor made us put away everything on the countertop), I did not gain all the weight back.  Quite honestly, that was the most impressive to me.  I have tried many diets and eating plan which resulted in me gaining all of my weight back and then some when I stopped the eating plan/diet.  This didn’t happen this time and my eating habits got really bad because we found ourselves eating out a lot because potential buyers wanted to see the home around meal time.

Another thing worth noting, is the improvement of my eyesight.  While I can’t get any one in the medical field to confirm that it is possible to have improved eyesight.  It is true in my case.  I wear eyeglasses and the prescription was too strong for me after 2 months of including carrots in my juices.

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

In my experience, the best fruits and vegetables for juicing were kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, cucumber, apple, oranges, and pineapples.  There are a lot of nutrients in these fruits and cruciferous (kale, spinach, collard) vegetables and I attribute my results to having plenty of these vegetables in my juicing plan.  In his book, Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition, Dr. Fuhrman states:

Cruciferous vegetables have the most powerful anti-cancer effects of all foods.  Most of the phytonutrients function as antioxidants in your body, meaning they neutralize free radicals, rendering them harmless and reducing cancer risk. 

The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables also activate your body’s own antioxidant control system.  These unique compounds cycle through the body for three to five days after consumption, offering protection and fueling numerous bodily systems, enabling them to function more effectively.

Stanford Medical Cancer Institute Reports that “Research is discovering that intake of fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains may interfere with the process of developing cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, lung, prostate, and rectum. In addition to reducing the risk of developing cancer, the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases might also be prevented by eating more fruits and vegetables.”

Some of the Health Benefits of the Fruits and Vegetables I Juiced

Fruits & Vegetables

Nutrients

Health Benefit

Broccoli
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients(Glucosinolates)
  • Vitamin K
  • Flavonoids (kaempferol)
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower   cholesterol
Celery
  • At least 12 Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids (kaempferol)
  • Protect  digestive tract and blood vessel inflammation
  • Improve integrity of stomach lining
  • Decrease risk of stomach ulcer
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Collard   Greens
  • Carotenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin)
  • Phytonutrients   (Glucosinolates)
  • Highest   amount of Antioxidants
  • Vitamin   A
  • Vitamin   K
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acid (ALA)
  • Folate
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Protects skin and eyesight
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Cucumber
  • Lignans
  • Antioxidants
  • Cucurbitacins
  • Flavonoids
  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce risk of cancer (breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate)
Kale   (superfood)
  • Carotenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin)
  • Phytonutrients (Glucosinolates
  • Highest amount of Antioxidants
  • 45   different Flavonoids
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Strengthens bones
  • Lower risk of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate)
  • Protects skin and eyesight
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
Romaine   Lettuce
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Molybdenum
  • Biotin
  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium
  • Protein
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps lower cholesterol
Spinach
  • Glycoclycerolipids
  • More than 12 different Flavonoid
  • Carotenoids
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Boost immune system
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Help protect lining of digestive tract
  • Protection against aggressive prostate cancer
  • Help slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells
  • Reduce skin cancers
Turnips
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients (Glucosinolates)
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (ALA)
  • Folate
  • Lower risk of cancer
  • Helps detoxify body
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Anti-inflammatory benefit
  • Helps lower cholesterol
Ginger
  • Gingerols
  • Alleviates symptoms of gastrointestinal distress
  • Prevent symptoms of motion sickness
  • Reduce nausea and vomiting
  • Reduce rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis   pain
  • Inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells
  • Induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce menstrual pain
Lemon/Limes
  • Flavonoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Limonoids
  • Stop cell division in many cancer cell lines
  • Antibiotic effects
  • Help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon.
Carrots
  • Caretenoids (Beta Carotene, Lutein)
  • Phytonutrient(Polyacetylenes)
  • Antioxidants
  • Inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells
  • Most protective against cardiovascular disease
  • Eye health
Apples
  • Flavonoids
  • Polyphenols
  • Help prevent spike in blood sugar
  • Lower risk of Asthma
  • Lower risk of lung cancer
Orange
  • More   than 60 Flavonoids
  • Vitamin   C
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Protection against cardiovascular disease
  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and blood clotting inhibiting properties
Pineapples
  • Bromelain
  • Antioxidant
  • Manganese
  • Improved digestion
  • Protection against Macular Degeneration
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting properties

References/Resources:

http://cancer.stanford.edu/information/nutritionAndCancer/reduceRisk/phyto.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale

http://www.kingoffruit.com.au/pineapple-health-benefits.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/aricles/265990.php

Joel Fuhrman, MD Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition, (p.  120)

Juicing: My Way

Last year, after seeing Joe Cross movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and doing a little research I tried “juicing.”  What is juicing?  Juicing is extracting only the juice from fruits and vegetables.  According to my research, a lot of the nutritional value of fruits and vegetable is found in the juice.  The information was compelling.  It was easy for me to see how this could be true because since the beginning of time, God saw it fit to bless his children with fruits and vegetables.  It only made since that if I reduced or eliminated the amount of processed food, my health would reap the rewards.

Related Post:  Juicing vs Blending (Smoothies)

Juicing had to be the most controversial decision I have ever made.  When I told friends and family what I was doing, they either supported my efforts or aggressively disagreed.  For the life of me, I didn’t understand why it would cause such strong opposition.  Those who disagreed felt removing the fiber from the fruits and vegetables were harmful.  Those who supported juicing fruits and vegetables agreed that there were benefits to doing so and, most witness a friend or family member benefit from it.  So, I was inquisitive enough to give it a try.  Slow and steady.

Related Post: Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

Phase I

Like I said, I approached juicing with a slow and steady approach.  My juicing regimen was multi-phased.  The first phase lasted two weeks at which time I eliminated coffee, replaced my breakfast with a juice and for dinner I had a homemade salad with grilled chicken.  I still had lunch and snacks throughout the day.  For my breakfast juice, I only juiced fruits (mango, 4 carrots and ginger).  It typically made a 14 ounce drink.

According to some of the juicing books and information, juicing fruits should be kept to a minimum because of the possible sugar spike.  I didn’t have any problems but I probably didn’t lose as much weight if I had only juiced vegetables.  Nevertheless, I still considered Phase I a success because I lost about 3 pounds a week.

I was even able to continue my juicing while on vacation, I found a few juicing shops with tasty juices on the menu.  My husband joined me with a juice for breakfast every morning during our vacation (although he added granola to his juice).

While it was great losing weight, there were other health effects that I noticed within the first two weeks of juicing.  While I was typically addicted to my morning cup of coffee, I no longer needed it and I felt naturally energized.  I wasn’t drowsy by the end of the work day and I was able to accomplish more.

Phase II

By the end of the first two weeks, I felt brave enough to step up my “juicing game.”  Phase II lasted three weeks at which time I replaced one meal and a snack or two meals with a juice.  I still wasn’t drinking coffee and I had gotten use to drinking a juice for breakfast.  So, on a typical day I would have my breakfast juice, a snack, a vegetable juice (spinach, cucumber, apple. lime and ginger) for lunch, a snack and a grilled chicken salad or fish (salmon, tilapia) for dinner.  Sometimes instead of replacing two meals I would replace my breakfast and afternoon snack with a juice.  During Phase II I began to exercise regularly and the more I exercised the more my appetite was ravenous.  So, I would try to have a lot of protein at lunch like salmon or tuna and just replace my afternoon snack with a vegetable juice.

Since I was making up all the rules (LOL), I did not have any problems with getting two juice drinks in during the day.  I juiced vegetables and fruits that I would eat raw or steamed.   In phase II I lost about 5 pounds a week.

On occasion I read discussions about eating clean.  During those first two phases I felt like I was getting closer to eating clean.  My understanding of eating clean is eliminating as much process foods as possible.  I know, I’ve heard the argument that most foods are processed to some extent.  While there may be truth to that, eating clean would be to eat food that are minimally processed.  I even prefer to buy local fruits, vegetables and meat.

Phase III

Both Phase I and II was designed to help me get to the point in which I could do a juice fast.  I read some great success stories about detoxing your body that I really wanted to give it a try.   Food and I have an unhealthy relationship in which I have been working on for years.  There was a time when I couldn’t fast at all but I have since fasted for spiritual reasons for 24 hours.  My goal is to be able to fast for several days.

During Phase III, I replaced 1 meal with a juice Monday thru Thursday.  From Friday through Sunday I replaced all meals but one with a juice.  I tried to go a whole day with just juice but I lacked sufficient willpower at the time.  Phase III lasted 3 weeks for me and on the weekends I was losing nearly a pound a day.  I’ve gotten a variety of responses when I share my phase III results with family and friends.  They felt like losing a pound a day was too much.  I didn’t know how to respond to their feedback except to say that I felt great.  In fact, when I went in for a physical not only had I lost weight but my cholesterol and blood pressure had improved.

Related Post:  Best Fruits and Vegetables for Juicing

Which Juicer is the best?

I have tried three juicers.  One was a Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and two are Breville Juicers.  I now own a 1) Big Mouth Juice Extactor (garage), 2) Breville Juice Fountain Plus (keep it in my office) and 3) Breville Juice Fountain Multi-Speed (Kitchen).  Of the two brands, Breville is the best and the quietest.  All three were not difficult to clean.  I yield the least amount of juice with the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor and the most juice with the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain.  Cost wise, Hamilton Beach was the cheapest.  My Breville was six times the cost of the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor but saved me tremendously in the cost of buying fruits and vegetables.  The Breville Juice Fountain Plus and the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain  were able to yield more juice from fruits and vegetables.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The Pros are endless.  First and most importantly I felt great.  While I usually “drag” in the morning without my cup of coffee, this was not so with my breakfast juice.  It provided me with the energy I needed to get my day going.  I believe it was the ginger in the drink that gave me such an energy boost so I never make a juice without ginger.

Second, my health was improving.

Third, I lost weight and I did it without feeling deprived of food.

Fourth, you can get so many nutrients with a small glass of fresh juice.

Fifth, there are no preservatives in the juice since it is fresh.

Honestly, I can’t think of any cons.  When I discuss juicing with family and friends their main concern is the loss of fiber that is extracted from the fruit or vegetable and our body needs fiber.  This was a non-issue for me because my meals still consisted of things like almonds, beans, peas and broccoli throughout the day.

Juice Recipes

My favorite sources for juice recipes were:

  1. http://juicerecipes.com:  I thought I wouldn’t like the Mean Green Juice Recipe but it was one of my favorite.
  2. http://blog.williams-sonoma.com/30-days-of-juicing:  When I wanted to add variety.  I got some great recipes from this site.  They all sound so tasty.
  3. http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/category/blog/recipes/juice: Of course, Joe Cross website has great recipes as well.