Monday, February 17, 2014

Juice diets and the Vitamix

Over the weekend I watched "Fat, sick, and nearly dead", a documentary on Netflix about how a sick and overweight Australian regained his health by following a strict juice diet for about 6 months augmented by moderate exercise. The documentary tracks his progress over the 6 months period, as he travels throughout the US from coast to coast, talking to people about the health benefits of the juice diet, and showing them how it affected his health. The documentary also shows how toward the end of his diet, he started evangelizing it, and helping other people reverse their heavily medicated health problems by following a similar diet and moderate exercise.

The documentary was very well made, and the author is quite likable. It was also very educational about the types of foods people consume, and the nutrients they get out of them: micro-nutrients--those that come from plant sources, and macro-nutrients--those that come from animal sources. The documentary's thesis is that we are facing most of the modern health issues because our diet is biased toward animal sources, which provide us with only the macro-nutrients, and we miss out on all the goodness of the micro-nutrients. If we consumed more of the latter,  our health issues would go away, since our bodies know how to heal themselves if we get out of the way.

Since I am guilty of consuming mostly animal products, and shying away from anything green and fruits in general, I decided to try augmenting my food with intake of micro-nutrients. And since I am not a big fan of consuming them raw or cooked, I thought that getting them in the form of juice would make their consumption quite easy. And for that, I needed a blender that would turn fruits and vegetables into juice easily.

There are a lot of options on the market, but almost everyone I know sang praises for the Vitamix products. These blenders are rather expensive, but they are very powerful--equipped with a roughly 2 HP motor, are very durable, and are convenient to use and relatively easy to clean. I decided to get one, and it arrived promptly.

Excited, we went to the grocery store for some serious shopping of everything colored green, and a plethora of fruit. The experimentation began.

The first concoction was a random selection of oranges, bananas, carrots, kale, apples, and blueberries. After blending, the mixture had the unappealing color of duck poop, but despite the unappetizing color, the drink was relatively tasty, and most definitely filling. We ended up not eating lunch because the bananas made us quite full.

Encouraged by the results of the first batch, we decided to go green, and made another batch with cucumbers, celery, spinach, green peppers, a lime, and an apple. This time the result had an appetizing green color, and the texture and consistency were much better.  However, the taste was not good; it felt like eating a suspended finely chopped salad without the salad dressing or the chewing, and every sip sent shivers down our spines. We need better recipes. The juice of course obviated the need for dinner, and we were quite satisfied without the meal.

The next day we decided to do something more conventional: orange juice with a hint of apple. The mixture color was very appealing, just like orange juice, but much thicker, and definitely quite filling. It did not substitute breakfast, but we definitely ate much less than we usually do. There is something to this juicing after all.

I am looking forward to more experiments and concoctions, but I feel that we need to find good recipes so that the result is both edible and appealing. As to how augmenting our meals with juice will affect our health, we have to wait and see.