A Year in Juicing

By J. DeVoy

This is another eye-rolling health post that isn’t squarely about anything legal.  But, as someone who has seen other attorneys lose weeks, even months of their professional careers during their peak earning years, I’d say it’s something worth noting.  Health is cumulative.  The late night Wendy’s habit you (I) break today could mean hundreds of hours billed in your (my) 50’s at a higher billable rate, rather than being laid out in a hospital recovering from a heart attack.  Even if you have crappy genetics and are prone to cardiovascular disease, there is a tremendous difference between an angioplasty – which is practically an outpatient procedure at this point – and a massive multi-bypass procedure that can require weeks of recovery and months of additional physical therapy.  Generally speaking, you can’t make money when you’re dead.

Enter juicing.  Juicing disciples make a lot of claims that sound too good to be true, and additionally make statements that seem completely contradicted by science – stuff about fat being “inflammation” rather than stored excess energy, and talk about a “healing crisis” when you start juicing.  I thought it was mostly hippie crap.  Then I tried juicing and realized a lot of it was inexplicably true.

I’ve been juicing every day for about year.  It’s inexpensive, helped me lose (and keep off) body fat, and helped me consume a lot of vegetables I otherwise wouldn’t have had time to eat.  Every day, I drink enough fresh juice to fill a cup of Starbucks venti (large) iced coffee.  It costs me about $20 a week, and has lowered my overall food bill by replacing snacks and junk food.

Here’s the rundown:

How Much Does It Cost?

$50-60 for a starting juicer.  The Hamilton Beach Big Mouth juicer is highly recommended by Consumer Reports.  I recommend starting cheaply to make sure you like it and can keep up the habit.  I bought a $50 GE model when I started and blew out the engine within 9 months of daily use.  I then bought a significantly more expensive and durable Breville.

There are two main types of juicers: Fast (centrifugal) and slow (masticating or auger models).  I use centrifugal juicers because they are faster.  However, you will get more juice – but also more pulp – out of a masticating or auger-based juicer, particularly with leafy vegetables like kale.  I know that Keith Lee of Associate’s Mind has an amazing Omega juicer, and may be able to provide more information about slow juicers.  Slow juicers are more expensive, though, and start at a price point of several hundred bucks. Centrifugal juicers are cheaper, and can produce 24+ ounces of juice in seconds with minimal preparation.  The time to clean each type of juicer is about a wash.

If you’re new to juicing or unsure about it, it’s probably best to start with a less expensive centrifugal juicer.

What Does It Get Me?

I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, but noticed the benefits of juicing came in roughly three phases:

Months 1-3: Taking out the garbage.  This is when I noticed the most acute fat loss.  The first week was also fairly unpleasant.  Sparing readers the gory details, there are a lot of materials that shouldn’t be in your body that accumulate in your kidneys, liver, and intestines.  A week with as little as 8-12 ounces of fresh juice per day will flush them out.  This can also translate into a great cost savings, because your alcohol tolerance will be significantly reduced.

Months 3-6: Death of the sweet tooth.  I noticed that all cravings I had for sweet food disappeared.  While I wasn’t a junky for sweets before juicing, there would at least be a moment of hesitation when I decided not to buy Oreos.  After a few months, things that were once enjoyable in small doses, like ice cream and some other artificially flavored foods, were unbearably sweet.

Months 6-12: Rejection of bad foods.  My body has developed an internal stop against eating bad foods.  Note that these are not “bad” foods that scientists go back and forth on, like eggs.  Instead, this is about objectively bad foods that no reasonable person would think are healthy, like fried chicken.  After a few bites, my stomach no longer feels hungry.  I may end up starving later and wolfing down a salad, but my system has learned to send signals to my brain that it’s no longer hungry when confronted with unhealthy choices (for lack of a more scientific way of describing the process).

Ok, I Have A Juicer… Now What?

Once you have a juicer, the next logical step is using it.  I have never done a juice fast and don’t recommend anyone doing so without consulting with their doctor.  My recommendations stem from using a juicer as a way to ensure I get all the servings of vegetables and fruit I’m supposed to have on a daily basis, if not more, in addition to a solid food diet.

If you’re joining the juicing cult off of a normal American diet, you’re probably going to need to add in a fair amount of fruit to make the juice sweet enough to drink and be somewhat enjoyable.  While purists may mock you for needing the concoction to be sugary and sweet like some kind of dessert beverage, the reality is that you’re not going to enjoy and keep up with the habit unless you find it vaguely flavorful.  So, for the first few weeks or even months, be sure to keep some pineapple, oranges, pears, or extra apples around to liven up the taste until you’re used to it.  When juiced, spinach and kale can be pretty bitter to the uninitiated.

Bearing in mind that you can add the fruits I mentioned above when you’re starting, here are the recipes that I tend to use a lot:

Type 1
1 beet (with greens)
2 apples
1 lemon
6-10 carrots

Type 2
1 bunch of kale – or – 1 bunch of spinach
1 apple
1 lemon
1 cucumber
1 green pepper – or – 6-8 stalks of celery

Beet juice is great for cleaning out your liver.  I mostly use it on days I go to the gym, since it increases nitric oxide in the blood in the same way many nitrogen-based pre-workout supplements do.  Pomegranate seeds also work well for this purpose, but they – like other berries – can be difficult to juice effectively in a centrifugal juicer and tend to be swept into the pulp bin without being ground up.

That’s It?

For now, yes.  This is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be.  To get more information, I recommend the site Fit-Juice.

Anything Else I Should Do?

Tons, but entire blogs can and have been dedicated to those subjects.  My results discussed above didn’t happen in a vacuum, but I don’t think what I was doing had a tremendous effect on the juicing.  A recap of what I’ve personally done and recommend is below:

Diet/Workout

The best diet I’ve tried is intermittent fasting.  With intermittent fasting, what you eat is important, but keeping all of your calorie consumption within a period of 4-8 hours is the diet’s sine qua non.  This means no breakfast and no late-night snacks.  This is most effective on a high-protein, low-carb diet, but forgiving enough that eating more carbs than you should on any given day won’t send your progress into a tailspin

I work out three to four times a week and focus on doing heavy compound lifts.  Squats, deadlifts, and presses (bench, military) are at the core of the routine.  The vast majority of the exercises are done with a barbell.  This in particular is an area where there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.  I’ve found the information on Andy Morgan’s site, RippedBody.jp, to be very helpful despite the domain name.

Supplementation

I’ve tested a number of supplements in the last two years, some of which were more effective than others.  The ones I recommend without reservation and have written about before are Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Casein Protein and Apple Cider Vinegar.  There are others that may be useful that are discussed below:

Beta-Alanine – only useful if you’re really dedicated to lifting as much weight as possible.  It definitely works for helping you squeeze out the last few repetitions above and beyond what you normally would be able to do.  However, if working out is not your primary focus, the $20 per month needed to use the incredible amounts needed to see meaningful effects probably can be better used elsewhere.

Creatine – perhaps the best researched nutritional supplement, creatine helps the muscles retain fluid and results in gains in strength and endurance.  Some research has shown long-term liver effects in certain species of mice; those effects have not been replicated in other species of mice or in humans.  Since using creatine inhibits your liver and kidneys’ natural production of the substance, caution would dictate cycling on and off of it periodically.  I mostly use this for maintaining muscle strength and size when losing fat – a process that normally cannibalizes some muscle as well.

Thermogenics – there are a bunch of these on the market.  I’ve used VPX’s Black and Blue with good results.  I would recommend only using these in six-week bursts.  I also recommend talking to a doctor before starting, since it can cause an elevated heart rate and sleeping trouble.  I would only use these when I’d gone as far as I could losing fat with cardio and a lean diet.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – If the claims about TRT’s benefits are even 25% true, it’s something everyone over 40 should be aggressively pursuing, and anyone over 30 should be researching and teeing up for the future.  A very practical rundown of this therapy is available here.

Conclusion

Are you going to be better able to provide for your family and keep your career secure if you commit 20-90 minutes to preventative maintenance today, or are laid out in a hospital facing a lifetime of complications in a few years or decades?  On the high end, ninety minutes a day can sound like a lot.  However, 1) that will not be every single day, and 2) how much time are you spending watching TV or reading frivolous websites (like this one)?

Thanks to inflation and experience, your billable rate in 10 years should be higher than it is today.  By avoiding preventable and potentially serious health problems, you can make the most of it.

3 Responses to A Year in Juicing

  1. shg says:

    My great grandfather, Joseph Samuel Fein, laid on his death bed in Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey. He was dying of lung cancer. I asked him what it was like. He told me, “it’s hard to get laid.”

    He then motioned me close. Closer. Closer, and whispered in my ear, “give me a cigarette.” He was 109. He may have tried juice once when he needed to wash down his jelly donut.

    • J DeVoy says:

      Great story. They don’t make them like they used to. There are a lot of these stories about 90+ year-old relatives who smoked and partied right up to the very end, and they’re all very entertaining. However, I wouldn’t want to put money on having that kind of genetic profile.

  2. Keith Lee says:

    I received my Omega J8006 as a gift, I’m not sure if I would have blown the $200+ on it if left to my own devices. That being said, I love it.

    It juices anything you throw at it. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. Now having had juice from a centrifugal juicer and a masticating juicer, I prefer the juice produced by the masticating juicer. It provides a pulpier juice and produces very little froth that tends to come with a centrifugal juicer. That’s a matter of personal preference of course.

    The build quality on the J8006 is ridiculous. They provide a 15 year warranty on the device, which is rather unheard of for kitchen appliances. Looking at it on that timeline, the price becomes much more reasonable if you’re the type of person who would prefer to pay a premium for a device that will stand the test of time.

    It also comes with attachments to make pasta, and to convert it into a food processor. I’ve never used these attachments, but they are included and might be worth it to some people.

    I’ll also second the recommendation of Fit-Juice. It’s a great resource for people looking to get into juicing.

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