Here’s to drinking your fruit. Cheers.

Juicing:  verb (used with object), juiced, juic·ing.
to extract juice from.”
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/juicing

In 2013, I began a year+ long fitness journey. Nothing extraordinary or some crazy fad diet, just incremental changes over time that led to a 30 pound weight loss and a much healthier me. This fitness journey impacted me in many ways, most importantly, by helping me to be physically fit for my pregnancy.

All my life I have been a fairly thin person. But in 2012, as I finished a hectic post baccalaureate program in teaching, planned a wedding, and prepared for a cross country move (which also included a job search), my stress level sky rocketed…as well as my food intake.  My exercise regimen (if you consider dancing to the Michael Jackson game for the Wii an “exercise regimen”) disappeared. All I could think about was successfully tackling each major task on my plate. 

I was never really aware that I gained about 20 pounds.  It wasn’t until I saw photos from my wedding and honeymoon that I realized that I had really packed on some weight. Of course during the year I saw the scale increase in number, but I couldn’t believe that it had increased so drastically. How could I let this happen? In 2013, I went for a routine medical physical and found out that my triglycerides were higher than normal (not good). With the hope and intention of having a baby in the one to two year future, I knew I had to get my weight down and strength up in order to handle such a physically taxing responsibility.

With the help of my husband, I slowly began to incorporate an exercise routine into my life. It started with twenty minute walks once a week…then twice a week…then three times a week.  Afterwards, I joined a gym with a friend and fairly diligently (no one is perfect) went to the gym about two to three times a week.  Slowly, weight started to drop.  But it wasn’t until I changed my diet that I really saw dramatic change in my muscle tone and weight.   

In another posting, I will share exactly how I changed my diet.  But one adjustment that I believe helped me greatly on my weight loss journey was juicing. Now, I don’t mean cutting out all your meals and relying on juice to sustain you during the day.  That just isn’t me (and due to an underlying medical condition, I can’t cut my calories to that low level).  But I would use a juice as a nutritious mid-morning snack (replacing cookies) and occassionally as a dinner replacement (think about it, how many calories do you really need to sleep?).  Today, I’d like to share my favorite mid-morning snack juice.   It is super easy to make, particularly if you have a juicer.  I use a Breville juicer. Before I bought the juicer, I tried using a blender and then strained the juice out. Granted, I had a pretty weak blender, but that method of juicing was such a labor intensive & messy process for just a tiny trickle of juice. Doing that just two times made the Breville a worthwhile and justified expense for me. 

Now that I am pregnant, I juice not as a meal replacement, but as a supplement to my diet.  I repeat, I do not replace meals with juices. I drink juices occassionally to add to my daily fruit & nutrient intake. According to choosemyplate.gov (part of the FDA), the average adult should consume 2 cups of fruits EVERYDAY. The same amount is recommended for pregnant women. I don’t know about you, but it is hard to eat that much fruit a day. Drinking it in one or two drinks makes it so much easier to get all my fruit in.

Strawberry-Pineapple-Blueberry Juice

  • 1 pound/carton of strawberries
  • 1 pint/carton of blueberries
  • 1 pineapple
  • 20140803-110755-40075741.jpg

    1) Wash all of the fruit thoroughly 
    20140803-110004-39604751.jpg

    2) Cut the skin off of the pineapple and core the fruit. Slice into two inch chunks (small enough to fit into the spout of the juicer)

    3) Cut the stems off of the strawberries. 
    20140803-105905-39545812.jpg

    4) Add each fruit to the juicer, with a collection cup in place to catch/hold the juice.20140803-110342-39822662.jpg

    5) When ready, stir juice.  You can add water to dilute this sweet drink or to stretch it a bit.  Add some ice and enjoy!

    A few tips:

      1) Warning: this recipe uses three fruits that have a high sugar content. If sugar is not your friend, for whatever reason, try diluting the recipe with water. Same great taste with less sugar. I do not recommend this recipe for diabetics.
      2) Some juicers, like the Breville, leave a lot of residual fruit in the grinding area.  This fruit is really yummy and just a mushy form of the original food. I recommend either collecting the fruit and 1) eating it for a snack or 2) using it as a pie filler. This filling would be great for a summertime pie!
      3) I recommend washing all parts of your juicer right after you are done using the machine.  Although this adds more time immediately to your experience, you will thank yourself when you don’t have to scrub off dried fruit the next day.  If you are pressed for time, at least thoroughly rinse all parts of the juicer and put it to the side to wash later.

    I am not a doctor or nutritionist. I am sharing my personal opinions & my fitness journey. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet regimen.

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