Juicing with Naaz

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I asked my friend Naaz if she would like to guest blog on happygut, and she agreed – yay! She has gotten into juicing and is crazy bananas about it! It was only fitting then, that she did a juicing blog! (omigoodness, enough with the exclamation marks Kiran!)

Naaz’s love for juicing was one of my main motivations for getting my own juicer (got it for a fraction of the retail price on kijiji! what, what!!!) and I am super excited to start. Naaz outlines a fabulous how-to-start-juicing-guideline.

Now before you read about juicing, I think it’s very important to talk about how awesome Naaz is. My friends, she is a beauty with a heart of gold. She is a dancer, yoga instructor and, o yea, a three time cancer survivor. She is a gracious warrior, if I ever met one 🙂

I could go on forever about my dear friend, but I’ll stop here – after all, this blog is hers and about juicing 😉

My Love Affair With Juice
by Naaz Ali

I wasn’t always in love with juicing – In fact, I wouldn’t even consider us being “in like”. Let’s just say I tolerated juice when I had to, and in return, juice tolerated me right back. I didn’t particularly care for the amount of prep work (oh, the endless chopping), the way it tasted (my taste buds were far too accustomed to sugar), the stomachaches afterwards (I’ll spare you the gory details), and the incessant cleanup. I was on and off the juicing bandwagon for many years. That all changed when, earlier this year, I came across Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy, Diet”, and my relationship with juice was changed forever!

As a 3-time cancer survivor, a yoga teacher, and someone who has become very particular about what goes into her body, Kris Carr’s words leapt off the page and sang to my very soul. One of the things I absolutely loved was how she understood that juicing needed to be taken slowly. As a woman who tends to jump into things headfirst (sometimes with little or no thought given to the subject at hand), this was a concept I knew I had to learn to embrace. I started following her diet slowly, listening to my body as I went. I began a semi-raw, vegan, gluten-free, anti-inflammatory diet with green juice in the morning and a smoothie in the afternoon. As expected, my body experienced some hurdles with the new diet, but knowing it was normal, taking extra supplements and being kind to myself really eased the transition.

After about 6 months of being on the diet, I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy, I lost weight and I feel happier and more grounded. One of the best parts is that I fell in love with my juice! Now I can’t wait to have my green juice in the morning and I switched out my smoothie for even more juice in the afternoon. I’m in love with the color, the smooth texture, and the hint of sweetness and tartness in every sip. The feeling of my cells soaking up all that goodness just can’t be beat. When I’m feeling “off” or tired, I know all I need is a nice big glass of juice and some R&R, and I’m as good as new. Juice has become my soul food and an amazing BFF!

So for you, Happygut readers, I want to share my go-to juice recipes, along with some tips and tricks for happier juicing! If you are just starting out, I recommend the Transition Cocktail. Stay on that for as long as you feel is right for your body. I stayed with the Transition Cocktail for about 4 months before I ventured out into further juicing territory. And above all, enjoy! Juicing is a wonderful gift to your body and your soul.  It may take time for you to adjust to adding juice into your routine, but once you do, it’s just the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Transition Cocktail
1 cucumber
3-4 stalks of celery

Divine Blend
1 cucumber
4 stalks of celery
1 quarter of a lemon (rind and all)
1 apple (I like to experiment with the fruit, try pear, honeydew or pineapple!)
3-4 leaves of kale
1 piece of ginger (start small, you can always add more!)

Orange Crush
6-8 carrots
4 stalks of celery
1 quarter of a lemon
1 apple
1 piece of ginger

Tips and Tricks For Happier Juicing

1) Get a good juicer!

This may seem like a no brainer, but until I bought a high quality juicer, I had no idea that you didn’t have to struggle for your juice! I love my Breville Compact Juicer. It is wonderful, it has a wide mouth, so you don’t have to chop your veggies or fruits, super easy to clean and is on the lower end of the price points for juicers. Some juice purists may disagree that it doesn’t deliver optimum nutrients because it has a centrifugal motor, but in my opinion it does the job I need it to do for the price that is right for me. J

2) Start slow.

I know I have mentioned it before, but it is so important to ease into your new juicing lifestyle. When you feel ready to move beyond the Transition Cocktail, take your time. Add an apple for a few weeks and see how it feels, then add another vegetable. Your body will thank you for this, believe me!

3) Be mindful.

After you make your juice, take it to your favorite spot in your house and drink slowly. Savor every sip and notice how your body takes in your juice. You might actually feel your cells soaking up all the love you’re giving it. This makes for a very happy you, and is a beautiful way to start your day.

4) Be gentle with yourself.

Yes, you might go through some unpleasantness as you begin your juicing journey. The symptoms may vary, but if you’ve been on a bad diet for awhile, are accustomed to sugar of any kind (this includes honey), or have a weak digestive system, then do be prepared for your body to have a bit of a reaction. Diarrhea was not uncommon for me in the first month. The important thing is to listen to your body and stick with it. If you want to lessen the amount of juice you take in the beginning, I say go for it. Do what is right for you and again, your body will thank you!

You can follow Naaz on Twiiter: @naaz_a

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