Ellie Kirby
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In January 2017 I made quite a big change to my eating habits, from a vegetarian to a plant based diet which was 2/3 juicing. This blog is for everyone that’s been asking about the journey. How is started, what programs I watched and what I found out. On Instagram and Facebook there is a hashtag #RawTill4 where people only eat raw food until 4pm. It was and interesting way to start off and plenty of social media posts were there for my inspiration. 

Regardless of what you weigh, or the size clothes you wear, I strongly advocate that life is more about how you feeeeeel than the numbers on the scale or on the labels on your clothes. It’s difficult to set goals which are ‘I just want to feel good’ so we set goals such as ‘I want to wear a size 10 jeans’ or ‘I want to be 10 stone’. I wanted to feel healthier as I felt a bit sluggish and tired in the afternoons. 

On recommendation, I watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’. In the documentary, Joe Cross tells his story how he focussed so much more on his wealth than his health and had found that he had an autoimmune condition which medication was not helping. He decided to do a juice fast for 60 days. I watched episode 1 and 2, along with another called Food Choices

When Joe explained about the nutritional value of cooked food being about 90{ed159cecbb77fea5818615232e4de1df78190e31fc4ef13eb5bf38ea400c3a92} less than that of raw food, it got me thinking that my diet had almost no raw food in it at all. I am jealous of people who can chomp away on raw carrot, I am not a fan of the taste. Or raw anything for that matter!  However, juicing was something I could realistically do (I love the taste) and the amount of nutrients I could get in from one juice was way more than a meal. 

It wasn’t until Joe Cross said that we work for 8 hours a day (focussing on our wealth) but how long do we spend focussing on our health? The health of our bodies is really important, of course, this is the only vehicle we have for this life.  That’s what really made me sit up and pay attention.

So I decided on Jan 15th that I was going to trial 3 months on a plant based diet: juicing for breakfast and lunch then a vegan evening meal. That was the plan. I joined the Facebook support group of others who had watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and found the people on the group to be very helpful on week 1. 

Here’s what I found to be beneficial right away: 

  1. I was not having to think what to have for breakfast and lunch every day – I had more mental space
  2. As I was not cooking, there was a lot less mess to clear up, pans and baking trays and so on. 
  3. The shopping list was much easier to do, mainly from the fruit and veg aisle only
  4. Juicing took less time to prepare than food and I had more time for doing things I like better, like walks and reading
  5. I felt amazing after just 2 days. I woke up thinking ‘right, I need juice!’ 

The momentum to continue came very quickly for me because very quickly, I started to feeeeeeeeel good and I was not starving hungry. 

What Goes Into A Juice & How Do You Make Them?

I will write out here how I go about making my juices and the reasons why. Many of you will already have juicers and different equipment but I really do suggest, if you want to try this, that you do what feels right for you. My way of doing things might not be the way you prefer to do it. Just go with what you feel is right.

I started with a Breville Blender which was easy to make and take around with me. This was the easy no-parts-to-clean introduction to juicing that I needed. We kept this blender when I began sieving the pulp out, and it’s brilliant for taking to work or on my travels, even to friends houses.

I blend and sieve my juices, simply because I find juicers more difficult to clean out than a blender. Now we have a Kitchen Aid Blender which has 1.75L capacity so that when I make juice for myself and my partner there’s enough space for it all. We got to the point where we needed more space in the blender so upgraded to the Kitchen Aid when we needed to. 

In week 1, I blended the ingredients and drank the ‘juice’ blended with the pulp still in it (which is classed as a smoothie, not a juice) where a juicer would take the pulp out. I made this decision because I did not want to find myself hungry and the pulp fills your stomach in the beginning. (One thing I can’t bear, is being starving hungry!) 

Let’s get on to the recipes.

Morning Juice – Green 

2 Apples, 1 Lemon, Handful Spinach, Handful Kale, 2 Inches Celery (+ 1/2 Avocado)

  • Cut up the apple, leave the skin on, and put in the blender with a handful of spinach and a handful of kale and the celery. 
  • Chop the top and bottom off the lemon, and chop off the peel. Add to the blender. 
  • Add 300ml water and blend for around 2 minutes. 

I use a large jug and put a sieve in the top and pour the mixture into the sieve. It keeps the pulp in the top and lets the juice run through. If you’re starting off you might want to drink it just as it is. If it’s not sweet enough for you and you want to add a few chunks of frozen pineapple or mango then that’s a great way to overcome and taste issues.

  • Whilst the juice is being sieved, chop an avocado in half and spoon out half of it into the blender jug.
  • When the juice is sieved through, add the juice back into the blender to be mixed with the avocado. This makes the juice a bit thicker and creamier. 
  • Empty the pulp into the bin (or if you want, keep it for soups!) and when the avocado and juice have blended, pour through the sieve again. I don’t like bits in my juice and there may be the odd bit of avocado that needed sieving out. 
  • Drink it and go! 

If I had some left over then I was taking it to work with me in a bottle. What I can advise you is that if the bottle is not full and there is any air left in it, the juice will go off, and it tastes awful even 30 minutes after making it. I recommend making it and drinking right away!

Lunchtime Receipe – Pink / Red

2 Apples, 1 Lemon, 1/2 Carrot, Beetroot, 2 Inches Celery (+ Avocado)

(Method is very similar to the green juice just ingredients different!)

  • Cut up the apple, leave the skin on, and put in the blender with the carrot and the beetroot. Use raw beet, as much as you want in there. I would cut up a raw beet into about 6 different bits because I am not overly keen on the taste of it. 
  • Chop the top and bottom off the lemon, and chop off the peel. Add to the blender. 
  • Add 300ml water and blend for around 2 minutes. 
  • Sieve
  • Add avocado and sieved juice to blender
  • Blend again
  • Enjoy!

If you want more recipes for more variety in juicing, Joe Cross has his book ‘The Reboot With Joe Juice Diet’ which gives a lot of the scientific information that the documentary does with some recipes in there too.

Weight Loss

On 15th January I was 10st 5lbs. On 4th April I was 9st 8lb. It’s not a huge weight loss, but it showed quite a lot in my clothes, and my shape changed considerably.

Lots of people said they liked the chart – the app comes with the Withings Scales. The scales link by bluetooth to your phone and when you step on, it records all the data for you, including body fat percentages and body composition (water, etc). I do highly recommend having a good set of scales.

To be honest it’s been an easy way for me to lose some of the excess pounds I wanted to and I really do feel better.  (It’s all about the feeling. I’m sticking by that!)

Shape Changes

I was wearing a Size 10 Oasis Jeans (my favourite, the Oasis Cherry, black jeans that never fade!) and by the middle of March I fit into a Size 8. Comfortably as well!

My shape has changed the most round my stomach and waist, I’ve gone from 29″ waist to 26.5″ waist in the short time.

What Do You Eat For Evening Meal?

Usually in the evening I will have soup. Simply because I love hot food, many people who watch the documentary will go for a juice-only ‘reboot’ as Joe Cross calls it, I didn’t think I could. So I did what I thought would be best – and had soup in the evenings. Except for Wednesdays (when I have my stepdaughter) and Friday night which is date night where we always eat out.

There are many vegan soup recipes available and you can make batches at a time and keep them for future use in the fridge or freezer. I have had to call a few restaurants where we eat the most and asked what their vegan options are. Vegan is becoming more and more popular and this week (last week of April, 2017) The Harvester and Pizzi have just launched a vegan option on their menu, it is becoming a lot more mainstream to eat a plant based diet.

What a lot of people ask me is: ‘Don’t you miss eating food’? To which I can honestly say – I don’t. When I eat food and particularly carbohydrates, I notice how sleepy I feel afterwards and how full I feel for a long time. I also notice how nutrient-rich the juices taste, and how nutrient-poor some foods are.

Tea, Coffee, & Other Bits and Bobs

On a plant based diet there is no dairy, so I had to find a way to be able to drink tea without milk. Big step! I tried every single milk alternative that was available and I was surprised at the results. If you’re used to having dairy already, then cashew milk is a great place to start because it isn’t that different in tea. Either cashew, or oat milk. Cashew milk on cereal and so on you can’t taste the difference from cows milk.

Soya milk is a bit different tasting but it’s more readily available in shops like Costa and so on if you are looking for a dairy free alternative when out and about ask for Soya. There are dairy free butters (Pure for example) and cheeses which are made from coconut and not dairy. Bear this in mind for preparing the evening meal if you want to do plant-based.

I gave up dairy as an experiment to see if it helped my skin and I can say it does. I used to drink tea first thing in the morning and about 5 cups in the day. I exchanged my morning tea for a pint of water (yes, really, that was a big deal!) and started to notice how I woke up much faster and clearer headed.

Pitfalls

One of the main pitfalls I found was not being able to juice or eat plant based whilst I was out and about. After a few weeks I found that I automatically started to plan my life a bit more around what I wanted to eat. For example, if I was going shopping into Bristol or Taunton, I would have a juice in the morning and another one at 11am before I left. I could then carry some nuts and seeds in my bag to snack on if I needed to, I could have a juice then when I came back.

3 Months Later

I said I would be doing this for 3 months as a trial to see how I feel. I can say that I will be continuing to juice for breakfast and lunch, as I find it so easy to do during the day. Juicing has made me realise that I don’t need to eat a huge dinner in the evening as my energy is much more consistent from having so many more nutrients.

The more programs I have seen about food (Food Choices, Food matters, Forks Over Knives),  the more I have decided to stick by my decision to eat a plant based diet for the foreseeable future and my family have decided to join me too which is always nice.

As always, if you have any questions, or you want to get in touch then my details are on the contact page.