Straight up, I'm what you would call a health nut. I've never smoked, I seldom drink alcohol, and I’ve never done drugs despite being a child of the 60's...oops, now I'm dating myself :-). I've lived a fairly active life, I've eaten well, I've tried a variety of self-healing techniques, and I've read lots of books on living a healthy lifestyle.
Nothing impacted my life permanently and deeply until I started drinking fresh extracted juices.
Over 4 decades of my adult life, I tried many, many diets and lifestyle changes including eating vegetarian for 12 years during the 80’s. I spent most of my life preparing my own meals in my own kitchen. I’ve been very active throughout my life…playing sports and dancing and exercising through yoga, race walking, weight training and using a treadmill.
Despite all this effort to stay in shape and manage my weight, by the time my 60th birthday had passed me by, I had spent well over 40 years suffering from regular bouts of knock-me-down migraine headaches and I was 45 pounds overweight.
Both issues were only getting worse with every passing year and I had no idea how to change my situation. So naturally when I started juicing my primary objectives were to cut down on the excess weight I was carrying around and, hopefully, reduce the migraine headaches. When I started this journey, I had no idea what was in store for me in terms of weight loss or managing the migraines. Much to my surprise within just a couple of years everything changed dramatically – my weight, the migraine suffering and my diet.
Because fresh juices deliver pure nutrition to the body, once I incorporated them into my dietary habits and experienced the healing effects of juice fasting, my daily food choices naturally shifted to eating foods my body could actually use to thrive and function at an optimum level. I had my first homemade fresh juice in January 2013 and experienced my first juice fast in March 2013 which lasted 10 days. I remain to this day an avid juicer and drink freshly extracted juice every day as well as juice fasting 7-10 days every 3 months as the seasons change.
Juicing changes everything.
Over a period of about 16 months, my diet changed to eating real, whole foods, mostly plant-based, raw or cooked, organic as much as possible, as well as naturally raised meats and poultry or wild caught fish but limited to 2-3 times per week. I virtually eliminated soy products, dairy milk and dairy milk products from my diet…including cheese which I love…as well as minimizing wheat products.
Today I do not use table salt – only pink Himalayan salt – I cook with sesame, grapeseed and coconut oils because they can withstand high heat. I use olive oil, hemp and flax seed oils with balsamic or apple cider vinegar and fresh herbs on my salads and I make all my own salad dressings. I do not use white granulated or powdered sugar or refined brown sugar and rarely use honey, even raw unfiltered honey due to my sugar sensitivities. I use organic raw blue agave nectar, pure maple syrup, coconut palm sugar or homemade date syrup when I do use sweeteners. I do not use refined white flours and rarely use wheat-based flours of any kind. I use almond flour or coconut flour, sometimes oat or buckwheat flours.
I drink smoothies, mostly green smoothies made with water, usually 3-4 times per week. I read labels and do not buy anything that has ingredients I don’t understand because my body doesn’t understand them either. I eat organic as much as possible and our latest project is to raise more of our own food which is a real challenge in Wyoming with its extremely short growing season.
The best part is that my meals are delicious, and I eat as much as I want. I don’t diet, I don’t count anything. I don’t weigh or measure portions. I am what people might call a “foodie”. I love to eat but my food is now nutrient-rich so I naturally eat less. My food is more satisfying, more filling and more varied than at any other time in my life. We enjoy preparing our own Mexican food, Thai food, and lately, East Indian food which is to die for. And desserts are yummier than I ever thought possible. And… I look and feel great!!
Here’s some of the incredible results that these “Healthy Changes” have made in my life.
Thanks to juicing, juice fasting, and eating primarily homemade, real foods, as of July 2014, I lost all of those extra 45 lbs which might not sound like much but I am only 5’2” tall and believe me…that is plenty of extra weight to carry around. AND what's really amazing to me is...I've easily maintained that weight ever since. Just for a little perspective, I went from a size 16 pant to a size 8. Crazy, huh? Well, it is to me!
I am still a little bit in shock when I look in the mirror or see a photo of myself. It's really quite gratifying. And, if I do say so myself, totally awesome for someone like me who started this at age 63. No one expects a woman that age, deep into her menopausal years, to return to her 20-year-old weight. It's just expected that we will get a little "frumpier" in our "senior years" or for you guys out there...to end up with your "beer belly", even if you don't drink beer!
Certainly, my doctor never thought it was possible nor ever suggested it. In fact, after I had lost the first 25 lbs, he told me only 3% of the adult population in the U.S. is the same weight that they were in their 20’s or 30’s. So he was thrilled by that achievement. I just smiled and said I planned to lose at last another 10 lbs and to my great surprise, I lost an additional 20 pounds!! That put me at my college weight which I had not ever weighed again in my adult life until 2014. I had achieved the impossible in my view, and perhaps even more incredible to me is that I’ve easily stayed within 5 lbs of that weight to this day.
And there's more...Something I never thought possible has also changed.
I've been aware of my food addictions and purely emotional eating habits for decades, but that awareness alone could not help me change my behavior around foods, especially sweets. Juice fasting paved the way for me to eliminate my cravings for unhealthy foods especially sugar-laden sweets to which I was seriously addicted. As a result, I have enjoyed the year-end holiday seasons without gaining any weight and without feeling the need to eat every piece of fudge or cookie in sight.
In fact, when I was still in my weight-loss phase, I had a shocking experience of losing weight over the holidays! I would usually gain 6-7 lbs from October to January. Let me tell you, waking up on the 6th of January and weighing in at 2 lbs less than I weighed on the prior October 1st convinced me that I was finally doing something right with my eating habits.
This was a real life-changing experience for me because I no longer had to figure out what diet to go on in January to get rid of the weight I gained between Thanksgiving and New Year’s…something I dreaded for 43 years of my adult life! I don’t have to do that anymore…period. That’s real freedom!
And speaking of freedom, there’s even more good news!! How about freedom from the migraines!!
At my worst, I was having migraines 4-5 times a week. I was under a doctor’s care, on daily prescription meds to prevent them which wasn’t working so I was forced to practically live on heavy-duty migraine prescription drugs to keep them at bay. I was miserable to say the least.
I finally reached out to one of the Naturopathic Doctors who was part of our certification program faculty staff to see if he could help me. Within 90 days, he essentially brought the migraines to a stop. The treatment was to heal my gut from damage caused over several decades by an overgrowth of Candida yeast which feeds off sugar. I’ve written an entire Blog about that experience which you can read here – but here’s the critical point. I could only go through this treatment successfully because I no longer had the addiction to sugar that I had since I was 17 years old. Without question, juicing ultimately opened that door for me to finally end my 48-year struggle with that debilitating pain.
So now I am passionate about wanting others to have this sort of transformational shift in their relationship with food and their health…whatever that experience might mean for them. Once your body is relieved of the burden placed on it from the unnatural foods predominant in our culture today, healing permeates every aspect of your life restoring balance not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well.
That's why my husband and I are now Certified Juice Therapists and why we started our business, "Healthy Changes". To open the door for someone, perhaps like you to see what’s possible in your health and in your life that you think might be impossible for you right now.
I’m living proof that the impossible is possible and… it’s never too late to start enjoying amazing good health.
We look forward to sharing our knowledge, our guidance and our stories as well as some healthy challenges to inspire and motivate you to get a handle on your health through simple healthy changes now.
We love to hear from our readers so please share your own experience or let us know what you’d like to know more about on your own journey to better health and vitality. Please JOIN our Facebook Group, Juicing for Life Changing Results or reach out to us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.