I don’t usually jump on bandwagons, but I’m juicing

I am not one to normally jump on the bandwagon.

In fact, I usually do a ton of research and soul searching before making big decisions or buying into trendy ideas. However, I have recently embraced an entirely new way of consuming my fruits and vegetables – I’m juicing.

It started when a relative told me about a cleanse fast that she was doing. It consisted of a regimented diet, visits to a chiropractor and numerous “juice” drinks. Not the artificially flavored, sugar-infused juice from a supermarket, but rather, a delectable concoction of fresh vegetables and fruits prepared in the luxury of your own home.

I was intrigued by the juicing part of her cleanse, and started doing my own research. Any diet that calls for strictly coordinated meals or specific foods and quantities is an automatic turn off for me. But the idea of making my own healthy drinks, dramatically increasing my veggie intake and possibly losing weight at the same time, caught my attention.

I devoured the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” It inspired me to take control of my health and recklessly abandon vitamin supplements and diet fads, in exchange for a new way of looking at and living my life. The movie weaves a dramatic tale of how so many illnesses, autoimmune disorders and obesity can be traced directly to the copious amounts of overly processed and refined foods we consume.

Immediately, I jumped on the computer and began researching what type of juicer I was going to purchase. It did not take long for me to settle on a masticating model by Omega. Masticating juicers literally chew up virtually any type of fruit or vegetable to a pulp; then extract the juice out while preserving the fibers to ensure the highest content of nutrients in the final juice output. One of the most desirable qualities of this type of juicer is the fact it can seamlessly handle just about everything – from ginger root to wheatgrass – and it can even make pasta, baby food and churn nuts into butters!

You might wonder why I would be interested in ginger root or wheatgrass. Ginger root has long been hailed as a natural remedy and preventative treatment for many ailments … including heartburn, cancer, migraines and asthma. Wheatgrass is packed with natural vitamins and beneficial amino acids. It helps build blood, cleanse the body and boosts your immune system.

So my journey began! We’ve always been big proponents of a balanced diet. On any ordinary day, you will find our fruit bowl filled with apples and bananas and our veggie drawers stacked with a nice variety of peppers, tomatoes, onions and lettuce. The amount of vegetables and fruits required to produce 16 ounces of juice is pretty substantial, however. It is amazing to watch my Omega machine transform a gigantic bowl of prepared fruits and veggies into a pile of pulp and a pitcher full of healthy juice.

Some more research helped me prepare my initial shopping list. Some vegetables I’ve never purchased or even considered consuming before filled my cart … kale, beets, spinach. I added bountiful amounts of carrots, celery and cucumbers. My fruits include Granny Smith apples, organic oranges, pears, blueberries, avocados, pineapple and mangos.

I filled my sink with a cup of white vinegar and cold water, where I let my stash soak for 30 minutes to wash away any pesticides or dirt. I tried to purchase organic items, but that is not always possible and it can be cost prohibitive.

Hours later, my counters were adorned with drying fruits and vegetables in an array of colors and sizes – a rainbow of health. I felt like a raided a garden center and purchased an entire season’s crop! My excitement mounted as I added the items one at a time into my shiny new juicer. First a chunk of ginger root and a handful of homegrown wheatgrass, followed by a powerhouse assortment of all natural goodies.

The first sip was a bit shocking, and the first days were definitely a period of adjustment. It is a stun to the system to suddenly introduce so many healthy nutrients in an all natural form. I’ve got to say though, I feel fantastic!

I am not a fanatic, and I am certainly not about to give up an occasional Lindt chocolate or my favorite “Veggie Benedict” from the Riverhouse Café. However, I am certainly excited that I’ve discovered juicing and all the amazing health benefits it offers. I’d recommend to any friend or foe spending 90 minutes watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”

It may not inspire you to jump on the juicing bandwagon, but it will certainly give you insight into your own health journey and inspiration to pursue positive change.