Every year I come up with new ideas for New Year’s Resolutions, and like most other people, I never stick to them. But, this year has been different. At least for the last two months. Buying my bicycle nearly two years ago was a life changer for me. Particularly last year as I was using it a lot more to get around, run errands and also for exploring. As you know I love street food and cycling enabled me to go off and find new food vendors. I also love cooking, but I found myself going out to eat more and more. It got to the extent that I stopped going to the supermarket each week to buy groceries and was eating almost entirely on the street. In Thailand, going out to eat is a lot cheaper than cooking for yourself and so in the process I was saving a lot of money. But, that came at a cost. I didn’t realize what was going on at the time, but last year I was ill with the flu quite a few times as well as having various aches and pains. It wasn’t until the end of the year that I started putting two and two together.
Eating Thai food is generally very healthy. But, you have to be careful if your only source of nutrients are coming from these road side vendors. When people started posting graphics on Facebook showing daily recommended allowances of fruit and vegetables it started to dawn on me that for the past year I had eaten very little in the way of fruit and vegetables. Doing a bit more research I soon realized that this was probably why I had been ill so often last year. Very few street food dishes have vegetables, and when they do, you are not getting that much. Around the same time, I also started seeing people on Facebook talking about juicing as a good way to get all the vitamins and minerals that you need each day. But, the thing that really got me to sit up and notice was the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. It is about an overweight Australian who takes a challenge to only drink fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days. For me, that movie was an inspiration and I decided straight away that my New Year’s Resolution should be to juice at least once a day.
The next step was to buy a juicer. Which I must admit gave me a headache for a while as there are not only different kinds of juicers, like masticating juicers and centrifugal juicers, but each one has many different brands to choose from. Roadside juice bars in Thailand use the much cheaper blender which you can get for around 1,000 Baht. The next one up are the centrifugal juicers. These ones separate the pulp from the juice. Prices start from about 4,000 Baht. The final ones are masticating juicers which “chews” the fruit at a slower speed making sure that you get every drop of juice. With the centrifugal juicer you need to drink the juice straight away but the juice from the masticating juicer you can store for longer. Unfortunately you are not going to be able to pick up one of these for less than 12,000 Baht. Over the new year holiday, I visited Central department store where they had a selection of centrifugal juicers. In the end I went for the Philips Juicer that had been reduced from 7,000 Baht down to 3,999 Baht. A quick search on Amazon showed that quite a few people were happy with this model. One tip when buying a juicer, you need to get one that is easy to clean. If its too much of a pain then you will probably use it less than less. Mine is easy. I can juice and do a clean-up within ten minutes.
So, I started juicing at the start of the new year. My plan was to do a 7-10 day juice detox, but first I wanted to prepare myself. I had read accounts of people going through severe withdrawal symptoms on the first few days which caused them to quit. I didn’t want to be like that. Plus I wanted to do my homework first to find out what I could and couldn’t juice and what fruits offered the best vitamins and minerals. One of the things that I learned quite quickly is that guava fruit has five times more Vitamin C than oranges. I also learned about the benefits of other fruits like mangoes and pineapples as well as vegetables such as kale and carrots. Right from day one I substituted my unhealthy breakfast for a juice but had normal meals for lunch and dinner. Most days I juiced two or three times depending on whether I felt hungry or was feeling tired. At the same time that I started juicing I also quit coffee. Surprisingly, juicing every day meant that I was never fatigued and easily lasted the day without any desire for coffee.
For the last two months I have had fun not only juicing a large variety of fruit and vegetables, but also exploring local markets for the first time. Normally I buy my fruit and vegetables with my weekly shopping at Foodland. But, you can pay twice as much there as you do elsewhere. With my bicycle, I was able to visit local markets whenever I needed to re-stock during the week. But, don’t make the mistake in thinking that these markets are cheaper than Big C and Tesco Lotus. Take carrots for an example, at Paknam Market they are usually 35-40 Baht a kilo. At Big C they are selling for 26-27 Baht at the moment. But then, other things like kale and bananas are cheaper down the market. It didn’t take me long to remember what is a good price. Another thing to remember is that down the market they might have two or three piles of fruit like guava. The cheapest pile at only 20 Baht a kilo were apparently “ugly”. As I was going to juice them I didn’t really mind. Same goes for oranges. Sometimes the 25 Baht a kilos ones are just as good as the ones double the price.
I had been juicing for about six weeks and was feeling great. I had a lot more energy during the day and I wasn’t missing coffee at all. So, I decided that the time was right to start my juice detox. This is sometimes called a “reboot” which I think sums up the process very nicely. There is a website called Reboot with Joe that accompanies the documentary that I mentioned earlier. Most people go for a 7-10 day juice detox. As I had heard that the first few days might be tough, I decided to begin during the recent long weekend here in Thailand. This would enable me to take it easy as my body adjusts to this new routine. However, I think doing the six weeks preparation, and also quitting coffee and other vices in advance, meant that I was able to sail through the long weekend with little difficulty. In fact the days have been passing quickly and I have already reached Day 8 as I write this. As I am feeling great I will finish the full ten days which is this Sunday. At the moment, my plan next week is to go back to juicing for breakfast but having normal meals for the rest of the day. But, I will also cook more often.
UPDATE: Click here to see my blog for two months later.