One of my favourite online pastimes is Pinterest. I have a board I named, ‘health drinks.’ These nifty drinks can be easily made in my blender with stuff I have in my veggie bin. So, I make green drinks that are supposed to do a number of great things for my body.
I was attracted by the flashy Pinterest headlines that I know are ‘screaming’ with buzz words to make those of us (of all ages) with paunchy bellies, bubble butts, and wobbly thighs sit up and take notice. Supposedly, to ‘reduce belly fat’, they offer several juice recipes that include some version of grated ginger, cucumber, celery, parsley, lemon juice, pineapple, garlic, aloe vera juice or sometimes chunks of carrots, spinach, turmeric, cabbage, apple cider vinegar and some recipes ask you to include bananas, apple slices or honey too. They all claim that you should drink it before you go to bed or that you should drink it first thing in the morning for seven days (not six, not eight!)
At first, my reaction was “sure…right…” - totally sceptical. I believe that if loosing belly fat was so easy, then EVERYONE would have known this long ago and would be doing it regularly just like we all regularly use hand sanitizers, multivitamins or breath mints. There are no ‘great secrets’ to losing weight or being fit. You have to eat less calories that you take in, you need to sleep well, drink water, avoid fatty foods and you need to exercise. Every single diet or “lose weight fast” plan has lots of words that boil down to just that.
The recipes I found on Pinterest were interesting because they cost nothing AND they involve veggies that are good for you in various ways. It is true that some of those spices (like turmeric) needed for the health drink recipes are anti-inflammatory. It is true that there are iron and vitamins in most of what they want you to mix up in the blender or brew as a tea.
I was told that various combinations of those things mentioned above in fact, cleanse the system, particularly the colon and bowels. When this happens, the stomach can seem to deflate, not necessarily because ‘fat’ is lost, but because ‘stuff’ is passed through the intestines and out.
Now that makes sense. Losing fat is a long-term, hard won thing, not a one week, drink-a-green-beverage gimmick.
So, I tried it out to see.
Using my blender, I mixed half of a cucumber, a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, a handful of parsley, one long celery stick, a small can of pineapple bits, along with some of the juice from the can. And, I added ice cubes to make it a smoothie because that is my preference. I added a tablespoon of protein powder to the mixture because I found that increased protein in my diet makes me avoid ‘feeling hungry’ (that causes me to over-eat or snack between eating times).
Folks, I drank a juice glass full of that green concoction every morning before work each day for a week (I sip on a one litre water bottle all day long). Within two days, I was going to the bathroom regularly – food in, ‘stuff out’. Things came out more easily, if you get my drift. My desire to snack, eat chocolate, chips or slam my face into a plate of brownies was minimal that week.
To measure my ‘development’, I put on a pair of tight jeans before I started my green juice week and the same pair after the last day. I testify to you today, that I could put a couple of fingers in the waistline of those jeans by the end of the week.
But, here is the thing: I didn’t lose fat as the ads on Pinterest claim, but I did lose ‘fluids and stuff’ in my belly and intestines. I felt less bloated because I was less bloated.
Still, there is value to all of this. Why not have cleaner intestines and bowels? Why not feel less bloated? Why not kill the worse of the munchies that make most me snack too much? Bring on the green juice!