By Meredith Sheldon | Photo by Sincerely Gone Photography

Muscle pain, lethargy and body aches were everyday symptoms for Cherie Calbom. After endless doctor visits, she felt hopeless, struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Then, she tried juicing.

After five days of drinking fruits and vegetables, Calbom, also known as the Juice Lady, expelled a tumor from her colon. Although this initial cleanse was not supervised by a physician, it prompted her journey to better health.

While the celebrity juicer aims to help others explore the benefits she experienced, she said it is crucial to know how to juice safely to fuel your body properly.

Why juice?

People juice to lose weight, cleanse, stop overeating and kick-start a balanced diet, said Marta Ferraz Valles, a registered and licensed dietitian at Y Nut, a nutrition private practice in Gainesville. By juicing, you reduce your caloric intake and replace potentially harmful foods and substances with beneficial fruits and vegetables.

Those with poor diets will see benefits such as weight loss, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, higher energy and better mood, she said. However, if you eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, you are already getting the vitamins, fiber and nutrients you need and are less likely to see direct benefits from juicing.

Is it safe?

If you are looking to do a juice cleanse, speak to an expert before starting. Valles said that the body is always cleansing, but foods such as flaxseeds, beets, kale and broccoli can aid the process. Adding these foods to your diet, either raw or in a juice, will help your body detox and heal. If consuming beneficial superfoods raw is unappetizing to you, then you may try juicing them, but if you are already consuming these key foods, then you may not need to juice.

Juice is not a meal replacement. It can be a short-term detox, but not a permanent long-term lifestyle as juices do not provide all the nutrients your body needs. “Juicing not only removes fiber, which is necessary to feed our good bacteria, but it also removes certain phytonutrients that are bound to the fiber,” said Valles. Juices can be used as healthful snacks, but in the long term, Valles said that it is always better to eat your calories instead of drinking them.

Getting started

The most important step, Calbom said, is to find the right juicer. She recommends getting one that is easy to use and clean, such as a centrifugal juicer. The easier to operate, the more likely you will use it.

The next step on your juicing to-do list is to find tasty recipes. If your juices taste bitter, you will be less likely to drink them.

The final step of your juicing journey is commitment. Calbom suggested incorporating juices with meals. Pair one with a sandwich for lunch, or with a hardboiled egg for breakfast. Too busy? Prepare juices the night before and freeze them in mason jars.

Looking for recipes?

Try one of these five recipes, courtesy ofThe Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies” to get started!

Happy Beet

2–3 carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed

1 cucumber, peeled if not organic

1 apple

1/2 beet with leaves

Cut your produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Juice ingredients and stir. Pour into a

glass and drink as soon as possible.

Serves 1.

Moroccan Tomato
1 handful of parsley
1 green lettuce leaf
2 tomatoes
1 small handful of cilantro
1-inch chunk ginger root
1 cucumber, peeled if not organic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Dash of paprika
Dash of cinnamon
Cut your produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Wrap the parsley in the lettuce leaf and push
through the juicer slowly. Juice the tomatoes, cilantro, ginger root and cucumber. Stir
in the herbs and spices. Pour into glasses and drink as soon as possible.

Serves 2.

The Big Apple

2 apples

1 handful of spinach
1 lemon, peeled if not organic
1-inch chunk ginger root
Cut your produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Juice ingredients and stir. Pour into a
glass and drink as soon as possible. Serves 1.

Fitness Combo
1 handful of parsley
1 handful of spinach
2 lettuce leaves
3–4 carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed
1 small beet with greens
1 rib of celery with leaves
1/4 green pepper
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1-inch chunk ginger root
Wrap the parsley and the spinach in the lettuce leaves. Cut all the ingredients to fit your juicer’s
feed tube. Push lettuce wraps through the juicer, followed by the remaining ingredients. Stir and serve as soon as possible.

Serves 2.

Mint-Chard Lemonade
1 small handful of mint
3 chard leaves
2 apples
1 lemon, peeled if not organic
Cut the produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Wrap the mint in a chard leaf and push
through your juicer. Follow with the remaining ingredients. Pour into a glass and
drink as soon as possible.

Serves 1–2.