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Pass the glass: Fountain City man forsakes turkey for homemade juices

Tis the season for turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. But for one Knoxville man, it’s juice — just juice — all season long.

Josh Adams, 37, of Fountain City, decided, after taking a recent health assessment, that he would search for a way to improve its outcomes. He has committed himself to drinking juice — by juicing fruits and vegetables — for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 60 days.

“(My) health assessment recently said that I was at risk for diabetes, colon cancer and heart disease. I am fighting back for my health and longevity,” said Adams.

Adams began an online search for diet plans and saw a link for the trailer “Fat, Sick Nearly Dead.” He clicked on the YouTube link and decided to buy the movie to watch. Once he watched the movie, he was sold.

“I watched the movie and saw this 400-pound man running like Rocky by the end. When I saw that, I was sold. That is something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to run 5Ks. I thought, if he can do it, I can,” he said.

Joe Cross, the once 400-pound man in the movie, lost his weight through juicing and subsequently developed a program and website (http://jointhereboot.com), Reboot Your Life, which provides juicing programs, tips and an online community.

Adams, now armed with a diet plan, began immediately. He has struggled with managing his weight for more than 20 years and has never experienced weight loss quite like this.

By Nov. 10, day seven of his program, he had lost 14 pounds. His wife, though not participating for the same duration, lost seven pounds. “We feel fantastic. My mind is so clear. I never get tired,” he said.

Josh Adams lunch, a juice drink, is shown on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at his home in North Knoxville. Adams and his wife Whitney are doing the Micro Nutrient Infusion diet, drinking only juice for 60 days.

Photo by Chad Greene, 2011

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Josh Adams lunch, a juice drink, is shown on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at his home in North Knoxville. Adams and his wife Whitney are doing the Micro Nutrient Infusion diet, drinking only juice for 60 days.

“I felt lethargic, fatigued, worn out by the end of the day, normal bad health kinds of things before. Now I feel like I don’t even have to go to bed at night,” he said.

Adams drinks juice at least six to seven times a day, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. Each day he tries recipes from the Reboot website, like the Mean Green juice that combines kale greens, spinach, cucumber, celery, apples and ginger root.

His strategy for the holidays? Grin and bear it. “We went to a party and I was nervous, but I got there and I was fine. (I will have) juice till Jan. 3, all juice we make at home,” he said with confidence.

Adams is not currently under the supervision of a physician but has been in contact with a health coach and plans to see his doctor and a nutritionist.

“My goal for this is to introduce more vegetables into my diet and be more healthy,” he said.

Drinking only juice may cause alarm for some. A few local registered dietitians lent their advice on fasting, liquid diets and tips on a healthy eating lifestyle.

Karen Lacey, a dietitian for hospitals, worksites and a health shop, believes people should use caution when fasting but might benefit from fasting from specific types of foods. “I am not a fan of fasting,” she said. “Most current research shows that the human metabolism functions best when eating regularly throughout the day. That said, most of us could stand to go on a fast from the convenience and processed foods that make up so much of the typical Western diet,” she said.

As far as juicing, Lacey believes it could be a smart part of a balanced diet. “I would want to make sure the person was taking in some sort of protein. There are a variety of vegan, plant-based options out there that would fit well in this sort of plan. The danger lies in your body’s response to it. Sometimes these types of diets can have a laxative effect, putting the person at risk for dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can be fatal,” she said.

Lacey would advise instead a balanced diet that is easy to maintain. “Going on a diet automatically assumes that someday you will go off it. A better approach is to make small, healthy changes that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Focus on healthy lifestyle changes, rather than just the numbers on the scale,” she said.

Heather Kaufman, who owns her own private practice, had strong words regarding diet programs. “America is paying the price today of ignoring good nutrition and resorting to ridiculous and ineffective and unhealthy fad diets. We have an epidemic of malnourished people of all ages. We need more nutrition education in schools of children and parents,” she said.

But Kaufman has been known to place her clients on one- to three-day detox diets. “I’m not completely against detox diets. Sometimes I have put clients on detox to give them a mental jump start to eating better and losing weight. One upside of cleansing diets is that they make you think differently about the food you put into your body, and so they have the potential to permanently improve your eating habits,” she said.

Yet, she cautions, “to be on cleanses or juice fasting or detox for weeks, you’re putting your body at nutritional risk. There’s no way you can meet all your nutritional needs from a beverage,” she said.

Lee Murphy, who has been a registered dietitian for 10 years, warns about yo-yo diets and gives tips for a successful eating program.

“There are many dangers and frustrations to yo-yo dieting. Among them are the fact that you can unknowingly mess with your metabolic rate and, in essence, make it more difficult to lose weight. This can happen by eating too few calories, or by losing lean body mass instead of losing fat. In addition, when you try one fad diet and then stop and go back to your old unhealthy habits, the resultant weight gain is painfully and emotionally stressful — which makes further successful attempts at weight loss unlikely.

“I am a huge proponent of adding foods rich in dietary fiber to one’s routine. Foods naturally high in dietary fiber are generally healthy choices — such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Eating foods high in dietary fiber allows you to feel fuller while eating less calories, and promotes healthy weight and weight loss in that manner.”

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