What is a daily habit that I strongly believe everyone must adopt to live an optimally healthy life by boosting the immune system, decreasing inflammation and free radicals that attack the body and in time bring about chronic ailments? It is simpler than most people think, but does take effort to make (even a conscious effort to purchase). I am talking about juicing! Not the get-ripped and develop hair on your rock hard chest steroid pumping (though juicing can help people lose weight, drop cholesterol and decrease the bad cholesterol). I am talking about squeezing all the good-for-the-body, vibrant healing nutrients from fresh, organic vegetables kind of juicing!
(Not pasteurized, boiled, canned, commercially sold food dye added sugar water, and yes there is a difference). If you are new to fresh vegetable juicing, please note that this (optimally) daily habit has so many invaluable benefits that it is hard to list, but I will attempt to showcase as many as I can. Everyone’s taste palate is different, too. Know that taste buds ARE trainable and it is important to find the taste that suits you and get the juice drinking habit formed first, then move on to less sweet fruits and more of the dark leafy super food vegetables, chock filled with chlorophyll, micronutrients and cancer fighting properties!
I spent money on a pretty good juicer. It is a Breville Fountain Elite, and by no means is it the best on the market, but it does extract a pretty good amount of juice out from my vegetables and is easy to clean. I experimented with re-juicing the vegetables two times through the juicer (though the second time is a bit messier) and found that I got much more juice. Just put all the contents of the compost bin back into the juicer and re-juice for maximum vegetable juice extraction. My dream would be to own an Angel Juicer (a stainless steel, twin-geared juicer). The main benefit of twin-geared juicers is it uses a low speed (compared to most commercial juicers which also end up heating the vegetable juices and killing the live nutrients as soon as it is juiced). Also great with the Angel Juicer is that other foods such as frozen sorbet, tofu, wheat grass, herbs, sprouts, nut butters, and much more can be created. But for now, the Breville serves its purpose just fine.
I often hear people say that they have a blender and that it is the same as juicing. Actually many people do not realize that the two are completely different. First of all, there is no way (on a cellular level) that our bodies can absorb the maximum optimal amount of nutrition with juice that contains pulp. Fiber and pulp, though great for the colon and intestinal tract, inhibits the body from absorption (of vitamins and minerals) or digestion. It is also referred to as roughage or bulk and considered an indigestible carbohydrate.
(Please note that although fiber is not digestible, it is very good for the body in many ways because it increases the immune system in the gut, feeds the good probiotic bacteria there, keeps the digestive lining healthy and absorbs and pulls out excess hormones, cholesterol, fat and toxins from the body).
The take away from that fiber lesson is yes, it is good for you, but when juicing, use a juicer, not a blender or consume vegetable drinks without pulp. A good thing on blending (if you are new to drinking vegetables and fruits altogether), is that blending ruptures the cell walls of fruits and vegetables, making more nutrients available to the body than our old fashioned teeth could release because of insufficient chewing. Blending is a great stepping stone to enjoying your greens, especially if you still like your protein powder in them, too. Some experts on juicing believe that the art of juicing is exponentially easier to assimilate into the body because the fiber and solids are removed, leaving only the liquid juice. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. Unlike a blended salad (smoothie), with juicing, every bit of nourishment can be used to regenerate, rather than digest.
Another good note to reader on blended foods: Make sure to chew the blended foods in your smoothie. Especially taking in from a straw, most people can mindlessly slurp down a 32 oz. smoothie with veggies and fruit without ever chewing. Important to note, however, that if there is any amount of fiber present in the cup, chewing is necessary to prepare the stomach for digestion. Neglecting this step can cause imperfect or partial absorption, not to mention gas and bloating. If you are going to blend, be sure to chew each mouthful until it is thoroughly salivated and trickles down the esophagus on its own without you consciously swallowing.
1. Reduces risk of cancer
2. Boosts immune system
3. Increases energy and mental concentration
4. Removes toxins from your body
5. Clears skin
6. Strengthens hair and nails
7. Aids in digestion
8. Helps with weight loss by controlling appetite and shifts cravings
If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed and extracted juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. I recommend drinking the juice as soon as it is made (or within 24 hours in an air tight glass mason jar. . . to the brim if possible with as little air left in the jar, with a few drops of lemon) because oxygen causes damage to the beneficial phytonutrients in the juice and it begins to oxidize. Wash the juicer thoroughly with warm soap and water to ensure that bacteria or mold does not grow.
I also wanted to touch on juice fasting as a way to detox the body or lose weight. There are many mixed opinions from medical professionals on this topic and I wanted to highlight a few of the pros and cons. Some professionals argue that fasting with juice for a day is not going to harm the body, though scientific evidence on the benefits are slim to date. What is going on in the body is this: calories are severely limited during a fast, (body is not receiving the “recommended” nutrients needed for optimum functioning), and may create an electrolyte imbalance if carried on for too long. After a day of not eating foods, the body starts to break down protein from the muscles and organs to convert it to glucose to feed the central nervous system. Because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, wastage leads to lower calorie requirements, which can promote weight gain in the long run. Yes the body is getting a break from digesting the foods eaten on a daily basis and the other organs are busy transferring the food into usable nutrients and energy, toxins are then released into the liver, bladder and skin, and processed accordingly. Unfortunately, food deprivation may also lead to overeating when food is available again.
Though juice fasting and this kind of detox practice is currently very popular people need to understand that water weight is what they will mostly be losing in a fast that is within 3 days. People on juice fasts will notice the persistent urge to use the bathroom, loss of energy and actual sluggishness though out the day, possible crankiness, agitation, anxiety or anger from hunger (if not enough juice is being consumed), and a decline in muscle mass. Also, people who are pregnant, lactating, growing children, people who are insulin-dependent diabetics, and people taking certain medications should seriously consider not fasting and consult a health care professional before doing so.
Documentary: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Starring Joe Cross
The Healthy Green Drink Diet: Advice and Recipes to Energize, Alkalize, Lose Weight, and Feel Great by Jason Manheim
Your Comprehensive Green Juicing Guide by Farnoosh Brock
The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses, by Charlotte Gerson
Mayo Clinic, LiveStrong & Ezinearticles.com