Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Benefits of Juicing

When I was a child, I remember my dad using an almond and brown colored juicer (back in the 70's) and juicing carrots.  I dreaded when he did this because I hated carrot juice!  I would drink it slowly and suffer through the ordeal.  The irony of this is now I've taken on my father's role and I'm juicing for myself and my family.  And oh, how I love juicing!  My mouth waters just thinking of it.  My dad wasn't very creative with combinations and just stuck to carrots, but the simple act of providing something nutritious for my sisters and me imprinted something very valuable in me.  I now look back on this childhood memory with gratitude.  My dad still juices to this day - he's even taken on green smoothies!  As long as I have breath, a juicer and some fruits and vegetables, you know I'll be juicing too!

I have been asked by friends, "So which is better, juicing or green smoothies?"  My answer is, "They both are great, do both." When starting a whole foods, plant based program, it has to be easy.  Because it takes all of ten minutes to prepare, green smoothies just naturally work best.  When you are ready to invest a lot more time, juicing is just second to none.  I always have a green smoothie or fresh juice in my fridge, sometimes both at the same time.

So here are some benefits of juicing:

Juicing is one of the best ways to consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables

People naturally gravitate to certain fruits and vegetables.  The problem with this is that they do not expand beyond their comfort zone to get important nutrients from other produce.  Rotating vegetables and trying new things is a lot easier when you can drink them.  My children are not particularly fond of asparagus and beets, but they have them in veggie juices.  What is surprising to many is how good it can taste.  I fill my pitcher with 1/3 vegetables.  The next two thirds I fill with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and maybe a couple of apples.  My husband and I drink it straight.  My kids, like to add in some orange juice to mask the flavor a little more.  Either way, they are getting much more nutrition than the average American child is.

Juicing is a great way to detoxify and heal the body

Juicing is very detoxifying.  Yes, getting fiber from green smoothies and whole foods is great, but sometimes it is also good to just saturate the body with life giving nutrients that are most bioavailable from juice. When a body has been weakened by the standard American diet and way of living, absorption becomes an issue.  People, myself included, can rush through a meal and not chew food properly for maximum benefit.  Juice is already predigested and 100% absorbable.  It is also concentrated nutrition.  There is no way I am going to sit down to a large platter of fruits of vegetables, it's just too much.  But I can have it very easily with a few glasses of juice.

Incredible things happen when you juice.  People lose weight very easily because they are getting so many nutrients; they don't have as many cravings or don't get as hungry was they would before juicing.  Also, since juice detoxifies the body, the fat that was storing the toxins can finally be released from the body.  If a whole, plant based food program is included while juicing, all sorts of ailments just disappear.  Also, juicing is excellent for building your blood, better skin tone, better hair, clearer thinking, etc., etc.  I have shared this clip from Dr. Young twice before.  Skip it if you have already seen it.  If you haven't, I urge you to take time to watch it now.  Excellent info!

Some important info to get started

Juicing is going to take some time.  It takes an hour for me to fill a pitcher of juice between prepping vegetables and fruit, dismantling juicer and clean up.  Some may say, "I work full time and just don't have the time."  Well, juice on the weekends.  Drink as much of the fresh juice as possible right after juicing.  Refrigerate and consume the next day's portion within 24 hours.  If you can get an airtight seal on your container of juice it will help to prevent oxidation.  Light also breaks down juice.  Get creative in covering your juice to block light.  Freeze the next portions in mason jars that will be used up in the week.  Some nutrients will be lost, but not all, in the freezing process.

Get a good juicer.  I have a centrifugal juicer which is not optimal.  I have my eye on a masticating Omega Juicer.  Slow masticating juicers do not heat up like centrifugal juicers.  Heat destroys nutrients and we don't want that after all the work we put into juicing.

Use as much organic produce as you can afford.  Clean produce that is free of chemicals will be better for your body.  I believe that organic produce also has more nutrients than conventional produce.

Here is a great site with excellent info on juicing.  Make sure you give juicing a fair shot.  Commit to juicing for at least a few weeks.  If you get detox symptoms, try to at least get over that hump.  I always feel great when I drink fresh juices.  I  get an energy boost and just generally feel pretty good about life.  Honestly, there must be some feel good endorphin producing chemicals in juice and raw food.  There is much to be sad about in this world, but I really feel pretty good most of the time.  Sometimes I feel like I'm top of the world.  I am going to say this at the risk of sounding like I've lost my marbles - I do at times feel a crazy vibration.  In talking to a friend of mine who is also a raw food nut, I learned that he has experienced the same thing.  Check out the previous link - turns out I'm not crazy!  This article mentions an electrical vibration that occurs at the cellular level.  (Although I do not agree with adding acidic animal products to my diet, I agree with most everything else in the article.)  For this reason it is advisable to not drink juice, take superfoods, or any other raw concentrated nutrition at bedtime.  Your cells get so jazzed and bouncy with all the nutrients and electrical energy they're receiving that they may decide to have a party and keep you up most of the night. 

Don't believe me?  If you doubt that the body can really experience such results, try it yourself and go mostly raw.  Take superfoods, drink green smoothies, eat sprouts and drink veggie juices!  Give it a good month or two before you come back to me to refute my claim!  You may or may not experience the buzz, but you will feel absolutely incredible and you won't be disappointed!

Enjoy the Jouney!