Blog Post #7: Four Juicing Questions Answered
Food can be our best line of defense against illness. It can also be a leading cause of illness. It all depends on our understanding and approach. Juicing is one of those powerful ways to use food to your advantage. It can improve health, energy, appearance and other great benefits. However, juicing can feel a little mysterious or overwhelming which sometimes prevents people from trying it. Perhaps by answering some common question about juicing, I can help get more people on the bandwagon!
#1- Why juice? Why not just eat fruits and vegetables?
This was my feeling before I saw the light on juicing. I always ate my veggies happily. But the truth is, juicing does something that eating fruits and veggies simply cannot. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of micronutrients, minerals and other powerful components essential to good health. They are also very high in fiber. This is a wonderful benefit but does limit our ability to consume large quantities of them. Due to the fact our systems are increasingly taxed by environmental pollutants, our busy modern lifestyle and industrialized food system – our organs could use some extra help from high dose fruit and vegetable nutrition. It is also true that many of our fruits and vegetables do not contain as potent levels of the micronutrients they once did due to factors such as industrial farming and depleted soil. For these reasons and others, it’s ideal to consume at least the seven recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies. Ideally, more- and that’s where juicing comes in.
By extracting the insoluble fiber in a vegetable, you create an opportunity for your body to ingest and absorb high levels of nutrients from the plants without the big job of digesting them. Imagine trying to consume an entire head of romaine lettuce, a bunch of celery, a couple of cucumbers and a lemon in one sitting. Of course this sounds like an impossible task. Juicing simply allows you to consume the vast majority of nutrients from the those vegetables in an easy to digest, liquid form.
#2- Does juice contain high amounts of sugar?
In the process of extracting the water and micronutrients of the plant, you are also extracting most of the sugar with it. The juice of green vegetables, lemons and limes, ginger and turmeric, contains only negligible amounts of sugar. Root vegetable juice, such as beets and carrots, contain higher amounts (about 17 grams per serving). The health benefits of carrot and beet juice are tremendous and, in most cases, the sugar content is not detrimental in the slightest when consumed in such a healthy form. Then there is the question of fruit juice. A good general rule is that fruits containing higher levels of sugar (such as apple, pineapple, watermelon) should be juiced in moderation and in combination with mostly vegetables. This is in order to make the juice more palatable and, in some cases, to compliment the health benefits of the accompanying vegetables. In larger quantities, fruit is generally most nutritious whole or in a smoothie, where the fiber of the fruit accompanies the sugars and nutrients. In short, vegetable juice generally does not contain high amounts of sugar but fruit juice does and therefore should be consumed more judiciously. Fresh, cold pressed, unpasteurized juice (fruit or vegetable) is always best for optimal nutrition benefits. If you are diabetic or have some other kind of sensitivity to sugar, always follow the guidance of your health care providers.
#3- Can drinking juice replace eating vegetables?
The insoluble fiber from fruit and vegetables is extremely important to health; so juicing should be considered a supplement to eating them whole. When fasting (trying to give digestive system a rest), or if digesting vegetables is difficult for your system, juice can temporarily replace eating vegetables. Vegetable soup is also an amazing way to consume lots of veggies without nearly the burden of digesting raw vegetables. Please note that if you are experiencing difficulty digesting raw vegetables, there may be some larger gut health issue at work, as we are generally meant to digest raw vegetables without trouble. Besides making sure to chew well, my suggestion would be to drink plain celery juice first thing in the morning. If you don’t experience improvement in a week or two, it may be a good idea to see a health practitioner who can help address the possibility of pathogens and general gut/immune health. It’s good to catch that stuff early!
#4- How do you stomach the taste of green juice?
It is true that green juice is an acquired taste. It is likely that the first time you try green juice with no fruit, it will not taste good to you. But that changes! At first, try adding a bit of fruit, such as apple, pineapple or watermelon… and ALWAYS ADD LEMON OR LIME! It’s amazing what half a lemon or lime will do for the taste and health benefits of a green juice. Most people don’t like the taste of wine, beer, coffee or sushi the first time they taste it. But it often becomes something they love. The same goes for green juice. It is worth putting on the “training wheels” for a while (in the form of added fruit) in order to develop a taste for those greens. Soon you will CRAVE the green stuff, by itself or with nothing added but a bit of lemon. If you are looking for some yummy juice recipes and a general de-mystification of juicing at home, download my FREE JUICING eBook! It’s simple, pretty and fun!
I hope this helped make juicing feel a little more familiar and appealing. I’d love to know your experiences juicing. Do you drink fresh veggie juice? Do you love it? Do you have other questions about juicing? Give me a shout.
your juicy friend,