Juicing is still really hot news nowadays.
After following a raw food workshop the other day, I’ve been experimenting myself again with juices and new ways of cooking. I had been out of it for a while with all my travel and leading the Revealing Vajra yoga holidays around the globe. In doing so and having people taste the juices I make, I often hear the same questions and remarks coming back. So, in today’s blog, it’s all about the following question: To juice or not to juice.
Is juicing really that healthy?
The number one benefit is that juicing is an easy way to indulge in very concentrated amounts of nutrient-packed vegetables and fruit (welcome vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!!!). Plus, these drinks are automatically low in ingredients you might want to avoid, like fats, added sugars and salt. For this reason, no doubt, juice away everyone!
Very vivid discussions arise though when people consider a five or seven day juice fast, mainly to lose weight. The “excuse” to do this is usually a detox for body (and mind). Listen, I’m not a diet guru (although if following diets makes you one, I could be very close) but trust me on this one and just don’t, it is not a good idea. We (most ‘healthy’ people) already have a built-in detoxification system, meet your liver and kidneys… and they usually do a good job of getting rid of toxins on their own.
During my corporate years, I went on many hard core detox and even fasting retreats. I loved it! The feeling I got after a couple of days was pure ecstasy.
Whoop! Feeling high in the sky! I’m cleansing! I have discipline! I’m losing weight, fast!
Unfortunately, that was just my body going into survival modus, trying to survive and releasing lots of adrenaline. What happened AFTER the detox is that I would usually overindulge in sweets and carbs, sugar and salt. Exactly the things I wanted to step away from during my short fast…
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not against well guided and proper detox retreats but it really needs the words ‘guided and proper’ to it.
If you see juicing as a quick fix to ‘undo’ unhealthy eating habits, then, it will not work.
I recently saw the movie “Super Juice Me” from Jason Vale, and the results of his 28 days juicing retreat are simply amazing. The main difference with most 5 or 7 day juice retreats is of course the timing, but it is also the quality of the juices, the guidance you get on site and, most importantly, the fact that people will slowly build up a new eating pattern, and lifestyle.
My personal opinion is that juicing is a great way to sneak in veggies and fruits if you otherwise skip out on them. Kale, spinach, broccoli, the greener the better but they do not always have the nicest taste when you cook them. And, when juiced with an apple, it even tastes good so why not go for a juice a day?
The critics among you might have the sugar question ready by now 🙂
What about the Sugar in the juices?
This must be the most popular remark in history when it comes to juicing.
And yes, theoretically, you’re getting the nutritional equivalent of at least a dozen servings of fruits and vegetables in every glass. So this means that your juices have concentrated the natural sugars in fruits and vegetables while separating out all the fiber that would normally slow the absorption of sugars. If you drink the juice all by itself, those sugars will be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.
Thus, if you are sensitive to glycemic fluctuations, you need to make sure that your juice has more greens than fruits. Cucumber and celery help for a better taste in almost every juice for example. And apples are also great for juicing. They give a nice taste to the juice and you can do with just one, not five …
Bold question, for you or for the ones asking you thé sugar question:
Do you ask yourself the same question about “the sugar” when you are having a glass of wine, Champaign or beer? What about bread or that little piece of chocolate? What about the sugar in those?
Some TIPS when you start with juicing
Juice is a super concentrated food. Just think about it, how long would it take you to eat all those greens that just went into your glass of juice?
Often we make too much and drink it all at once. So you’ll fly high for about an hour but you’ll crash right after… Remember the sugar story?
So go slow, just sip your juice slowly and let your body process the taste and the effects of the juice. Ideally, you’ll want to swish the liquid around in your mouth and “chew” it slightly.
Listen to your body
Having studied Traditional Chinese Medicine for several years, the rawfood and juicing brings in an interesting point of view.
In the Chinese Medicine theory, one would eat only warm food in the morning (for sure not have raw, cold or uncooked food).
So the theory about raw food and juices is the complete opposite to what I have always learned …, in a way.
Listen to your body is the most important advice. Just check how it feels to have raw juices first thing in the morning, because our digestive fire is just waking up. And putting anything, cold, damp or uncooked on our digestive fire, will put it out, according to Chinese medicine.
So, just be cautious with that. Maybe have the juice as a 10AM snack or at noon. Or, even better (this is what I do), do some yoga and meditation first thing in the morning and then have your juice.
To a great extent, I agree with the Ayurveda philosophy that there is not one diet prescribed for all people and that we need a tailored diet according to each person’s individual strengths, challenges and body type. Different constitutions simply have different needs.
Ayurveda also looks further than just the food aspect. When adding warm teas for example to a juice regime, one can mitigate the effect a bit. Also, choosing a season or climate that is conducive to adding more juices to your diet is important.
Go easy on the combinations
And be wise about what goes into your juice.
Different fruits and vegetables have different effects on our body. While some are stimulating the detoxification process on the cellular level, others are just pleasantly tasting fructose.
Do your research, discover and experiment on what tastes and feels good.
The basis for most of my juices is a combination of apple, celery and cucumber.
And, you can always add some spices to boost the effects of juices. Good juice additions are ginger, black pepper, aloe vera gel, and curcumin.
Just keep it simple.
I know when I just started juicing, I would over excitedly toss in half of the vegetables known to mankind into one juice. Ending up with an apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, pineapple, melon, kale, spinach, mango, chia seeds, spirulina and wheatgrass powder, mint and blueberries juice… Well, I did get my high for an hour or so but nowadays I stick to about 7 or 8 ingredients max.
Keep eating your Fresh veggies
Juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer or snack. Juicing is like nature’s vitamin pill and it should be consumed like a supplement.
So drink your juice all you want but make sure to eat fresh vegetables too.
While we can remember the old adage of everything in moderation, we can also remember that it is always important to listen to the body. Even the freshest fresh-pressed juices are only one component of a healthy, balanced diet—no matter the philosophy.
My favorite juices
The juices I make are not for detox, and for sure not for juice fasting. I make them as an extra vitamin shot. And I also really dislike the taste of spinach so when I juice it up, it can actually taste good.
Herewith 4 of my favorite juices and a smoothie recipe.
TWISTED CARROT JUICE
Carrot juice is a healthy and nutritious juice which is beneficial for the body and skin.
When adding the pomegranate and cucumber, you get a bit of a twisted taste. Good stuff!
5 stalks of celery
1 piece of ginger
handful of spinach
It doesn’t get any simpler than this…
To name it ABC is not my own invention but it does give you a rock on juice, especially when adding a bit of ginger.
1 piece of Ginger
SHOT OF JOY
This will definitely get your engines started in the morning!
(Preferably fresh) wheat grass
1 rather large piece of ginger
This is a high power juice. Perfect for avoiding that late afternoon dip for example.
handful of spinach
handful of kale
ENERGY BOOSTER SMOOTHIE
This booster is packed with Vitamin C and will no doubt inspire you, all day long.
3 stalks of celery
handful of cauliflower
a bit of parsley
spoon of apple cider vinager
spoon of wheatgrass (or fresh if you have it)
I would love to hear your thoughts about juicing. Have you done any juice cleanses? What did you feel like? Do let me know in the comments below, curious to hear about your experiences.