Juicing: give me the science!
What is juicing?
Juicing is a process that extracts the liquid, some vitamins and minerals, and pigments from vegetables and fruits. Usually when we talk about "juicing", we're referring to extracting vegetable and fruit juice with a high-powered juicing machine.
Although some of the nutrients are bound in amongst the fibers of juices, there can be a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the juice itself.
Juicing is an easy way to start incorporating the water-soluble nutrients in fruits and vegetables into your diet, and getting your tastebuds adjusted to the idea of more fruits and veggies.
Does Juicing and Juice Fasting help my body detoxify itself?
Not in the way you might think, when you hear the work "detox". Let me take an excerpt from one of my 2017 posts on cleansing:
There are indeed gentle ways of helping the liver using select foods, juices and herbal supplements to support the liver to do what it's already more than capable of doing. The alternative (rapid methods of cleansing, or fasting while not under medical supervision or receiving approval or support from your doctor) may end you up in the hospital in life-threatening conditions. The fact of the matter is, our bodies can't detoxify themselves completely. For example, even when we are demanded to release fat-stored toxins by actually burning through our fat stores, the effects of the freely circulating toxins may wreak havoc on the body, and some molecules cannot be eliminated as quickly as they are released. That is why it's important to eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and fiber-rich compounds, choose antioxidant-rich foods to quench inflammation, and drink lots of fluids to help your intestines, kidneys, skin and liver to do their job to their fullest potential!
I think of juicing as a way to rapidly infuse your body with nutrients that enable it to do what it's already supposed to do, which is to provide nutrients and hydration allow the kidneys, liver, and sweat to process the blood and urine as they normally should. Juice cleansing or fasting itself is not something you should consider without the supervision of a doctor and/or dietitian if you want to do it for longer than a day or so, or if you have pre-existing medical conditions of the kidneys, liver, heart, or diabetes.
In my personal experience, drinking only fresh squeezed vegetable and fruit juice (primarily vegetables) is a kind and non-drastic way to "reset your tastebuds" and increase cravings for fresher foods.
To Juice or Not to Juice?
When would it NOT be recommended that I have fresh vegetable and fruit juices?
If you know or suspect that you have insulin resistance (trouble managing blood sugars) or have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it might be best to get the advice of a Dietitian on what would work best for your individual needs.
Also, people with hemochromatosis should not have too much beetroot juice - this might worsen their condition.
If the juices you are selecting are high in fruit content, and you don't balance them out with enough vegetables, sometimes the amount of added (though natural) sugar can mess with your digestion and microflora balance in your body, and cause more harm than good.
If you have questions about juicing, please don't hesitate to drop me a line using the contact form!
The How-To's of Juicing
There are a few things you should absolutely know before you get started with juicing.
1. Choose organic, period.
You are infusing your body with concentrated nutrients, but along with that, if the vegetables and fruits you juice are laden with pesticides, you might end up with those in your juice as well. Don't cut corners if you are investing in your health like this!
2. Invest in a high quality juicer according to your budget.
There are many out there - masticating juicers, centrifugal juicers, and cold pressed juicers being the major categories. Masticating juicers are the best quality for extracting juice without allowing the vitamins to oxidize relative to other juicing methods, however, when weighing cost and benefit, I invested in a Breville centrifugal juicer. Shop around and see what works for you!
3. Prep properly.
Make sure to wash all veggies and fruits, even the organic ones. If you pick a high quality juicer, you won't need to worry too much about time to prep, but here are the items that you'll need to do a little extra work with:
Beets - peel with a vegetable peeler
Lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges - peel with your hands OR leave some of the rind on by cutting the rind off with a knife
Ginger root - peel with a vegetable peeler
Watermelon, Honeydew, Canteloupe and other melon - peel and scoop out seeds of melons with large seeds
For other Preparation Tips, see this link!
Fresh juices are best consumed fresh, as the vitamins and antioxidants sometimes deteriorate over time after being squeezed out of the fruit or veggie. However, you can store in an airtight container in the fridge - pour your juice to the top of a container and seal with little to no air so that your juice is not exposed to the elements. Or, freeze the juice in glass mason jars, leaving some space for the juice to expand at the top. (Beware or exploding juice jars if you freeze with not enough air in the jar!)
Now that you're well-versed in juicing etiquette, you can get inspired by these recipes! Be sure to leave enough time to clean your juicer, as that can get quite messy if left for later!
CARROT, GINGER, AND CITRUS JUICE
WATERMELON MOJITO JUICE
APPLE CIDER ANTIOX JUICE
UNBEETABLE LIVER SUPPORT JUICE
GLORIOUS GREENS JUICE
BLOOD PRESSURE-REDUCING HIBISCUS JUICE
Is juicing a little far-fetched for you? Not able to come up with the extra money for a good quality juicer? Maybe you need to start with a solid food-based nutrition reset. Try out my comprehensive reboot for incorporating more healthy habits and foods with a beautiful and delicious 7-Day Nutrient-Rich Reset!
xoxo - Bri