I love juicing! It’s a refreshing and easy way to consume alkalizing nutrients, and it’s a great way to use up produce that would otherwise go wasted. However, there are a few caveats when it comes to juicing. When done in the right quantity, in the right way, and at the right time, it can be very restorative and beneficial to health.
I get a lot of questions on juicing from my patients, and here’s what I tell them.
· Overemphasis on one thing is never healthy, and the same thing can be applied to juicing. Juicing should never be the majority of your calories.
· Juicing is an easy way to get nutrients from fruits and vegetables in a concentrated quantity, and in a refreshing, alkalizing, detoxifying, nutrient-rich way.
· However, approach juicing like taking supplements; it is supplemental, but should not be the cornerstone of your nutrition. Therefore, it shouldn’t ever replace eating vegetables and fruits.
· Try to avoid using juice as a meal replacement.
· Diversify the types of vegetables and fruits used when juicing. This ensures you get a variety of micronutrients from a variety of vegetables and fruits. For example, kale has many different nutrients than spinach or broccoli; but they all each have their strengths and should be rotated accordingly in your juicing routine.
· Fresh, organic produce is best to gain the most nutrients and avoid exposure to chemicals. If you’re unable to purchase organic produce, at least aim to purchase the Dirty Dozen organic.
· To get kids to enjoy juicing, blend frozen wild blueberries to give it extra flavor.
· Be very careful not to juice too many fruits and starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, parsnips, etc.), as they can produce a significant amount of sugar. This creates an inflammatory response that negates the health benefits of juicing in the first place! Stick to one fruit or less, and one starchy vegetable or less, and use non-starchy vegetables (greens, leafy greens, peppers, etc.) as the bulk of your juice.
· To add nutrients and decrease the glycemic index, don’t be afraid to add a plant-based source of protein, such as Vega Sport or Ultra Meal from Nature’s Remedies, and healthy fats to your juice. For children, Kinder Support is a great plant-based protein, and it acts as a prebiotic at the same time, providing nutrients for the probiotics, or “good” bugs, in the gut. Great sources of healthy fats include olive oil, flaxseed or flaxseed oil, coconut oil, and avocado.
· I never use juicing as a sole vehicle for detoxification. I’ve seen a lot of patients go into a “healing crisis” when this is attempted, where they have headaches, fatigue, and other issues. This is not a “healing crisis,” though; it’s detoxification gone wrong where toxic particles have been lodged loose from fat cells, but have no adequate way to escape the body. This causes a redistribution of toxicity and inflammation, which can take a tremendous amount of energy and time to repair.
· Aim for drinking no more than 6 ounces at a time, and drink it slowly. It is food, after all, and should still be “chewed” for a bit in the mouth before swallowing to aid in digestion.
· If you do make extra juice, squeeze lemon juice in it as a preservative, and refrigerate in a closed, airtight container to preserve the nutrients, preferably a glass container.
· It’s best to juice WITH food rather than solely alone to mitigate the blood sugar raising effects. Therefore, do not juice first in the morning.
· Also, do not juice right before bed, because it provides too much energy and has the tendency of waking people two hours after going to bed.
· Aim to drink it within 30 minutes of making it to gain the highest quality and quantity of nutrients.
Enjoy the alkalizing benefits of juicing! Just be sure to diversify and do it in moderation.