We know that the process of cooking vegetables destroys the valuable micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition; but is it possible to eat enough raw vegetables to get the nutrition that our body needs? That's where juicing comes in.
Many people have chosen juicing as a substitute for a coffee or soft drink addiction and others simply want to be healthier. Whatever the reason, juicing - which is the process of extracting the nutrient rich juices from vegetables - has become the latest health craze that is actually making a difference.
The benefits from juicing are wide and varied beginning with the fact that you can consume the most beneficial amounts of vegetables efficiently while absorbing all of the available nutrients
A habitually poor diet will eventually make our bodies less efficient at absorbing the maximum available nutrients in the foods we consume. By juicing the vegetables, it's almost like they've been "pre-digested" so that you will receive the most nutrients available.
Additionally, we all know how difficult it can be to get our children to eat their vegetables; providing them in an easy to drink, flavorful juice can help with that problem. Another recommendation would be to purchase popsicle makers and freeze the juice into popsicles. While freezing the juice will damage some of the nutrients, the benefits are still really high.
The first step is to buy a juicer. There are a ton of options ranging in price from $100 to thousands of dollars. A high quality juicer will be an extractor that will extract the flesh from the vegetables and then spin the juice out. When purchasing a good extractor, consider first the clean up time.
Some machines will actually allow pulp to get into little nooks and crannies; if this happens clean-up time is doubled and sometimes tripled because that pulp will rot if not removed and will require practically dismantling the machine to clean it. An extensive cleaning time will discourage you from juicing. Find a machine that's easy to clean. A high-quality juicer should take no more than 5 minutes per use to clean.
The other consideration is speed. We all think that faster is better; when it comes to juicing, this is not the case. Inexpensive juicers are typically centrifugal and will spin at really high speeds to extract the juice. Juicers that act more like blenders are not recommended because the heat generated by the higher RPMs can actually damage the valuable nutrients, almost like cooking. Additionally, low speed/single gear machines will create a lot less foam, making the juice more palatable.
Dr. Joseph Mercola, a huge juicing advocate, has done some extensive reviews and suggests any of the Omega Juicers available at the company's
"...you can consume the most beneficial amounts of vegetables efficiently while absorbing all of the available nutrients."
website, www.omegajuicers.com, or the Braun MP80 which is available at many of your small appliance retailers or online.
Next to what kind of juicer to purchase, the most important decision is what to actually put in the juicer. Things to consider: the greener the better; remember that fruit is high glycemic and can raise blood sugar; and never start your juice or supplement your juice with bottled juice as this defeats the purpose.
Always buy pesticide free vegetables. Pesticides on the food will get into your juice. Go organic or purchase your vegetables from a health or whole food store.
If you're new to juicing the best vegetables to start with are celery, fennel or cucumbers. These are easy to digest and tolerate. Once you've become accustomed to juicing you can begin to add red leaf, green leaf or romaine lettuce, endive, escarole or
spinach, then cabbage or bok choy. Remember that cabbage can be a digestive irritant so don't use too much at a time.
Adding herbs to your juicing can give you different flavors. Herbs to consider would be parsley or cilantro. For a sweet but low-glycemic flavor consider adding lemons, limes, cranberries or fresh ginger.
To really boost the nutritional value of your juice consider using either kale or collard, dandelion or mustard greens, however, be aware that these are very, very bitter tasting so only use two leaves and be sure to add one of the above natural sweeteners. Specifically, a quarter to a half of a lime with its rind will counteract some of that bitterness.
It is not recommended that you use oranges as they are high glycemic, but should you choose to do so, do not juice the rinds as they are typically high in absorbed pesticides. The same is true for grapefruits; although these are great to juice, for your family's safety, do not use the rinds.
When beginning juicing remember that there is no protein in vegetables and virtually no fat. While this might sound great, this means that juicing cannot be a meal of itself and cannot replace meals. While drinking your juice with a meal, be sure to always include a healthy protein option
Cherie Colbom, author of the books "Juicing for Life" and "Turbo Diet", has said that when she first started juicing she felt worse before she felt better due to detox reactions. "You are going to be losing fat and when those fat cells are breaking down and all those toxins are getting released, you will need a lot of
antioxidants to get them out of your system and render them harmless. That's where juicing is just powerful," she explained. Be sure to listen to your body when you begin juicing and discuss any concerns with your Family Wellness Chiropractor.
If your diet hasn't always been a healthy one, your digestive system is probably a little "wounded" so be cautious. Drinking the juice should never make you feel nauseated or cause you to gag.
Also, if after drinking your juice, you find that you are having gastric distress then discuss what you juiced with your Family Wellness Chiropractor so that you can decide together what might be causing that distress. Eliminate that item from future juicing and see if that relieves the issue.
Finally, once you've juiced it, drink it. When left improperly stored, the nutrients begin to breakdown. Juice should be consumed within 12 hours of being made, but to truly take advantage of all that it offers, it really should be drank immediately.
The only way to actually properly store your juice is using a vacuum sealing system like Food Saver at www.foodsaver.com. However, even using a product like this only really allows you up to 24 hours. The best rule of thumb is: once you've juiced it, drink it.
As with any new diet it's best to discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional. Ask your Family Wellness Chiropractor any questions you have and be sure to regularly discuss your progress.
Your Doctor of Chiropractic can make suggestions and encourage you in your juicing for your family's health and wellness.