How I started.
Juicing has changed my life and my health. Simple as that. I started on a friends’ recommendation a few years ago and noticed a big difference right away. I had more energy (like lots more), less bloat and no colds. Flu and tummy viruses seemed to not take hold any longer despite having two kids who regularly brought bugs home from school and nursery. And, best of all, hovering as I was on the brink of being Peri-menopausal at the time, my hormones chilled out. Can’t argue with that!
In previous posts I’ve talked about the resistance we often feel when we create new habits – and juicing a ton of veg everyday really did take some getting used to. Pre-juicing there would be a cucumber, a small punnet of cherry tomatoes and the odd broccoli lurking in my fridge in addition to the bag of peas in the freezer. That had to change. Suddenly I consumed huge amounts of green vegetables through juicing – no way would I’ve been able to eat that amount or I’d been chewing all day.
Drink your greens, eat your fruit
This is a good motto to incorporate into your juice practice. Fruit only juices are filled with naturally occurring fruit sugars which spikes our insulin levels too much and too fast. Fruit is better eaten as is because the fibre it contains has to pass through our digestive system which slows down the release of sugar into our bodies. Slow release of sugar=good. Vegetables, on the other hand, do not contain much sugar and by juicing them you extract all necessary nutrients for the body’s consumption quickly and without digestion. A solid piece of veg, like a piece of carrot or broccoli, takes hours to digest so for a super fast, daily fix of almost every nutrient the human body requires, a green vegetable juice will do the trick. Add one piece of apple of pear if you require a bit of sweet in your green juice but keep it mainly vegetable based. This does not mean you don’t eat the vegetables as well. Of course eat as much as you want and can, that is all great. But a green juice can be likened more to a nutritional supplement rather than a meal.
Benefits of juicing and what to juice*
Drinking green juice is a great way of ensuring a healthy body and immune system. High in magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A,C,E and vitamin K, folic acid and chlorophyll which can prevent disease, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system and boost energy levels.
Kale – vitamin B and carotenoid, calcium, vitamin K that helps the body absorb calcium for strong healthy bones. Also reduces acidity in the body and inflammation. Detoxing and rich in anti-aging and beautifying trace minerals like silica. We love that!
Spinach – contains iron to combat anemia and premature hair loss. Vitamin A and K which helps with eyesight, resistance to infection and bone health. Your lethargy could be an iron deficiency.
Celery – full of vitamin B and immunity boosting vitamin C. It’s soluble fibre helps eliminate waste through the urine which helps with detoxification and making our skin looking youthful. Yes please.
Cucumber – contains many hydrating and anti-inflammatory agents and is known for its skin healing properties. Relieves indigestion and constipation. Magnesium and potassium (sticks to the peel) helps with regulating blood pressure.
Ginger – a powerful anti inflammatory which can help relieve pain from arthritis and boost immune system whilst combating illness.
Turmeric – anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, a super herb which can be juiced daily.
Cayenne pepper – jazzes up your circulation, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and stimulates your digestion. Perfect morning stuff!
Lemon – alkalising and a powerful anti-oxidant rich in vitamin C.
What to juice?
The best ingredients to juice are the ones already in your fridge. Be adventurous. As a rule it is always good to add leafy greens such as kale, spinach, cabbage, chard etc as their nutrient content is dense – vital enzymes will flood your body and enter your blood stream quick. Cucumber, celery or fennel will ensure you have a lot of liquid nutrients to hydrate and dilute the dense flavour of the greens. Add ginger, turmeric, lemon, lime, chili, cayenne, parsley or coriander for spice. Should you need sweetness then add an apple or pear. If your juice is overly ‘green’ then a lemon or lime with mask this beautifully.
Is a juice a smoothie?
No. A smoothie uses the whole veg/fruit and thus it contains fibre and pulp. It is made in a blender such as a NutriBullet or Vitamix. A juice, on the other hand, is made in a juicer which removes the liquid nutrients only, no fibre or pulp. The key difference between a juice and a smoothie is that a juice will bypass you digestive system and enter your bloodstream fast and direct. A smoothie is essentially a meal and will be going through the digestive system like a meal would. A friend of mine drank a smoothie and then had breakfast – then wondered why she gained weight. 🙂
Juices and smoothies fill different functions and both has a place. But if it is a nutrient boost you require to ensure maximum benefit, a juice is the way to go.
Green Morning Juice
1 cucumber (leave peel on)
2 large handfuls of spinach
Handful of parsley
Pinch of cayenne
Juice all and sprinkle cayenne pepper on top at the end.
Enjoy and happy Wednesday!
*sources: Natural Wonderfoods (Paul Bartimeus, Charlotte Haigh, Sarah Merson, Sarah Owen and Janet Wright) and Pure – Juicing for life (Sarah Cadji).