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Benefits of Juicing

 

image from http://www.lifestyledivine.com

So, it’s official; we’re juicers. I honestly never thought we would take the plunge, but it’s really been incredible how our dietary behaviors have changed since we started this blog. Information is incredibly powerful and persuasive and the more we learn about the power of food, the more our weekly grocery trip is altered. The journey to the juicer really began by watching the documentary Hungry for Change. Every nutritionist and physician interviewed on that film not only touted the benefits of a very vegetable heavy diet, but they sang the praises of juicing. Honestly, I kind of just rolled my eyes. I didn’t really know much about juicing except for those infomercials at 3 am where an older couple puts whole apples and celery into the Jack Lalane juicer. My first question was:

So what is a juicer and how does it work?

A juicer is this really fancy (and potentially expensive!) machine that can extract the juice from just about any fruit or vegetable. I was surprised at how much juice you can get from things ilke swiss chard, celery and strawberries. Basically you just press the fruit or vegetable against a spinning blade and filter, and all the pulp, seeds, rind, skin etc. is pumped out to the side while the juice gets drained

This is our juicer. We got it from Wal-mart for about $50

through the filter and into your glass.

What are the benefits of juicing?

Here is where I think a little research goes a long way. If you google juicing you’ll find a ton of pretty “out there” claims about the benefits. You may be lead to believe it’s magical; “juicing gives you perfect skin,” “juicing removes all toxins from your body” “juicing restores perfect health” are just some of the things you’ll come across. Regarding juicing’s magical properties, I do want to bust two myths I commonly hear about juicing.

  1. Juicing is better for you than eating the vegetables whole because the juice is easier to digest. There really isn’t any evidence that this is the case. Your stomach is really good at what it does and we were built to digest vegetables, even leafy ones. We don’t benefit from having our food “pre-chewed” by a juicer.
  2. Juicing removes toxins. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any scientific evidence I could find that suggests that juicing removes toxins from the body. The liver and kidney should be very effective at removing harmful toxins, but many vegetables and fruits are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which are incredibly beneficial.

Why Juicing is still awesome

For me, it’s a very effective way to eat way more phytonutrients that I would if I tried to rely on whole vegetables. I know how important veggies are for me, and yet when I put them on my plate at dinner time, I find myself still pushing them around like I did when I was 10. No way am I going to be munching on kale, swiss chard, or celery all day, but shove them all in some juice and they go down without a problem.

The other great benefit of juicing is that it takes the place of other processed foods. If I have a big glass of vegetable and fruit juice after dinner, I’m not hungry for dessert or snacks. Instead, I’ve fed my body and incredible cocktail of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients I can’t get anywhere else.

As far as the “magical” properties of juicing go, I do think my skin has gotten clearer, and I like the energy I have when I drink a lot of fresh juice, but I’m not convinced that it’s a life altering experience just yet.

Have you ever juiced? What did you think?

-Sara

For more information about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, come check out our ebook! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VI58SI

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by K on May 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Hey guys,

    As you know, I am in a whole category of my own when it comes to special diets, and having gastroparesis on top of everything else means that getting adequate nutrition is even more difficult for me than it was before I was diagnosed. The good news is that I am finding ways to manage my symptoms with medication, a crazy special diet and eating method, and daily walking. A big part of that crazy special diet is juicing for me, because, while that first myth is indeed a myth for most people, for me it’s totally true. In order to avoid crippling stomach pain and other nasty side effects, I have to really limit my fiber intake, and my stomach is not well equipped for digesting leafy greens at all. But now, with juicing, I have been able to get the nutritional benefit of about a pound of greens a day! As I type, I am sipping my morning green juice (today it’s baby spinach, cucumber, and cherry), and loving that I get phytonutrients, calcium, iron, antioxidants, and hydration without tripping up my special needs stomach.
    I think that everyone could probably benefit from juicing, but for me, it truly has been life changing!

    K

    Reply

    • Hi K,
      Thanks for your comment. Fiber is something that comes up a lot with juicing; some people argue that juicing isn’t super healthy because you lose all that fiber. For someone like you (well, or me really), juicing is the best way to get all those nutrients, fiber be dammned. Interestingly, the Amercian Cancer Society just released new Nutriion Guidelines for cancer prevention, and they mentioned that fiber is really only effective when consumed in whole foods, not taken as a supplement. This may mean that the benefits seen from a high fiber diet are actually from the nutritional composition of the foods themselves, not from the fiber. So, it may turn out that fiber isn’t that crucial afterall (in regards to cancer prevention).
      -Sara

      Reply

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