I have heard and read it all on a healthy lifestyle, alright maybe not everything, but enough to know that there is a lot of information available on different ”health” lifestyles. Some that I came across were completely outrageous, dangerous and impractical, while others were just downright scary. Two in particular caught my attention – green smoothies and green juices. Now, unless you have been living in a desert with no access to television, internet or the library, I am sure you have also heard about these approaches to consuming larger quantities of greens in one glass. In countries such as England and America, juicing bars are a common thing however since juice bars are not yet trending in South Africa here is how you can you can make your own home made juice.
Juice can be extracted from a produce 2 ways.
Using a juicer
A juicer is a machine that extracts liquid from produce. There are 2 types of juicers, a centrifugal juicer which uses fast spinning blades to grate the produce and then throws the pulp against a strainer, in this way the liquid is separated from the pulp. The second type of juicer is a masticating juicer, this juicer uses an auger to gently crush the produce and break it down into smaller pieces before separating juice from the pulp.
Using a super blender
With a blender you blend all your ingredients and then use strainer or a nut milk bag to separate the juice form the pulp.
If you are still not convinced yet read on the for the benefits of fresh juice.
#1 Disease Protection
A great way to obtain nutrients and vitamins from large quantities of fruit and vegetables that you normally wouldn’t eat. Fruit and vegetable juices retain all the nutrients and vitamins found in whole foods. These nutrients help protect from diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and various inflammation diseases.
#2 Super Freshness
Most fruit juices in stores are on the shelves for weeks, maybe months before you purchase them, that cannot be healthy, plus many of the brands have a lot of preservatives and additives that reduce the nutrition level of your juice. With a juicer, you can squeeze fresh juice using the fruits and vegetables that you prefer. Lets face it, store varieties are very limited in the flavour combinations they offer.
Detoxing is a form of cleansing the impurities from the blood through the liver. A body filled with toxins usually shows symptoms of feeling sluggish, skin breakouts, aches and pains and digestion problems. Toxins accumulate in the body as a result of pollution and what we eat. The first part of detoxing is lightening the toxin load entering your body by eliminating coffee, acidic drinks, cigarettes, saturated fats and sugars, all of which are toxic in the body. Juices, especially green juices, are rich in iron and magnesium and other vitamins, which neutralise the toxic acidic environment while filling the body with what it needs for optimum health. When detoxing, you might experience headaches, slight dizziness, fatigue and emotional imbalance, which are all symptoms of the body cleansing itself. Most people think these symptoms mean you are not getting any better and usually quit – on the contrary – these are short-lived and before you know it, your body will take on a life of its own, and you will feel and look great.
Whether you just want to lose just a few kilograms or kickstart yourself into losing a large amount of weight that you have piled on over the years, juicing is a great option. The formula for losing weight is burning more calories than you consume. What causes excessive weight gain? Emotional eating! For example you have a deadline at work with a lot of work to do and the time allocated is very little. What do you do? You look for something to eat or drink, and what is quicker than convenience food which is the poorest in nutrition. An hour later you are hungry and in need of something to eat. A repeated cycle of this way of eating combined with lack of exercise, results in poor digestion, constipation, sleep problems, skin problem and the list goes on. The challenge most people face is getting the right amount of nutrients they need to perform daily tasks while considering their calorie intake when on a mission to lose weight. This results in either becoming very hungry and results in binge eating, or quitting the eating plan before it becomes effective. Juices are low in calories, they have no fat and very little protein but provide all the nutrients and vitamins that you need to keep your energy up. The fact that the body receives all the nutrients it needs, means you don’t get hungry or crave fatty, sugary foods. Of course juicing for weight loss should be combined with exercise and whole foods rich in protein and fibre.
#5 Healthy Glow
Growing up we are told that using a certain product, a certain shampoo/ face wash and face masks/ conditioners will give you gorgeous skin or hair, however this is a fact that is somewhat distorted. The truth is ‘you are what you eat’. If you consume junk on a daily basis, that is what your skin and hair will look like, if you have loads of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, it will show by your outward appearance.
Fruit and vegetables have all the properties needed for strong hair such as protein, amino acids, iron, zinc etc. Think about it this way, hair follicles are found just underneath the skin; the follicle is responsible for collecting nutrients in your blood- stream necessary to form hair. If your eating plan is deprived of nutrients, the small amount of nutrients found in your blood will be deposited in the vital organs and the lack will show on your hair. Although they are other factors to take into consideration such as genetics and hormones, the fact still remains that nutrition plays an important role for hair growth and appearance.
Whatever you eat is digested and then absorbed into the body. 21st century refined food unfortunately has a lot of chemicals, additives and preservatives that are harmful to the body. They are absorbed into the blood and circulated through the body, the effects of which might take some time to show, but on the skin it occurs very quickly. It becomes blotchy, with an uneven tone and breakouts. Green juices are made up of up to 95% water, which flushes out toxins, and the healthy properties in the juice ensure that the right nutrients are supplied to your skin. In a couple of weeks you will notice that your skin will look even-toned, fresh and radiant.
People are just tired, in the morning, midday, in the afternoon they just look exhausted. Proof of this? The hundreds of caffeine coffees, “energy” bars, drinks and supplements available in shops. The more ‘remedies’ available the worse off we are. Fatigue and exhaustion can be easily averted. No matter how many “energy” bars and drinks you have, you will still feel tired. Why? Energy drinks are rich in caffeine, which dehydrates the body. The body needs water to function properly as water makes up blood which carries essential nutrients to important parts of the body like the brain. These essential minerals and nutrients are what “kick-starts” the body to give you energy. Energy bars on the other hand have too much sugar that causes a temporary “rush” in your system, which is short-lived. The real issue is that your body is not getting enough iron, zinc, protein and other essential minerals and vitamins to function at its best. Green juices have all the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that the body needs. Incorporating them into your eating plan is a guaranteed way to increase your energy levels, be better equipped to make good decisions, and perform tasks more efficiently.
#9 Alkaline system
The balance between being well and being sick is in the acidity/ alkalinity levels in your body. An acidic body is caused by refined foods, processed food and foods rich in sugar and saturated fat content. The result of all this acidity in the body is diabetes, flu, asthma, cancer and a whole list of other diseases. In order to be healthy you need to shift toward a more alkaline lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, spinach, carrots, pears, lemons, celery, kale and pineapple are highly alkalising, and by having them in a juice means they are quickly absorbed and get working immediately.
#10 Aids with digestion
Many people have digestion problems caused by an unhealthy diet, which limits the body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Issues such as IBS, bloating, acid reflux, indigestion and stomach cramps are uncomfortable and can be embarrassing in a social setting. Most digestive problems are caused by consuming foods that the body does not agree with such as milk for people who are lactose intolerant, or consuming breads and pastas for people who are allergic to wheat and gluten. Combining the wrong foods or eating unhealthy processed options also upsets the digestive process, as junk food is hard for the body to digest. Green juice on other hand is already pre-digested; the juicer does all the work, resulting in quick absorption of the essential nutrients, enzymes and minerals.
- Always use organic pesticide-free produce.
- Only juice the amount that you will consume at a particular time as exposing juices to air causes oxidation which reduces the nutritional value of the juice. Before juicing, wash your produce and utensils thoroughly to remove any bacteria that can make you sick.
- Please note that juicing is not a complete meal by itself. It should be drank in addition to your regular meals, not in place of, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach or as a snack in-between meals, unless you are on a fast or a special detox programme.
When starting out, you might feel a little lost, not knowing which produce to use, or what quantities are best for juice or even which fruits and vegetables combinations work best. Here are some suggestions:
Produce: Try and use organic fruits and vegetables wherever possible, especially with produce that does not require peeling such as leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce, and fruits such as peaches. Always wash your produce in clean, fresh water even if they are organically grown or bought. To make your juice taste better, use berries and fresh ginger.
Recipes: Green Juice/ Green Lemonade
What are your experiences with juicing? I would love to hear from you!