A little while back, I posted about how in love I am with my juicer, and many of you told me that you’d be interested in learning more about the ins and outs of juicing. Why is it good for us? Is it necessary? What’s more nutritious – a green smoothie or a green juice? How do you do it? Do you need to buy a juicer or will a blender do the job? I’ve got a little mini series locked, loaded, and ready to go that answers these questions and any more that you have along the way. I’ve also got plenty of recipes in store as well, so you can put all of your learnings to the test!
To kick off, I thought it would be useful to do a little Juicing 101 post to help you learn the basics. Let’s start, shall we?
Why is juicing good for us?
Drinking the juice of fresh fruits and vegetables puts their vitamins and minerals in a very easy to digest, easy to consume form. Your body doesn’t need to worry about breaking down fiber and other components that make up a whole piece of produce – the vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes in the juice can be assimilated by our cells in as quick as 15 minutes, with very little digestive work. (It can take up to several hours to digest whole foods.) For people that aren’t used to eating a ton of fiber but still need to get these goodies (and we all need them!) juicing can be a very easy way to do it.
But that’s not all. I’m sure you’ll agree that staying hydrated and meeting your daily H20 quota can be a challenge, especially when it’s cold outside. Juice helps with hydration, and the fresh veggie juice I’m talking about is far healthier than any of those sugar-pumped cartons at your grocery store! Sure, even green juice contains sugar, but it’s naturally occurring sugar, not dextrose, sucrose, and all the other fake -ose sweeteners that are so commonly found on nutrition labels.
Still need convincing?
I’m sure you’ve heard of all sorts of juice fasts and extreme detox programs that involve drinking combinations like lemon, water, and cayenne pepper. (By the way, I promise that ALL juices found on Eat Spin Run Repeat will be far more appetizing than that!) You don’t have to live solely on a liquid diet in order for juices to have a detoxifying effect on your body. Even enjoying just one freshly squeezed juice can help to clear out toxins from our organs, which makes our metabolisms more efficient and gives us a better sense of overall well-being.
Oh, and don’t forget that in addition to all the great health benefits, juice is absolutely delicious!
Why green juice? Why not purple or orange?
The green colour that you see on all nice dark leaves like spinach, collards, and kale is due to chorophyll, which is what plants need for photosynthesis. Chorophyll helps to create a highly alkaline environment within our bodies where more oxygen is delivered to our cells. Studies suggest that diseases like cancer can’t live in highly alkaline conditions, so that’s just one more great reason to get your greens!
Don’t worry though – other juices can be just as wonderful as green ones. Just like whole produce, drinking juices of different colours is an obvious indicator that you’re getting a good variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from food, and therefore, don’t need to rely as much on supplements.
Do we NEED to juice?
In my opinion, no. If you already eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, you’re probably already doing a good job of nourishing your body. Having said that, our soil has become less rich with minerals over the years thanks to modern-day farming practices, and this translates into less nutrient-dense produce. Therefore, a carrot today probably doesn’t contain the same amount of beta carotene as it did 20 or 30 years ago. Juicing simply helps you to get those missing nutrients in food form, rather than through supplements which often aren’t as absorbable.
On the other hand, if you’re the type that struggles to meet your daily fruit and veggie quota, drinking a green juice can certainly help you hit it more regularly.
Juice vs smoothie: What’s more nutritious?
It depends what you’re after. As I mentioned earlier, many people find juice easier to digest due to its lower fiber content, and its precious vitamins and minerals are absorbed by our cells faster. On the flipside, smoothies are great because you’re getting the fiber that juice is missing. (All that pulp you see that gets left behind when you juice? You’re looking at the fiber.) Having said that, don’t feel you have to let your juice pulp go to waste – it can easily be used to boost nutrition in other dishes. I store my pulp in the fridge overnight in a sealed container, then toss it into omelettes and frittatas the next morning just like whole veggies.
The truth is that both bevvies are great for you, and the wider the variety of produce that you’re using, the more nourishment you’re getting. If you’re the type that really doesn’t eat a lot of produce, juices are a quick and easy way to meet your daily requirement. If you find it difficult to feel satisfied after only consuming juice, a smoothie could be a better option due to its feel-full fiber.
Alright, that’s enough chit chat for now. Stay tuned because there’s far more where this came from. Juicy Tidbits 102 will be up next Monday…. Come thirsty!
Ooh, and one last thing! Over the weekend, I switched up my email subscription provider. If you’re reading this in your inbox, you’ve probably already noticed! If you still haven’t subscribed to my email updates, there’s now a little incentive in it for ya. I’ve just put the finishing touches on my new e-book, Creating a Whole Foods Lifestyle, and it’s yours for FREE if you subscribe!
This book contains 10 whole food recipes, a whole foods shopping list, and my definition of what it means to live a whole foods lifestyle. I hope you’ll check it out and share it with your friends!