I’m often asked, “What’s with the green juice?” Actually, it’s more like, “Ecch, what IS that stuff?” I love that question! It gives me an opportunity to talk about a critical aspect of wellness and most often, gets people curious about their own health in ways they never considered before. This is a long post but hang in there; its important to know this info if you’re really going to understand what’s what as you take steps to improve your health!
Here’s the awesome thing about a green juice: adding a green juice to your daily intake will set you on the path to changing everything you know and experience about your health and wellness. Nothing will infuse your body with more nutrient rich enzymes; cleansing your cells, organs and tissues, energizing you and flooding your system with all the best nature’s bounty has to offer, than sipping on a sweet and tangy glass of the green stuff! The thing is, the BEST way to energize and infuse the body with a straight shot of living vitamins and minerals is to DRINK the juice of leafy greens that have been growing and flourishing on sunlight! It’s actually very cool because the sun has energized the plant (along with water and carbon dioxide) and when consumed, that plant energizes YOU, while also detoxifying and vastly improving the integrity of every cell in your body! The principal holds true for anything you eat, right? Consuming a bag of cookies, for example, will infuse your body with: wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vegetable oils, milk fat, more sugar, cornstarch, artificial flavors and colors, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, chemical preservatives, more sugar and genetically modified organisms! Nothing in that bag of cookies is nutrient dense; you gain nothing from those cookies but too much refined sugar, gluten, bad fat and processed ingredients that sap your energy and add toxicity to your cells and organs, increasing the size of your fat cells, slowing down digestion, contributing to digestive disorders, and likely making you feel guilty about ever having had it in the first place! The best way to saturate your entire body with real, living, highly alkalinized, mineral rich, vitamin packed vegetables is to drink them! It’s sort of the ultimate way to get back to the basics of REAL food; real heathy, tasty products straight from the earth!
An important note: People get very nervous when they’re told they should drink their veggies; they immediately get concerned with fiber. Here’s what I tell my clients: don’t worry about the fiber you’re NOT drinking in your green juice, because you’re going to be eating so many raw veggies (in salads, wraps and snacks) during the day, that that’s not going to be an issue. And the funniest thing is, most people aren’t consuming enough fiber from fresh, raw veggies anyway, but the thought that they wouldn’t get it from a serving of green juice makes them very concerned. Don’t be! I promise, incorporating a green juice is going to change your thinking about food so significantly, the amount of fiber you begin to consume as a result will likely be much more than you ate in the past.
There’s more about juices that I can tell you and hope to encourage you to give them a shot but, for some, that information can sound too complicated and boring. Here’s one thing to consider though: a raw, organic vegetable juice is building up your alkaline reserve account. To increase your health and shed pounds, you MUST increase this reserve. There’s no way around it. When you do not increase the alkalinity of your blood, tissues, cells and organs, they remain toxic, acidic and dense with waste. A healthy, trim body is alkaline rich, it is vibrant and energized and working efficiently, detoxifying and expelling waste consistently and no longer holding onto excess weight. In addition, juicing helps to significantly reduce inflammation in the body. This is critical! Inflammation is the precursor to so many diseases and conditions in the body including, but not limited to: asthma, allergies, congestive heart failure, eczema, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, stroke, ulcers, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, lupus and most cancers.
As the wise Michael Pollan said, “Eat REAL food, not too much, mostly plants.” There are foods we choose to eat that destroy the integrity of our cells, exhaust our digestive system, sap our energy, cause us to retain water and weight, contribute to headaches, acne, allergies, speeds the aging process and contribute to any number of diseases and conditions, including diabetes and obesity. To the contrary, there are foods we can eat that give us vibrancy, energy, an inner light, a slim and trim body, a youthful appearance and a life affirming existence! These foods are those that remain close to the Earth (the soil from whence it came!), they’re organic when possible, picked from a tree or plucked from the ground, has not travelled too far to get to your market and, as a good friend says, “hopefully still has dirt on it.” Things from boxes and bags (with a few exceptions) are important to stay away from, if not always, than most of the time.
Get or make a green juice today! Incorporate it into your daily intake! Allow your body to find its balance (homeostasis), becoming more alkaline, youthful, beautiful and heathy. If you don’t like it at first, that’s fine and to be expected. If your diet has consisted of mostly processed foods, sugary drinks (this includes YOU TOO, diet soda lovers), something real, green and highly alkaline is gonna taste, well, like dirt…STICK WITH IT! This too shall pass and within days, you will come to crave that bright green glass of sunshine!
A few things to keep in mind:
1. Enjoy your juice on an empty stomach, and alone, not as a beverage along with other foods! Green juices are potent and require no digestion before saturating your cells with nutrients. As a result, they will move through your stomach and colon quickly and any food consumed beforehand will only make you gassy, bloated and uncomfortable. Enjoy them on their own for greatest flavor and efficacy.
2. It sounds silly, but make sure your green juice actually HAS greens in it! It doesn’t count if its just, let’s say, a beet juice. Beet juice is terrific for you but enjoyed alone or with fruit only does not count as a green juice. You must juice green leafy veggies for your juice to be considered a green juice! And mix your leaves up! Romaine, spinach and kale are all delicious together as they result in a balance of flavor, neither too bitter nor too sweet; not to mention the nutrient density!
3. Blending is NOT the same as juicing! Blending your greens is fine and has it’s place, but it’s not a juice, its really a smoothie; like a refreshing, raw soup! A juicer has separated the fiber and pulp of greens and fruits (no fiber, no pulp, no digestion required!) from the liquid they contain. So, if you’re considering “juicing” your veggies in that blender you have taking up space on your kitchen counter, don’t! You need to invest in a proper juicer and save the blender for other yummy things!
4. If you want to sweeten up the flavor of your juice, add a low sugar fruit, like green apple and/or lemon or stevia (or both!). The flavor of juiced veggies may take some getting used to for some of you so help yourself out and sweeten the deal with low glycemic fruits (green apples, grapefruits, lemons, limes) and, if your tastebuds need additional support, try adding a packet of stevia (an herb really, with a sweet taste), ginger and other flavorful herbs like mint.
5. Don’t juice cruciferous veggies until you’re tummy is ready! Vegetables like broccoli are terrific for you but when juiced can be really tough on the belly of someone new to juicing. Don’t be overambitious. I’ve been enjoying green juices for years and even now if I add raw broccoli or cabbage, I’m none the better for it! One step at a time, start with the leaves!
6. If you’ve never juiced before, start with 4-8oz and work you’re way up from there. Too much, too fast is too much of a good thing and you’ll likely feel not so great…give your system time to adjust to the wonders of a juice and remember, do so on an empty stomach!
Look for a “Tasty Juice to Get You Started” in Reneu’s next post! Also, learn about the difference between centrifugal and masticating juicers…you’ll be surprised as the difference a spin makes!