Get Your Juices Flowing!
By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal
If donuts, French fries and sodas were Lex Luthor, which edibles would Superman be? With so many fruits and veggies packing the punch of any Wonder Woman or Man of Steel, it can be hard to choose a weapon. Blueberries? Cucumbers? Broccoli? How about my favorite green––the mighty kale?
In truth, the dark forces of stress, toxicity and the standard American diet may be too great for any single fruit or veggie to conquer. The only way to prevail in greater health is to combine and consume a variety of raw delights in generous quantities. Fortunately, there’s an easy (and tasty) way to do it: JUICE!
Before you go running to the market to buy your favorite bottle of this or carton of that, STOP wasting your money! Juice may last for months in a sealed container, but the healthful ingredients (enzymes, vitamins, etc.) degrade faster than a speeding bullet. The best option is to learn the joy of juicing. Make it at home and consume it fresh!
Juicing gurus say the practice can reduce your risk of cancer, aid in the removal of toxins from your body, support digestion, give your immune system a boost and even help you lose weight. It is hard to find scientific evidence on the benefits of juicing, but the benefit and importance of consuming the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds found in fruits and vegetables is clear.
Is juicing better than simply eating fresh, whole fruits and vegetables? No. But ask yourself: Are you more likely to gobble down several whole, raw vegetables and fruits in a single sitting, or drink one large glass of juice? Thought so! Juicing enables you to consume and absorb highly concentrated nutrition from a large quantity and variety of fruits and veggies. (It’s the same argument one may make with nutritional supplements. If your diet and lifestyle were perfect, swallowing pills or liquids would be unnecessary. But we all know that this is not the case with most people!)
So, how do you get started? First, you need to buy a juicer! Many types are available. I prefer the low speed juicers that do not produce the nutrient-damaging heat found in many centrifugal machines. Low noise, ability to juice leafy vegetables and quicker clean-up time top my list of what to look in this vital piece of equipment. I am the proud owner of an Omega Juicer (model 8006) that runs about $299. Its low speed produces little to no heat (an important factor if you plan to drink your carefully stored juice later in the day). Just remember to keep it cool and protected from light. But don’t get too hung up on the machine. Cheaper models work and you’ve got to start somewhere. If your machine does spin at heat-producing speeds, try to drink the juice soon after producing it. If the machine is noisy, protect your hearing with a pair of noise-reducing ear muffs found at the local hardware store.
To make the most of your juicing experience, consider the following:
- Use organically-grown produce whenever possible (due to the concerns of pesticide use, chemical fertilizers and genetic modifications).
- Use what you already like. If you always hated broccoli and were forced to eat soggy, overcooked bowls of it as a child, forget what the books say about its benefits. Leave it out!
- If a specific fruit or vegetable juice makes your belly ache, gurgle or bloat, avoid it. Not all fruits and veggies will agree with your digestive tract. Take note and adjust the recipe for the next batch. Decrease or omit offenders until it makes you feel good inside.
- Lean towards green and limit juicing fruit. The high sugar content in fruits can spike your blood sugar levels. Carrots and beets are also high-sugar-content juice ingredients and should also be used in moderation.
- Dilute juice with a little water if you find the flavor to be a bit strong.
- Drink juice between meals on an empty stomach for optimal absorption of the healthy ingredients.
If you are new to juicing, start with milder tasting veggies such as cucumbers or celery. As your juice love-affair deepens, move up the dark scale. Try Romaine lettuce, cabbage, parsley or kale.
Unless you are on a specific doctor-directed program, juicing should not be used as a meal replacement. Juice contains minimal to none of the daily required fiber, protein and fat.
Be sure to follow the juicer’s instructions. It is important to properly clean your juicer.
I rarely follow a recipe (or ask for directions, if you were wondering). Whatever is in season, available, on sale, not crazy expensive in the organic produce section, over-flowing in the garden, or starting to wilt in the refrigerator is primarily how I decide what to juice. It’s fun to experiment! I have had many failures that I downed while holding my nose. I even had to feed my Labrador one tongue-curling batch. Fortunately, he eats anything that’s not nailed down!
Feeling a creative block? Try this recipe to get started:
- 2 apples (core and seeds removed)
- 2 kale leaves
- 1 stick celery
- ½ cucumber
- ½ beet
Supplementing your normal diet with juice is generally safe. If you have specific health concerns, please discuss them with your health care provider prior starting a juicing regimen. This is particularly important for diabetics or other people with sugar sensitivities. Modifications such as only using vegetables and omitting beets and carrots may be necessary.
Although juicing can’t erase the negative effects of donuts, fries and sugary cans of liquid carbonation, it does offer the opportunity to consume super-hero concentrations of good stuff from Mother Nature. And so I raise my glass (of juice) to wish you a happy, healthy summer!
Dr. Scott Rosenthal provides quality chiropractic care to patients in Wilmington, Delaware. He also writes a monthly column in Living Well Magazine. Whether you're searching for effective pain relief or a way to boost whole body wellness, Rosenthal Chiropractic can help.
Call our office at (302) 999-0633 for an appointment today!