Today I want to let you in on a super-secret health tip: eat your fruits & vegetables. Okay, so seriously…you probably already knew that, right? Most people who are even remotely interested in fueling their bodies appropriately have figured out that fruits & vegetables are a big part of that equation. The problem is discovering how you can incorporate more of these healthy foods into your diet without spending all day in your kitchen or taking three hours to consume a lunch that includes 8 servings of raw plant matter.
Enter juicing. Throw multiple servings of the fruits and/or vegetables suited to your personal liking into the blender, and voila! You can drink them on the way home from the gym. Or on the way to work. Or at your desk. Or on your lunch break while you run other errands. Seriously. It is SO convenient. And with some of the emerging options on today’s market, it is actually affordable. (I just looked up a Ninja blender system on Amazon and found one as low as $39!) My Vitamix is my favorite appliance—that said, it took 18 months for me to take the $399 plunge and buy one. For most juice recipes, a Ninja will work just fine!
Here is some more information on WHY you should be juicing, if you aren’t already doing it:
Joel Fuhrman, in his bestselling book, Fit For Life, estimates that the average American Diet is made up of an average 62% refined and processed foods. He claims that the majority of Americans are eating a mere 12.5% of their daily calories from plant-based sources. Does that statistic scare you? It should! Take a look at this graph:
Note that the countries with the lowest incidences of heart disease, cancers, and obesity consume more than 75% of their calories from unrefined plant substances. How does your own diet measure up?
Let me take a second to clear something up, however. I absolutely do NOT support and advocate and entirely vegan diet. There are essential amino acids, proteins, and other nutrition that can only be obtained through the genuine replacement parts found in animals. I like the Weston Price Association’s stance on this subject. Dr. Price examined healthy diets of indigenous populations and determined that based on genetics, food availability, and location, a healthy diet can be comprised of anywhere from 10-90% animal-based foods.
What I like I about this figure is that it allows for all of the variables. So a vegetarian who consumes eggs and/or small amounts of dairy may be fueling optimally. A big-burly power lifter who eats meat at every meal may also be fueling optimally. Persons of an A-blood type typically feel best with a higher ratio of plant matter. Persons who are of an O-blood type feel best fueling with red meats. (This has a lot to do with the acidity of your stomach and balance. More on blood-type diet variances to come on a future post.)
Whether you feel best eating more meat or less of it really isn’t my point here. My point is that, either way, fruits and veggies are important! The different vitamins and minerals in varying combinations of these healthy foods are your best bet at being able to detoxify your body from the toxic environment you live in.
Okay, so you’re on board! Maybe you have thought about juicing before, but you just never got the ball rolling in that direction. There is no time like the present! Let me get you started with a few items you can include in your juicing to optimize the flavor and your results:
Apples, Asparagus, Avocado, Beet Greens, Beet Root, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Coconut, Collard Greens, Cranberries, Cucumber, Fennel, Grapes, Grapefruit, Kale, Kiwi, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Mango, Melon (all types), Orange, Papaya, Peach, Pear, Sweet Peppers, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Spinach, Spirulina, Strawberries, Sweet Potato, Tangerine, Tomato.
Different spices can also be delicious and detoxifying. Some of the ones I experiment with are:
Basil, Cayenne, Vinegar, Cilantro, Garlic, Ginger, Scallion, Pomegranate, Radish, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Vanilla/Peppermint extracts, Pumpkin Pie spice, Nutmeg
Yesterday’s juice in our house was comprised of a golden apple, a beet (root), carrots, purple kale, mango, and raspberries. My entire family (including my four-year-old) loved it! I usually prefer one or two fruits to three or four vegetables. This makes for a less sweet juice. If I am making it for my family, I use a higher fruit ratio so that it will appeal to them. This morning we tried grapefruit, carrot, and mango juice to complement our bacon & eggs breakfast. What it really boils down to here is personal preference. Not every combination that you try will be one that you love, so once you find one that you like, don’t be afraid to stick with it! But as a general rule, try to use an array of different colors because each color group of produce boasts different nutrition. Juice the rainbow!
A couple last notes on juicing:
There are actual juicers out there on the market that remove the pulp from the juice part of the fruit. (As opposed to a blender, which is what I use.) This is healthy, but a lot of the nutrition and fiber from plants is in that portion. So unless you are very sick or under digestive duress, I would use the whole fruit.
If you are juicing for a meal, find yourself a quality protein powder and consider including a healthy fat such as coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, macadamia nut oil, chia seed, or nut butter in your smoothie as well. (See my post “The World of Protein Powders” for more info on selecting the right protein for you.) The protein and fat will help ensure you stay full through your next meal.
Yours in Health,