Some months back my husband and I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It is about a man who has all sorts of health problems. In an effort to improve his health, he decides to go on a juice fast. For 60 days, he consumes nothing but the fruits and vegetables that he juices. As a result, he loses weight and his health problems go away.
Ever since watching the documentary, my husband and I have been discussing whether or not we want to purchase a juicer and give juicing a shot. We finally decided to purchase a juicer when we were traveling and we stumbled upon one for an outstanding price.
I have to admit I have my reservations about juicing. First, fruits and vegetables do contain a lot of essential nutrients, but I wonder if our bodies are able to assimilate these nutrients as easily if the fruits and vegetables are juiced instead of eaten raw (with skin and pulp intact) or cooked.
Secondly, how does a person get adequate amounts of healthy fats and protein from an all juice diet? Since I am breastfeeding, this was/is a major concern of mine. Most fruits and vegetables have few, if any, calories and/or protein. So, in order to reach an adequate amount of caloric intake while juicing, one would need to consume an incredible amount of fruit/vegetable juice (as in drink it all day long and even then it might not be enough).
Thirdly, fruits and vegetables contain significant amounts of natural sugar. When we compare an apple’s sugar content to a candy bar’s sugar content, the apple would obviously have less sugar and would be healthier for us overall. Usually when we eat an entire apple, we feel satiated because of the consumption of the skin, pulp, and so forth. But, if we were to juice an apple, we would only get maybe a 1/4 cup or so of juice, which is not as filling. So to reach the same level of satiation (e.g. fullness), we would need to juice many more apples (four or so to get a full cup of juice), which means we would also be getting four times the amount of sugar. This is why one serving of juice (especially commercially processed juice) can have just as much, if not more, sugar in it than a commercially manufactured candy bar.
So there you have my primary concerns about juicing. However, juicing does provide some awesome benefits that are worth mentioning. First, a person is able to consume many more fruits and vegetables (and their healthy nutrients) than s/he would typically be able to consume in one sitting or day.
Secondly, it is delicious! A person who may not enjoy the taste of raw or cooked fruits and vegetables may enjoy them juiced.
Finally, for those people who primarily eat unhealthy/processed foods and who desire to “detox”, a juice cleanse (nothing but juice for a short period of time) may be worth a shot.
My husband and I decided to take two different approaches to juicing. He is going more of the detox route and substituting in juice for one or two meals a day as much as is feasible. On the other hand, I am juicing to simply add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I admit, I would love to try to do a juice detox regime for seven to ten days, but I do not feel comfortable doing it while I am breastfeeding since my body needs a significant amount of calories and protein right now for milk production. So, for now at least, I am sticking with juicing as a snack/healthy beverage to enjoy throughout my day.
Here are two yummy blends to juice if you have a juicer!
- 1/2 of a yellow squash
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 2 carrots
- 2 carrots
- 2-3 beets
- 1-2 cups of swiss chard
- 1 apple
- 1 orange