What’s the fuss all about?
It’s hard to miss them these days, opinions on breakfast tv, juice bars, the supermarket has a huge selection of prepared juices, there are films being made, there is even a growing movement following Juicing. But what’s it really all about? And what’s the difference between juicing and making smoothies. Does it matter how much fruit is in a juice? Are there some things you shouldn’t juice? Do smoothies make you fat? There are so many questions. So, for the juice or smoothie virgin, here’s some help in working out what, why and how.
Some people go on juice fasts, some people just add fresh juice to their daily choices.
A juice fast is best described as nutrition dense, calorie low food. This is when you make the juice using a juicer from a variety of fruit and vegetables consuming only the liquid for a set period of time. This is usually any time from 3 days to 2-3 months although extended periods of juice fasting should only be done under medical supervision. If you do decide to juice fast, you will experience a detox period which once it’s over, you will feel amazing. Detoxing can feel like catching a cold or even mimic flu symptoms but a future article will deal with this aspect in much more depth.
This means all your body is taking in is soluble fibre, vitamins, minerals and the micronutrients which exist in the juice. It’s nutritious, and exceptionally easy for your body to absorb with a low calorie tag. However, that’s not why one juices. Sure it can be a great aid to lose weight, look at Joe Cross and Phil Jay Staples from the films Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 1 & 2 who together inspired a weight loss movement called the Reboot but they both turned to juicing for health reasons, to clear up skin conditions, joint pain, blood pressure problems and a whole host of other things. Losing weight was the bonus in the change of their choices in lifestyle.
Imagine this, someone presents to you three litres of juice per day. You think there’s no way you’d manage but you do. The human body is remarkably equipped and adept at existing on very little and with a high density of nutrients reaching your bloodstream, health, repair and happiness is a result.
How much fruit or how many vegetables should I use?
Follow a recipe. Make a plan. Until you are used to creating your own favourites, there are a myriad sites where you can find great recipes. See reference 7) as a resource to start your juicing experience.
Forget the calories.
There may not be a huge amount of long term research on juicing and smoothies but there has been a lot of research on reduced calorific intake.
Every living organism on the planet will experience a change for the good PHYSIOLOGICALLY when it faces reduction in a food source. From insect through to humans, all show an improvement in stress management and increased energy.
Fasting, which in effect actually means consuming few calories (not none), has been in everyone’s histories and throughout varied civilisations. Many think that the longest living communities of people live on approximately 1200 calories a day. Juicing and smoothie drinking will keep your calories low while you absorb a huge amount of nutrients.
Nutrient dense, calorie low nutrition is a great way to cut out junk food and maximise your nutrient to calorie ratio…
So what’s a Smoothie?
The only difference between juice and smoothies is that juices are only soluble fibre in liquid form but with smoothies… everything is included and put into a blender to get the consistency you require. Smoothies are therefore higher in calories but again, because you have a high density of nutrition contained in the smoothie, you don’t need to eat anything else.
What are the benefits?
Consuming juices and smoothies have proven again and again to do the following: help with weight loss, strengthen bones, increase immunity, increase energy levels; they may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. A glowing complexion and the reduction in skin complaints as well as other issues such as hay fever and asthma have also been reported.
Why is organic important?
Going organic becomes more and more important to ensure the produce you are using does not contain dangerous pesticides which may trigger illnesses and diseases in the body. Do your best to source fruit and vegetables from farmers’ markets or stores that hold an organic range of both. In the long run, it’s worth a little more money to have food which will keep you healthy and happy for longer.
Whether you juice fast, or you simply decide to add juices and smoothies to your life, either decision will give you the most marvellous kickstart into inner health which is an essential part of outer expressions of happiness. Make a drink for yourself today and feel your body say thank you!
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4. Everitt AV, Le Couteur DG. Life extension by calorie restriction in humans.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Oct;1114:428-33. Epub 2007 Aug 23. Review
5. Houthoofd K, Vanfleteren JR. The longevity effect of dietary restriction in Caenorhabditis elegans. Exp Gerontol. 2006 Oct;41(10):1026-31.
6. Partridge L, Piper MD, Mair W. Dietary restriction in Drosophila. Mech Ageing Dev. 2005 Sep;126(9):938-50
Text: J L Nash, 2014
Images: © Predrag Pajdic, 2014