Monday, January 23, 2012
Juicing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
After I watched "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" a couple of weeks ago, I simply couldn't understand why everyone in the USA wasn't walking around wearing juicer backpacks or creating a permanent home for their Breville on their office desks or kitchen counters. "Why, in heaven's name, isn't everyone juicing!!" I asked myself. The documentary clearly outlined the benefits of juicing and the neon green concoction everyone sipped at throughout the film looked funky and cool.
In the days after I watched the movie, I didn't get all over-ambitious and commit to a 30 day fast. I didn't ever commit to a "fast" of any sort. I simply said that I would substitute one or two meals a day with a rich, healthy juice, giving my body the extra boost it needed. My in-laws were kind enough to lend us their juicer so I loaded up my Costco cart with every fruit or vegetable I could get my hands on.
"I love fruits and veggies," I told myself. This couldn't be that difficult.
And then I started juicing.
I now have a new found respect for anyone who juices. And by "juicing", I mean real juicing.
If you are new to the whole "juicing" scene, you have to know the basics, which I have only discovered in the past two weeks.
First of all, if you want to get the true benefits of juicing, you are technically not supposed to combine vegetables with any other fruits other than apples. That, personally, was a fatal blow to my juicing life. It meant that the kiwi-apple-grape-orange-celery-kale-spinach combo I had been drinking wasn't actually doing for my body what I had hoped. Don't get me wrong; it was absolutely better for me to drink a juice versus a milkshake. But my body wasn't absorbing all the nutrients and vitamins from the juice because of the way I combined the fruits and vegetables. It has something to do with enzymes and is far too technical for me to understand or explain.
Secondly, you shouldn't eat any solid foods in combination with your juice. That meant that the banana-and-almond butter-chaser I had after my "Mean Green" was illegal in the juicing world. Seriously, though, I could not bear the thought of conducting the rest of my day with that aftertaste in my mouth; my father-in-law called it "dog pee" and he wasn't far off.
Thirdly, juicing should be primarily used for vegetables, not fruits. The rule of thumb is to "juice your vegetables and eat your fruits" because the fiber in whole fruit is easy for your body to digest and helps your system deal with the sugar content of the fruit. That's not to say that you shouldn't drink fruit juice, but it should be a very small percentage of your juicing diet.
So yesterday, in an attempt to create a vegetable juice that I could stomach, I turned my kitchen into a laboratory of sorts. I juiced about 6 different vegetables separately and then mixed them using different combinations for each one, desperately looking for something I could hold down.
Alas, I never found it.
Honestly, I will eat just about anything under the sun, so the fact that I could not create a vegetable juice that didn't leave me gagging with each sip was very disconcerting. I felt an incredible amount of envy towards my juicer friends who told me that I would love beet juice and carrot-fennel-parsley-garlic juice. Why had God given them those Herculean tastebuds while I couldn't even gulp down a mouthful of mere carrot juice?
But after the disappointment lifted, I accepted what I did have: a love for raw fruits and veggies. So I've decided that since I don't have an auto-immune disease that requires serious healing for my body like the guys in the film, I'm going to get back to eating more fruits and vegetables each day in their solid, raw state, while throwing in the occasional, palatable juice. That's something I can do and something I really enjoy. And if the time should come when my body needs extraordinary healing, I'll put my lab coat back on.
If you are at the point now where you need that kind of intense healing for your body, here are some links about juicing, food combining, and juice recipes (the sidebar of this website has different categories to choose from like "Juicing for the Liver" or "Juicing for Kidneys"--very helpful). And while it wasn't a complete success for me, I still wholeheartedly believe in the power of juicing. So if you have any tips, recipes, or testimonials you'd like to share, please do so below--I'd love to hear your perspective!