To Juice Or Not To Juice?!
Unfortunately most of us don’t seem to regularly get our daily recommended allowance of fruits and vegetables. On top of that, many people don’t realize that the daily recommended allowance of fruit and veg is actually a minimum requirement for good health and a balanced diet.
Our health greatly benefits the more plant food we eat. So even if you do manage to get the minimum of five servings in a day, more fruit and veg will always be better.
It’s a rare time when a little of something may be good, but more is truly better! Often we think of the vitamin content of plants when evaluating their worth, but in reality fruits and veg are packed with many more benefits than just the amount of vitamin C they contain. Because there isn’t big money in selling an orange the way there is in selling a pharmaceutical drug, there hasn’t been much funding available to research why whole foods are so good for us.
Periodically research trickles through shining new insight into just how clever Mother Nature was in designing the fresh food we eat. Listed below is just a small handful of the diet benefits of whole foods just realized in the last decade or so.
- The combination of nutrients found in whole plant foods act synergistically to protect us from disease.
- Whole foods are packed with way more natural and easily absorbed vitamins and minerals than processed foods.
- Whole foods are rich in phytochemicals- which are powerful nutrients that science is just starting to understand.
- Whole foods contain beneficial and much needed fibres and healthy fats that are so important for maintaining overall health.
It’s easy to see the benefits of getting more whole plant foods into our diets, but many people struggle with coming up with creative ways to actually get them into their daily meals. This is why the juicing trend has become so popular. Because for most people blending up what is equivalent to 3-4 servings of fruit and/or veg into an easy to drink liquid seems like a fast and convenient way to get more nutritious foods into their daily diet.
So if you’re thinking of investing into a blender or juicer, there are a few things to think about before purchase. First thing to consider is budget. It’s better to get something you can afford rather than miss out on the benefits of juicing entirely simply because you can’t afford the latest and greatest machine advertised on TV.
Also keep in mind that although the actual juice of fruit or veg is still chock full of nutrients, juicers that leave the fibre out are actually leaving out the best part. This is because the sugar found in fruit called fructose, when combined with the natural occurring fibre found in the fruit, does not spike blood sugar and is absorbed into the blood stream much slower when the fibre is present.
When you consume a high sugar food or beverage, it doesn’t matter if it is fresh juice or a fizzy drink, your body has the same reaction. Your blood sugar will spike and your liver will convert the excess sugar in the blood from carbs to fat. This is why it is so important to use the whole food form of fruit and veg when juicing rather than just extracting the juice from the pulp.
Fibre is an incredibly nutritious substance. It helps to regulated blood sugar, lower cholesterol, feed the good bacteria in the gut, improve bowel movements, and is absolutely necessary for good overall health. Considering most people consume less than half of the daily recommended amount of fibre a day, why would you want to leave it out of your smoothie?
Now it’s time to get creative with your juice!
After you have found a blender that fits your needs, the fun part is playing around with recipes. Some people throw everything but the kitchen sink into their blender and drink it down. If you’re new to eating a variety of fruits and veggies, maybe start small.
Pick a few fruits you know you are going to like. A mixed bag of frozen berries and a banana for instance. Blend it up and drink! You’re going to need a small amount of liquid too. Some people add water to their smoothies which I think is particularly boring. Good alternatives to water are soy, coconut or almond milk. You can even add whole milk, coconut water, or a small amount of juice like orange, pomegranate, or apple.You aren’t going to need a lot of liquid just enough to allow it to blend smoothly. So don’t worry too much about this part.
Many people like to add baby spinach or kale, carrots, beets, celery, lemon, orange, or ginger to their smoothies. I know people who even add raw garlic! The sky is the limit. The best advice is just play around with the recipe to find what works for you.
There is no point in blending together a super smoothie with the whole back garden in it if you can’t even get it down because it taste so awful. Some people like to add frozen fruits and veg, and some prefer room temp. Your body will tell you which style it prefers.
Many people don’t do well with a daily dose of frozen cold food, and if you find that drinking cold beverages doesn’t agree with you, try blending your ingredients at room temp.
What about replacing meals with a juice?
If you’re planning on replacing a meal with a fresh blended juice to help you lose weight, there are a few extra points to consider. Replacing a meal is a fine concept, but it is essential to keep in mind that a good meal usually consists of good fats, fibre, maybe some carbs and definitely protein.
Simply drinking a fruit and veggie juice in place of a meal will more than likely leave you ravenously hungry and hour later, which makes giving into snacking much harder. So it is very much recommended that you add a full serving of protein powder to your blend. Good protein comes in different forms such as whey, pea protein, and rice protein. People who consume adequate protein every day have more energy, they feel fuller after a meal, and they lose weight faster. In addition to adding protein to your blend, adding nutritional fats is also an excellent way to ward off hunger and help speed up your metabolism.
Some people are still under the spell that a low fat diet is necessary to lose weight. But let me tell you, the research has been mounting for 2 decades…this thinking was wrong. Low fat is not the way to go. In fact fat is good for you! It helps you feel fuller from less calories, it helps to speed up and maintain healthy metabolism. It’s necessary for so many vital functions in the body as well and maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. It is also absolutely necessary for the absorption of many vitamins, and in fact all those phytochemicals in foods that are found to be so healthy, will only absorb into the body when fat is also present in the meal.
Many people report feeling healthier and more full of energy even after just a week of adding a daily juice into their diet. There are many fun books about juicing available full of tips and recipes.
Have further questions? Ask our helpful team!
Hopefully you know have a basic idea of what juicing is about and how it may benefit you. If you still feel you need further nutritional direction and are confused at all of the conflicting advice out there, try consulting a qualified nutritionist. New Zealand Health Food Co. has a trained whole foods nutritionist on staff who offers a range of consultation options.