Juicing. The Good, Bad, & The Ugly.
When you hear the term ‘juicing’ the thought that comes to mind may be: health, detoxing, weight loss, and youthfulness.
Unless you think of the verb commonly used to refer to unnaturally muscular men and women, which is a whole other blog.
Although juicing produce has been around for decades, like all health trends, we love to push them to their limits, ultimately defeating their purpose. When juicing is done properly, it can be very healing and beneficial to our wellbeing. Unfortunately, many people buy the dress without looking at the price tag. The price, in this case, being your health and weight loss efforts.
In this blog, I am going to give you the backstage pass to the good, the bad and the ugly that comes along with downing these colorful beverages. Allow me to educate you how to make juicing work for you and not against.
More is NOT always better
The idea behind juicing, is you’re getting an extremely dense amount of nutrients and vitamins in just one class of liquid. Which is absolutely true. Sometimes, it’s hard to reach the daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables within our hectic schedules. Lord knows there are times where we can’t sit down and devour a whole bowl of kale and cucumber on a good day. But by wringing out our fruits and veggies to get all ‘the good stuff’ we’re leaving out some crucial content.
Let’s touch on fiber.
Fiber feeds our good gut bacteria, keeping us regular, supporting our immune system and allows us to feel satiated after we eat. The insoluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables helps bulk our stool allowing it to move swiftly through our digestive tract scraping away built-up plaque and toxins. It also slows the release of glucose which helps balance blood sugar and avoid sugar crashes- A major key when looking to build and sustain energy and achieve weight loss.
Although, we are receiving a large number of vitamins and nutrients, when we drink fresh pressed juices, we miss out on the fiber. This is why shortly after drinking a juice you start to get those hunger pangs and you’ve already spent your lunch money.
The good: You’re getting a dense dose of vitamins and nutrients.
The bad: You’re missing out on fiber
The ugly: You just paid $8 for a juice and you’re still hungry.
Juicing Mistake numero uno:
Let’s be honest, straight vegetable juices compared to fruit juices can be as desirable as 50% off 3-day old gluten-free buns sitting next to freshly baked chocolate muffins.
‘I’ll pay the extra $2 and feel shitty about it later.’
Similar to Buckley’s cough syrup, fruit-free green juice ‘taste awful and it works’. Many times to make the ‘green’ or ‘healthy’ juices desirable, fruit is added as the base. As mentioned above, when we juice fruit and veg, we achieve a concentrated glass of nutrients and vitamins but along with that comes a dense dose of fructose.
The fructose found in fruit is considered healthy when we enjoy the fruit in its whole form and in small amounts. This means containing all its natural fibers and solely enjoying 1 serving. Think about it, when you enjoy an apple in its whole form, 1 is usually enough to satisfy you and act as a wonderful snack.
When you juice 1 apple, you are left with a couple of ounces which you will most likely shoot back like a shot of tequila at freshly 19 and go looking for more. You will also likely find yourself energetic and wired only to be on the lookout for the closet couch for a mid-day snooze.
Because the fiber has been taken out, the fructose is quickly absorbed spiking your blood sugar only to plummet shortly after. If this happens on a regular occurrence it could potentially lead to developing diabetes.
What to look out for when buying juices
If juicing at home, you have the control to decide what goes into your juice and by reading this article, you’ll know exactly how to structure your bevy (see delicious clean green juice recipes below). Purchasing juices out of your home is a whole other ball game.
Most juices purchased in-store and most definitely pre made bottled juices, are made using fruit as the base. Fruit is generally cheaper and makes the juice ultimately taste sweeter, more appealing, and wanting to come back for more
When buying your fresh pressed juice, ask that the base be a made up of water filled vegetable like cucumber or celery. If you are new to juicing and can’t quite stomach an all greens juice, request for a small amount of low glycemic fruit such as Granny Smith apple, pear, grapefruit, lime or lemon.
If you’re looking to quickly grab a juice on the go, be sure to read the label. I’m not going to throw particular companies under the bus here, but almost every premade juice (that wasn’t made in house) you see on the shelves of grocery stores has high sugar fruit based. Small bottles of this stuff can often weigh in at 40+ grams or more of sugar!
Take the popular ‘Green Machine’ juice by Naked Juice (OK, I am going to throw 1 company under the bus). It is marketed as a green juice, which makes you think ‘low in sugar, healthy, lots of benefits. This small bottle of juice contains 34g of sugar. Compare that to 1 can of Coke which has 39g of sugar and your basically drinking a thick green soda.
TIP: When doing all vegetable based juices, note that there are some vegetables that are higher in sugar such as beets, carrots, and tomatoes. If juicing, aim to use in small amounts.
The good: Green juices can be majorly beneficial to our health
The bad: Green juices don’t always taste great (until you try my recipes below!)
The ugly: Fruit juices cause our blood sugar to spike which can lead to weight gain and low energy.
At some point or another, you’ve probably considered a juice cleanse. Whether it be 1, 3 or 5 days, juice cleanses took the media by storm. Yogi’s swear by it, avid drinkers gravitate towards it, and celebrities get paid to endorse it.
So let’s break it down.
No need to cook
Easy on the digestive system
Dense with nutrients and vitamins
You may lose a bit of water weight
Expensive as shit
The first few days you’re starving which turns you into a person of straight evil.
You’re only consuming carbs, no protein, fat or fiber.
You’re NOT detoxing. You’re actually adding additional stress to the detoxing organs, the kidney, and liver.
You’re not firing your metabolism, in fact, it tends to slow down during this time.
When you return to your normal eating habits after, you’ll gain all that weight back plus interest.
Please note this is when juicing with fruit and vegetable juices. When struggling with life-threatening diseases and going through chemotherapy, juicing has said to be beneficial when done properly and with the consult of your practitioner.
Also note, many people swear by juice cleanses saying they’ve never felt so energetic, light and healthy. Many of these people came from eating terrible diets and are getting an adequate amount of nutrients for the first time in years, if ever. So yes, when you ditch the daily beer, wine, chips, and dessert, you will feel energetic, light and healthy.
The thing is, you CAN have all these results with ¼ of the struggle. Read more on this below….
The good: Juice cleanses can be beneficial when healing major diseases and digestive issues when done properly.
The bad: Most people, don’t do them properly.
The ugly: You’ve forked out the money, spent the last 2-5 days cranky and starving and now you’re back to square 1 with a few extra pounds to lose with low energy.
How to make juices work FOR you:
Now that we’ve dragged fruit and high sugar vegetable juices through mud, let’s talk about how we can drink juices to benefit our health and support our goals.
First, try to change your mentality around juices. They should be considered as a healthy supporting side, not entre. Lately, I have been loving plain celery juice in the morning before my breakfast.
Read more of the benefits of drinking celery juice here.
As mentioned above, we want to stick with juices that are made of low sugar vegetables. Although, technically fruits, lemon, and lime are low sugar and are alkalizing in the body. They are a wonderful addition to assist in taste.
Try not to become overwhelmed thinking you need to pack as many different types of greens all into 1 juice. Less is more. I love picking 1-4, sometimes 5 vegetables per juice, rotating my varieties throughout the week.
A quick review of the benefits of pure green juice:
-The nutrients are easily absorbed into your body.
-Easy on the digestive system. This is beneficial when fighting a sickness as your body can utilize its energy to fight off an infection versus energy spent digesting.
-Has been said to help fight acne and promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
– Easier on the body to process, especially the liver.
Different types of juicers
If you really want to dive into juicing and get nit-picky on the topic, there are 2 different types of juicers to consider.
- Centrifugal Juice Extractors
The less expensive type of juicer which uses a metal blade to separate the juice from the skin, pulp, and meat of the fruit and vegetables. The problem with this is, as the metal blade spins, it creates heat which destroys some of the enzymes in your produce along with oxidation lowering the nutrient content of your juice.
- Cold Press/Slow Press/ Masticating Juicers
The cold press juicer extracts the juice from the fruits and vegetables by crushing and pressing the produce yielding a juice. This doesn’t require heat and is less oxidating allowing the final product to containe more nutrients.
If you’re on a budget, new to juicing, and happy to even be getting a little extra green in your life, the centrifugal juicer is a good option. If you have the money to spend and are looking to get the most out of your juice, opt for a cold pressed juicer.
Chara’s Favorite Green Juice Recipes:
Fresh to Death:
1/2 lemon peeled
Large handful of mint
2 handfuls spinach.
Cold Be Gone:
2” inch piece of ginger
½ lemon peeled
5 celery stalks
Spash of apple cider vinegar, dash of cayenne and 1 tsp organic honey
Take Me To The Tropics:
2 cups of cilantro
1 lime peeled
½ Granny Smith apple
Down with Detox:
3 large handfuls of kale or spinach
1/2 lemon peeled
2 cups parsley
2 cups cilantro
2 Large handfuls of dandelion greens
2’’ pieces of ginger
5 stalks of celery
½ lime peeled
5 stalks of celery
In a nutshell, supplementing with green vegetable juices makes a great addition to your diet. Keyword, being ‘addition’.
No quick-fix supplies lasting results when it comes to weight loss and feeling your best from the inside out. Your answer will always be incorporating a healthy balanced diet of fat, protein, carbs, and fiber.
Need help creating a balanced diet to support your goals? That’s what I’m here for. Reach out today and let’s get you started on the path of no more dieting, no more cleansing, eat and enjoy real while reaching your goals and enjoying the journey!