Is Your Juice Really Worth the Squeeze?

          When it comes to eating healthy, I am proud to say I am a cheater.  I’m not talking about binge eating on junk food.  I am talking about supercharging with essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
            Juicing and making smoothies is so good it should be illegal.  It is like steroids for eating healthy.  It is unquestionably a performance enhancer.  It is an easy way to get all the goodness your body craves with none of the chewing, chopping, or cooking.
            Honestly who has time to chew all those fruits and vegetables?  Have you ever tried to eat a whole plate of carrots and broccoli?  It takes forever!
            Juicing is the process of extracting juice fresh from vegetables and fruits.  A fresh-pressed juice is a lot different than juice from the store.
            Most store bought juices are made from concentrate and contain added sugar, usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup from genetically modified corn.  Some contain dangerous artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives.  Most of the vitamins and minerals in the juices are added, meaning that our bodies often cannot actually synthesize them.
            Many of the brand name juices have pictures on the label of fruits and vegetables the juice may contain trace amounts of or none at all.  If you read the ingredients, you’ll actually find you are drinking water and corn syrup with a little bit of fruit flavor.  Not so “healthy” after all.
            If you want to start hacking your way to health, you may need to make an initial investment.  Juicers can be purchased at department stores like Macys, J.C. Penny, Kohl’s and Sears.  They can also be purchased online.  I have found Breville to be a good brand for beginning juicers.  The Breville Juice Fountain Pro was around 150$ the last time I looked.
            As far as smoothies go, you can get a decent blender for much cheaper.  I really like the Nutribullet because its small containers make for a perfect single serving size, but just about any blender will do.
            These machines make a nice holiday gift and are certainly worth the price of admission for anyone looking to boost their health.  Do some research online or on Youtube and choose one that works best for you.
            The primary difference between juicing and smoothies is the fiber content.  Both are great ways to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. In juicing, the water in veggies and fruits is squeezed or shredded out of the whole foods, depositing rich colorful juice in one container and leaving all the pulp behind.  One advantage of juicing is that it is rapidly digested. Juicing allows you to consume the goodness from copious amounts of produce you could not normally eat.  Although juicing loads you up on vitamins, you will still need to eat fruits, vegetables, and other fibrous foods to promote bowel regularity.
            Smoothies blend produce, breaking open the cell walls of plant foods for your benefit and leaving easily digestible fiber behind as well.  You can add things to smoothies you cannot add to juices, such as nuts for healthy fats and protein and beneficial anti-inflammatory compounds like cinnamon, turmeric and ginger powder.
Both options have very little prep and cleanup involved, making for a fast, efficient way to stay healthy while on the go.
            In my opinion, the only way to get essential nutrients is to consume them in the form of whole foods.  Whether they are chewed, juiced, or blended, the nutritional benefits of whole foods are superior to any health powder, multivitamin, or added vitamins in food products.  There are several compounds of nutrients in whole foods that compliment one another in your body’s use of them.  Added vitamins in store bought juices from concentrate only contain one of these compounds.  Without the additional compounds found in whole foods, the vitamins pass through our bodies unabsorbed.
            We are what we eat, so fell good and load up on fresh vegetables and fruits every day.  I leave you with two of my favorite recipes.
Juice recipe:
½ bunch of kale
½ bunch parsley
2-3 carrots
1 beet with greens
1 apple or a handful of grapes
Smoothie recipe:
1 banana
1 big handful of fresh spinach
1 handful of flax seeds, almonds, cashews, or walnuts
1 optional teaspoon of cinnamon or vanilla extract
A few ice cubes
Add water to desired consistency

 

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Posted on

January 16, 2018