Spring Cleaning? Benefits of Juicing
As a Holistic Sports Nutritionist, one of the most important impressions that has stayed with me through my training and into my own diet, is the importance of juicing for health. Consuming foods with extremely high enzymatic value, such as fresh vegetable and fruit juice, is essentially a practice that can regenerate the health of your cells by oxygenating them, thus, fresh juice can be considered the ‘fountain of youth’. Not only is it excellent for your cells, fresh juice has a myriad of benefits
(info from the juicer guru):
- Juicing for health provides vital nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for our bodies to repair themselves, strengthen the immune system and for cell regeneration and growth.
- Unlocking nutrients of raw foods is one of the vital benefits of juicing. Fiber is quite literally locked into many vegetables and fruits and the potential benefit of the fiber is lost as the digestive system does not unlock it. Juicing releases the fiber’s nutrition so that benefit may be realized.
- Normally we do not consume peelings, seeds and pits of fruits and vegetables. These parts are a rich source of vital nutrients we normally throw away. A good quality juicer extracts juice from the whole veggie or fruit, including peelings, pits and seeds to provide vitamin and minerals that would otherwise be lost.
- Heat kills live enzymes. A quality juicer minimizes heat in order to preserve the most live enzymes possible.
- Using a good quality juicer will cause the least amount of foaming in the juice. Foam is indicative of oxidation of the juice which lowers the antioxidant benefit. Less foam equals more antioxidant benefit.
- Juice is an excellent snack or meal replacement that is very filling. Many dieters claim that juices assist them to lose pounds with no hunger.
- The antioxidant effects of juices will help detoxify your body and help you eliminate the toxins, fats, preservatives and chemicals that a diet of processed foods leave behind in your body.
- Increased energy and mood uplift are collateral benefits of juicing. As your body becomes detoxified and “cleaned out” it will be more able to access and utilize restorative and sustaining nutrients which most likely will make you feel better in general. When you feel better you are more energized and happier.
- The most readily digestible or absorbable form of foods, not to mention the most concentrated form, is juice. Juicing makes foods easy to digest and thus, easier for the body to receive maximum benefit from the source food.
- Making your own juices allows you to make any combination of fruits or vegetables that you choose into juice – and you know what’s in it, unlike produce on the supermarket shelves.
In my experience and opinion, including fresh juice into your diet is excellent in aiding digestion and cleansing of the digestive tract, detoxifying the body and protecting it from potential diseases, and the nutrient content is off the scales good.
The important thing to remember is that fresh juice should be consumed immediately due to oxidation, where if left, the nutrient, vitamin and mineral value rampantly decreases over time. Temperature also affects the quality and nutrient value of fresh juice so keep it cool!
If you do not have a juicer (they can be quite costly), I would recommend picking up a fresh juice from your local juice bar at least once a week: Booster Juice or Jugo Juice (in North America) offer great varieties.
Lastly, remember that if you are enjoying a fresh juice, fruit juices have a very high fructose content which, if not consumed in portion, can affect your weight loss goals. If you are trying to lose weight, stick with the following:
- Green vegetable juices
- Avoid too many beets, carrots, burdock root
- If fruit is included in the recipe, request that they halve the portion ie. 1/2 apple rather than a whole apple
Here are some recipes I love:
½ head of romaine lettuce
6 spinach leaves
1 green apple
2 celery stalks
1 cup kale or spinach
1 cup wheat grass
½ cup broccoli
3 celery stalks
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh spinach
½ inch fresh peeled ginger
1 lemon, peeled
1. Clean all produce well. Toss in the juicer in order and drink immediately.
Check out My Favourite Drinks Page for some of my other
Raw Food and Fitness
I am really excited to write about raw food and fitness. Consuming more raw foods and living a green lifestyle has increased in trendiness over the last decade. As a yogi, fitness model, and health fanatic, I must say I am a huge fan and advocate of raw food and I have personally experienced amazing changes in my own body in terms of energy, vitality, leanness, digestibility of food and the vibrancy of my skin and hair with the inclusion of raw food into my diet.
Although I am not completely raw, I have experienced a period of almost 2 years where I was eating only raw and now have found a balance where I eat cooked food and incorporate raw food principles into my current regime. For me, balance works best. I love my cooked meals but I also love including raw smoothies, live drinks and other raw ingredients and recipes into my diet.
I am certified as a Raw Food Nutritionist in addition to being a Sports Nutritionist and I have seen first hand what the addition of these enzyme rich foods has done for my clients and my peers in the fitness industry.
Competing in fitness and in any sport for that matter can be very taxing and depleting for the body. Often after competition or a sporting event, athletes will feel fatigued and can even experience minor depression. Refuelling the body with fresh, natural, raw ingredients helps to build muscle tissue and oxygenate and hydrate muscles making for faster repair and rebuilding.
My Favourite Raw Boosts:
- Bee Pollen
- Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar
- Chia Seeds
- Sprouted Sunflower Seeds
Zain’s Delicious Green Smoothie:
2 Leaves Organic Kale (stems removed)
2 Leaves Organic Swiss Chard (stems removed)
1/4 Cup Organic Spinach
1/4 Organic Cucumber
1 Cup Organic Strawberries
1 Ripe Organic Peach
1/8 Piece Ginger
3 Sprigs Parsley
1/8 Tsp Chlorella
1/8 Tsp Spirulina
1/2 Cup Water
2 Cups Ice
1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor, add/reduce water to your consistency liking.
Zain’s Raw Superfood Shake:
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao OR 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
30g Raw Coconut Meat
1 Tbsp Raw Organic Cashew Butter
1 Vanilla Bean Or 1/8 Tsp All Natural Vanilla
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Tsp Raw Unpasteurized Honey
2 Organic Dates
1/4 Tsp Maca
1/2 Cup Ice
1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.
I would like to introduce one of my all time inspirations: The amazing Raw Food Trainer, Mary Luciano http://www.maryluciano.com/home
Here are some simple ways you can start incorporating raw foods everyday according to Mary Luciano:
1. Start by just having a salad on a regular daily basis. Make one huge hearty salad with a variety of colors from the rainbow. Add leafy greens, like romaine, spinach, leafy green, mixed greens, kale, and endive. Add crunchy vegetables like red, green, yellow peppers, celery, and cucumber. You can also add raw nuts and seeds to add more crunch and change the texture. You can even add some fruits like strawberries and blueberries to sweeten it up. Lastly add a healthy tasty dressing and Viola a full meal.
2. Try a fruit or green smoothie add some protein powder or hemp protein and flax oil to make it a complete meal for morning or afternoon. Or simple as a snack.
3. Add at least one type of raw food at each meal.
4. Try making freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices. If you don’t have a juicer visit a juice bar in your area.
5. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables you’ve never tried before.
6. Raw foods are becoming so mainstream you can purchase a raw cookbook almost anywhere. Buy one and commit to trying a new recipe once a week, one a month what works for you.
7. Do some research and see if there is a raw food restaurant in your area. Make a point of going out and trying it. This will help you to see that you can turn almost anything into a delicious raw food dish.
8. Have fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds as snack. Adding nuts and seeds can also help you feel more full and satisfied.
9. Visit a health food store and see if you can find a raw energy bar such as Lara Bars or Smart Monkey Bars.
10.Try out various raw super foods such as Goji Berries, Algae (Sprilina, Chlorella, E-3live) and Seaweed (Nori, Arame, Wakame, Kelp and Dulse).
Incorporating more raw foods into your lifestyle does not have to complicated. The more raw foods you add daily the better you will start to feel. The more you are committed to adding variation into your lifestyle the more you will see that raw foods can be delicious and fun.