Why I began juicing & 5 major health benefits of it

Recently, I purchased a juicer. Now I know what you’re thinking – why buy an expensive juicer when you can easily create smoothies without all of the crazy clean-up.  Well, I’m glad you’ve asked. There seem to be a lot of confusion around juicing and how it compares and stacks up to blending – so I’d like to share why I took the plunge to start juicing.

You see, last September (2012) I embarked on a 21-day challenge that consisted of eating strict paleo, think Whole 30 strict. (Note: I’m partial to 30-day challenges, but to get a friend to do it with me, it had to only be 21 days – cc: @chrislodolce). And it was life changing. And I mean that.  After just two weeks of no processed foods, no dairy, no refined carbs, no alcohol – I hit this period of enlightenment which I liken to the protagonist, Bradley Cooper, in the movie Limitless. I had more energy, was waking up without my alarm and my mind and body were unfathomably clear. And that day I realized that, holy crap, what food you put in your body matters – and it matters a lot. Since then I’ve been on a journey to eat natural, healthy and find what my body thrives on to be the best.

This is where juicing comes in.

Green Juice Drink

I heard about juicing from a very health-focused friend of my, Jana. We were hanging out making on Easter Sunday making our Czech painted Easter Eggs and she explained how she’s been juicing, relayed the health benefits and encouraged me to give it a try. She even made me a delicious carrot and apple blend. I was hooked.

To see if what she said was true I researched a ton – not because I really wanted to – but because there isn’t that much information out there on the health benefits of juicing just yet. But with hours of research I realized that this was one bandwagon I had to jump on.

To share the wealth of knowledge that isn’t easily accessible, I’ve decided to share my findings I’ve gained from this venture.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a naturopath, but I’ve done a ton of searching and knowledge-gathering for this post.)

So here they are – the incredible health benefits of juicing – in order of ascending importance as I see it:

  1. You can easily get your recommended dose of vegetables:

    According to CDC, vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. They also provide necessary vitamins, nutrients and other essentials required for healthy living. Everyone’s required intake is different as it depends on your age, sex and activity level. Check out the vegetable calculator they have available to see how much you should be consuming. And I bet you’ll be surprised to see the amount – and even be mystified how you can consume this much in one day. That’s where juicing comes in. Juicing allows you to take all of those vital nutrients out and consume it straight into your system. Down below you’ll find a recipe for a healthy green juice – one thing I found incredible is really how much food goes into it – and the likelihood of me eating these over the course of one day is low. And I eat tons of salads and greens – and it’s still low. So, juicing = awesome in this aspect.

  2. Reverses signs of aging:

    Now as a 27 year old female in society, this is something I can get down with. Of course I wear 30-spf sunscreen everyday, even cloudy days, but this isn’t a topical cream – this is what your body wants and craves to be healthy. As Whole Living says, healthy greens are one of the top 10 foods you can consume to reduce the signs of aging. Folate, calcium, and other nutrients fight against bone and cognitive decline.  The cruciferous veggies (think broccoli and cabbage) help to fight memory loss and cancer. And then there are the berries – blueberries, blackberries and cranberries – that are chaulk-full of antioxidant compounds (known as anthocyanins) which studies have indicated can slow the growth of certain cancers and improve brain function, muscle tone and even balance.  One last note on this, Earth Remedy also says that it can reduce acne and rashes – which as an excema prone person, I can attest to this.

  3. Boosts energy levels:

    Juicing provides you with a concentrated supply of those nutrients mentioned above – and since there is no need for your body to digest it (the fiber is removed in the juicing process) it can be absorbed right into your body allowing you to be revived with an amazing supply of natural energy.  The thought of eating all of these vegetables isn’t nearly as enticing as getting the energy they provide in a delicious juice that takes less than 5 minutes to create.  So there may be no more need for caffeine, or at least the need is decreased.

  4. Reduce toxins:

    This is most prevalent when you’re doing a juice cleanse. But even starting your day with a juice can help remove toxins that have built up. Think about it – our bodies are always working to digest the food we’ve consumed, including the bad ones with preservatives or simply processed foods, leaving little time for our body to focus on healing. When you juice, you allow your body to focus it’s energy on healing, not digesting – since there is no food/fiber to digest.

  5. Juicing can bring your body back to it’s natural desire to be alkaline:

    The normal US diet is full of  foods like coffee, alcohol and refined sugars – and these are all very, very acidic in nature. And all of these acidic foods cause  bodies extra stress because they have to work hard to process all of the acidity – and then try and bring it to it’s natural state of being alkaline. The problem, besides the excess load on the digestive system, is that acidity is where cancer cells thrive. This imbalance also contributes to chronic fatigue, allergies, arthritis and more. Juicing allows you to return your body to the natural PH levels – making it more alkaline.

    If you’re especially worried about your body being acidic, you can add lime or lemon to your water which adds alkaline. I know this seems weird, since these citrus fruits seem so acidic, but they have an alkalizing effect on your body.

 

There are tons of other benefits, and just a few mentioned from EarthRemedy and Chic Vegan can be found below:

  • Boosts the immune system – There are so many vitamins and minerals your immune system needs and they can be found in juices.
  • It can reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol:  Juicing can help regulate your blood pressure by keeping it down! And you can get high cholesterol levels down and managed.
  • Alleviates allergies: Juicing can help take away the symptoms of allergies,  since many of them are caused by processed food. Surprise!

 

The following is my favorite green juice recipe thus far. It’s based on a Blue Print Cleanse recipe. Buying organic foods at Trader Joe’s makes this green juice concoction just a little bit over $3.00, whereas if you buy the Blue Print juice at Whole Foods – it costs $11 and it’s already oxidized when you buy it.

Green Juice Ingredients in the order in which I juice them:

  1. 1 Green Apple
  2. 4 ribs of celery
  3. 1 big handful of Kale
  4. 1 big handful of spinach (sometimes 2)
  5. 2 parsley sprigs
  6. 1 cucumber – or one half depending on it’s size
  7. Juice of one small lemon
  8. And sometimes I’ll add an inch of ginger root

Some other things to keep in mind when buying ingredients:

  • Always go organic. Less pesticides, enough said.
  • Scrub your food clean. Not just rub, but scrub. Some of these ingredients (apples, celery, cucumbers & spinach) are found on the list of the Dirty Dozen.
  • If you’re allergic to apples, you can use pears instead. They’re delicious and still give your green juice natural sweetness.

And if you’re considering purchasing a juicer, this is the one that I have, bought it on a recommendation from @VigerWoods:

 

Are you a fan of juicing? Have you noticed any difference in how you feel? Share thoughts and recipes in the comments below.

 

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