This has to be one of the most talked about ways of fighting the bulge and improving your over-all health, but does it actually work?
I decided to lead off with this topic for “Food for thought”, as I my-self have recently jumped on the band wagon and bought my family a cold press juicer, other-wise known as a masticating Juicer , but I’ll get to my experiences at the end of this article.
So I want to start by giving you a heads up on what “Food for thought” is all about. This weekly series will be a platform for discussion. I will share with you what I have managed to find out about each topic through my research, scouring the internet and my own personal experiences. At the end of each article I would love to get people’ s opinions on the subject. Do you believe it works? Have you tried it? Is there a better alternative? Are there any draw backs that I haven’t considered? A healthy discussion about health!
So without any further ado… Juice cleansing.
When did drinking juice become a thing?
People making juice from raw fruits, vegetables and herbs can be dated back to as early as 150 B.C. We can see evidence of it written in the “Dead sea scrolls“. They state that pressing pomegranate and fig will give you “profound strength”! This trend of pounding and grinding herbs and plants has carried on throughout the centuries, we can find examples of these juices and pastes being used for both internal and external health benefits in almost every country, from South America, all the way to Asia. In more modern times certain people have pioneered the use of raw plant and herb juices.
- Max Gerson developed a therapy combining a vegetarian diet and raw juices in the 1920’s.
- In the late 1930’s Dr Norman Walker wrote a book called “Raw vegetable juices.” He went on to live to the ripe old age (pun intended) of 118!
- A couple of decades later in the 1950’s The Champion juicer was created by Plastaket manufacturing. The descendants of the original Champion juicer are still sold in shops and online today!
- In more recent history people like Joe cross, the focus of the 2011 documentary “Fat, sick and nearly dead” (quite and eye-opening watch if you are interested) have helped revitalize the Juicer and help make it one of the biggest health craze must-haves of the 21st century.
What are the health benefits?
It’s pretty much common knowledge that fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are good for your health. The problem in society today is that we don’t eat enough of them. They are being replaced with processed, chemically created and artificial food. Juicing allows you to consume a large amount of fruits, vegetables and herbs in a one quick and easy drink.
Studies have shown that consuming cold press juices on a regular basis can decrease the amount of Firmicutes bacteria in your gut. Obesity has a direct correlation to the amount of Firmicutes bacteria in your body. The more you have the more obese you are. Long term juice cleansing (2 weeks or more) can result in a massive improvement in over-all well-being and mood, basically it makes you happier! It also promotes healthy digestion and combats bacterial infections. Pressed juices are very rich in vitamins, soluble fiber and antioxidants. Again, through scientific research it has been proven that it can help fight disease and even may help reduce the risk of cancer. It helps with increased blood flow and therefore less stress on your heart, as well as (and this for many people is a key point) helping reduce cell damage and reduce accelerated aging!
What are the down sides?
For the amount of people who tout the benefits and up sides of doing a juicing cleanse, there are an almost equal amount of people who discredit it. They have a number of concerns, one of which is the lack of protein in most juice cleanses. Some cleanse packages combat this by offering a nut milk substitute. As I stated before, Juice cleanses are a source of soluble fiber, but have very little or no insoluble fiber. This is important to help promote regular bowl movements and increase the feeling of being full for longer. Juices are also low in calories. Well, you might be thinking that this is a good thing, and yes, it can be, but if you do not supply your body with enough calories it will basically go into starvation mode and begin to slow down your metabolism. This results in people finishing cleanses and then over consuming on food they ate previously as a way to compensate for the reduced amount of calories consumed during the cleanse. There are also a number of not so nice side effects of juice cleansing, some of which include bad breath, dizziness, diarrhea, moodiness, fatigue, headache and stomach-ache. However most of these symptoms are experienced early in the process and are a sign of your body adjusting to the radical change in diet. This radical change can be harmful for certain people too. Diabetics, pregnant or breast-feeding women, people with advance heart, liver or kidney diseases are not recommended to do a juicing cleanse. On top of all of these points there is the price to consider. A lot of pre-packaged juice cleanse plans are quiet pricey and can set you back a pretty penny. Unless you are willing to do the shopping and control the quantities your self, it’s not a viable long-term option for most people.
Do you know Joe?
On of the most famous success stories from using the juicing cleanse is Joe Cross. I referred to him earlier in the Origins of Juicing. The documentary “Fat, sick and nearly dead” followed Joe on a road trip across the USA. In the documentary Joe did not eat anything. He only consumed fresh, raw fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days straight. The documentary gives a really good visual insight into both the struggles, and achievements of not only Joe, but people that he befriended along his journey. If you are sitting on the fence about doing a Juice cleanse or just adding cold pressed juices to your daily diet, I’d recommend checking out the Documentary. Joe also has a website (reboot with Joe) with may more tips, hints and success stories of people who have done the juicing cleanse.
What is my take on it all?
I have never done a full juice cleanse, and to be honest with you, I have no desire to do one. Having said that, I actually have a slow juicer at home and I drink a juice almost every day.
My usual morning juice consists of 1 to 2 carrots, a small bunch of spinach, half an apple, half an orange and a small chunk of ginger. This gives me a more consistent release of energy that is able to carry me all the way through to lunch time, where I will eat my lunch and a piece of fruit to then get me through the afternoon. I have not felt slightly tired at any point during the day. In fact, I found I have become more alert, responsive and energized! The most amazing thing is that it has replaced my morning coffees. I haven’t drunk a cup of coffee in over a month!
Now this is not all thanks to the juice. I have also reduced my intake in processed food and meat ( you don’t know what that means for me, I used to be a huge meat-eater, still am, I just now eat less and prefer quality over quantity). I use more vegetables when cooking my dinners, lunches and breakfasts too.
So, in this humble bloggers opinion. Slow juicing is great for me, as part of my diet, but not as a replacement for every meal. I will definitely continue drinking raw cold pressed juice!
So, there you go. What do you think? Have you done it before? Did it work? Is it all a load of poppycock? You tell me. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends, family, neighbours, enemies and pets. Do you know any hard-core juicers? Or any anti-juicers? I want to hear from all of them. The goal hear is to have a discussion, so opinions, opinions, opinions. You know you’ve got-em, so don’t be shy Let me have it! I will personally respond to each and every comment that this post receives. Let’s keep it civilized though folks!
Make sure to check back in next week when we take a look at one of the most interesting, and possibly the oldest form of food consumption… The Paleo diet!
And there it is, your weekly food for thought!