I know you hear all about drinking juice, fad fasting diets, and how 'clean eating' and 'juice cleanses' cause eating disorders. But, if we stop analysing others, and stop judging ourselves in comparison and take time to seek out the truth - we might find a bit of common sense among us.
So, yes, I'm gonna talk about juice, and how it really helps dig us out of years of heavy, unconscious eating, Western over-indulgence, and widespread acceptance of mediocre health.
Are you happy with your weight, energy levels, what, when, and how much you eat? If 'yes,' then great! Keep up the intuition of keeping your body healthy and happy. If 'no,' even better! Lack of satisfaction in any of the above categories can be an indicator that you have fallen out of sync with your body. But don't worry, like everything, this too shall pass, and getting back in tune is easy as juice.
When I 'got into' drinking fresh juices, it was primarily because they tasted delicious, contained all of my favourite fruits and vegetables, and gave me heavenly amounts of energy in a light digestible form. I wasn't trying to lose weight, starve myself, nor gain spiritual points for self-discipline. However, like everyone else, my life choices had naturally lead me to crave what juices were offering.
For as long as I can remember, my SAD (Standard American Diet) was all there was to eating. Everything from bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches, bagels or cereal for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, or a BLT for lunch, and pasta, burgers, or meat and two boiled vegetables for dinner. This has been, and still is considered normal eating on both sides of the pond. And don't sound so surprised. America has become the novelty among portion sizes, and Brits might cringe at sweet pancake breakfasts or cheese on those breakfast sandwiches, but really, the differences in diet are minimal. Welcome to sluggish digestion, and a blocked colon (i.e. constipation).
After years of experimentation with fibre drinks and colon cleansing to help relieve my blocked colon and sluggish digestion, I began getting a feel for what regular digestion/elimination felt like. I became more aware of what my body needs and when. This goes for food and water. Sometimes my body can handle, and even craves stodgy, cooked foods like roast dinners complete with nut loaf and roasties on a cold day. Other times, I know for sure that a meal like that is the last thing I need to maintain energy and overall health. So, here's where juices came to the rescue.
After a day (or few, or many) of too much food (oh, the First World dilemmas we face) I began giving myself a juice day where I would consume only liquids, juices and if needed, a smoothie. This allows the body to absorb the water and nutrient content from the juice directly into the bloodstream, giving energy to function throughout the day. What liquids do not do, is tax the digestive system with various types of food to break down, digest and convert into energy. While the guts get a break, they have the water, energy, and space to break down old food (and faecal matter) still in the intestinal tract. Feel about right to you? This is actually why humans (like other animals) can periodically, and prefer to fast for part of a day, a whole day, or many days, depending on the needs of the body, or external factors.
Fresh juices have played an effective role in helping me find balance with eating habits vs. needs. They offer another option besides salad and a piece of fruit. With some wilful lapses, I still maintain a juice (liquid) day 1x per week, especially when needed. On other days, juices are an excellent addition to any meal, helping you consume a concentrated range of vitamins, minerals and water for bodily functions (way better than a fizzy drink), or great as a meal in itself.
Think about it, unless you're running or cycling to and from work, doing heavy lifting and building, climbing, or cardiovascular activities, eating '3 square meals' (plus snacks) each day is unnecessary for office work and mild activity. If you are doing these types of activities, adding a juicy punch into the mix can't be a bad thing!
If you're still looking for ways to get out of drinking your 'R8 Greens', or powering up like a 'Fell Runner' with excuses like 'they've been in the fridge and lost their nutrients already,' then get off the couch! Minerals don't die by oxidation, and juices you buy in any shop are often Pasteurised, Homogenised, and High Pressure Packaged, leaving them with nothing but a long sell-by date. Like canned goods and processed 'food' items, the longer the expiration date, the less nutritious. Sorry to break the news. If you do have a juicer at home, get it out and use it! The very best juices are indeed consumed straight after juicing. Still, I'm not gonna hate on store bought juices, (or even a can of beans for that matter) if it means a more hydrating, nutritious, delicious choice for food. Just get 'em down ya!
At Hot Yoga Sheffield, we buy local and organic fruit and vegetables from Beanies (our near and dear greengrocer), cold-press them into recycled and recyclable bottles, put a short shelf life on them (7 days, if they even make it that long without being sold) and repeat this every Tuesday. Come say hello to the new juicer, Sandra. She'll be happy to show you how juiced she is to share these beauties. Happy Summer everyone!