February 25, 2014 7 minute read
Oh how I love you fibre loaded, vitamin filled and mineral packed green juice! My little love affair situation with green juices started when I was living in the East Village of NYC and discovered Liquiteria. It’s really been downhill since then, and while I drink my fair share of coffee I have to admit that lately my credit card yields to juice more than it does caffeine. The result? I feel hydrated, more energetic and have the best fresh-faced glow.
Here’s the catch: I’m not a fan of juice cleanses. I can’t seem to go more than four hours without becoming “hangry” so what with their need for withholding food from your body they don’t really work for me. Now let’s pretend the real reason is that I did my homework first and discovered that they’re actually not that great for you. Regardless of how it came to be, you’ve probably considered doing a juice cleanse at one point or another – whether it’s to satisfy your curiosity, lose weight, jumpstart your system, or all of the above. However, if your instincts are telling you to keep on eating, welcome aboard the anti-juice cleanse train! Juicing has so many benefits, and you should definitely still reach for that big green juice, but everything in moderation. So here’s why you should swing by your local juice joint and step out with some Sweet Greens and still eat lunch later.
Why you shouldn’t
I like Dr. David Colbert; he’s dermatologist to the Victoria’s Secret Angels AND he too thinks juice cleanses are just plain ridiculous. He says: “you have to ask yourself this question: with a juice cleanse, what are you really cleaning? Really, nothing. The bowel self-cleans. It’s evolved over millions of years to do this. [Plus] most people aren’t Einsteins. Often their idea of a juice fast is having nothing but orange juice or apple juice for a week. In which case, you might as well call it the Toblerone diet, because that’s how much sugar you’re pouring into your system.” Ha! I’m not going to lie, a Toblerone diet doesn’t sound all that bad, but I know my body would NOT approve. Neither would my skin, yikes! Might I add that most people go on juice cleanses after the holidays…after they’ve consumed copious amounts of shortbread cookies, baileys and chocolate. Yeah, a Toblerone diet would be a super great idea. And get this: most of the time, because of the added sugar intake, the awesome happy feeling at the end of your cleanse is not a “yay I did it!” high, it’s your body in ketosis using other products for energy since it’s abruptly run out of glycogen.
The biggest predicament comes when people do juice cleanses to lose weight. In fact, they’ve given extreme juice dieting a name: Juicerexia. Dr. Oz has talked about this issue, and he says the problem is that there’s the initial weight loss via water loss (when people get excited and think they’re well on their way to being thin), then there’s a period of muscle loss, and then fat cell shrinkage at the end. Obviously shrinking your fat cells is the goal, but when you are losing muscle mass before that (as with any extreme weight loss) your body will take muscle from your legs, your arms and even from your heart! When you lose weight and gain weight quickly in a yo-yo diet type fashion you’re destroying your body. You’re completely shocking your system and putting extra stress on your body when you deprive yourself of food, because our bodies need food. Yes, you’re eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables, but there are some pretty important nutrients you need from the other food groups. And the longer you juice the higher the chance you will create an electrolyte imbalance, and you need electrolytes to maintain nerve and muscle functioning – it’s probably best to avoid messing with them.
Why you need them
There are so many benefits to gain from adding fresh juice to your diet. I’m not talking a glass of grapefruit juice from the carton; I’m talking fresh or cold pressed nutrient rich juices. They’re just a perfect way to get additional nutrients from fruits and veggies that you wouldn’t normally eat. A good green juice delivers a powerful array of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are absorbed immediately into the blood stream. Chlorophyll, responsible for oxygenating the body, is produced by greens, which allows toxins to be released (you know how much I love a good detox). Dr. Oz is big on the green, saying, “valuable compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables and guard against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from everyday cellular maintenance and is exacerbated by exposure to chemicals and pollution.” And that energy boost I talked about? All because blood circulation is increased as hemoglobin (naturally occurring substance that carries oxygen throughout the body) levels rise, since chlorophyll has a structure that is almost identical to that of hemoglobin. More oxygen means more energy. Just make sure you consume them on an emtpy stomach, because having your green juice meet up with food and fermenting in your gut is…not sexy.
Where to get them
I’m spoiled living in New York, I have two juice shops within walking distance: Juice Generation (where I get fresh juices Supa Dupa Greens and Daily Detox) and Organic Avenue (where I frequently get their Dragon’s Breath shots and Green Love). I took my sister, Alana (photographed in this post), there last summer – I think it’s safe to say she fell in love. And then there’s bottled cold pressed juices, like Suja (Fiji and Glow!), which I’ve recently become obsessed with. It’s easy to grab a couple and keep them on hand in your fridge. You can also make them at home, preferably with a mixer instead of a juicer (so you don’t throw out the fibre). Try not to mix fruits with vegetables, not just in juice but in everyday life too – different enzymes are used by the stomach for digesting both fruits and vegetables. Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach, and alone, because they’re rapidly digested. When you add other foods, vegetables among them, into your stomach with fruit you will end up feeling uncomfortable and gassy since digestion is taking place at different times. An apple is an exception when added to vegetable juices though, so use them as a way to sweeten your drink!
So drink your chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, kale, blue-green algae and barley grass. But make sure you still eat! Your body will thank you when you healthily incorporate green juices into your diet and supply it with the essential amino acids that it needs but can’t produce itself. Plus, the functions you help out are vital to health and sexual functioning. Need I say more?