Achieving better health through nutrition is becoming very important as more and more of the baby boomer generation hits their senior years. What encourages me most is that I am seeing younger people embrace the concept of good health and well-being. Many realize that by working on their health in their younger years they will not only experience more energy and well-being, but will also live a longer and more fulfilling life.
About raw juicing. The health benefits of juicing on a daily basis are many and are well documented; however, we still live in a society that believes a daily diet of cooked food is nutritional and healthy. It is very important to understand that valuable micronutrients become damaged when foods are heated. Over-cooking food destroys micronutrients by changing shape and chemical composition. Thus, at almost every meal, most are consuming foods that contain less than an optimal amount of bio-available nutrients. Could this be a reason why we are seeing more and more metabolic-related health concerns? In my opinion, yes!
Did You Know? Juicing is really just a smoothie with the fiber removed. This means that fresh vegetable juices are an opportunity to load up on nutrients, at much, much higher densities than with smoothies. You can only drink so much, and with a smoothie, the fiber adds volume that fills you up using a fraction of the produce that your stomach could hold if you removed the fiber and drank it as juice. Does that mean smoothies are out? No, smoothies definitely have their place, but if one needs nutrient dense food, raw vegetable juicing is not only digested quickly and more efficiently, but definitely the most beneficial.
It is essential that we get 6-8 servings of vegetables and fruits every day. These vegetables and fruits are necessary to support a healthy functioning body as well as to properly support the immune system. Juicing is one of the easiest ways to guarantee that this amount is reached. In addition, some fruits can certainly be used in juicing, but not by themselves. If you experience health concerns such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other metabolic health concerns in which sugar is an offender, I recommend limiting fruits until your health concern(s) is under control.
The exception to this recommendation would be the use of lemons and limes which have almost none of the offending sugar, fructose, that can actually cause the above metabolic complications. Lemons or limes are also great at eliminating the bitter taste of those dark green leafy vegetables that provide many of the great benefits of juicing.
Does Raw Juicing Provide Protein?
The short answer is absolutely! Many vegetables actually contain acceptable amounts of protein. Broccoli, for example, contains 4 – 5 grams of protein per cup. Spinach contains 5 – 6 grams. Kale, watercress, collard, and turnip greens also have good amounts of protein. If you are doing a juice fast, meaning you are drinking juices all day long, you could easily be consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein or more from just your juices alone. However, if you prefer to have some protein, I highly suggest Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder which provides 18 grams of plant protein per serving.
An important reminder. While fresh raw juice is considered a liquid food, by itself, is not usually a complete food and should be used in addition to your regular healthy meals. The exception would be if you are undergoing a special fasting or detoxification program. Fresh raw juice can be consumed with a meal or, as many prefer, an in-between-meal healthy snack.
Organic. It is important to juice vegetables and fruit that are fresh, organic or locally grown in an organic manner and in-season. Listed below are vegetables/fruits that are the most pesticide-loaded according to the Environmental Working Group. Try to always purchase these vegetables/fruit organically grown. Another option is to grow these vegetables in your backyard garden or container garden using NON-GMO seeds/plants.
The “Dirty Dozen +2” listed from worst to least:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap Peas (imported)
- Hot Peppers
- Kale / Collard Greens
Health Benefits of Raw Juicing
- helps to detoxify body
- provides nutrient dense food
- allows higher consumption of a wider variety of vegetables
- strengthens immune system
- helps with mental alertness
- facilitates weight loss
- improves digestion
- increases energy
- may help with allergies
- unlocks all nutrients of raw food
- allows one to consume the entire veggie/fruit
- tremendous source of live enzymes
- decreases body odor
- uplifts mood
- supports the liver
- helps with sleep issues
- helps with hormone issues
Fresh & Healthy V8 Raw Juice Recipe
(Always use organic ingredients when available.)
3 large tomatoes
3 stalks celery
5 medium-sized carrots
1 small beet
¼ head of cabbage
1-2 bell peppers (red, green)
2 cups spinach
3-4 kale leaves
¼ sweet onion
½ clove garlic (or more to taste)
Use organic vegetables and wash thoroughly. Juice all vegetables in juicer. Add chili pepper and/or Himalayan Salt for a more tangy taste. Tabasco sauce to taste can be substituted for the chili pepper. Enjoy!!