I was introduced to the concept of juicing when I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few years ago. I was going through a serious food documentary phase- an interest fueled by my obsession with NBC's The Biggest Loser. I was consumed by the contestants' relationship with food: how they used it to comfort and heal deeper issues within, which sparked more questions about our society's relationship with food. I watched Food, Inc, which covers the dismal state of corporate farming in America and Food Matters, which proved the healing properties of proper nutrition. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was a little different. It followed Joe Cross: an overweight, middle-aged man battling a painful autoimmune condition who embarked on a sixty-day juice cleanse to give his body a chance to detoxify and heal itself. Not surprisingly, he lost an enormous amount of weight and gained a significant boost in his overall health. Since then, I've incorporated juicing into my diet in different ways.
Here are my Top 5 Tips on Juicing:
1. Find Your Flavor
I would wager that most people who claim they are not interested in juicing are worried about the taste, and I'll admit it can take some getting used to. The key is to be open-minded and find what suits you best. I originally thought that I would prefer fruitier options, but found out that for me: The greener the better. Kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, and apples are all I really need to keep me happy. Another tip? Always drink juice over ice. It seriously takes it up a notch!
2. Juicers vs. Store-Bought
I thought buying a juicer and making my own beverages would be the best, most affordable option. While there are definitely benefits to doing it yourself (choosing your own produce, creating your own recipe, control over contamination) this proved to be expensive and extremely messy overall.
There are many juice companies out there, so do your research. I find that SaladPower (c/o) is one of the healthiest beverages on the market. It was created to lead the revolution of health conscious consumers without charging an arm n' leg per bottle. All of their veggies and fruits are 100% natural, 100% Non-GMO, sustainably sourced and hand picked. Currently, there are 4 flavors to choose from: Veggie, Veggie + Apple, Veggie + Pineapple, and Veggie + Mango. Compared to other juices, SaladPower is much more well-rounded in terms of nutrient content. They incorporate every color of the rainbow- which makes them slightly more carrot and tomato flavored than traditional "green" juices.
3. Fruit Juice vs. Veggie Juice
All juices are not created equal. While its undeniable that fruits are amazingly nutrient-dense, they are also full of sugar. Natural sugar, but sugar none-the-less. If you're a diabetic- or an endomorph like me- you'll probably want to stick to veggie-based juices that incorporate just a hint of fruit juice. This is another example of why SaladPower is a great option. They start with kale, cucumber, carrot, spinach, celery, bell peppers, and tomatoes (low-sugar fruit) in every bottle. This combination of vegetables ensures you're getting the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that your body needs.
4. To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse
My first instinct was to go on a quick cleanse. I drank 5 juices/day for 5 days (along with green tea and tons of water.) Much to my surprise, I didn't feel hungry, was able to continue exercising without passing out, and felt energized. My stomach was flat, my skin was glowing, and I lost about 5lbs.
A week later, I put the 5lbs back on. Why? Because it's just water weigh. Upon further research, I came to the conclusion that juice alone can not sustain a healthy lifestyle. You're lacking protein and fiber to keep you going.
If you're looking for a quick, non-sustainable fix, a cleanse won't kill ya. It's great before an important event: it will make you thinner, give you glowing skin, and make you feel wonderful. But it's not going to last.
Instead, consider juicing as a way to incorporate more nutrients found in fruits and vegetables into your everyday diet. Swap out 1 or 2 meals or snacks each day for your favorite juice flavor to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
5. When Should I Juice?
There are three times during the day when juicing makes perfect sense: breakfast, mid-afternoon, and post workout. If you're like most Americans who tend to grab a coffee and head to the office on an empty stomach, swap out your morning java for a well-balanced juice. It will jump-start your metabolism and give you lasting energy. Likewise, crack open a fresh bottle of SaladPower during your mid-afternoon slump. I always get a daily "case of the 3 o'clocks," and I'm tempted to reach for something sweet and salty. I think we can all agree that a cold juice is infinitely healthier than a candy-bar. Finally, juices are perfect for a pre or post-workout snack. Healthy carbohydrates are necessary for rebuilding muscles- especially on days when you're doing heavy lifting- and the carrots in SaladPower provide just that.