So, it’s official; we’re juicers. I honestly never thought we would take the plunge, but it’s really been incredible how our dietary behaviors have changed since we started this blog. Information is incredibly powerful and persuasive and the more we learn about the power of food, the more our weekly grocery trip is altered. The journey to the juicer really began by watching the documentary Hungry for Change. Every nutritionist and physician interviewed on that film not only touted the benefits of a very vegetable heavy diet, but they sang the praises of juicing. Honestly, I kind of just rolled my eyes. I didn’t really know much about juicing except for those infomercials at 3 am where an older couple puts whole apples and celery into the Jack Lalane juicer. My first question was:
So what is a juicer and how does it work?
A juicer is this really fancy (and potentially expensive!) machine that can extract the juice from just about any fruit or vegetable. I was surprised at how much juice you can get from things ilke swiss chard, celery and strawberries. Basically you just press the fruit or vegetable against a spinning blade and filter, and all the pulp, seeds, rind, skin etc. is pumped out to the side while the juice gets drained
through the filter and into your glass.
What are the benefits of juicing?
Here is where I think a little research goes a long way. If you google juicing you’ll find a ton of pretty “out there” claims about the benefits. You may be lead to believe it’s magical; “juicing gives you perfect skin,” “juicing removes all toxins from your body” “juicing restores perfect health” are just some of the things you’ll come across. Regarding juicing’s magical properties, I do want to bust two myths I commonly hear about juicing.
- Juicing is better for you than eating the vegetables whole because the juice is easier to digest. There really isn’t any evidence that this is the case. Your stomach is really good at what it does and we were built to digest vegetables, even leafy ones. We don’t benefit from having our food “pre-chewed” by a juicer.
- Juicing removes toxins. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any scientific evidence I could find that suggests that juicing removes toxins from the body. The liver and kidney should be very effective at removing harmful toxins, but many vegetables and fruits are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which are incredibly beneficial.
Why Juicing is still awesome
For me, it’s a very effective way to eat way more phytonutrients that I would if I tried to rely on whole vegetables. I know how important veggies are for me, and yet when I put them on my plate at dinner time, I find myself still pushing them around like I did when I was 10. No way am I going to be munching on kale, swiss chard, or celery all day, but shove them all in some juice and they go down without a problem.
The other great benefit of juicing is that it takes the place of other processed foods. If I have a big glass of vegetable and fruit juice after dinner, I’m not hungry for dessert or snacks. Instead, I’ve fed my body and incredible cocktail of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients I can’t get anywhere else.
As far as the “magical” properties of juicing go, I do think my skin has gotten clearer, and I like the energy I have when I drink a lot of fresh juice, but I’m not convinced that it’s a life altering experience just yet.
Have you ever juiced? What did you think?
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