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Monthly Archives: November 2012

On juicing and bioavailability

Have you ever heard the term bioavailability? It’s a heck of a hard work to type without making a mistake, let me tell you! Basically what it means is how available to your body is a certain substance, in this case we’re talking specifically about digestion and how easy it is for your body to get nutrients out of what you consume.

I’ve talked about all the fantastic nutrients and enzymes that are in juices, but another reason to actually juice your veggies and fruits is because of bioavailability. Most of the foods we eat take a long time to work their way through our digestive tracts. This is largely due to the fact that we eat lots of processed foods. Fruits and vegetables have the ability to work through our digestive system and have all their nutrients absorbed in as little as forty five minutes! By comparison, other foods can take eight hours or more to work through from start to finish. If you are often eating a diet with little plant matter and lots of other foods, including processed foods, your body is spending a lot of energy to digest the things that are supposed to be giving you MORE energy. Seems a little bit silly, doesn’t it? By eating a diet with lots of fruits and veggies, including some juices, you give your body a well deserved break.

English: Orange juice. Italiano: Succo d'aranc...

English: Orange juice. Italiano: Succo d’arancia. Português: Suco de laranja. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Digestive problems are running rampant through the population. With our poor diets and overuse of antibiotics, our gut flora is low and our bodies have trouble even breaking down food to get the nutrients out. Juicing helps a lot by being nearly ‘self-digesting’, they help to solve this problem. They supply our bodies with readily available nutrients we don’t need to work hard to get. If you suffer from poor digestion, why don’t you take some time and try juicing. Combined with downing your processed food intake, you may see a big shift in your body.

Worth a try?

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Lessons in juicing

So, this is the last week of my liquid life detox month. What a long haul. I admit, I haven’t always been able to do the liquid dinners. I found myself to be hungry as winter settled in, more than what my soup could do to fill me up. I have been pretty good with the juiced mornings though. I really like having the juice in the a.m. for breakfast. I find I need a light snack or an early lunch however, or my stomach starts its daily protest. Maybe November in Canada was not the best month to do a liquid diet…but I hope that won’t deter anyone from trying. You may really enjoy it once you’ve tried it. It is certainly a great way to get your nutrients and energy. Also, having juice first thing after your cup of water is another great way to get more hydration in your day!

Here are some tips of lessons I’ve learned this month:

1. Make sure your fruits or veggies aren’t too ripe.

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice

English: Cucumber, celery & apple juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I found the juices to taste off whenever I used produce that was too ripe. So much so that I couldn’t even stomach the drink. I may be sensitive, but I definitely recommend using your produce within a few days of purchase.

2. Cut your juices with water.

That much sugar that early in the morning can shoot your blood sugar levels up without any fiber to slow that process down. Better to cut the juices with water so there is less sugar. The water also helps to hydrate you even more. It also helps break up some of that acidity if your juices are fruit heavy.

3. Clean your juicer ASAP.

As soon as you are done, rinse and wash that juicer. This point has several reason for being. If you don’t clean it right away, you might forget and your juicer will be all clogged the next morning when you go to use it. Also, the little bits of pulp and skin can get caked on really easily if they are allowed to dry. Then your cleaning time will be doubled!

4. Drink slowly.

If you drink your juice too fast, you might have an upset stomach. Take your time and enjoy the flavours!

5. Brush your teeth afterwards.

Most of my juices had fruit in them, and often included a beet. Fruit is very acidic and beets tend to stain the enamel. Better to brush right after and prevent any staining or damage to your teeth.

From me to you, these are the best tips I have if you want to wander into the world of juicing. If you are an avid juicer yourself, please feel free to add some more tips in the comment section. Maybe I can learn something from you!

Top 5 reasons to juice

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. ...

Mural painting showing Galen and Hippocrates. 12th century; Anagni, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unless you have major blood sugar issues, juicing could be something that will help you get your body the nutrients and energy it needs! Juicing has been around for centuries dating back to ancient times in India, Rome and Greece. Ayurvedic medicine has long promoted the benefits of juicing. Actually, it describes the body’s best health to be when all of its juices are flowing properly and abundantly.  In ancient Greece, Hippocrates was known for being a proponent of using diet to heal. Among his favoured ‘prescriptions’ was different types of juices. He was known for teaching that it was better to be full of drink than full of food. I wonder if he includes vodka in that thought? Hmm…probably not. Influenced by his predecessors, Galen of Ancient Rome also studied and proposed juices for maintaining health and treating health issues. In fact, though he couldn’t know why at the time, but he suggested that cooking juices made them lose some of their beneficial properties. This was hundreds of year before we would discover enzymes! So, if you thought juicing was a fad, now you know the facts. Juicing has been around for a very long time.

So, why juice?

1. Enzymes

If you follow my blog, you know how important I think enzymes are. They are the little workers that keep our bodies going, helping in every little function we need our bodies to do for us on a daily basis. Without enzymes, it doesn’t matter what else you are eating or drinking. They have to be there to break down all your nutrients so they can get where they need to go. You can see why this is reason number one. Most enzymes can only thrive in a ‘raw’ or ‘uncooked’ piece of food. Our bodies produce some of them, but we need to ingest many of them as well. Our bodily enzymes are not infinite, so maintaining a healthy diet, ripe with enzymes is very important.

2. Vitamins and minerals

We’ve all been told over and over throughout our lives that vitamins are important. Minerals, too. Honestly, they really are! If you are lacking in any of the vitamins or minerals your body needs, your bodily functions can become highly impaired. Unlike enzymes, our body cannot produce the vitamins or minerals we need and we have to get them from food. (Apart from vitamin D, which we can get a bit of from the sun). With most North Americans, and now nations becoming ‘Americanized’, the standard American diet is eaten by a large part of the world’s population. The aptly acronym holding ‘SAD’ diet is devoid of many vitamins and minerals.

3. Quality over quantity

Combine our ‘SAD’ way of eating with the fact that our agricultural system is producing food that is less  ‘organic’, it would be nearly impossible to get everything you need, every day. The nutrient load of the foods we eat are getting lighter and lighter. Sure, many of us supplement in pill form, but a quart of vegetable juice can give you the nutrients that you would otherwise need to eat five pounds of solid vegetables to get! Crickey! I know a quart may seem like a lot, but over the course of a day, it’s not that bad.

4. Chlorophyll

I’ve already written about the amazing benefits of chlorophyll, but a lot of people may have trouble drinking the supplement version of it. Vegetable juice is a great way to get a dose of chlorophyll. With a molecule so close in structure to human hemoglobin, it has amazing detox effects!

5. Essential Amino Acids

There are eight amino acids we consider ‘essential’ because our bodies need them to function and yet we are not able to produce them ourselves. That means we absolutely need to get them from our diet. Like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, without enough amino acids, our bodies would develop serious health issues.

Sure, there are many more reasons why juicing is good for your health and why more of us should be doing it. I will be covering some of them in the next few posts, but for now why don’t you mull over these ones. They pack a pretty powerful punch. Do any of these reasons make you want to try juicing? Why or why not?

Month 11: Liquid Life

juicer

juicer (Photo credit: Shockingly Tasty)

Wow, it seems as the year comes closer to the end I am getting lazier and lazier about these postings. Sorry!

So month 10 was a bit of a change up and had more to do with what I was putting on my body, rather than in it. Month 11 will be going back to what I am putting into my body.

Your digestive system is an amazing machine. If you haven’t realized this by now, it is time for a wake up call. It takes everything you put into your mouth to nourish you and converts it into the energy you need to function every day. It is constantly working, constantly and tirelessly. Isn’t it time to give it a bit of a break? Well, you can’t really stop eating. I mean, maybe you could, but not for long. In our fast paced and demanding society, a complete fast is nearly out of the question. Some people choose to go really hardcore and go on the Master Cleanse, which is basically lemons, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. I’m not sure I could ever be one of those people, but you never know what the future holds. Instead, I have decided to give my digestive system a less substantial, but sure to be appreciated break for the month of November.

Rules for this month:

1. Breakfast is freshly made juice from fruits and vegetables.

2. Dinner is either completely blended soup or a protein shake.

And those two rules are it. Simple, yet very, very time consuming. Also, it is completely necessary to have a juicer for your breakfasts.

I’ll admit, it hasn’t always been easy. I have had to ‘cheat’ with store bought juices on one or two mornings. I’ve also had to forego the liquid dinner on a few occasions. When you are eating out or invited to someone’s house, it isn’t really easy to have that liquid dinner. I have managed to make my liquid dinners in the majority however, so that is something to be proud of. Also, there’s a lot of liquid dinners to go. At lunch I make sure to include healthy decisions and protein so that I’m not lacking in those. Juicing does not yield a ton of protein, nor does it allow for much fiber. If you are thinking about juicing for the first time, make sure that you research it and if you can, talk to a nutrition expert.

Have you ever gone on a juicing spree? Did you notice any effects it had on your body? Mind? Spirit?