Nutrition Part Two: Juicing
Make a potent serving of vegetables a part of your morning routine.
Posted Mar 15, 2013
Following on from my previous post on foods to avoid, I would like to highlight some food groups and practices that aid in fortifying you against stress and empowering you in your daily life. I want to start by speaking about a practice that has been a part of my daily routine for many years now: Juicing.
Drinking juiced vegetables is one of the most powerful practices you can introduce to your daily routine. Vegetables lose nutrients and enzymes when cooked, so by juicing raw vegetables you extract a high concentration of nutrients and energy far beyond that achieved when eating cooked vegetables. Juicing also improves the digestion and absorption of soluble fiber through the stomach and intestines and increases the breakdown of insoluble fiber by probiotic bacteria. This allows you to drink the concentrated nutrition from a greater quantity of vegetables than if you were to eat the vegetables whole; therefore, you are drinking nutrition far beyond that which would be obtained through eating raw, whole vegetables. Furthermore, for most of us, our digestive system is impaired to some degree, owing to poor eating choices made over a number of years. While this limits your ability to fully assimilate the nutrients, juicing aids this nutrient absorption by “predigesting” the vegetables for you. Juicing nourishes your body with a flood of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, while your cells release toxic acids in response to the alkaline nature of the vegetable juice. Waste products are then eliminated from your body through the gastrointestinal system.
To juice effectively, you will need a juicer that operates at a low temperature, usually by a squeezing mechanism, to ensure that valuable enzymes are not destroyed. Juicing is best done in the morning, ideally after some morning exercise. My suggestion is to clean and peel your selection of fresh vegetables before your morning exercise; this clearning and peeling ensures that you are not adding toxins to your juice. It is useful to soak the produce to be juiced in a solution of water and apple cider vinegar (three tablespoons of vinegar per liter of water), which will help to neutralize impurities and clean the vegetables, especially if some of the produce is not organic. However, because of the concentration of produce in the resulting juice, this is one area in which it is important to source organic produce as much as possible. Juice enough vegetables to produce one tall glass of juice.
After your exercise, juice the cleaned vegetables and then drink this juice fresh before your full breakfast. Fresh vegetable juice is most effective when it is consumed within twenty minutes of being extracted from the vegetables and also when consumed before, rather than after, any substantial meal. This ensures that the maximum amount of nutrients can be assimilated. I ensure that I drink my daily juice on an empty stomach by preparing and drinking it immediately after returning from my morning walk when my body is eager to absorb all the nutrition possible. I then jump into the shower and, once finished, continue with the rest of my breakfast, whether it’s oatmeal, whole-grain rye bread, or egg whites with vegetables.
When juicing, I typically opt for a combination of carrot, spinach, broccoli, celery, red pepper, green bean, and apple for taste. You may also like to try cucumber, beet, parsley, chard, kale, asparagus, arugula, bok choy, ginger, and lemon.
Juicing is best practiced in your own home, as opposed to purchasing juice. This is because many sellers of juice use inferior ingredients that may not be fresh, organic, or properly cleaned, and they often use high-powered juicers that operate at higher temperatures and are simply not as effective as slower, higher-quality machines that better preserve nutritional value. Remember also that timing is everything—you must drink your juice within twenty minutes of extraction; thus, prepackaged or refrigerated juice is not the same. The final reason for juicing at home rather than buying juice is that the ritual itself is valuable—it requires a level of commitment, and you will find that once you make this commitment, you will be less willing to undo the health benefits of daily juicing by eating poorly at other times during the day.
Make juicing a part of your morning routine to ensure that your body receives a potent serving of fresh vegetables that have absorbed energy directly from our primary energy source: the sun’s abundant radiance. This supports your system in cleansing toxins and maintaining optimal vitality and health. Spring is the perfect season for introducing this practice into your life; happy juicing.