We’re all pretty keen to get moving in the morning: ok, let’s face it rushing is the norm. And getting veggies into your breakfast to get even near your target needs, let along the variety that your bodies craves, is just not a thought you have. but health and convenience needn’t be opposites, and the smoothie and his juicy cousins are the epitome.
But juices are often more fruit than vege, can juice out the much needed fibre and lack that basic of basics we need to ensure at every meal: that we look after all our macronutrients at each. Sure juices full of carbs, but what of the proteins and fats we need, and in combination for the best in digestion and assimilation of all the nutrients we’re hoping to get by drinking them?
Benefits of juicing:
Drinking your juice first thing in the morning can give you a natural energy boost without resorting to stimulants like coffee: since the juice is already in an easily digestible form, it can help revitalize your energy levels within as little as 20 minutes.
Vegetable juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables, in an easily digestible form and raw green vegetable juice can be likened to a “living broth,” because it’s teeming with micronutrients that many people are lacking. And that’s presupposing that the bulk of your juice come from organic, green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. – not fruits, which are too high in sugar. This is an important distinction to make because, if your juice contains too many fruits, it will be both higher in calories and sugar (fructose). You can add in an apple, a kiwi, or a handful of berries to give your juice flavor, but limit it one piece of fruit a day and the bulk of the juice instead from organic, green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. The health benefits of eating the worlds healthiest foods really is out of this world.
One of the biggest benefits of juicing is variety: many people eat the same vegetable salads or side dishes every day, which increases chances of developing allergies to foods. Add to that you’re brain’s dopamine receptors are made to detect difference as part of seeking out bad food as much as nutrients it needs, so variety is essential if you’re really keen to get healthy.
Unfortunately, green juice has a stigma for tasting bad and that could be a stigma because of its color. I mean what child do you know will eat anything green?
- Ever? If you’re new to juicing, you can start with more mild-tasting veggies, like celery and cucumbers.
- From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach, and escarole, along with parsley and cilantro.
- Greens like kale, collard, dandelion, and mustard greens are quite bitter, so you’ll want to start slowly and add just a few leaves at a time.
- If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can also add limes and lemons to cut bitter flavors, fresh ginger gives your juice a little “kick”!
With so much good, how can there be a bad side to juicing?
Juicing unfortunately can remove the pith and fibre from your vegetables and leave you with the sweeter, juicier, carbohydrate only remnants. It’s not a fruit juice per se, but its effect in the body is no different: it causes a blood sugar spike, which can lead to mood swings, energy loss and memory problems. Add to that your brain will do anything to moderate these, causing a ‘stress’ response in your body to get a speed response to normalize blood sugar in the form of a hormone, insulin, which in itself costs your body nutrients to make, transport and use.
So we just put the fibre back in right? Yes, but there’s more:
- Make sure you chew your juices as you would a salad for the best digestive help
- Don’t drink them on the run as an excuse to just get them down
- Always take 5 as you would with every meal and ensure we add quality proteins and healthy fats as you would every meal.
Even with the healthy and speedy benefits of smoothies and juices, we need always to take five when drinking them. In fact, let’s make that we’re chewing them: even though they’re pretty much liquid, we need to give our salivary glands in our mouth time to get moving because they’re where carbohydrate digestion begins. In turn, their working stimulates similar glands in our pancreas so they get their fair warning for more digestion further down. The act of chewing too begins the GI tract’s work so your tummy will be a but more prepared for the onslaught of all those lovely goodies if you give it just a little more time. And as we’ve discussed in other articles, digestion only happens when we’re relaxed; stress by nature is sympathetic which is not the kind of brain function needed for digestion. Sit down to drink your smoothies and juices, and I don’t mean driving to work!
ALL THREE MACRONUTRIENTS AT EACH MEAL
Every meal needs to ensure each of the macronutrients – carbs, fats and proteins – not only because we need them all for health from the level of each our cells, but also because each helps the other digest and assimilate what they bring from your table.
- Proteins you might add to juices/smoothies include: whole pastured eggs, gelatin can easily be dissolved and disguised for even the vegetarian who is missing out of the gut healing, skin, joint and sleeping benefits gelatin can provide from their meatless meals. Oh and nut butters. Almond especially is a great protein add in.
- Healthy fats to add include avocado, pastured organic (preferably raw) yogurt and milk (if you can tolerate them), coconut milk (from BFA free cans without other additives like guar gum if you can avoid them), coconut oil, macadamia oil even olive oil.
And one more thing, enjoy your juices / smoothies! Food was meant to be enjoyed otherwise why would be we have so many types in wonderful shapes and sizes and colors and tastes? I think a lot of the time when we’re so concerned with eating healthy we forget that pleasure is many our most important nutrient.
A smoothie with kale you might actually want to drink
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- 1-1.5 cup mixed berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons flax seeds
- 1 cup kale
- ½ inch ginger, peeled
- ¼ cup ice
- 2 tbsp gelatin (this one dissolves)