Now that we are into full-fledged New Year’s mode, no doubt your gym is overridden with sweatband-sporting enthusiasts, and your local grocery store is jam-packed tighter than a woman in Spanx. What you may also be taking notice of is an ever-increasing interest in juicing.
Many things probably come to mind whenever you think of juicing: cleanses, powders, fad diets, weight-loss, detox and health, of course. Juicing does represent all of these ideas to a degree. Let’s break it down to see what is worth trying and what is worth skipping. Bear in mind that this is just a tiny snapshot of the vast array of ways to enjoy juicing.
• Juice Cleanse: Many people love a quick fix. Make it super easy, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Enter the ever-so-popular juice cleanse. You can do fruits only, veggies only or a blend of the two. You can buy the juices at the store, make them yourself at home, or buy them online and have them shipped to you.
According to most diets, you can subsist solely on the juices for three to five days (some say more days while others recommend less) and drop several pounds at the drop of a hat. What they fail to mention is the rebound effect of gaining the weight back once you begin eating real food again, as well as the sometimes unpleasant side effects like headaches, jitters and nausea (or even weakness from so little calories).
• Juice Powders: Many juices now have added supplements in powdered form that are already included in the prepared juice or are sold separately as a stand-alone (ex. green grass/veggie/fruit powders). While it sounds like a great idea to replace the real deal with a pulverized substitute, the thing is it is not the same as eating real fruits or vegetables. While powders claim to be readily absorbable, this is not always the case, and valuable enzymes can either fall through the cracks so to speak or not even be present in the first place due to the manufacturing process.
• Juicing and Fiber: When you eat your greens ,you get the wonderful fiber included; juicing—not so much. Even the grass powders don’t have the high amounts of fiber you’d find in fresh fruits and veggies. When you juice your produce, you strip off the beneficial fiber. There is a way around this, however; simply blend your greens in your blender instead or in addition to juicing your veggies. If you can, invest in a top-notch blender to keep those fibrous strands and retain the fiber with the juice. Voila! A win-win!
• Juicing and Sugar: While fresh juice is always better than bottled, too much fruit can be a big negative when it comes to sugar. Despite fruit being high in antioxidants, the truth remains that when you take away the fiber there is nothing to slow down the surge of sugar straight into the bloodstream. If you have blood sugar issues or mood swings, this might not set well with you.
So what’s the “right” way to juice? Whatever works best for you! My personal best way to juice is to have one to three veggie juices per day — heavy on the veggies and super light with the fruit (I’m talking maybe one apple). To prevent blood sugar spikes, I have mine blended with either brown rice protein or pea protein (which holds you over longer). I will occasionally have a “green” powder if I didn’t get my complete veggies in for the day, and will do my best to eat veggies at every meal in their natural state (not cooked, canned, frozen or processed to death). I try to mix it up for variety and for optimum nutrients. I personally don’t do a juice fast of only drinking juice for days at a time. I believe everything in moderation, so I simply include fresh vegetable juices as a part of my normal diet.
So there you have it! Now that’s something to drink to!
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One-On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio for men and women on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email [email protected] She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com or www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.