Apr 1, 2013

The Truth About Juice (Part 1)

The Truth About Juice (Part 1)

Juice is all the rage in spring.

People looking to shed some winter weight or sluggishness crave the sweet, cooling lightness of fresh pressed juice. This is only natural: it is a season of new beginnings, rebirth and rejuvenation!

Yet after watching my friends blindly suffer through juice cleansing this spring, I realized there is an essential component missing from the Seattle juice community: a nutrition consultant. 

I connected with Kari Brunson, co-owner of my favorite juicery—The JuiceBox—and we’ve joined forces to bring educational support to juice cleansers. We want to maximize that feeling of “Aaah!” post-cleanse, but it takes a smart approach. Juicing can be beneficial and nourishing, but it can also mess up your body—big time—if done incorrectly.

How do you know if a juice cleanse is for you?

What happens when you’re cleansing, and how do you navigate the challenges? These are legit and important questions!

I’ve created a five-part series that will tell you everything you need to know. You’ll learn how to prepare for a cleanse, how to make the most out of a cleanse for your body type and activity level, and how to disengage from a cleanse safely so you reap all of the (potentially incredible) benefits.

Juice can be amazing.

Juice can be a potent nourisher, but some juices may actually deplete your body of nutrients—eek! It all depends on the type of juice you drink, how it was processed, and when you drink it.

Fresh-squeezed vegetable and fruit juice contains loads of good stuff: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and electrolytes. When you drink fresh juice, you’re consuming the micronutrients of multiple fruits and vegetables at one time, and your body is flushed with vital, essential nutrients that it readily uses to build, repair and refresh your body. 

Moreover, nutrients work synergistically, and thus more effectively, when you consume whole foods or drink fresh juice: your body was literally designed to optimize nutrients that occur naturally in food. Supplements or fortified processed foods simply aren’t as effective (and sometimes, they’re useless). Drinking juice is one of the best ways to get the essential, diversified micronutrients your body needs.

What's the catch? 

There is a catch, I’m afraid. To reap the fantastic benefits of juice, it must be fresh-squeezed, preferably hydraulically pressed, and consumed ASAP! All that live, stunning goodness—the vitamins, antioxidants, phytochemicals and enzymes—are very fragile and sensitive to light, heat and processing.

Thus, if a juice is pasteurized or high pressure processed, exposed to room temperature for longer than an hour, or sitting on the grocery store shelf for weeks, the juice loses its vitality. Processing oxidizes micronutrients and kills enzymes, completely wiping the juice of its health benefits!

Say so long to the OJ from your local grocer and the waffle house, and be sure to ask your juicer how your juice is processed. And do I even need to remind you to choose organic, as-local-as-possible, produce?

Juice can’t replace well balanced meals. 

Next week we’ll discuss the best time to drink juice and how to prepare for a juice cleanse. But with that said, I want to be clear: juice cannot (and should never) replace food! A juice cleanse is not a diet, a magic pill, or even a good idea for some body types. Juice is a health-enriching supplement and a juice cleanse is simply a tool for restoration. More about all this soon!

If you’re looking to refresh your eating habits, it’s probably best to start with a whole food wellness program that educates and helps eliminate common irritants.  Urban Leaf’s Spring Rejuvenation program starts in a few weeks at SOL Yoga and I'd love you see you there!