I have a bit of an internal argument about how I view juicing, specifically when people decide to do a juice detox for a few days unsupported from a therapist.
With my Naturopathy hat on I believe a juicing detox is a brilliant thing to do now in the Spring and in Summer. Spring is a time for renewal, cleansing, and change as the days get warmer and the idea of juicing is more appealing – you no longer want nice warm stews and soups to keep you going. I always encourage eating with the seasons; more salads and raw food in the late spring and summer, warm foods through autumn and winter.
Having said this, I make a smoothie for breakfast most days throughout the year. I juice with a Vitalmax Oscar which is brilliant as it squeezes the food rather than smashes it up with a blade. It means that there is very little heat produced which can also alter and damage the nutrients. This means that most of the nutrients are left intact but because of the way it juices a lot of the fibre is lost. When making juices or smoothies in a blender/Nutribullet etc, the nutrients get damaged as heat is produced and the cell walls get smashed, but you do get the fibre. So there are pros and cons to both. I juice an apple, an orange, a carrot, some broccoli and ginger. I also add some black pepper, spirulina, chlorella and turmeric powders, chia seeds and plain full fat yoghurt. All the ingredients are organic.
When I see that people are going to juice for a few days without the support of a Nutritional Therapist/Naturopath part of me thinks DON’T!!! And then the other part of me thinks, why not? The reason I am cautious is because everyone is different and it could be a massive shock to the body, especially if the person takes a lot of medications and has a heavily taxed liver. However, the reality is that a few days of liquefied vegetables and a bit of fruit probably won’t do any harm.
On that note, remember fruit is sugar, and too much fruit is just like eating cane sugar, which is not good for you. Have one or two fruits and the rest vegetables. Try and have the less sweet fruits – apples, berries, oranges rather than the tropical fruits as their sugar content is higher. Also, don’t have too much. Think how much you would eat – probably not an entire punnet. Another way to boost the nutritional value of your juice/smoothie is to add superfood powders such as chlorella and spirulina. Spirulina contains all the amino acids we need, so it is a good source of protein and chlorella helps remove heavy metals from the body. If you are really brave, add herbs as well as garlic. The greener the better as green foods, especially bitter greens such as rocket, are excellent at stimulating the liver and bile production. (If you are constipated eating some bitter greens raw before your meals can help to ease this. Also, ideally you should have a bowel movement in the morning and then after each meal).
Juicing can be a brilliant way to help the body and digestive tract if it gets irritated by food allergies/intolerance as it normally removes the irritants from the diet. The one thing I am cautious about is juicing to lose weight. Undoubtedly, like calorie counting, depending on the person, it can be of benefit; however, as a long-term solution, I don’t think it’s a viable one. Juicing permanently would be completely impractical and the minute you start eating your normal diet again the weight will re-appear as fundamentally your diet hasn’t changed. It is this that will enable weight loss and sustained weight loss. I view juicing as a way to give the body a bit of a break from the damage that refined foods can do as well, as eating foods that the body doesn’t really like (asthma, eczema, migraine and sinusitis are often linked to food allergy/intolerance) and to help clear out the liver.