If there is one thing that I recommend to my clients and to people who would like to improve their health and re-boot in the New Year is to juice!!! I am not talking about the Tropicana OJ or apple cider in a bottle juice but specifically about green juices and homemade veggie and fruit juices! Since it is the New Year and the time of the year when many of us are making resolutions for the year to come, make yourself and your health a priority and start the year off by cleansing your body and mind by integrating juices into your diet.
Fasting is not some new-age 20th Century fad but has been an integral part of different religions and cultures around the world for thousands of years. Fasting is described as intentionally abstaining from food, and is usually done for religious and health reasons. Fasting is nature’s way of giving the body a chance to overcome disease and rest. When animals are sick they instinctively quit eating until they feel better. This internal awareness is even present in our children who do not eat when they are not hungry. Somewhere along the line we lost the knowledge of the importance of fasting to regain and restore health.
While fasting is used for weight-loss, it is also a tool for cleaning, flushing, detoxifying, maintaining the body and even healing both major and minor illnesses. When we eat, all of our body’s energy goes towards digesting that food. And, when we go on a fast, we are giving our body a break. If you are trying to lose weight or get your diet off to the right start, then a fast is a wonderful way to break away from unhealthy eating habits and give your body a clean slate to work from.
During our lifetime we are exposed to a variety of chemicals and toxins both in our food and drinks as well as in our environment such as cleaning products and pollution. Our body eliminates some of these toxins through waste but after years and years more and more remain in our colon. These chemical products and free radicals contribute to premature aging, heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Fasting is a way of getting rid of these toxins and allowing your body to heal.
Additionally, fasting increases the white cell count in our blood, whichboosts our immunity and protects us against disease. It has also been known to reduce the symptoms of menopause such as night sweats and weight gain. And, it also aids our circulatory system, which improves the quality of our skin, hair and nails. Fasting is a way to jump start our system and get back on track and something I recommend everyone do once or twice a year for ultimate health and well-being.
Juices furnish the body with live enzymes and bioactive vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals that are destroyed when a food is cooked.The juices bring an alkaline force into the body that helps neutralize the toxic acidity that we have as a result of our modern diets. They also speed the recovery from disease by supporting the body’s own healing activities and cell regeneration, and improve the cell’s ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste and other toxic material from the body.
Similar to herbs, juices have specific healing properties. The principal of food relating to certain diseases is a well-established clinical finding in Western naturopathic systems as well as in Chinese and Ayurvedic systems. Since each juice has its own healing properties, it is beneficial to rotate them. Some juices include carrot, apple, kale, spinach, beet, wheatgrass, orange, cucumbers, celery and watermelon.
Kale and other leafy greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll. Greens help purify the blood, prevent cancer, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, improve liver function, clear congestion, improve skin quality, lift spirit, eliminate depression and increase energy and vitality.
Cucucmbers are one of my favorite vegetables! Not only are they high in the vital B-vitamins but they are also a good source of folic acid, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phospohorus, potassium and zinc. I have one whole cucumber in my morning green juice and it really gets me going and prepares my body for the gym!
Beets are high in vitamin B and folate and are a very good source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Beets help purify the blood, cleanse the liver, aid in resolving menstrual in-balances, and have been even said to fight cancer.
Carrot juice is one of the richest sources of vitamin A and also includes vitamins B, C, D, E, G, and K, the electrolytes sodium and potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Carrot juice helps improve the health of the eyes, skin and teeth, has been said to be a natural solvent for ulcerous and cancerous growth and and has even been claimed to help prevent sterility.
So, why not just eat your vegetables instead of juicing them?
When we juice them we take out the fiber and leave only the essential nutrients. There is no way that we could eat the quantity of vegetables needed to equal that of vegetables in a juice form. Fiber certainly has its place in our diets but if you could do one thing to improve your health and energy it would be to add one green juice or other vegetable juice into your diet each day. If you can’t do a fresh juice, then do one with a green powder. You will feel an immediate improvement to your mood, energy and outlook on life. Your skin will be clear, your hair shiny and you will feel great!
How do I get started? What do I do?
You can choose to go on a week long juice fast where you drink green juices all day, do a juice fast one day a week for a period of time, or even decide for a week that you will juice until dinner. My recommendation is that you first check out your local health food shops and juice bars. When you juice, you want to make sure that you have a wide variety of different juices in your diet to include at least two with greens. In the morning, you can start off your day with a fresh squeezed orange juice or pear juice but after that I recommend that you do all veggie juices. For those who get starving, you could add a smoothie in the late afternoon (check out my Smoothie-licious article for recipe suggestions).
If you want to go the lazy route (and, believe me, I have done this many times before,) I recommend the juice fasts offered by Organic Avenue. I have known many people who have liked the Blueprint program but I personally find these juices a bit too filled with sweet fruit juices. Regardless of whether you decide to do a 7-day fast or to juice once a week, you will begin to see (and feel) immediate results afterwards with respect to your health and your outlook on life whatever you decide is an improvement to your diet!
Long fasts are not to be taken lightly. You may experience withdrawls, headaches, breakouts, exhaustion and mood swings. You must be prepared for both in terms of dietary changes and mental preparedness. For anyone interested in finding out more about juicing, I am available for initial consultations to discuss how you can go on a safe, easy juice fast.
Refreshing cleansing juice
4 stalks celery
Juice in juicer and drink throughout the day
4-8 leaves of romaine lettuce and/or kale
2 large apples
Stir in agave nectar for sweetness if needed. You can also add a carrot if you want to cut the astringent flavor more. Drink this and your skin will be glowing!
Carrots & green juice
4-8 leaves romaine, spinach and/or kale
2 apples (optional to cut astringent taste)
Carrots are great because they contain natural sugars that your body will crave during a fast.
Kat’s Green “Power me Up” Smoothie (featured inwww.crazysexylife.com)
1/2 head kale (lacinato and dinosaur kale are my favorites!)
Juice from a Thai Coconut (you can cheat and use the small “One” containers if you need to)
Unsweetened almond milk
Frozen bananas and/or berries
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp maca
1 tsp flax seed oil (for brain power, focus, overall well being…)
Pumpkin seeds (if making for my hubby since it’s good for prostrate cancer prevention)
Put all of this in the Vitamix and blend! This is my favorite, favorite, favorite morning smoothie and I usually make it the night before and then send it in a bottle for my hubby to take to work in the morning!