Our fresh fruit and vegetable juices are a popular part of the La Crisalida health and wellbeing program. In this article we discuss the key things you need to know about juicing.
Juicing at La Crisalida Retreats
Our juices are designed to be tasty and nutritious and to give the digestive system a well-needed break. The energy intensive part of digestion, normally carried out by the body, has already been done (the fibre has been separated from the vitamins and minerals). Many people report our juices to be refreshing, tasty and enjoyable. However, if you have an acidic rich diet or lifestyle (e.g. eat a high proportion of sugars, meat and/or dairy, caffeine, alcohol or have a high amount of stress) you may find that it can take a little longer to adjust to the natural and fresh flavors. If this is you, we suggest gently introducing yourself to juicing slowly, rather than the full 3-day detox which many people choose.
Juicing provides massive amounts of ‘pre-digested’ nutrients and alkalise the body. This means nutrients are absorbed easier, the digestive system gets a break and the body can focus energy in regeneration. In the long term this may help to combat chronic illness. In the short term juicing can help with the following:
- Weight Loss: Juices allow more nutrition and less calories to enter the body and it’s difficult to get more than 1000 calories/day when juicing. To kick start weight loss goals, consider a juice cleanse and daily low impact exercise like walking, rebounding, aqua aerobics or yoga.
- Detox: A juice cleanse increases the intake of raw food enzymes (and by default eliminates the intake of things like dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol). The raw enzymes from vegetables contain most of the building blocks needed for cellular regeneration. Juicing thereby provides the necessary ingredients to keep the body nourished with the exact vitamins and minerals needed for regeneration.
- Catalyst for change: This is by far one of the more popular reasons for juicing. Juicing allows for wide range of experimentation with fruits and vegetable not usually eaten (raw) because of texture or flavour. In this sense juices can turn “yuck” into “yummy”!
How long should I juice?
People often wonder how long to juice. Really this depends on personal intentions and reactions (or, sensations) to juicing. Generally, juice timing fits into one of the following three categories:
- Juice Cleanse: focused to detox the body, allow the gut to rest and to start new habits. We suggest three days is a good length of time.
- Juice Fast: is using juice as only source of nutrition to jump start weight loss or as long term therapy. Juice fasting can last one week or longer. Somme authors suggest that juice fasting can reverse chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, Crohns disease, eczema and more. (Check out ¨Super Juice Me¨ or ¨Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” movies that chronicle the tales of several people juice fasting).
- Juice Snack: Increase your intake of raw food enzymes and enjoy juicing and the benefits by occasionally replacing a meal (maybe breakfast) with a juice or adding a juice extra during the day. You can do this for the rest of your life!
What can I expect to feel during a juice cleanse?
Undertaking a juice cleanse (average 3 days) can be like a roller coaster ride of getting to know yourself. The extra time not spent in cooking or eating allows for introspective time where you may be able to evaluate food relationships and possible food addictions. Day one is like setting out on an adventure: mind, body and spirit are curious. Since the juices are packed with nutrients the body generally feels nourished. Day two can bring the detox blues. By now the body has caught on that something is different; headache, fatigue and crankiness can set in, all symptoms that the detox is in process. Still the body can feel satiated from the juices but the mind and spirt can feel a little foggy. Then on day three, the light breaks through and generally, mind, body and spirit feel rejuvenated and lighter. People often experience a sense of accomplishment upon completion of the juice cleanse.
How do I make a juice?
When making your juices, you can mix fruit and vegetables. Vegetables tend to be more alkaline and nutritious. Fruit tends to be more acidic and contain sugars, however these (natural) sugars can make the juices sweeter and more tasty. It is important to enjoy your juices so adding more fruit may be necessary as you acquire a taste for the more vegetable based juices. Some vegetables are actually quite sweet (like beetroot or carrot). Be creative, use your imagination and include some herbs like basil or mint. Go easy with strong flavours like ginger, broccoli and cabbage, while these foods are rich in health benefits they also have a powerful flavor.
Find a couple of “go-to” favourites like cucumber, carrot, courgette or apple; use these as a base for your juice. Then add a few others that complement your base. Adding lemon helps to alkalise the body as well as prevents oxidization (this means it helps to preserve your juice). Juicing allows you to actually use parts of the plant normally discarded like broccoli and spinach stems and beet or other greens. Avoid juicing garlic or onion as they can flavour your juicer for ages. For things like avocados, bananas, berries and fruit with stones (e.g. mango, peach, etc.) you will need to combine them with your juice: add these ingredients to your blender, after juicing your fruit and vegetables.
Buying a juicer for home
We suggest the following “must haves”:
- 700 watts (good power)
- a big chute (less chopping of fruit)
- long cord
- juice container with fitting top (this is the bit that catches the juice when it comes out from the machine – the lid prevents splashing and keeps you cleaner!)
- easy to clean/assemble
To get a decent juicer, expect to pay somewhere around 100-150 Euros.
There are two main types of juicer to choose from: centrifugal and masticating (or cold press).
How they work: High speed (rotating blade) spins to release juice
Pros: Lower priced, Most commonly used
Cons: Oxidizes juice (a little), Not as efficient and no pulp
Masticating or Cold press
How they work: Low speed/crush or squeeze to release juice
Pros: Less oxidization- more nutrients and some pulp, it can juice greens/grasses more easily
Cons: Tend to jam easy, often more expensive, harder to clean
Last few words on juicing!
Juicing needs to be approached with a balanced mind-set. We believe that long term juicing is not sustainable. Our bodies need fibre to move the intestines, regulate sugars and fats and to promote proper digestion. If you wish to reverse, slow down or cure a long term chronic illness with juicing, we recommend that you work with a professional who can monitor your progress and ensure that you are getting the necessary nutrition. There are no guarantees or miracle cures.
People can report that they miss out on the sensory experience of chewing food. To overcome this consider eating your juice bit by bit with a spoon. This helps with the sensory experience and activates enzymes in the saliva that help activate the nutrients in the juice. Also be cautious when juicing fruits alone because they contain more fructose (sugar in fruit) and calories.
Enjoyed in moderation, juicing is a quick and tasty way to obtain vitamins and minerals in liquid form. For optimal health, eat a well-balanced whole food plant based diet, exercise regularly and enjoy life.
May the juice be with you!
About the author
- Loves all types of yoga, including Hatha, partner yoga and laughter! Passionate about natural approaches to health