The juicing industry is becoming one of rising popularity. Juice bars are popping up like coffee shops and people are jumping on “juice cleanses” like they’re the new burger joint in town. This may sound fantastic, but there are some significant dangers to watch out for.
More and more people are craving the outcome of energy, vitality, longevity, and reduction of symptoms through their food choices. There is surely evidence that the intake of fresh pressed vegetable juices will provide the body with our greatly lacking phytonutrients but like any industry, money is also a factor and many of these new juice companies are cutting costs that may be taking a cut in your health.
The benefits of juicing and even taking several days to drink only juice, on a “cleanse” can certainly be beneficial. It’s like the 21st century version of “fasting”. Practiced for centuries in almost every religious and spiritual practice, from Christianity, Muslim, Buddhist and Islamic traditions to name a few. Giving the body a break from digestion and allowing the immune system to kick in and clean house. “When we fast… the body becomes lighter, more flexible; the mind becomes clearer and more creative. Greater intuitive powers may develop and deep spiritual insights may be experienced….” –Kripalu Center
Many of our current ailments are said to be remedied by fasting. From minor allergies, to colds and flus, aches and pains, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and even emotional instability. It is important to check with your naturopathic practitioner before attempting any juicing or fasting regiment. Adding juices to the mix provides your body with a boost of nourishing support to help along the journey, minimizing symptoms that commonly occur such as headaches or hunger pains.
The purpose of fasting or “juicing” or “juice cleansing”, or typically what I have helped coach people through, “juice feasting” is to break free of addictive behavior, tune into your body, and move forwards with more healthful habits. Taste buds shift from desiring the typical sugars, breads, even coffee for many and gravitate back towards whole foods, including more fruits and vegetables, which leave most feeling liberated from the fatiguing symptoms that plague society as “the norm”.
Before you jump onto the juice bandwagon… be sure to know your juice! You want to avoid juices that have been pasteurized of course, as this defeats the purpose of consuming any live enzymes and actually getting the majority of the vitamins and minerals, but also watch out for “fresh pressed” juices and their sugar content. Remember, in juicing, the fiber of the produce has been removed and therefore the sugars go directly into your blood stream. Blood sugar spikes are a causative factor behind diabetes, inflammation, emotional instability, and energy crashes. So watch out for juices that have too many sweet fruits! You want to stick to as many of the darker leafy green, lower glycemic juices to get the most benefit. You also want “cold pressed”. This ensures the produce has not been masticated and therefore prone to oxidation within an hour or two, leaving it rancid. Cold pressed keeps the nutrition in tact for up to 3 days in the refrigerator unopened. And finally, the most important of all is: organic.
Juices are essentially high concentrations of fruits and vegetables, so when consuming non organic produce in high concentrations you are also consuming a higher concentration of pesticides! You may end up paying a few more dollars a juice, but well worth the price. Some juices have the equivalent of 1.5kg of produce in one bottle. Many companies are cutting this corner based on cost and it’s not one you want to accept into your body. The National Cancer Institute demonstrates a link between exposure to pesticides and cancers including lymphoma, lung, bladder, colon, brain and prostate cancer to name a few. A Harvard Study released in March of this year in the journal, Human Reproduction demonstrated “the first report to link consumption of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables, a primary exposure route for most people, to an adverse reproductive health outcome in humans” – Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology and the study’s senior author. As a health consumer, it’s your duty and right to understand what is going in the food and beverages you consume, including all of these “health products”. As much as I am an advocate for cold pressed, organic, low glycemic juices they are few and far between in this market. So choose wisely. Stick to the juice companies that hold this value across the board and beware of “pesticide cocktails” being marketed as health promoting juice.
Written by Kristin Fraser of Inner Glow Nutrition
Join Kristin (Chef) and Sarah Zanbeek (Yoga Teacher) in Nicaragua in March of 2016 for a Live Food and Yoga Retreat!