|As I’m typing this, I am enjoying a freshly-squeezed carrot-green apple-ginger-cilantro juice. All the ingredients were fresh and organic. Straight from the plant to the cup!|
Before I met Doug, there was orange juice, apple juice and maybe cranberry juice. Sometimes my mom would by some exotic concoction with pineapple or mango in it. Regardless, juice to me was something you bought, some liquid that was, at best, made in the flavor of your favorite fruit and that came from some complicated, mass production facility. It was quite a day when I learned that you could buy your own juicer and that you could juice such a wide variety of fruits and veggies – even carrots!
At first, the idea of juicing anything other than apples or oranges seemed so odd. Carrot juice? I mean, I like carrots, but that can’t taste good… Boy was I wrong though. To this day, I’ve juiced everything from spinach and romaine, to cilantro and kale and pretty much every type of fruit imaginable. I’ll toss in garlic, ginger and bell peppers for some spice and even a couple tomatoes – a fruit which I’m generally turned off by. Juicing, in a way, has been a thermometer for how my taste buds have changed to favor fresh, healthy foods. My room mates get a little turned off at the thought of juicing garlic and bell peppers, but I have to admit, that even smelling these things gets me hungry now.
The benefits to juicing are many, but in essence what you are doing is concentrating all the nutritional goodness of a bunch of fruits and/or vegetables into a cup without all the mass of consuming the whole foods. Take carrots – juicing 7-8 medium size carrots renders a good size cup of fresh carrot juice. Eating that many carrots would stuff most people, to the exclusion of pretty much anything else to eat. However, juicing that many carrots renders a cup full of beta-carotene, not to mention all the other carrotenoids, and makes a great supplement to a full Phase 1 meal, or if you wish, can work as a stand alone meal. The great part about juicing is the concentration of nutrients it allows. Throw a couple cloves of garlic in with that carrot juice (something few people would simply chew up…), and you’ve got a potent, nutrient-dense Phase 1 beverage.
There are a few key differences between juice you make at home and juice you buy in the store. Many nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are very sensitive to oxygen; when they are exposed to air, they oxidize. That is why apples and avocados turn brown when you leave them out in the open. This doesn’t render them useless necessarily, but in the case of juicing, it is best to drink your juice as quickly as you can after you make it. Many nutrients are sensitive to temperature change as well; nearly all juice you buy in a store has been pasteurized. Pasteurization heats food to levels that kill all bacteria, a process that can destroy fragile nutrients. This is a necessary component of an industrialized food system, as it assures that the populace won’t be regularly exposed to food-borne germs. But when you are trying to maximize your nutritional intake, it is best to get all those vitamins intact in the form of raw, fresh juice.
If you don’t have a juicer, I would highly recommend picking one up. Does anyone have any favorite recipe’s they’d like to share?