Juicing or Blending?

 

I love to juice and blend for different reasons, but keep in mind, these are two different things. Both offer wonderful health benefits. Today I’m going to talk about some of the benefits of juicing. P1010477

What is raw juicing? Raw fruits and vegetables are placed into an electric juicer, removing the fibrous parts and leaving the juice, which is full of nutrients. Juicing can also be done with a blender and nut milk bag (pouring the blended mixture through the bag and drinking the juice).

What is blending? On the other hand, when you add fruit and veggies to a blender and leave the pulp in the mixture, this is called a smoothie or “complete juice.” This also has many benefits – mainly that you’re getting lots of plant-based nutrients with the fiber. While this doesn’t give your digestive system a complete break (read about the importance of this below), it is certainly a health-supportive, nourishing thing to do for your body on a regular basis.

Why juice? At The Kicking Kitchen, we encourage you to eat a real, whole, plant-based diet (finding your own variation within that description). Juicing removes part of the food, so it is not a whole food. However, it offers some amazing health benefits. Juicing gives you a blast of nutrients without the fiber. Fiber is important on a daily basis, but giving your body a break from the fiber can be supportive as well (see why in #3 below). Focusing on juicing mostly vegetables reduces the amount of naturally-occurring sugar that is found in fruits.

Juicing is something I began after receiving a cancer diagnosis several years ago, and I have continued with it, sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes much less often. It has made a tremendous difference in my health – my energy has increased, and I feel stronger, lighter, and more focused. My skin has improved and it has helped in fighting off cold and flu and in alleviating aches and pains. But don’t take my word for it – see how YOU feel!

Juicing is beneficial because it:

  1. Helps to move toxins out of the body. Detoxification must happen on a daily basis. Toxins exist in our bodies from environmental pollutants, foods and stress and need to be excreted regularly to prevent toxic buildup, which can lead to disease.
  2. Provides light energy and life-supporting nutrients. The body receives a large amount of nutrients that are absorbed quickly into the body – a very efficient way of ingesting many vitamins and minerals! Because the fiber is removed, these nutrients enter the blood stream more quickly. (For this reason, it’s better to juice mostly vegetables, as they are naturally lower in sugar than most fruits. It’s important to avoid a spike in blood-sugar, which could result from drinking fiber-free fruit juice. However, some fruit does help to sweeten juices, can make them more palatable, and add supportive vitamins and minerals.) All of these nutrients provide energy and support every last cell in the body.
  3. Gives your digestive system a break. Remember, the fiber is removed, which allows your energy to be used in other areas of your body besides working hard to break down food. This does a few things: 1) Gives you more energy. 2) Boosts your immune system. The majority of the immune system is located in the gut, so giving this system a break from doing its digesting job, allows it to work on its immune supportive functions. 3) Lets the digestive system rest, rebuild, and rebalance.
  4. Jump starts weight loss. 50% of your body’s ability to lose weight depends on how many toxins are in your body. Helping the body to remove those toxins can jump start weight loss. Juicing helps to cleanse your body of toxins.
  5. Restores balance in the body on many levels. Juicing supports the blood’s pH balance, which is (or should be) slightly alkaline. Eating too many processed, sugary and animal foods contributes to an acidic environment in the body, which can cause inflammation, imbalance and ultimately disease. Disease cannot thrive in an alkaline body.

The Juice Clinic provides a page with links to lots of research on the benefits of juicing HERE. Pretty amazing!

There’s still time to join our 7 Day Juicing Challenge! It started July 28th, but you can jump right in! Sign up here.

 

Gentle Post-Holiday Detox

 

Mandarin

© Gertfrik | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos, stockfreeimages.com

As we say goodbye to the winter holiday season and welcome in the new year, many of us are likely realizing that we may have not always made the healthiest food choices. A few too many sweets. Too many salty treats. Big festive meals that left our bodies feeling weighted down rather than light and limber. And then the holiday drinks! Even those of us who made mindful food choices most of the time still may be feeling sluggish, worn out and overfed.

This is the time of year that that slightly mysterious word “detox” flies around. We may hear of friends stocking up on lemons and cayenne pepper. Others may try spend a day or two being “good” with what they eat, (or not eating anything) only to ping-pong back to comfort food and indulgences within a short time.

But what does it mean to detox? Every day our bodies are bombarded with toxins – from the air we breathe, to the products we put on our bodies, to the food we eat and beyond. The body is designed to deal with the toxins it encounters. But when the burden is high – when our air, work and home environment and personal care products are loaded with toxins; when we rely heavily on processed foods, sugar, meat and other potentially taxing foods such as wheat and dairy – we are outmatched, and our health suffers.

Rather than going to extremes with fad detoxes, we believe in supporting the body with real food. To aid in the detox process, take a day or two or more (listen to your body for clues on how best to go about this) and commit to eating food that is as clean and pure as possible. Focus on vegetables and fruits and purchase organic if possible. If you have a juicer, drink freshly pressed juices throughout the day. Some of our favorites are carrot and kale-wheatgrass-apple-lemon. But really, the sky is the limit: juice some cabbage, red beets, broccoli stems, melon – and create your own, good-for-you cocktail!

Along with the fresh juice, we love to make a big pot of soup! Perfect this time of year and so easy to make! Start with some stock and then chop up and toss in every type of vegetable – root veggies, cruciferous friends and also some leafy greens. Eat chunky as is or puree for a smooth soup.

As you are cleaning up your eating act, make sure to support your body with lots of water and herbal teas (dandelion root is great for supporting the liver, a critical organ in detoxification), movement (brisk winter walk, anyone?) and some quiet time to reflect and renew.

When you are ready to add in more beyond juice and soup, include some whole grains (try quinoa, oats or millet),  more raw and cooked veggies and clean protein. Nuts and seeds are great winter protein sources and spices and herbs are cancer-fighting and add a kick to your dishes.

By supporting your body and your health in this way, you’ll feel better, have more energy and be off to a great start in 2013!