I’m often asked to name one thing that can be done right away to get healthier. With respect to food choices, the best suggestion I have is to begin drinking freshly pressed vegetable juices. Drinking just one freshly pressed juice each day is a reliable way of infusing your body with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can protect your cells against premature aging and disease.
Making time to drink vegetable juices isn’t a problem for most people. It’s the time that’s needed to wash fresh vegetables, feed them through a good juicer, and clean the juicer afterward that prevents most people from making fresh juices a regular part of their lives.
But if you understand how beneficial freshly pressed juices are to your health, it becomes easier to make the time to juice several times a week.
THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS
The key to creating healthy vegetable juices is to make green vegetables the bulk of every batch. Green vegetables won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin like fruits and sweet vegetables like carrots and red beets will.
This isn’t to say that you can’t juice fruits, carrots, and red beets. Fruits and sweet root vegetables can be healthy additions to your drinks, and they’ll definitely add sweetness and flavour. You just want to make sure that they never make up more than one-third of each glass that you drink.
And if your blood sugar level tends to be high, you’ll want to use a blood sugar monitor to determine how much is acceptable for you. I’ve worked with many diabetics over the years who haven’t been able to handle even an ounce of fruit, carrot, or red beet juice in their drinks without negative health consequences, so please consider this point before you select your ingredients for juicing.
Romaine lettuce is one of the best green vegetables that you can juice. You can also juice other types of leafy lettuce like red or green leaf lettuce.
For variety, try adding large handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, Bok Choy, and other dark green vegetables that you might steam before eating.
For another layer of flavour, you can add a tiny slice of lemon (including the rind for its flavonoids) to your vegetable juices.
Some people enjoy adding a clove of raw garlic for even more bite.
Be creative and add any vegetables you crave. You really can’t go wrong as long as you make sure not to use too many carrots, red beets, or fruits.
Clearly, organic vegetables are better than non-organic vegetables. But my experiences have led me to believe that the health benefits of drinking juices made with well washed, non-organic vegetables far outweigh not juicing at all. If you’re only able to juice non-organic vegetables due to financial or other life circumstances, it’s still well worth doing.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE AN EFFECTIVE JUICE FAST
Now that we’ve reviewed the fundamentals of how to make healthy vegetable-based juices, let’s take a look at how to carry out an effective juice fast.
Some people call juice fasting juice dieting, preferring to reserve the word “fasting” for water-only fasting. Juice fasting and juice dieting are the same thing.
Why consider doing a juice fast?
Drinking only freshly pressed vegetable-based juices for a day or two or even a week at a time can give your body much needed rest and time to heal itself of chronic health problems.
Because vegetable juices are extremely easy to digest, your body can spend much of its resources on healing damaged or exhausted tissues instead of spending its energy on digesting heavy meals.
You should only do a juice fast after consulting with your health care provider and confirming that your current health status should allow for a safe and effective juice fast.
What’s the difference between a juice fast and a water fast?
People detoxify and heal more quickly with a water fast than with a juice fast. This is because with a water fast, your digestive passageway and organs are able to rest completely, which allows almost all of your energy to be used for cleansing and repair of damaged tissues.
With a juice fast or a cleansing diet of fruits and vegetables, your body must use energy (a minimal amount compared to when you are eating heavier meals) to digest nutrients, leaving less available energy for detoxification and healing.
Another significant difference is that more fat tissue is burned during a water fast, as your body must rely exclusively on fat reserves to supply its energy needs after the first one to three days of water fasting. Your body stores the bulk of incoming toxins in your fat reserves. As these reserves are burned for energy during a fast, any stored toxins will be released into your circulation, to be eliminated from your body through channels like your urine and respiratory tract. This mechanism of detoxification also occurs with juice fasting, but at a slower pace.
All of this considered, both types of fasting can be helpful to your health. The choice you make should take into consideration your circumstances and goals.
Generally, juice fasting allows for more gentle detoxification than water fasting. Juice fasting also allows you to have enough energy to keep up with most of your activities of daily living while you detoxify your tissues, where as an effective water fast requires almost complete physical rest.
Another significant difference is that juice fasting is much easier for most people to stick with. Water fasting is best carried out in a supervised setting while juice fasting is relatively easy to do from your own home.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU JUICE FAST FOR?
It really depends on your health status and goals. If you’re looking to give your body a short but beneficial break, it can be helpful to do a juice fast for 48-72 hours over a weekend.
If you’re looking to experience significant detoxification and improvement in your overall health, you might consider doing a longer juice fast, somewhere in the ball park of one to two weeks.
Although it’s optimal to prepare for a juice fast by eating raw fruits and vegetables for 24 hours prior to beginning with juices only, most people do just fine in starting with juices without a pre-fasting routine.
You can drink however many juices your appetite calls for throughout the day. I have found that most people do well with an average of five freshly pressed juices per day.
You can use any of the juice recipes that are listed above, or any similar recipes that you create following your tastes.
While I generally recommend that people use fruit-based juices early on in the day and turn to vegetable-based juices as the day goes on, there’s really no requirement to stick to a specific order of juices.
ENDING YOUR JUICE FAST
You should end your juice fast by eating whole fruits and vegetables.
Credit: Prevent Disease