Have you noticed all the juice bars popping up around town lately? If you live in fair sized city like me, you've noticed them all over the place. You may be wondering if there's a difference between each company? Is one is better than another? What things should you look for when choosing a juice that's best for you?
Let's be honest, fresh juices aren't cheap. At $10 (on average) a juice, you want to make sure you're getting the best value for your money. What about smoothies? Where has all the smoothie love gone? Are they no longer the best way to start your day?
Juicing is when water and nutrients are separated from the fibre of a fruit or vegetable. The fibre is discarded, leaving you with water, nutrients and incredible raw enzymes to drink. Without the fibre to slow down the digestive process, those nutrients enter your bloodstream almost straight away because there's nothing for your digestive system to break down. This shuttle into your bloodstream is an incredibly good thing.
When juicing properly, you can reap some serious benefits. To get the most out of a juice, keep the following in mind:
Drink it on E. The nutritional goodness of the juice absorbs more easily when your stomach is empty. Your digestive system isn't distracted with a stomach full of food. That means all the attention goes to your juice.
Go organic. Without the fibre to slow down digestion and filter out toxic things like pesticides, make sure the juice is organic. This eliminates pesticides from ending up in your juice and your bloodstream.
Save the water for later. When you see water as the first ingredient on a fresh pressed juice, less veggies and fruit were used to bring you your juice. Personally, I want the most 'bang for my buck' when I'm paying $10 a juice. I always opt for non-watered down juice.
Hustle. Fresh juice is very perishable. Keep the juice refrigerated until you're ready to enjoy it. If you're juicing at home, it's best to drink it within 15 minutes (ideally) as light and air start to destroy those valuable enzymes.
Store it well. If you can't enjoy your juice straight away, store it in an airtight container, filling the juice to the top. The less air in the container the better for preserving that goodness.
Keep it cool. Heat also destroys the enzymes. Enzymes help assimilate the nutrients. If you're juicing at home make sure your juicer is slow or masticating.
Chew it. No joke. At the very least, swish it around your mouth a bit. This releases saliva which helps with nutrient absorption.
Load up on veggies. Juice should have more veggies than fruit. With the fibre removed, if you're only juicing fruit, that's a big sugar spike going into your bloodstream, impacting your blood sugar levels. Having a lot less natural sugar than fruit, veggies help to balance out potential sugar spikes. This will keep your blood sugar levels stable. A bit of lime or lemon are the ideal fruit choices for juicing. They also help make the juice taste delicious. Plus, veggies are loaded with powerful antioxidants, helping us look and feel healthy and young.
Press pause. Wait at least 20 minutes after enjoying your juice before you eat. This gives the juice time to be absorbed and assimilated.
Whether you're making a juice at home or having one delivered, adding a cold pressed raw organic juice to your regime is always a good thing to do.
Smoothie Love. Are they still good? How do they differ from juices?
I'm not gonna lie, I'm a smoothie girl all the way. I love my juices, but smoothies are always a quick go-to for me. Here's why my love goes to smoothies:
Meal replacement. One of the favourite reasons I love my smoothies is they can be a meal replacement. If the smoothie is balanced with some good fat (ex. avocado, citrus flavoured fish oil), protein (seeds, nuts, quality protein powder) and fibre (fruits and veggies), you have a meal that will keep you full for hours.
Fibre is your friend. If you aren't using all organic fruits and vegetables, the fibre in a smoothie slows down digestion, giving your system a chance to filter out and eliminate the nasties (pesticides).
Fibre also reduces the potential for blood sugar spikes by slowing down how quickly food enters your bloodstream. This is especially useful if you happen to have more fruit than veggies in your smoothie.
Fast food in the finest form - it literally takes 5 minutes to make a smoothie. Food has never been faster or this delish.
Best transition food - If you're trying to create healthier eating habits, smoothies are a great introduction. They can be made to taste like a dessert, while still being loaded with vitamins and minerals, that our body needs to keep us rocking.
Nutrient dense - you can pack so many servings of fruits and veggies into one smoothie. It's incredible. Way more nutrients than sadly someone eating the standard American diet gets in a month.
Endless options - I've probably tried every combo of smoothie imaginable. Some were absolute hits, others complete misses. But it's fun! If you have children, let them be part of the smoothie making process. They'll quickly become hooked and it'll be a part of their day that they look so forward to.
I'll leave you with a smoothie making formula. Please experiment and have fun with this. Notice some foods cross over a few categories. #twobirdsonestone. We love that, right?!
Base (1 - 2 cups): water, coconut water, nut milk, cooled herbal tea
Protein (a few Tbsp) : hemp hearts, nut butters, protein powder. My preference is Sunwarrior. I'm not being paid to recommend them. I've tasted many protein powders. For me, theirs has the least amount of chalkiness, aftertaste and are one of the cleanest, easiest to absorb powders I've found.
Good fat (1 Tbsp at least): avocado, coconut oil or milk, nuts, seeds (ex. hemp, chia, pumpkin)
Greens (a few handfuls): bok choy (current fave), microgreens, spinach, swiss chard, kale, broccoli sprouts, parsley, cilantro.
Fruit (1 cup or piece): berries, lemon, lime, oranges (keep the pith on), apples, mangoes, pears, kiwi, banana, melons
Veggies: greens (see above), beets, milder tasting sprouts,
Boosters, herbs & spices: raw cacao, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, fresh mint, cayenne pepper (a pinch), maca, spirulina, etc.
Sweetener: honey, maple syrup. Sweetener isn't always needed, especially if using tropical fruit or a banana
So my lovely, your takeaway for today - variety is where the all the fun is. Whether you're making them at home or buying them from your favourite juice bar, vary your juices and smoothies. This gives your body the opportunity to take advantage of a full spectrum of nutrients from all types of produce.
You don't wear the same thing everyday. So don't eat the same thing everyday. Except for water. Drink that every damn day.
In the comments below, share with me what your favourite fresh juice or smoothie is.
To getting back to basics,
What about those other juices? You know, the ones so conveniently located in the grocery store. The ones that fill the juice aisle or the refrigerated area of the produce section. I know those juices well. I used to think I was doing my body good with these, especially if I hadn't had a good salad or a lot of veggies in awhile. I figured that if I just grabbed some juice I'd cover off my fruit and veggie servings. You know, because all the servings of fruits and veggies are displayed right on the juice containers, letting me know how much goodness I'm taking in.
Remember, fresh pressed juice is perishable. It starts to oxidize and lose nutrients shortly after it's been pressed. If it's bottled properly, juice has a shelf life of about 72 hours.
So how does juice at your favourite grocery store or coffee bar manage to have such a looong shelf life? In short:
Pasteurization. Juice that's been heated to extend its shelf life. Heats kills off the potential for bad contaminates. However in the process, it kills off the nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The very things we believe we're paying for. The juice can be fortified or supplemented with vitamins. However, the quality of the supplements used are extremely poor and incredibly hard for your body to absorb. Pasteurization occurs both in concentrate and not from concentrate juice.
From concentrate - a process that removes the water but also the flavour from fruit, leaving you with a concentrated syrup. This syrup gets reworked into a juice. Part of the process includes adding in flavours and aromas to create a juice that ends up tasting and smelling like what you would expect from a juice. These flavours and aromas are engineered by fragrance companies. Yumm right?!
Not from concentrate - juice that's processed, pasteurized, stripped of oxygen and then stored in massive storage tanks. Oxygen is removed to minimize oxidization. The stripping also removes the natural flavours from juice. Without oxygen, juice can be stored in the storage tanks for up to one year. When it's being processed for market, those engineered flavours and aromas are added to the juice. This makes the juice taste and smell like, well, juice.
To market a product as fresh, natural, 100% and/or pure, after it's been sitting for up to a year, then engineered to make it seem natural and fresh is incredibly misleading. From a nutritional standpoint, you're paying a lot for a product extremely processed, lacking vital nutrients and enzymes, leaving you with something that is so far removed from its original form.
In either instance of from concentrate or not from concentrate, these products get marketed as natural. Natural is a term that isn't regulated. Simply put, it means absolutely nothing. The only benefit of the word natural is that it is really, really, reeeally good for marketing.
My best advice for you when its comes to juice is if a fresh pressed raw organic juice isn't an option for you, reach for water or a piece of fruit. xx