Juice up your health this year

March 1, 2013

Shelley Myers

As I talk with people about steps they can take for a healthier lifestyle, many invariably ask me about "˜juicing' and if the payoff is worth the effort. Is it all the latest fad and celebrity hype, or is juicing really the liquid nutrition that our bodies are craving?

Well, if you want to look and feel all juiced up this year and beyond, juicing is definitely a powerful tool in your healthy lifestyle toolbox. I myself have been experimenting and enjoying juicing now for the past four to five years and feel amazing after each batch that I make. I love experimenting and adding herbs like mint, basil, or ginger for some added nutrients and "˜zing.'

Guzzling some veggie goodness helps to balance your pH level and provides a direct boost of vitamins, minerals, live enzymes, and amino acids. If we were to try to eat that many veggies or fruits all at once, it would place a huge load on our digestion (not to mention the time it would take to eat it!), so juicing allows you to extract the nutrients from the insoluble fiber of the plant cellulose. Hate wasting all that fiber? Well, you can even use the leftover pulp for baking and soups.

A nice glass of fresh juice provides a powerful nutrient boost to help to strengthen your immune system, nourishes your cells, and provides non-stimulant energy and vitality that you need to feel to believe. Although it may take some time to acclimate to the new tastes and to drinking "˜green' juice, once you get hooked, there's no turning back. For an even more nutrient-packed punch, try juicing organic veggies, greens, and fruits.

Oftentimes people ask why they can't just drink bottled juice from the grocery and call it a day. Although very tasty, these juices often contain way too much sugar (from fruit or added sugar), added salt, and do not contain the live plant enzymes due to pasteurization. You may get convenience and super sweet great taste, but at the expense of the live enzymes or the "˜life force' of the veggies and fruits.

So, my recommendation is a definite YES! The benefits are worth the effort even if you can't juice every single day. Stick with more veggies, less fruit, experiment with herbs and spices, and add in some greens and grasses and you'll be one step closer to your optimal healthy lifestyle.

A Few Helpful Juicing Resources:

http://www.all-about-juicing.com/

http://kriscarr.com/products/crazy-sexy-juices-succulent-smoothies/

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Juices-Natural-Vitality/dp/1844839737

Recommended Juicers:

Centrifugal: Breville and Omega

Fast spinning grater to shred fruits and veggies. The juice gets sent through the strainer and out the spout, while the pulp flies into the catch basket. Centrifugal juicers are great for veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, and beets and fruit like apples, pineapples, and kiwi. These juicers are generally easier to clean but is best to clean immediately after juicing.

Masticating: Lexen and Champion

Slow-turning gear that chews up the grasses or veggies and squeezes the juice out and into a catcher. This type of juicer is great for grasses (i.e. wheat grass) or greens like kale and spinach. This juicer is a bit more gentle on the cell membranes so the juice may actually last a bit longer in the refrigerator. These juicers take a little more effort to clean but are well worth it for the nutrients provided.

Blender: Vitamix or any other high-speed blender

The blender is great when you want to enjoy juice or a smoother but also retain some of the fiber from the plant's cellulose. I use the blender to make spinach and kale smoothies or my favorite soothing Gazpacho soup with avocado and cucumber. Often times I will blend up some greens and then mix with the juice from my centrifugal juicer (i.e. carrot and celery).

Shelley Myers is a Certified Health Coach and founder of HealthKik.com. She works with individuals to provide the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to lead the healthiest life possible through exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle improvements. Her background is in exercise science, nursing, medical informatics and integrative nutrition. She uses her background and experience to develop tools and programs for achieving optimal health. She loves discovering new ways to help her clients to gain more control of their health, better navigate the healthcare system, and have the tools and motivation to stay healthy, prevent disease, or better manage current conditions they may be facing.

Originally published Mar 1, 2013 10:00:42 AM.