Caffeine-addicts beware: there may come a day when your search for a nearby coffee shop lands you in the increasingly popular phenomenon known as the "juice bar."
Colourful juice drinks, containing everything from kale, spinach, beets to wheatgrass, have got more and more people saying goodbye to hot java and hello to liquid vegetables and fruit. Juicing is rapidly becoming a way of life.
The public's interest is being captivated by multiple juice 'cafés' popping up in major cities, celebrity sightings, and advocates such as Jay "The Juiceman" Kordich, author of The New York Times best-seller The Juiceman's Power of Juicing, who attributes a steady diet of freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice to the prevention of such ailments as cancer and heart disease. Other dedicated juicers include known celebrities such as; Gwyneth Paltrow, Colin Farrell, Blake Lively, and Edward Norton. These are merely a small collection of A-listers who frequent juice bars, many of whom credit juice (mainly vegetables) with increased energy and a boosted immune system.
So what is "juicing" and why is it so good for you? The term juicing refers to extracting the liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables (via a juicer), yielding a juice that's loaded with sugars, starches, vitamins, minerals and enzymes -- minus the fibrous pulp. While I'm a firm believer that we need the ENTIRE vegetable (including the pulp) for optimal health, many people are not eating the recommended 8-10 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit per day. As a result, many people living today are severely nutrient deprived. In fact, never before in history have we seen so many people living in developed nations showing signs of being overfed but undernourished. This is crazy. We can change it.
Juicing can provide a packed nutritional arsenal that can help ameliorate any sub par fruit and vegetable intake. As nutritional research continues to move forward and become more recognized in mainstream medicine, evidence continues to amass in the medical literature suggesting that optimal nutrient levels lowers our risk of virtually every chronic disease plaguing developed nations. Juicing is also a very easy way to continue looking and feeling great as we age.
It's certainly working for Dr. Rick Hodish. The 49-year-old Florida chiropractor has been juicing for over four years now and swears by its energizing effects. A strict vegetarian for almost two decades, Hodish realized that vegetarians weren't necessarily the healthiest people and thus decided to take it to a "higher level." He bought a juicer (a Green Life twin gear -- one of the best on the market) and began to make his own drinks with combinations of fresh carrots, kale, spinach, parsley, ginger or garlic. "You're getting rocket fuel", Hodish says of the nutrients obtained in a single serving of juice.
According to Hodish, who teaches the benefits of juicing to patients, extracting the nutrients and enzymes from fresh produce is essential.
There are about 100 trillion cells in the body, and each of them has to be nourished
Processed foods aren't enough, says Hodish, because they don't feed the cellular level of the body as effectively as pure juice. For instance, he says when we eat a raw carrot, our bodies only absorb 30 per cent to 35 per cent of its nutrients. By extracting the carrot juice instead, Hodish says, our bodies don't have to work as hard to break it down, and we absorb between 90 per cent and 95 per cent of the nutrients.
Hodish warns that while the nutritional benefits of juicing far outweigh the hassle of preparing a freshly squeezed drink, it's still a lot of work. "Juicing is a task. It takes time," he says. To be more efficient, Hodish makes all of his juice in the morning -- it takes about one pound of produce to yield a single serving -- and stores it in mason jars to prevent it from oxidizing. For him, it's time well spent. "We're all too busy and stressed out to do things that are really beneficial to us," he says. "It's time to take care of our bodies."
Ready to give your body the nutritional boost it needs? Grab a glass of vegetable juice daily and get ready to enjoy see and feel the benefits this provides.
This post also appears on Dr. Dempster's blog
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