It’s hard to argue against the benefits of eating your vegetables. But drinking your vegetables is another story. Health nuts and raw food proponents have claimed for years that juicing is the nutritional way to go. After the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead popularized the notion of juice cleansing, a much wider variety of people jumped on board.
But you should know the basics of healthy juicing before taking the leap. Cate Stillman, who has been teaching courses on Ayurveda and detoxing in yoga centers since 2001, says that cleansing is more about what you take out that what you put in.
“Juice added to a Standard American Diet won’t make much of an impact,” says Stillman. ‘Take everything else out—the coffee, turkey sandwich, and glass of wine—and your body naturally starts to optimize. For most people, optimizing means detox.”
A lot of people have misconceptions about fasting. Some view it as a quick weight loss fix, while others view it as a dangerous and unhealthy extended torture session for your body. The truth is somewhere between these two extremes. A juice fast, in which one consumes only juice and no solid food for a day or more, can have healthy benefits, only when done under the supervision of a nutritionist or detox expert like Stillman.
“Despite what some raw foodists and “juicearians” might say, it’s probably not best to live on juice alone. Drinking green juice can still have healing effects when combined with a regular, healthy diet,” says Lisa Ko in an article on juicing for PBS.
Now to clear up the meaning of “juice.” Americans have become used to “juice” being pre-packaged and loaded with sugar. “One has usable nutrients from the plants and the other just adds calories without nutrients,” says Stillman. Even Naked and Odwalla juices have some added sugar and are pasteurized, a process which destroys many of the health benefits.
The bottom line, according to Stillman, “If you’re choosing between coffee and a green juice—one will take away nutrients (like calcium) from your blood and bones, the other will add nutrients and energy.” So check out these juice bars on the map next time you are craving a morning energy fix.
Visit www.yogidetox.com to get Cate’s FREE Recipe Book + Detox guide.