Juicing For Optimal Health
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By Rachel Oppitz, ND
The body can heal itself of all manner of ailments when given the appropriate support. One way to help the body in this miraculous process is to provide it with the nutrients it needs to do a specific job. Juicing can provide a radiant, energetic life and truly optimal health.
There are four main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your diet:
1.) You probably have a compromised intestine. Most of us have compromised intestines as a result of less than optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you so you will receive most of the nutrition rather than having it go down the toilet.
2.) You need to eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Vegetable juicing allows you to accomplish this, as you can eat more vegetables than you would normally. By incorporating the juice into your eating plan you will easily be able to reach this goal.
3.) Nobody wants to eat that many salads. If you eat the vegetables like a salad then you will be having far too many salads. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing a sensitivity/allergy to a certain food.
4.) There are valuable and sensitive micronutrients that are damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing food destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition.
• Drink vegetable juice for breakfast!
Vegetable juice is a great breakfast when balanced with some essential oils, protein, and a bit of chlorella. Please remember that vegetable juice and fruit juices are two completely different substances in terms of nutrition. Fruit juices should be avoided by most people. Although vegetable juice is processed, it doesn’t raise insulin levels like fruit juice. The only exceptions would be carrot and beet juice (and most vegetables that grow underground), which function similarly to fruit juice.
• You can eat the pulp, too!
When you juice, you will produce pulp. It is best to mix it in with the juice and consume it. Often vegetable juice alone will cause loose stool. Adding the pulp fiber back into the juice will resolve the loose stools. Eating the fiber also serves as the fertilizer for the good bacteria in the colon. Eating the pulp increases the time it takes to consume the juice, but it is healthier. One can gradually add the pulp back in over time to get used to it. If you add the entire pulp back in, the mixture becomes almost like a green vegetable porridge that can be eaten with a spoon. Drink about 75% of the juice and then pour the other 25% of the juice back into the pulp. Add some ground seeds into the mixture, stir it up and eat it like porridge. Raw seeds (pumpkin and flax) should be freshly ground and alternated regularly. The seeds are full of protein and essential fatty acids that bring the juice into balance. You may also add whey or rice protein powder and cod liver or krill oil. Fat is important because green vegetables contain vitamin K which is very important for cementing the calcium into your bone matrix. Vitamin K significantly reduces calcification in the arteries. Vitamin K is not well absorbed unless fat is present. Additionally, the vitamin D in cod liver oil will work with the vitamin K to increase calcium absorption and build stronger bones. Listen to your body, try it both ways, and see what works best for you.
Now that you are ready for the benefits of vegetable juice, start with these vegetables as they are the easiest to digest:
• 2 stalks celery
• 2 stalks fennel (anise)
• 1 cucumber
Begin with 1-2 oz. of juice at a time. Gradually increase until you can drink 12 oz.
These are not as beneficial as more nutritionally intense dark green vegetables. Once you get used to these, you can start eating more nutritionally valuable, but less palatable vegetables into your juice.
Vegetables to avoid or use with caution include carrots and beets. Most people who juice usually use carrots. The reason they taste so good is that they are high in fructose; the same sugar present in large amounts in fruit. Please use caution with root vegetables to avoid increasing insulin levels. If you are healthy, you can add about one pound of carrots or beets per week. The deep, intense colors of these foods provide additional benefits for many that are just not available in green vegetables.
When you’ve acclimatized yourself to juicing, start adding these vegetables:
• Red leaf lettuce
• Green leaf lettuce
• Romaine lettuce
After acclimatizing to step 2, add the following vegetables:
• Chinese cabbage
• Bok choy
When you are ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and there are two that work exceptionally well:
You need to be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well. If you are new to juicing, hold off. These are more challenging vegetables to consume, but they are highly beneficial.
Only use 1-2 leaves as they are bitter:
• Dandelion greens
• Mustard greens
To make your juice more palatable:
• Fresh ginger
Green vegetables provide numerous benefits, partially due to the presence of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll stimulates red blood cells, has antioxidant and anti-cancer effects, cleanses the body, eliminates odors, and assists with wound healing. The juices of green vegetables are very high in chlorophyll and should be used on a daily basis. Some of these juices are very strong and should be diluted with milder juices such as carrot, celery, or apple. Here are some to try:
Cabbage contains a huge source of vitamin U. Duodenal ulcers heal rapidly with frequent consumption of raw cabbage or cabbage and carrot juice. This may result in gas as the juice dissolve toxins in the intestinal tract. Cabbage juice also helps relieve constipation, and skin problems that can result from constipation. The “Eat Right For Your Type” approach does not support lectin compatibility for blood type A individuals.
This delicious juice has the following properties:
• Eliminates toxins
• Aids digestion
• Improves and maintains bone and teeth
• Improves muscle tone
• Helps prevent infections of respiratory organs
• Reduces ulcerous and cancerous conditions
• Helps protect the nervous system
• Increases vitality
• Restores normal responsiveness to adrenal glands
Celery juice is very high in organic sodium. This sodium is not the inorganic sodium found in all cooked and processed foods. The body cannot use inorganic sodium. Celery juice is one of the most important juices and should be used often, either alone or in combination with other juices; i.e. grapefruit.
This juice is a very good natural diuretic. It is also good for rheumatic ailments, high and low blood pressure, and hair, nail, and skin problems.
Dandelion is a rich source of nutrients and can be used for its diuretic effects as well as to improve liver and gallbladder function and promote weight loss.
This is one of the most potent juices and should always be used in small quantities and mixed with other juices. Parsley juice helps to build and maintain the blood, eyes, and genitourinary system, and is an excellent nerve stimulant.
Spinach juice is very good for cleansing, soothing, and healing the digestive tract and is a good blood strengthener. Spinach and carrot juice is tasty, creamy, and very curative.
Add 1-2 cloves of garlic to the juice as it incorporates incredible healing potential. Do this regularly to balance bowel flora. The ideal dose is just below the social threshold where people start to notice that you have eaten garlic=1 large clove=2 medium cloves=3 small cloves.
Chlorella is a powerful sea nutrient and form of algae. It binds very strongly to mercury and allows elimination from the body. The typical dose is 1 teaspoon in the juice. Approximately 30% of people cannot tolerate chlorella, so if it makes you nauseous, avoid it.
Spirulina is another algae that has many similar benefits and is a good balance to chlorella. It does not bind to heavy metals like chlorella.
Carrot, celery, parsley & spinach juice
The organic elements of this juice cover practically all those needed by the human body. This juice is very effective in recovering and maintaining health. Think of it as the ultimate super-juice.
Other Good Combos
• Celery, fennel, cucumber with coconut
• Red leaf, spinach, celery, and raw cranberries
• Spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, and ginger root
• Romaine, dandelion green
Some delicious combinations
Generally no more than four items are used for one drink, and fruits and vegetables are not usually juiced together. The exceptions to this are apples, which mix reasonably well with vegetables, and celery and lettuce, which are so easy to digest they can mix with any juice.
• Carrot juice mixed with any combination of spinach, beet, or cucumber
• Carrot, apple, beet
• Carrot, parsley, beet
• Carrot, red chard, celery
• Carrot, beet, yam
• Carrot and a small amount of ginger
• Orange and grapefruit
• Any whole melon
Remember that juicing should be fun, so experiment with different combinations. Even if you create something you don’t like, you’ll know that your body profited from it.
Words of Advice
Start juicing with vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant and not make you nauseous. It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should be very happy all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating.
Another Important Note
Some people prefer to juice vegetables at room temperature. You may leave your vegetables out overnight or for at least one hour prior to juicing in the morning. This is particularly true in winter.
Something To Bear In Mind
When you begin to improve your diet with fresh juices, your body will start cleaning itself. This process normally takes place without you realizing it, but occasionally the cleansing may overwhelm your system so that you get what is called a Herxheimer reaction. This may take the form of a headache, cold, or rash. Do not be alarmed; these are good reactions and will occur less frequently as you get healthier. Do not suppress any of these symptoms with drugs; doing so will prevent the body from cleansing. Just give your body time to respond in its own self-healing way.
Use juices in moderation as a part of a healthy diet. When used excessively, juices can precipitate problems with blood sugar control. If you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, consult a holistic health care practitioner before juicing.
Choosing a Juicer
If you are new to juicing, it’s best to start with an inexpensive juicer. The benefit to this is that if you decide you do not want to continue, you will not be out a large amount of money. There are some things to watch for, however. Inexpensive centrifugal juicers produce low quality juice and are very loud, which may contribute to hearing loss. They are probably fine for short-term use. I own a Green Power juicer (now Green Star) and am pleased with that. Dr. Joseph Mercola recommends the Omega 8003.
Juicing is a time-consuming process. Vegetable juice is very perishable so it is best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you are careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. To store your juice:
• Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air will oxidize and damage the juice.
• Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light. Light damages the juice.
• Store it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes prior to drinking, as vegetable juice should be consumed at room temperature.
• Clean the juicer immediately after juicing. An old toothbrush works extremely well.
• To clean vegetable stains from juicers, try using a little vegetable oil on a sponge or paper towel—this often works wonders.