In Defense of Juice

Hear ye, hear ye. I may have framed all juice as evil in my post here. Alas, this is not true. Allow me to clarify and make it as clear as cucumber juice.

Yes, juice has sugar. But not ALL sugars are “bad” AND it’s important to discuss quantity of sugars and the addition of whole, pulverized juices as part when I holistically evaluate someone’s diet. The sugars in fruit/vegetables, and complex carbohydrates in general, are “happy” sugars. They are metabolized efficiently by your body (especially when consumed with fiber/fat/protein) and won’t result in scary blood sugar spikes/drops, fatty liver deposits, obesity, diabetes, etc. In fact, your brain requires carbohydrate to live and function normally.

Drinking your fruits/vegetables may result in some fiber loss, but it’s possible to preserve a lot of the fiber with certain juicing methods. And for people who refuse to orally ingest a whole fruit/ vegetable, juices/smoothies are viable options to meet your goals for fruit/veggies for the day (usually something like two servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables per day). I would certainly rather someone have a green juice than not eat any vegetables at all.
Fiber is great, smoothies are great, but a juice cleanse and juices without fiber also have a purpose. Nutrients of cold pressed juices are absorbed a lot quicker by the body since one does not have to work to break it down. In general, it is better or the body to work and break down the food it is consuming. However, once in a while, it is also good to give your digestive system a break by having a juice.

Speaking of green juice, there’s a difference between a juice made of, say, seven apples and eight carrots, which is just far too much fruit/sugar/water-soluble vitamins versus a nutritionally balanced green juice of, say, kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, spirulina, and beet. The latter is actually pretty great, if we can titrate it to taste yummy enough, and is a welcome flair to an otherwise perhaps boring regimen of salad, salad, and more salad. It’s possible that juicing produce allows the enzymes in your body facilitated access to liberate the nutrients in the juice as well and allow the good stuff to go right into your blood, and allow your gut to focus on digesting other things, like, you know, mimosas.

There is also a big difference between a regular centrifugal juice and a “cold pressed” juice. Cold pressed is not just a trendy buzzword, cold-pressed juices attract a lot more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than your average home-made or centrifugal juicer. See here under “Laboratory tests” where lab tests show how a carrot juice that is cold pressed has around 500% more calcium than a normal carrot juice!

I think that juicing has a place in a healthy diet, as all things do (even Nutella, hurray!). I personally swear by a shot of anti-microbial friends like turmeric, ginger, oregano oil, and cayenne like in Cold Pressed Raw’s antidote when I’m feeling under the weather. Their green almond mylk is pretty divine as well, and even has some heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat from the macerated almonds + some plant-based protein from spirulina to slow down an insulin rush from your pancreas.
Not every juice is right for every body. Each juice has its own uniquue nutritional purpose and reason for being. The “heart beet” at CPR is amazing for runners and athletes, but has too much sugar for someone sitting at an office all day.

Juices are excellent vehicles for functional foods (read: foods with magical powers beyond that of their basic macronutrient/micronutrient profiles) that we normally wouldn’t eat. When’s the last time you casually sprinkled some lucuma on your oats? Didn’t think so. Things like maca, lucuma, spirulina, bee pollen, blackstrap molasses, cardamom, turmeric, chia, matcha, ginger, and other potently anti-inflammatory herbs/substances can easily act as a delectable addition to a juice without compromising texture or flavor. You heard it here: do not try turmeric alone/dry. Woof.

Specific populations like athletes, highly active individuals, kids/adolescents, and pregnant women require higher amounts of energy/complex carbohydrate which juice can easily provide. Given its capacity for efficient nutrient delivery of energy/carbohydrate to your body, juice is perfect for a blood sugar slump/energy boost for these folks.

So if you don’t feel like today is a day to #inhalekale in the raw, try a juice. Pick one with 2-3 veggies, a fruit serving, and 1-2 herbs for a nice balance of nutrients/spices. And careful with drug-nutrient interactions; always ask your doctor before gulping. If you need me, I’ll be hoarding the Green Almond and vegan truffles at CPR.

Essentially Yours,
Monica