recipes and tips for better living

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"Your Food Shall Be Your Medicine, And Your Medicine Shall Be Your Food": Juicing for Health

That quote, over four hundred years old, is from Hippocrates, considered the Father of Medicine. Hippocrates was a purveyor of medicine in his time. He treated the whole body of sickness, rather than treating the body as a series of parts. He believed that a clean diet, rest, fresh air, and cleanliness healed. Physicians now take what's called a 'hippocratic oath' stating, "first do no harm". While this was not something Hippocrates actually said, it is the concept under which he practiced.

Holistic practitioners follow this concept as well. Ann Wigmore, who founded the Hippocrates Health Institute (an institution one can go to to learn sprouting, fermenting, wheatgrass growing and juicing, healing, and composting), helped many heal from illness as horrific as cancer from her implementation of healing raw whole food diets and juices. She treated clients primarily with wheatgrass juice and believed that the chlorophyll extracted from and the pure sun energy that went into the growth of the wheatgrass was therapeutic. She was right! Many stricken with disease have turned to juicing for it's therapeutic benefits.

What makes juice so therapeutic?

First let me state that I'm not referring to ANY juice you see shelved at the market (including fresh juices in the refrigerated section full of fruits and veggies, such as Naked/Odwalla juices). The only therapeutic juice will be that in which you extract with a juicing appliance AND consume within under 10 minutes from extraction. Once you have extracted the juice from the produce, you now have a liquid full of enzymes, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, devoid of fiber. Said juice will begin to oxidize immediately, hence why you want to drink it right away. This is a fact, but not a law.

If you choose to refrigerate your juice until later will it still be nutrient dense?

There will still be nutrients, however it does start to lose those nutrients as it sits. So my recommend would be to drink up right away. Wait too long and you'll lose the power of the enzymes and the juice will become like many other store bought fresh drinks rather than a health tonic.

Can i blend instead of juice to get the same benefits?

NO....while making a smoothie or fresh juice in a blender is still an incredibly healthy drink/meal containing vitamins, enzymes, and minerals, your blended drink will contain fiber. While fiber is an important part of the diet, the reason why juicing is so therapeutic is because it contains no fiber. Without fiber the digestion does not have to work. This offers the body a chance to absorb all the goodness and health benefits of the juice. Allowing the digestion to sleep means that more energy can go into the other organs which will systematically work to remove toxins and invaders from the blood stream, allowing the body to heal itself.

Those of you that are considering buying a juicer, i say go for it. I would recommend the omega 8003, 8005, or 8006 juicer. This extracts the nutrient dense juice from produce, including wheatgrass. As well, it comes with a few attachments, one allows you to make sorbet from fresh frozen berries!! It's well worth the investment.

Juicing really is natures remedy. Keep in mind that green juices are going to offer a wealth of detoxification benefits. Use parts of the veggies you would normally toss, juicing beet greens, carrot tops/greens, and the like. While juicing greens may not be the most tantalizing, create a balanced taste with sweet and fruit flavors as well. Apples, carrots, and beets impart a great amount of sweetness and are wonderful additives to green drinks. Celery and especially cucumber make wonderful bases and produce a good amount of juice. Become creative and play with different combinations, but keep in mind your mixes may not follow the proper food combination rules. If you notice the juice is not sitting right in your belly work with combining per the rules (keeping fruits and veggies separate). Greens are some of the easiest to combine with fruit for many, with little or no digestive interference. For others, they need to stick to citrus with citrus/acid with acid, or sweet with sweet, or greens and veggies on their own together. In which case: use carrot and beet to sweeten your veggie juices, pineapple and orange to sweeten citrus, and apples or berries for fruit based drinks.

**While this is not a therapeutic juice, this is one of my favorite green drinks. A combo of fresh extracted juice blended with additional fruit and greens:

1 -2 cucumbers
1/2 - 1 apple

peel if juicer does not allow peels, or clean well. Put through juicer then transfer the juice to a blender.

1/2 - 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 small bunch of swiss chard (clean and remove stem to eliminate bitterness - or leave on for more nutrients)
option to add 4 strawberries (this will impart a very berry flavor)
a few ice cubes

add pineapple, ice cubes, and a few handfuls of cleaned chard to the juice you've extracted and put in high speed blender. Blend completely and taste. If you've added too much chard and the taste is too green throw in a few strawberries. If it's incredibly sweet, throw in a little bit more chard.

Drink up and feel the vital energy of the whole fruits and veggies invigorate your body!!!

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