JUICING – MY HOLY GRAIL!

Many a new health and fitness regime can be kickstarted by juicing.

When I wrote my first book I suggested a few great tips for juicing, but in truth my juicer rarely came out of the cupboard and always seemed too much of a hassle to clean. My first experience of a juice detox retreat, though, completely changed my life. I learned about the whole psychology of addiction and the food trap. Even many of the recommended diets included eating processed foods. Most importantly, I learned that drinking freshly extracted juice is fantastic for getting nutrients straight to the body’s cells. It’s also a very healthy way to lose weight and gain energy. I lost about eight pounds in the first week and then kept up the momentum and lost a further stone and half over the next year, no dieting whatsoever, simply drinking juice daily and being aware of the 80/20 principle. By eating high water-content live foods around 80 per cent of the time, that still left 20 per cent for when I simply had to have chunky chips or a chocolate croissant!

Those suspicious of the health benefits of juicing reckon it’s a problem extracting only the juice and thereby not eating the fibre, but the nutrients are in the juice. Fibre is, of course, necessary, but we do of course get fibre in other things we eat. One of the greatest exponents of juicing, Jay Kordich, reckons that fibre can’t penetrate through the intestinal wall, so if you eat a raw carrot, for example, your mouth acts like the blender, the stomach is the juice extractor. Of course we need to eat solid food, too, but for many of us eating copious amounts of certain vegetables can be quite taxing, so to get the good stuff straight to where it’s needed, juicing is the quickest way and puts the least burden on the system.

Many years ago, Dr Max Gerson of the Gerson Institute became noted for curing cancer with a detox programme using juices and raw foods.( See the book The Gerson Therapy: The Amazing Juicing Programme for Cancer and Other Illnesses co-written by Max Gerson’s daughter Charlotte Gerson, who continues his work).

Buying a Juicer

There’s a wide range to choose from, but the best one for you is the one you’ll use every day. Masticating juicers such as the Champion, the Greenstar or the ‘Norwalk’ yield more juice and retain more of the nutritional value. Centrifugal juicers are quicker and simpler, with a wide funnel that takes fruit whole. They’re also easy to clean.

Technique

Lay out all the fruit and veg you’ll need; chop or peel anything that requires it. Most of the nutrients are in the skin or just below, so with most fruit and veg leave the peel on; the only exceptions are oranges, avocados and bananas. Make sure you have some ice on hand, too. The really important bit is to clean out the machine straight away so that the pulp doesn’t get welded on; it’s miserable to come back to a machine full of slowly rotting veg later on. Pop a biodegradable bag into the pulp collection bit, and don’t forget you can use some of the pulp immediately for a fresh live-enzyme face mask!

What to Make?

Initially you should probably start with simple juices – fresh apple juice is a world apart from the cloudy cooked stuff in cartons!

Next try ‘lemon’ ade – well, it’s ‘apple ade’ really.

Simply pop in 1 apple, 1 chunk of lemon and another apple. (The Pink Lady or Gala apples work well.) Juice the lot and serve over ice, it will be a huge hit with the kids!

Apple, carrot and ginger is another simple favourite. Simply ‘sandwich’ a couple of chunks of carrot with a slice of ginger between two apples, juice and serve over ice. You can add lemon to taste.

The classic favourite, of course, is fresh orange juice. Better to juice it than to squeeze, as that way you get the nutrients contained in the pith, too. Combine with carrot and ginger and you have a winning juice.

‘Shrek Green’ Smoothie

2 apples or 2 chunks of pineapple as a base

chunk of broccoli stalk

small handful spinach

2-inch piece cucumber

¾-inch bit of celery (fennel works well, too)

You can replace ingredients with whatever you have – a -couple of Brussels sprouts, some courgette, green pepper, pretty much anything can be juiced (apart from onions and leeks) and every veg has different health-giving properties.

Once juiced, add to a blender with a handful of sprouted seeds, a chunk of avocado and any other additions you fancy, such as a tablespoon of Udo’s Choice or flax oil, or you may want to add yoghurt and chuck in three or four ice cubes, too. Whizz it all up together and serve – it makes a fantastic healthy breakfast which will keep you going for a good few hours.

The Amazing Avocado

If you’re not a fan of avocados, they’re worth learning to like. Add avocado to your smoothie to make it a meal; you won’t feel hungry as avocados are very satiating. Obviously blend them rather than juice. Contrary to popular opinion they are not fattening, they help to regulate the appetite so you don’t crave fatty foods.

Mix and Match

You can of course try any ingredients. Beetroot works well; it’s great for cleansing blood and regulating blood pressure. Try it with carrot and lemon (it turns everything a wonderful deep red). In the summer try watermelon; it’s 98 per cent water but loaded with vitamins and minerals including zinc.

Remember to add parsley to smoothies when you can. It contains B12 and lots of other nutrients.

I could go on for ever, but it’s another whole book! I’ll finish with one top tip for a winter warming drink. This is fantastic if you feel a cold coming on.

Ginger Shot

½ large apple

big chunk ginger

Juice together and serve in a shot glass to down in one. Whooah, that is hot! It’s amazing for hayfever and colds.

For a more soothing late-night version:

2 apples

chunk lemon

chunk ginger

Juice together, then add half a cup of boiling water and a spoonful of honey.

Ginger and Garlic

Fresh ginger is an incredible anti-nausea remedy, and also fantastic for relieving inflammatory pain and for helping with blocked sinuses. Ginger doesn’t need to be peeled if you’re juicing it or using it in a smoothie, so give yourself a daily ‘shot’.

Garlic is another amazing cold remedy, and also lowers blood cholesterol levels. Use it in any cooking and on salads and in soups. If you need a decongestant, add it to a juice or smoothie. To keep the juicer from retaining the strong aroma for ages, juice an apple with a clove inside.

Learn More

Grab one of the many juicing books around to get you started. Any of Jason Vale’s are good, especially 7lbs in 7 Days Super Juice Diet. Following a seven-day juice detox programme is extremely effective if you want to kick-start losing weight. There are also good juicing books by Leslie Kenton and Michael Van Straten, as well as the ‘oldies’:

• Dr Norman Walker, Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices

• Jay Kordich, The Juiceman’s Power of Juicing

On the Move

For the really time-stretched, try juice bars instead of coffee bars. Make sure they’re making fresh juices, though; some juice bars can be rather sneaky and sell carton juice mixed with frozen berries. Granted, it’s healthier than a coffee, but it’s not live and kicking. I ordered a beetroot, carrot and apple juice recently in a fresh juice bar and was horrified to see the girl pour apple juice from a carton into the jug. If that weren’t bad enough, she then grabbed and opened – I kid you not – a pack of cooked beetroot sealed in plastic! Thank goodness for the carrots!

There are companies that deliver a dedicated juice detox programme to your door, which include all the juices and smoothies you need for a three- or five-day detox as well as vitamins and supplements, aloe vera and advice and support.

Adding stuff in

You can add a spoonful of ‘superfood supplement powder’ to your juice to avoid any nutritional deficiencies, such as spirulina or chlorella

M

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