Here, Cherie Calbom, also known as "The Juice Lady," shares her insights on juicing and how it can help improve your health.
She’s authored numerous books on the subject of juicing including two excellent books on the subject: Juicing for Life, and The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet. She also has a Masters Degree in Whole Foods Nutrition from Bastyr University.
Juicing is a powerful tool that can accelerate your progress towards optimal health, and Cherie Calbom, aka "The Juice Lady," is an expert on this subject.
Virtually every health authority, even conventional doctors, recommend 6-8 servings of vegetables and fruits per day but very few of us actually get that. I've found juicing to be a simple and easy way to virtually guarantee that you'll reach your daily target for vegetables. Juicing also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet that you might not normally enjoy eating whole, and makes it easier for your body to absorb all those wonderful nutrients.
Cherie Calbom earned her nickname "The Juice Lady" back in 1991, when she worked for the Juiceman company. But her passion about juicing began way before that, as she healed herself from a multitude of disabling health problems through juicing in her late 20's.
Using Juice to Detox
Juicing is one way to detox your system and is in fact one of the reasons why some people start juicing in the first place. This detox effect no doubt helped Cherie recover from many of her ailments, which included chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, allergies and candidiasis.
Wheatgrass is particularly helpful in this respect. It provides nutrients that accelerate and facilitate detoxification, especially in your liver where most of your body's detox occurs.
Depending on how toxic you are, you may experience detox reactions and actually feel worse, before you get better. In Cherie's experience, most people need three months of regular juicing before significant improvement becomes apparent. Interestingly, three months is also the average lifespan of red blood cells. So in three months you should have renewed most all of your red blood cells, which would help explain the reason for this typical time frame.Common cleansing reactions include diarrhea, flu-like symptoms and headaches.
Once you get over that initial hurdle, however, the benefits can be nothing short of miraculous for many, such as:
- Sleeping better
- Improved memory, mental energy and cognition
- Improved focus
- Reduction in aches, pains, and headaches
- Eliminating cravings
"This is one exciting thing that I've heard from so many people: in a week or two, their pain subsides," Cherie says. "I had one young woman who had plantar fasciitis; suffered with it for years. The only thing they had been able to do for her was a special shoe. She got started juicing, lost 18 lbs, and got rid of her plantar fasciitis."
Detoxing Fat Stores Typically Requires Expert Help
It's worth noting, however, that about 100-times more of the toxins are stored in your fat than in your blood. And although juicing may help you shed excess fat, which would reduce toxic stores, it will not in and of itself draw it out of your fat. More aggressive intervention is required for that, and likely needs to be done through a qualified physician.
For example, I recently met a surgical oncologist who uses high dose niacin to cause lipolysis (breakdown of fat), in conjunction with exercise to raise your core body temperature, followed by 40 minutes in an infrared sauna. Doing this process daily for a month causes your body to excrete stored toxins from your fat.
However, this is not a detox cure you can dabble with at home. First of all, 20 to 25 percent of people cannot tolerate niacin. It causes massive flushing. Second, although it's a vitamin, at the doses required for detox, it's treated as a drug. He starts his patients out at about 100 mg and progresses all the way up to 5,000 mg, which is a massive dose. You'll be beet red from the niacin flush! So intense detoxes like these have to be used with extreme caution under a physician's care.
Weight Loss—An Added Boon of Juicing
Cherie's book, The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet, is in large part oriented towards weight loss. Obesity is one of the primary health challenges here in the US. Technically, more than a third of American adults are obese, and nearly 80 percent of Americans are overweight! However, she didn't set out to recommend juicing specifically as a weight loss aid. This, she found out through countless clients and readers, was a side effect of juicing.
She decided to look into it further, and her investigation eventually led to the creation of her book.
"There were two studies completed in 2009-- last year, I believe it was one at Baylor College of Medicine and the other at UC Davis using Vegetable Juicing and for Weight Loss. which They found that the people who included one to two glasses of vegetable juice a day lost four times the weight of the non-juice drinkers. I thought that was rather interesting and significant…
In one of the studies, the majority of the people in it had metabolic syndrome; insulin resistance. I found that very interesting because that's a tougher condition to work with and still see weight loss results… I really got excited and that's when I put this book together, giving people the whole program of how to integrate vegetable juicing into their lifestyle with menu plans, shopping list, and recipes.. Since that time, I've heard from people all across the country who have said they've given this diet a try, and they're losing weight—many times where nothing was working for them before."
Juicing Alone is Not the Sole Answer for Weight Loss, You Must also Alter Your Food Choices
However, juicing in and of itself likely will not solve your weight problem. Your overall diet is just as important, if not more so, and her book prescribes a low-glycemic diet together with juicing to achieve maximum results. She essentially combined the diabetic diet with vegetable juicing.
According to Cherie, this combination has been the most effective for people with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes. She also recommends including coconut oil, as it too can help with weight loss. Cherie recommends using about one teaspoon to one tablespoon a day for this purpose.
Other Reasons for Using Coconut Oil
"I was absolutely shocked when I first started reading about coconut oil because I, like so many people, have been told that it's a saturated fat, and to avoid all tropical oils," Cherie says. "When I got awakened to the truth, I wanted to know more and, eventually, wrote the book, The Coconut Diet.
I discovered that coconut oil, even though it is saturated, is a very healthful oil. It is marvelous. The body prefers to burn it rather than store it in fat cells. It is rich in lauric, acid, caprylic, and caproic fatty acids, which are short- to medium-chained fatty acids that work on breaking down the outer wall of yeast cells. There was a study done not too long ago in Nigeria at University College Hospital. They used coconut oil for treating people even with Candida albicans, which is one of the toughest yeasts to destroy, and it worked even on that yeast."
However, when you first start out on coconut oil, you may feel ill. Why is that?
"The yeasts are dying off," Cherie explains. "So just cut back on the amount of coconut oil you're taking and then work back up."
You could do as much as one to three tablespoons of coconut oil a day as a therapeutic dose to kill excessive yeast, although you will need to work your way up to that amount, and It is probably safer to start with one teaspoon.. Your level of tolerance depends on how well your liver functions as it is a fat. But it may be too many calories for some people, as three tablespoons would give you about 400 calories just from coconut oil.
Additionally, many individuals who chose to be a vegetarian or vegan will have dangerously low cholesterol levels and coconut oil can be very effectively used to increase cholesterol levels. If you already have high cholesterol levels though it is not dangerous unless you take very large quantities.
You always want to make sure you're using organic, virgin, unprocessed coconut oil, and avoid the refined kind as the processing eliminates many of the healthful fatty acids. Cherie and I also agree on the recommendation to use it for all your cooking needs as well, in lieu of other cooking oils.
"It has a medium smoke point of about 350 degrees," Cherie explains. "Most of the sautéing that we do in our home kitchens aren't over 350 degrees. I always say if you see it smoking, pull it off the burner right away because that's the point where your oil is starting to break down and will start to oxidize. It's a durable oil because it's saturated. The very fact that it's saturated makes it more durable than your polyunsaturates, which will oxidize much more easily. I don't recommend polyunsaturated oils at all."
For high-heat, such as baking around 400 degrees or so, you can use almond oil instead.
How Much Juice Do You Need?
Cherie's program calls for juicing twice a day. If you're diabetic, hypoglycemic or insulin resistant, you'll want to focus on dark greens. Cherie also recommends diluting all your juices with cucumbers instead of water, to gain the extra nutrients. This way you'll also avoid any and all potential toxins, such as fluoride, in your tap water.
If you're juicing for weight loss, Cherie recommends a minimum of 16 ounces of juice a day. Ideally, you'll want to strive for a full quart of juice, split up between the morning and the afternoon.
When juicing that much, I recommend juicing it all at once, to save time. Then use a FoodSaver, or put it in a glass jar filled to the very top so there is no oxygen, and put it in the fridge immediately. You're probably going to retain well over 90 percent of the nutritional value if you do it in that way and consume it within 12 hours.
Juicing to Perk You Up, or Calm You Down
Besides juicing for detox and weight loss, other reasons to juice include boosting your energy, or alternatively, calming you down at the end of the evening.
"I talked with one young woman who had a two-year old and was coming home after work, tired but still lots to do, and would have a glass of wine. She said, "I was ready to just lay on the couch and go to sleep." Now she comes home and makes juice for the whole family instead, and she's energized to make a healthy meal.
So it's excellent to make your juice for the next day and your evening cocktail all at once. Have a glass of juice while you're making dinner to perk you right back up," Cherie says.
"So many people say they come home just dead tired and starved. Maybe they didn't eat for a good portion of their day. Maybe they skipped lunch or ate something really fast at their desk. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips or some awful snack when you run in the door and you're hungry, go right for your juicer and make a glass of juice. It's going to be energizing. It's going to send a signal to your body that you're not as hungry now. You're fed. You've got all these nutrients now. So hopefully, then you're not going to eat as much at dinner."
You can also make a small amount of calming juice to drink just before you go to bed. Celery and romaine lettuce are very calming and will help you sleep.
Nutritional Typing and Food Sensitivities
Nutritional typing, for those who aren't familiar with it, is a concept that really seeks to divide people in three different types:
- Protein types benefit from large amounts of protein and fat, and small amounts of carbs
- Carbohydrate type need high amounts of vegetable carbs, and lower amounts of proteins and fat
- Mixed type need a little bit of everything and can tolerate most foods
Your genetics and biochemistry determines which group you fit in. Paradoxically, even the healthiest of foods, such as dark green leafy vegetables, are not as well-suited for everyone.
Dark green leafy vegetables are very high in potassium, and for protein types, potassium-rich foods tend to drive your biochemistry in the wrong direction. Hence, care must be taken to select the most appropriate foods, even when we're talking about something as healthful as vegetables.
A giant clue is to check how different foods make you feel. Listening to your body is one of the KEY elements of nutritional typing. If something makes you feel worse (sleepy, gassy, or lethargic, for example), it's a sign it's not beneficial for you—even though it might be generally considered a very healthful food. A healthful food for YOU will make you feel better. It will raise your energy level and suppress your appetite. Typically, if you're still hungry, it may be a sign that you need a little more fat and protein in your meal, or with your juice.
Must All Your Veggies Be Organic When Juicing?
Organic produce has been shown to have a much higher nutrient-content than conventional fresh produce, which should offer plenty of incentive to locate organic produce that has also been grown locally. On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce.
However, pesticide contamination is another important issue when it comes to juicing, since you're using higher quantities of fruits and vegetables than you would normally eat whole. The Environmental Working Group's Shopper's Guide is an excellent resource to help you figure out what to buy organic, and what conventionally-grown veggies you can get away with buying with the least amount of health risk. The guide is now also available as an iPhone application.
The produce ranked the highest in terms of pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic are:
Celery Peaches Strawberries Apples Blueberries Nectarines Bell peppers Spinach Cherries Kale and Collard greens Potatoes Grapes
Meanwhile, the produce below has the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:
Grapefruit Avocados Onions Pineapple Mangos Sweet peas Asparagus Kiwi Cabbage Eggplant Cantaloupe and honeydew melon Watermelon
By paying heed to the typical pesticide load, you can put your money where it's going to be the most beneficial. However, ideally ALL your foods should be organic if you can afford it.
What Can You Do with the Pulp?
Many are concerned about wasting the pulp and throwing it away. Well that can easily be solved by composting it into your vegetable or ornamental garden. However, an even better solution would be to eat it.
From a nutritional perspective it is far more useful to eat the whole vegetable as the fibers actually serve as a prebiotic and raw fuel for your good bacteria to grow, and as a weed killer that actually helps to eradicate harmful organisms like yeast and pathogenic bacteria. You are probably thinking "how disgusting," and "why would I ever want to do that?"
Well if you dress up the pulp with some Himalayan salt and other condiments that you may enjoy, like balsamic vinegar and crushed red peppers, it becomes far more palatable. What I have recently figured out though is if I put a few lightly poached eggs over the pulp with some melted fresh raw organic butter, it really is turns it into a delicious meal.
The butter and eggs provide fat and protein that actually balance out the meal. I used to feel hungry after juicing but since I started eating the pulp with poached eggs I feel very full and satisfied.
Some might ask why I don't just use a powerful mixer like a Vita Mixer and have less mess to clean up and prepare it quicker. Well there are several problems doing it this way as the speed of the Vita Mixer is too high and will actually damage some of the nutrients in the vegetables. More importantly is it is MUCH less palatable as it becomes a thick, almost undrinkable slurry rather than a tasty meal and refreshing thin juice you can drink right down.
What about Pre-Made Vegetable Juices?
Many people don't want to go through the hassle of juicing from scratch and instead opt for supplements like Juice Plus+, which purports to have all the same benefits as fresh juice. However, there are significant drawbacks with these conveniences. When you look at the cost/value equation, to get the same amount of nutrition from a glass of high quality organic vegetable juice, you probably have to take a bottle or two of these Juice Plus+ tablets and the cost would extraordinary.
"There is also something else that's missing," Cherie says.
"People have asked me about Juice Plus+ for years. But you don't have biophotons in there. How could you? It's processed. So you're losing the LIFE of the plant. That's probably my number one reason to juice—to get that life into my body."
Aside from the lack of biophotons, processing may also destroy complementary co-factors that you get when you juice a whole food and drink it fresh. In a nutshell, you simply cannot compare a processed juice supplement to the real thing, because you simply will not receive all the benefits of whole, fresh juice. A supplement is going to be better than nothing in circumstances when you don't have access to a juicer, such as when traveling, but cannot be recommended as a substitute for regular juicing.
Hopefully, this interview has been able to inspire you to start exploring the world of juicing, if you haven't already, as juicing can massively facilitate the improvement of your health.