By Dr. Mercola
Juicing is a powerful tool that can accelerate your progress towards optimal health. 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.
In my life I have found that juicing is a simple and easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables. I typically juice every day and consume from a pint to a quart of green juice daily.
Juicing also helps you absorb all those wonderful nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. Juicing will help to "pre-digest" the veggies, so you receive most of the nutrition rather than having it go down the toilet.
Another benefit of juicing is that it allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet that you might not normally enjoy eating whole.
How Much Juice Should You Consume?
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.
My personal recommendation is to juice it all at once, to save time, then store it properly and drink it throughout the day.
Cherie says she's got her juicing routine down to 10 minutes, but then again, she's an expert. Pour your juice into a FoodSaver, or a glass Mason or Ball jar filled to the top so there is no oxygen, and put it in the fridge immediately. FoodSaver has an attachment for the jars that will vacuum seal it for you and suck out most of the oxygen. 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 to 24 hours
What To 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 can actually damage some of the nutrients in the vegetables. More importantly is it is MUCH less palatable as it becomes a thick, virtually undrinkable slurry rather than a tasty meal and refreshing thin juice you can drink right down.
One of my newer developments is to take the pulp and put it in a dehydrator at 104 degrees for 6-12 hours, until it is dry and make vegetable pulp crisps. I put Himalayan salt and other seasonings on it like crushed red pepper, and I use it as a bread substitute, particularly for the four raw organic pastured chicken egg yolks I have almost every morning. The texture really makes it a very palatable breakfast. I also use one avocado and some red onions.
Juice According to Your Nutritional Type
Although vegetables are generally "healthful," it's still important to take your nutritional type into account when juicing, both in terms of the amount you consume, and the types of vegetables and add-ins you use.
According to Nutritional Typing principles, if you are a carb type, then vegetable juicing is highly recommended to help you regain your health. Juicing is also beneficial for mixed types.
Protein types, however, need to be a bit more cautious though and follow some specific guidelines to reap optimal results.
You can also add some dark leafy greens like collards, kale, and dandelion greens, but do so cautiously and pay careful attention to how you feel, because these vegetables are very high in potassium and can cause biochemical imbalances in protein types.
Additionally, to make the juice compatible with protein type metabolism (which also needs higher amounts of fat), it is important to blend in some type of raw fat, such as raw cream, raw butter, raw eggs, avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground organic flax or hemp seeds.
Healing Through Juicing—The Juice Lady's Story
Cherie Calbom earned her nickname "The Juice Lady" back in 1991, when she worked for the Juiceman company. But she's been passionate about juicing far longer.
"[Y]ears ago, I had chronic fatigue syndrome; fibromyalgia in my late 20s; hypoglycemia; allergies; candidiasis—a long list of problems and no hope to get well," Cherie says.
"I decided I was going to find a way; there had to be a way to get well. So I started going to health food stores and reading. I found an old Norman Walker book… I got my first juicer and I embarked on this five day vegetable juice cleanse, and continued that through three months of juicing. I changed my diet completely.
One morning, I woke up and thought somebody gave me a new body in the middle of the night. It was like WOW! I felt completely healed."
However, it bears mentioning that it wasn't an entirely smooth ride.
"Along the way, I felt worse before I felt better. No one had talked about the detox reactions. My dad kept saying, "I think you're killing yourself with this juice program."…I was definitely detoxing."
In Cherie's case, it took three months before she suddenly felt completely renewed.
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. In Cherie's experience, this is the typical time frame for most people before they see any dramatic improvement in their health.
The Healing Power of Wheatgrass
Although many don't fancy the taste of wheatgrass, it's a potent healing and detoxing ingredient. You'll need a masticating juicer in order to use it however, as it'll just shoot out of a centrifugal juicer.
Cherie buys flats of wheatgrass from her local co-op, but you can also order them from Whole Foods. Most local food stores only sell it in small containers, which you might get 2 oz. from, if you're lucky. If you buy a flat of it, you'll have enough to last you several days. To keep it fresh, place it in front of a window and spray some water on it daily.
"It's so good!" Cherie says. "It's a grass. It's like a sprout. It's new life; loaded with chlorophyll and all of these wonderful vitamins, minerals, enzymes, biophotons and some amino acids. It's just powerful.
… They say that the chlorophyll molecule in there is similar to our hemoglobin molecule."
… I've consulted at a center that uses wheatgrass juice for people who go through this program… I've seen amazing things happen for people drinking 5 oz. of wheatgrass juice a day: 2.5 oz. in the morning and 2.5 oz in the afternoon. Try it. That's all I can say. Just give it a try."
It is really bitter though, so you may want to add a small amount of lime or liquid stevia to improve the flavor. Limes are great as they are virtually fructose free.
Detoxing—An Important Part of Optimal Health
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. 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.
However, 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.
I recently encountered a surgical oncologist who has a great detox program. He uses high dose niacin to cause lipolysis (breakdown of fat), in conjunction with exercise to raise your core body temperature. Then you spend 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 to 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 it has to be used with extreme caution and only under a physician's care.
Detoxing with Juicing
Juicing, however, is also a powerful way to lose body fat, and because the juice contains high amounts of antioxidants it can help bind toxins when they get released.
"You are going to be losing fat and when those fat cells are breaking down and all those toxins are getting released, you need a lot of antioxidants to get them out of your system and render them harmless. That's where juicing is just powerful," Cherie explains.
"The beta carotene and other carotenes are wonderful for the liver and a wonderful part of detox. I've worked with a lot of people on various cleansing programs that I've designed and juicing is a big part of that along with nutrients and herbs to help the liver detox. I wouldn't be without it.
I don't like just a straight water fast… When I did an internship with a nutritional medical doctor, he had some people coming in that had done just straight water fast and had gotten into major problems because of it.
So I think it's very important to have hearty vegetable juices for cleansing or detoxing your body. People that do, even though you get symptoms (the Herxheimer reaction they call it), seem to do a whole lot better when they've got the fresh vegetable juices than when they don't."
What about Fasting?
Personally, I've been opposed to fasting. It works well for some people, but I believe it's not entirely suitable for strong protein types like myself, simply because we need high amounts of protein. Obviously, if you're doing a juice fast you're getting some protein but it's a rather minimal amount. My concern is that it might cause you to lose muscle as well as fat. Intermittent fasting can be used on occasion.
My concerns may be unwarranted however.
According to Cherie, short fasts, lasting no more than two or three days do not appear to have any impact on muscles. Juice fasts lasting longer than a week however, may lead to muscle loss.
"I'm a protein type and I did a five-day fast that one time to kind of kick off my program. It's wonderful to give your system a rest where your body is not having to work to break down all of this stuff that we eat… It can then really begin to work on detox, on repair, on rejuvenation. I've done one about every year for three days and I always add in wheatgrass."
When doing a juice fast, Cherie recommends consuming between one to two quarts of juice a day. Also remember to break your fast with very light foods, such as cold raw soup and maybe a dehydrated cracker.
"There are a lot of people who like to take one day a week to give their system a rest. A nice way to do that is to do an all liquid breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you don't feel so deprived. You've slept through most of it and yet, you've given your system a real rest and a chance to do some cleansing. Then just have a really healthy dinner the next night," Cherie recommends.
Cherie's Vegetable Recommendations
With respect to specific vegetable recommendations, here's Cherie's top picks:
- Dark greens, such as collard greens, Swiss chard and kale
- Ginger root, for its anti-inflammatory properties
- Lemons, which are high in vitamin C and bioflavanoids. If organic you can also juice the rind
- Cucumbers (leave the skin on if organic)
- Parsley, which is rich in vitamin C, bioflavanoids, iron, minerals and chlorophyll
- Beet greens (the beets are good for your liver, but they're high in sugar, so use them very sparingly)
- Organic carrots (avoid conventionally grown carrots as they tend to be highly contaminated with pesticides). Use carrots sparingly, however, as they're very high in sugar. Avoid them if you have candida, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, or cancer.
She also saves broccoli stems, the bottoms of cauliflower, and the stems from fresh asparagus and juices those. It's a great way to reduce waste.
Special Concerns and Warnings
Please note you should never juice the peel from oranges or grape fruits as they contain toxic oils.
Limes do not contain these oils and are safe to juice. Only juice organic lime rinds however, to avoid contaminating your juice.
Additionally, you'll want to rotate the vegetables you use, as consuming the same vegetables every day for an extended period of time can cause you to develop sensitivities or allergies. So switch things up regularly and try different recipes.
For more information, please see my juicing page.