By Dr. Mercola
As noted at the very beginning of this 26-minute health documentary by juicing expert Jason Vale: "More people die from chronic diseases than all other causes put together."
This is a remarkable state of affairs when you consider that the human body is actually designed to maintain healthy homeostasis, given half a chance.
What's worse, chronic diseases strike the very young as well as the very old. Children are now developing diseases previously relegated to seniors, such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease and even cancer.
Toxicity appears to be a major factor driving this burgeoning wave of chronic disease. Toxins are in our food, in our water and air, in the medications we take, in the products we use each day to clean ourselves and our homes; they're in beauty products and our furnishings and building materials.
"All chronic diseases are caused by two, and only two, major problems," Charlotte Gerson, founder of the Gerson Institute, says. "Toxicity and deficiency."
Toxicity and Deficiency Are Core Problems
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), PREVENTABLE chronic diseases are now the world's biggest killers. And the combination of eating nutrient-deficient foods and being over-exposed to toxins is at the core of our current health crisis.
The answer to this dilemma is certainly not to take medication to mask the symptoms of toxicity and deficiency. The solution is to remove toxins, clean up your system and increase the nutrient density of your healthy food.
Plants — fruits, berries and vegetables — are "live" foods. Provided they've not been severely processed, or are eaten in excess and out of season. Ideally, the best time to eat fruit is in the summer when you have plenty of exposure to sunshine and can tolerate higher net carbs.
They contain many phytochemicals your body can use to heal and nourish your cells. The appeal of juicing is that you can consume more nutrient-dense vegetables than when you eat them whole or Vita Mix them in a blender.
This allows you to consume far greater amounts of vegetable nutrients than you would normally be able to eat whole or blended with the fiber.
Juicing Is a Great Way to Boost Nutrient Intake
Some will argue that consuming more veggies than you could normally chew through is unnecessary, but when you consider how nutrient levels in most foods have dramatically decreased since the introduction of mechanized farming in 1925, juicing really makes sense.
Healthy soils contain a huge diversity of microorganisms, and it is these organisms that are responsible for the plant's nutrient uptake, health and the stability of the entire ecosystem.
The wide-scale adoption of industrial farming practices has decimated soil microbes responsible for transferring these minerals to the plants, and synthetic chemicals sprayed on the crops have further destroyed overall soil quality.
For example, as explained by research scientist August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, today you'd have to eat 36 apples!
How could you possibly get 36 apples into you? Even with juicing that would be a remarkable feat, and would likely overload you with natural sugars as well, so I wouldn't recommend it.
My point is that even when juicing, you may not get the same amount of nutrients our ancestors used to get from even a fraction of the foods they ate, so you're unlikely to get superfluous amounts of nutrients by regularly drinking fresh vegetable juices.
When you drink fresh, live juice, it's almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals and enzymes because they go straight into your body without needing to be broken down. Since juicing is essentially "mainlining" live nutrients, it's no surprise it can produce rapid and profound health benefits.
Food Addiction Is a Profit Center
There's a conscious effort on behalf of food manufacturers to get you addicted to foods that are convenient and inexpensive to make. This system is detailed in investigative reporter Michael Moss' book, "Salt, Sugar, Fat" — the top three substances that make processed foods so addictive.
One of the guiding principles for the processed food industry is known as "sensory-specific satiety." Moss describes this as "the tendency for big, distinct flavors to overwhelm your brain, which responds by depressing your desire to have more."
The greatest successes, whether beverages or foods, owe their "craveability" to complex formulas that pique your taste buds just enough, without overwhelming them, thereby overriding your brain's inclination to say "enough."
"Vanishing calorie density" is another term used to describe foods that melt in your mouth, which has the effect of making your brain think it doesn't contain any calories. As a result, you keep eating.
In short, as noted in the film, the big food companies are "manipulating our food so that we keep eating more, and more, and more." And, as stated by Cherie Calbom, also known as "The Juice Lady:" "It's corn and soy, and wheat and sugar and salt and chemicals — that's primarily what people are eating."
So is it really any wonder that so many are so sick and overweight? Many health authorities make it seem as the obesity epidemic is a great mystery, and largely blame it on laziness. "If only people exercised more, they'd be fine," the reasoning goes.
But this simply isn't true, and by sweeping the proverbial elephant under the rug and ignoring the fact that our food supply is the problem, these authorities have done us all a shameful disservice.
Remember, it really isn't about calories, it is about insulin resistance. And processed foods, sugars and high net carb foods will make it virtually impossible to normalize your metabolism and get lean.
Modern Medicine Is Another Profit Center
Many times, even severe health problems have simple fixes. For example, in the film, Vale, who's also the author of "The Juice Detox Diet," explains that what prompted him to try juicing in the first place was a severe case of psoriasis — an autoimmune disease that causes cells to build up on the surface of your skin, leading to thick, unsightly scaly patches that are very itchy and often painful.
He also had eczema and severe hay fever and asthma. For years he used steroid tablets and various inhalers to manage his symptoms, but he wasn't getting any better. "Not once did anyone look at what might be causing the problems; they only wanted to treat the symptoms," he said.
The turning point came when one of his doctors suggested a coal-tar treatment for his psoriasis. He'd be slathered in coal-tar, the same gooey tar placed on roadways, and covered in bandages for six weeks. The idea of resorting to such a bizarre and clearly toxic intervention was the final straw. "There's GOT to be another way," he thought.
Indeed, toxicity and a narrow focus on managing symptoms — not actually addressing the root problem, which might result in a full remission or cure — are hallmarks of modern medicine. This mode of operation has turned healthcare into a massive for-profit business that has become increasingly reluctant to embrace strategies that might actually remove an individual from the paying patient pool.
This is tragic, since research exists showing that raising your vitamin D level, for example, can help heal psoriasis, especially if you're vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D supplements are very inexpensive, and if you optimize your level by getting regular and sensible sun exposure, which is the preferred and ideal way, it's free (provided you live in a sunny area and don't use a therapeutic sunbed).
In Vale's case, juicing was the answer, and he no longer suffers from any of his previous problems. His asthma completely vanished within a month, and his skin gradually cleared up until there was not a trace of psoriasis or eczema left. His weight also dropped "at a rate I didn't think was humanly possible," he says. As noted by Dr. Dwight Lundell, author of "The Cure for Heart Disease," who is featured in the film:
"Not one single person will be cured of heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, arthritis, obesity and, of course, diabetes, with our current medical approach."
Inflammation Is the Driving Mechanism Behind Most Chronic Disease
Toxicity, nutrient deficiencies, processed foods, sugar and excess net carbs promote inflammation, and chronic inflammation is a hallmark of virtually every chronic disease there is. When your inflammation levels are low, it's very difficult for disease to take root. When healthy, your body is simply too well-equipped to address foreign invaders and can easily clean out minor toxic exposures.
As noted by Lundell, when we investigate what we're doing differently today, when inflammation levels are high, compared to decades past when chronic disease rates were much lower, the main difference we find is the foods we eat.
We've gotten away from eating fresh, whole foods, most of which come from the plant kingdom, and most of what we eat are processed foods laced with a myriad of chemicals that were never in our food supply before. "In my opinion, this dietary change is the cause of most chronic diseases," he says.
It may appear as though all these different chronic diseases are very different, and therefore would have different causes. But these variations are deceiving. In the vast majority of cases, the root problem can be narrowed down to inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction, caused by toxicity and insufficient amounts of "building blocks" (nutrients) to maintain optimal biological function. The differences in manifestation primarily relate to individual weaknesses.
"It just stands to reason and common sense that if the vast majority of those diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle, then the simple answer, surely, is to change the diet and lifestyle, and they'll just get better," Vale says.
Calbom adds: "We should be juicing, because so many people have impaired digestive tracts, and digestion is impaired because of the diet we've been on. Along come your beautiful juices; they go right into your intestinal tract, and those nutrients get absorbed into your system.
They're going right to work within about 20 or 30 minutes. They're there feeding your body, rejuvenating, giving you energy; giving your body life! This is why you should juice … Juice every day; this has got to be a way of life, because that's when you're going to notice your life changing."
Eat 'Low Human Intervention Foods'
Vale wisely suggests that if a food has a label, it probably shouldn't be in your diet. What you're really looking for is real food, or what he calls "low human intervention foods," meaning foods that has passed through as few human hands and processes as possible. Ideally, you would be growing your own food and eating out of your garden.
In the summer, the majority of my main meal comes from my garden: sunflower spouts, red bell peppers, oregano, rosemary, turmeric and spinach. If you are unable to grow your own, your next best bet would be to get locally grown organic produce that has not been waxed, cut up or processed in any way.
"When you look at the fact that the food you eat really creates the life that you live, everything starts to change," Philip McCluskey, author of "Weight Loss Blueprint," says.
'Super-Juicing' for 28 Days Cured Diabetes and Chronic Pain
In a previous documentary, Vale recruited eight people who collectively suffered from 22 different chronic diseases and put them on a juice-only diet for 28 days (plus exercise) in order to explore juicing's potential benefits for reversing chronic disease. He filmed their experience, which resulted in the documentary "Super Juice Me," which I've included above for your convenience.
The health improvements seen by those eight individuals are nothing short of astounding. Every participant felt energized and lost weight, and most reported a drastic reduction in their symptoms and the number of medications they needed to use. One man completely resolved his diabetes in those 28 days. A woman went from years of chronic pain to being completely pain-free, and others suffering from asthma, colitis and sleep apnea enjoyed a profound reduction in symptoms.
It was not an easy journey, as several experienced detoxification reactions, food cravings and, for some, a temporary increase in symptoms as their bodies began to purge toxins they'd accumulated, but those reactions were relatively short-lived, and they felt immensely better on the other side — better than they'd felt in years.
The Many Health Benefits of Juicing
There are many reasons to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your health plan. Whether you use it as an occasional cleanse, or as the start of every morning, juicing:
✓ Helps you absorb all the nutrients from your vegetables. This is important because most people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years, which limits your body's ability to absorb all of the nutrients in whole, raw vegetables. Juicing helps "pre-digest" them, so you won't lose any of this valuable nutrition.
✓ Makes it easier to consume a large quantity of vegetables. Virtually every health authority recommends that you get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day, but very few actually get that. Juicing virtually guarantees you'll reach your daily target.
✓ Makes it easier to get a wider variety of vegetables into your diet. Juicing greatly expands the number of different phytochemicals you receive, as each vegetable offers unique benefits. Juicing also allows you to consume vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.
✓ Boosts your immune system. Raw juice supercharges your immune system with concentrated phytochemicals and biophotonic light energy, which can revitalize your body. The nutrients in fresh juice also feed your body's good bacteria and help suppress potentially pathogenic ones.
✓ Increases your energy. When your blood is flooded with nutrients and your body's pH is optimized, you'll feel energized. Since juice is absorbed and utilized by your body very rapidly, juicers report feeling an almost instantaneous "kick" of energy.
✓ Supports your brain. In the Kame Project,1 people who consumed juice more than three times per week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who consumed juice less than once a week.
✓ Provides structured water. Vegetable juice is one of the purest sources of water and actually qualifies as water. Vegetable water is structured water (living water), which is different from regular water — H3O2 rather than H2O. Water from vegetables is the best quality water you can drink!
On a side note, sun exposure is also important for structuring the water in your cells. Part of the energy your body requires can actually be obtained from sunlight, but you must expose your skin directly to it. The ultraviolet (UV) radiation increases nitric oxide (NO) release, which can direct more than half your blood flow to your skin.
Once your blood is exposed to the sun, it can absorb UV and infrared radiation, which help to structure the water in your cells and energize your mitochondria.
Keep in mind your juices should consist mostly of green vegetables. You'll want to minimize fruits in order to keep the fructose and net carb content low. The bulk of your juice should come from organic green veggies. Spinach, celery, kale and Swiss chard are common juicing staples.
If you're new to juicing, you can start with more mild-tasting veggies, like celery and cucumbers. From there you can work your way up to red leaf lettuce, romaine, spinach and escarole, along with parsley and cilantro. Kale, collard, dandelion, mustard and other greens can be bitter, so you'll want to start slowly and add just a few leaves at a time.
Some of the most nutrient-dense veggies are the strongest tasting, but don't avoid them. Just use a lesser quantity in your juice until your taste buds acclimate. Selecting organic, non-GMO produce is very important when juicing, but the price can be a challenge for some. One alternative is to grow your own, making sure to avoid toxic garden chemicals (synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers).
If you're using non-organic vegetables, your best bet is to peel them, to avoid juicing pesticide residues. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables that have been waxed, as this seals in the chemicals. It can be difficult to discern if a vegetable has been waxed or not, because the wax can be applied in a very thin, transparent layer.
Beware that even organic produce sold in grocery chain stores will typically be waxed. For unwaxed fruit and vegetables, you typically have to get them from a local source.
Tips That Can Make Your Veggie Juice More Palatable
If you're not used to eating a lot of vegetables, the taste may take a little while to get used to. A great trick to make your juice more palatable, especially in the beginning, is to add one or more of these elements:
- Limes and lemons: You can add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. Limes are my favorite for cutting bitter flavors.
- Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste. It gives your juice a spicy "kick."
- Limited amounts of apple and carrot (just be mindful of your overall sugar content).
How to Manage Cravings and Detox Symptoms
Changing your diet or any other aspect of your lifestyle is sometimes stressful, and stress can sabotage your success. As some of the people in Vale's super-juicing experiment discovered, you might feel a little worse before you feel better, as detox symptoms and food cravings can arise. Addressing your emotional and mental health is a very important aspect of total body health, so please do not ignore stress.
The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be helpful when anxieties strike, including emotional struggles surrounding dietary changes. In fact, it's one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety that I know of. In 2012, a triple blind study2 found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent, more than any other intervention tested!
If you worry that you won't be able to get the juice down or you won't take the time to do it, or your food cravings will be unbearable, EFT may be able to help. The first couple weeks of a new eating routine are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for reducing anxiety, cravings and detox symptoms during this time.
EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it's always at your fingertips, whenever and wherever you need it. You can even adapt this intermittent fasting EFT video by Julie Schiffman for juice fasting. Just as juicing helps reduce your body's toxic burden, you can think of EFT as detoxification for your mind. By combining the two, your healing will have the greatest chance of success.