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Juicing – why and howJuicing is often referred to as a "juice cleanse".
People juice for many different reasons. For most of us, we start juicing when we are feeling ill and when easier measures (of the "take a pill" variety) no longer work to keep us symptom free.
v Joe Cross, an Australian stock broker, did it because he was sick, obese and had just turned 40. He had chronic urticaria – hives, triggered by almost anything – he weighed well over 300 pounds. He was fatigued, his joints hurt and felt terrible all the time. He finally decided to take charge of his own health – smart man!
He decided to go on a juice fast for 60 days. The first 30 days he was monitored every week by his doctor, to make sure that he did not get into trouble. The next 30 days he spent driving across the United States, meeting sick people and extolling the virtues of the juice fast which he had undertaken.
You can watch the movie that he made of his journey, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead at http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/ (if you don't mind watching a minute of ads beforehand). You can watch it for free on Amazon. Or you can purchase the DVD. Or you can download it to iTunes or Netflix.
Joe called the juice fast a "reboot" of the system. And in fact, it is very like a reboot. Your body is suddenly given very different information (in the form of loads of fruits and vegetables, and no animal protein, minimal fats, no starches or grains). How different is that?
There may be a few days of adjustment – during which time you might feel somewhat out of sorts – achy, empty and somewhat tired because your body is using up its fat stores for calories. These fat stores have accumulated, at least in part, in order to store fat-soluble toxins (plastics, insecticides, herbicides, solvents – all the chemicals which make up "better living through chemistry").
Once the fat stores are used for calories, all those chemicals are liberated into the blood stream. If you are able to detoxify them, well and good – you won't have much in the way of symptoms when you start the juice fast.
If, on the other hand, you are one of the many that has trouble with detoxification – you feel ill when you go through the soap aisle at the grocery store, you don't tolerate perfumes, you have a lot of food sensitivities – then you may be symptomatic. For such people, medical monitoring is essential. We can give supplemental nutrients to help with detoxification, to help you get through the initial stages.
What are the benefits of juicing?First, detoxification.
You can detoxify through fasting without actually giving up everything except water. You can get more vitamins that you could possibly eat if you ate the whole fruits and vegetables, because you are not eating all the fiber which surrounds the vitamin-loaded liquid.
Second, decreasing insulin resistance.
A juice fast is a remarkably easy way to decrease insulin resistance without having to take a pill. Intermittent fasting has been shown to decrease insulin resistance by increasing muscle uptake of glucose – something that will be of interest to a predicted 44 million Americans diagnosed with Diabetes or Metabolic Syndrome by the year 2034. Metabolic syndrome is a precursor of diabetes.
How do you know if you have Pre-diabetes, or Metabolic Syndrome?
There are no symptoms. Metabolic syndrome is silent and asymptomatic until diagnosed by appropriate testing.
Even the National Institutes of Health criteria do not encourage early diagnosis of the syndrome.
– Blood pressure higher than 130/85
– Fasting blood sugar higher than 100 mg%
– Large waist circumference (men over 40 inches, women over 35 inches)
– Low HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind)
– High triglycerides (over 150 mg%)
All doctor's offices measure blood pressure – and most give you pharmaceutical drugs if the pressure is high.
All doctors' offices measure certain laboratory parameters: lipid panel (testing of cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides) and fasting blood sugar. If the fasting blood sugar is high, they measure Hemoglobin A1C which gives us a measure of how high the blood sugar has been running over the past several weeks. When your blood sugar goes over 100 mg%, you can be diagnosed with Metabolic syndrome and put on more pharmaceuticals to lower your blood sugar. And when it goes over 126, you can be diagnosed officially with diabetes.
Very few doctors' offices measure fasting insulin.
Third, weight loss.
A juice fast is almost invariably associated with weight loss – significant losses within a remarkably short period of time. It is not unusual to lose 10 pounds or more within the first few days of a juice fast.
All doctor's offices recommend weight loss – almost always by decreasing the number of calories consumed each day. Very few have anything to say about what kind of calories. The standard medical thinking is that a calorie is a calorie, the source is unimportant.
And how is counting calories working out for us in terms of weight loss? The prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since the 1980s. Maybe it's time to follow different advice, if we truly wish to lose weight and get healthier.
Fourth, increase our intake of fruits and vegetables.
Can you imagine actually eating the following every day? 2 apples, 2 pears, 2 cucumbers, half a bunch of celery, a big bunch of kale, a bunch of spinach, 3 carrots, 1 turnip, 1 parsnip, 1 beet, 1 lemon, 2 little limes, half a head of cabbage. Goes pretty far beyond the government recommendations for 5 servings of vegetables per day, doesn't it?
And yet, it is easy to take in that much nutrition in the form of juice. We just eliminate a good deal of the bulk in the form of fiber.
Is there a downside to juicing?
You might find that the volume of your stool is significantly reduced. You might need to take extra magnesium (in the form of Epsom salts) or Vitamin C powder in order to keep your bowels moving. On the other hand, you might find that you have diarrhea for a few days, until your system adjusts to the changes. Everyone is different.
If you find that you feel bad for a few days, you may be one of those people who has difficulty with detoxification. You may need extra vitamins, extra amounts of water, and extra sleep at the beginning of a juice fast.
We recommend that you start the fast at a time when you have three or four days clear of major commitments, just in case...
How to start juicingWhat equipment is needed?
A juicer is essential. Even the best of blenders still keeps all the fiber and bulk in what it blends, decreasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that you could consume. Blenders (e.g. the Vitamix, a very high speed blender) are wonderful if you are going to make tomato juice or raw soups, but if you are truly doing a juice fast, you want to get a juicer.
Juicers come in two varieties:
– Centrifugal – the kind that Joe Cross used in the movie. These juicers operate by cutting up foods into tiny particles and spinning the particles around to extract the juice. They are fast and easy to use, fairly inexpensive, but somewhat of a pain to clean.
– Masticating – with an auger that keeps the food pushed down into the blades. These are a little slower, but tend to extract more juice, and you don't have to clean the screen the way you do with the centrifugal variety of juicer.
Commercially prepared and bottled juice is not recommended, except under emergency circumstances. Straight fruit juice is very high in sugar content, and unless it is organic, it is also pretty high is pesticide content. It also may not contain as much fruit juice as you might think from the label. Minute Maid® Apple Juice, for example, although the label says "100% pure apple juice", only contains 3% real fruit juice, according to the ingredients list. The rest is water.
Caveat emptor! May the buyer beware.
What works best for juicing?
All fresh fruits and vegetables are fair game, but some are easier than others to put through a juicer. Shopping for groceries is easy – just shop around the edges of the market, and avoid the center aisles. You will probably have to shop every day, or every other day, just to keep your refrigerator stocked with produce.
You may wish to frequent your local farmer's market, where you can ask if the produce is sprayed.
You will almost certainly want to take the Environmental Working Group's list of high pesticide residue foods with you, so you know which ones you really need to buy in the organic versions, and which you could more safely purchase the regular commercial version. Would you believe that Apples, celery and sweet peppers are the top three on the list of high pesticide residues? And we think commercial apple juice is healthy?
Where to start?
– Vegetables, any kind, can be used for juicing.
– Harder fruits work better than softer ones – berries are better to eat, apples and pears are better to juice.
– Root vegetables are good for a sweeter taste, in addition to apples. Beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga – all work well in the juicer.
– Green leaves are good for green juice, but may not be completely munched, depending on your juicer – spinach, kale, cabbage, bok choy, Swiss chard – all these work well.
– Celery is great – organic is preferred.
– Cucumbers and any member of the gourd family – zucchini, yellow squash, even the winter squashes – make good juice.
– Avocado and banana are best to eat. Pineapple juices well.
Produce should be washed and cut into chunks that will fit into the juicer. Stems, seeds, and ends can all be juiced, no need to throw them out unless they look nasty.
Here are a few recipes, to get you started. Once you have juiced for a couple of days, you will probably want to branch out into uncharted territory. That's fine. You will discover what works for you, and what maybe does not work so well.
Twelve to sixteen ounces is a good amount of juice to start with. That will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished, although you probably will not feel full.
Morning Green for one
Ingredients (makes about 2 cups)
– 1 cucumber
– 1 zucchini
– 1 bunch of spinach
Sweet Morning Green for two
Ingredients (makes about 4 cups)
– 1 cucumber
– 1 zucchini
– 1 bunch kale
– 1 sweet pepper (any color)
– 1/2 lemon
– 1 apple
Juicing for special needsWe recommend juicing to all our patients who need to get their systems cleaned out and re-energized.
We especially recommend it to our patients with cancer.
We all have cancer cells in our bodies. But we do not all develop cancer.
Every tumor starts out as a single cell which divides in an uncontrolled fashion. These cells eventually produce a small lump – about the size of the head of a pin, 0.5 mm. This lump has grown as much as it can without requiring more blood supply. Tumors typically make proteins called "vascular endothelial growth factors" (VEGF) which encourage blood vessels to multiply around the tumor. This is called "angiogenesis". As soon as the tumor has more blood supply, it can grow again. And pretty soon we have a lump that we can feel, and remove surgically, and diagnose cancer.
Some chemotherapeutic drugs work by inhibiting angiogenesis – sorafenib (Nexavar®), sunitinib (Sutent™), pazopanib (Votrient®) and everolimus (Afinitor®) are some examples. Others work by binding and inactivating VEGF itself. Bevacizumab (Avastin™) is an example.
The drugs are very powerful. They tend to interfere with normal body processes, and may result in poor wound healing, disturbances of heart and kidney function, bleeding and excessive clotting, heart attack or stroke.
There are specific foods which discourage the body from producing unnecessary blood vessels. They are called "anti-angiogenic" foods. William Li, MD has done research on the properties of various foods said to be "cancer preventative" in folklore and old wives tales, and has come up with the scientific basis for the accuracy of the old wives' pronouncements.
Healthy individuals can harbour microscopic tumours and dysplastic foci in different organs in an undetectable and asymptomatic state for many years. ... Angioprevention is a chemoprevention approach that interrupts the formation of new blood vessels when tumour cell foci are in an indolent state. ... Blocking the vascularization of incipient tumours should maintain a dormancy state such that neoplasia or cancer exist without disease. The current limitations of antiangiogenic cancer therapy may well be related to the use of antiangiogenic agents too late in the disease course. In this Review, we suggest mechanisms and strategies for using antiangiogenesis agents in a safe, preventive clinical angioprevention setting, proposing different levels of clinical angioprevention according to risk, and indicate potential drugs to be employed at these levels. Finally, angioprevention may go well beyond cancer in the prevention of a range of chronic disorders where angiogenesis is crucial, including different forms of inflammatory or autoimmune diseases, ocular disorders, and neurodegeneration.
Anti-angiogenic foods do not have the harmful side effects of the anti-angiogenic drugs. And they taste good, besides. You may wish to listen to Dr. Li's talk on TED about anti-angiogenic foods.
And to give you a chart you can carry in your wallet when you go to the grocery store, here is a list of those foods that would be healthy to juice or simply to eat.
Now you are ready for juicing!Once you put good gas in your car, the car can move forward. You may need to replace missing parts, or repair damaged ones. But without the gas, you will not go anywhere.
It's the same thing for the body.
Once you have filled in the missing nutrients, you will feel nourished (although perhaps not full).
You will be giving your body the best possible chance to lose its "chronic illness" label and become healthy.
You will give your intestinal bacteria what they need to produce the vitamins and nutrients that you need, and both of you will be content.
 Liquiori G, Mozumdar A. Persistent Increase of Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among US adults: NHANES III to NHANES 1999-2006. Diabetes Care October 1, 2010. doi: 10.2337/dc10-0879
 Li WW, Li VW, Hutnik M, Chiou AS. Tumor angiogenesis as a target for dietary cancer prevention. J Oncol. 2012;2012:879623. doi: 10.1155/2012/879623.
 Albini A, Tosetti F, Li WW et al. Cancer prevention by targeting angiogenesis. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2012 Sep;9(9):498-509. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2012.120. Epub 2012 Jul 31.
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