A new reader posted this question earlier this week.
What is your opinion on juicing”? A friend who has been following this regime for over six months looks and feels remarkably better. Cleveland Clinic reviews online (See link below), in regards to the purported nutrient claims, are tepid.
My response: Just saw your question about juicing. When I first got started with 100% plant-based eating almost nine years ago, I did a lot of juicing. And I continued that habit for about four years; gradually, my juicing became less frequent. Then, about a year ago, I put my juicer in the basement. Why?
I got tired of throwing away perfectly good food in the form of pulp (fiber) that could not be turned into juice. Not wanting to waste food, or fiber, I just decided to forego the tedious daily process of juicing. Also, my daily consumption of whole, plant-based foods has improved greatly since I first started, so I no longer feared not getting enough nutrients.
Nowadays, I gladly accept fresh juice if offered to me, but don’t go out of my way to prepare it myself. I think juicing is great for certain vegetables where you can get a ton of nutrients without having to eat a mountain of greens. The old axiom I learned was “Eat your fruit, juice your veggies.” Here’s what doctors Oz and Roizen had to say in the Cleveland Clinic article:
Throwing fruits and veggies into a whirring juicer spells death for much of their fiber. That’s because the pulpy fiber is trapped when the juice is extracted. Now, we aren’t opposed to juicing in moderation. And we’re crazy about our own healthy smoothies. But we eat most of our fruits and vegetables whole.
Despite claims to the contrary in TV ads, juicing doesn’t make nutrients more available to your body, and raw-food enzymes don’t have special powers, including the ability to survive your stomach’s digestive acids. In fact, if you have diabetes or are overweight, know that ounce for ounce, fruit and starchy vegetable juices are far higher in sugar than the whole foods they come from.
Our bottom line: It’s fine to occasionally drink your fruits and veggies, as long as you eat them often, too.
My bottom line. I tend to agree with the docs at the Cleveland Clinic. Since I stopped juicing, I have noticed nothing negative in my health. But, of course, I eat at the 4-Leaf level almost every day — deriving over 80% of my calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. The other 20% includes any bread, pasta, tofu or wine that I might consume — and maybe an occasional piece of cheese or meat when I am a guest in someone’s home.
While I didn’t mention juicing in our book a single time, I certainly think that if you don’t mind the tedious, sometimes messy, process; then it can be great part of any near-optimal diet. I have not heard Esselstyn, Campbell or any of my other “veggie docs” advocating a great deal of juicing. Many of them, especially Dr. Fuhrman, are big on “smoothies” from the VitaMix, where none of the fiber is lost. You might enjoy this recent post. FIBER. How much should we be eating?
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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