Sunday, November 11, 2012

Juice, juice, juice

I really do believe that the food we are eating in America is slowly killing us- all the high fructose corn syrup, processed junk, pesticides, lack of fruits and veggies...  I'm sure there are more bad things too.  There are the obvious cancers and heart diseases, but then there is also the widespread GI issues that so many people struggle with and the ADD and assorted attention and mental processing issues as well.  Thankfully, we do not have any health issues in our household, but I would like to avoid them and avoid exposing my family to as many potentially harmful toxins and instead fill their bellies with good, whole, real food.
So a couple big things I've started recently are juicing, milling our own flour, keeping milk kefir, and soaking our grains.  I will share more about each of these and why we do them over the next several weeks, but for now- juicing.
A couple months ago I watched a documentary: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  You should watch it.  Seriously, it is fascinating.  It is a documentary about this Australian man who was literally fat, sick, and nearly dead.  In addition to the obviously weight problem, he was also suffering from a rare auto-immune disease, Chronic Urticaria.  Basically he would get large, painful hives covering his body and in order to control these he was taking large doses of prednisone daily.  Prednisone if you are not familiar with it is a steroid and can have many, many side effects especially when taken long-term.  (One of them being weight gain.)  Anyhow, under the care of medical professionals, he goes on a juice diet/juice fast for 60 days.  He loses a ton of weight (as you can imagine) but most impressively he reverses the effects of his disease and is able to wean off and stop taking his medication completely.   Basically his body demonstrates its amazing ability to heal itself not with medication or pills but with raw nutrients: micro-nutrients, antioxidants, and natural enzymes found in fruits and vegetables. 
These days we've all heard about how we need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but let's be honest- its hard to get in those 5-6 servings a day.  I feel like I eat a fair amount of fruits and veggies, but I certainly don't hit 5-6 servings/day.  But why bother to eat so many fruits and vegetables?  Well among many other things, researchers have longed believed that diets high in fruits and veggies confer some  protection against cancer.  It is unknown exactly how or why. but something about the chemical composition of the foods (the antioxidants they contain)  help protect your body from cancer.  On a chemical level perhaps they intercept free radicals before it alters a strand of DNA in cell division, or maybe they work by turning on or off gene expressions.  (This reminds me of how they have now isolated "the breast cancer gene" that puts certain people at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, but doesn't guarantee it.  Our environment and foods could play a role in that gene going on to express itself as cancer or not).  Who knows.  This is fascinating to me, and I could talk about it all day, but I digress.
In In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan cites some interesting research and history regarding the food industry in America.  (This is a great book that I would highly recommend.)  One of things he talks about is our tendency towards "nutritionism": to break down food into its nutrient parts. But long story short we don't know exactly what micronutrients, antioxidants, or enzymes provide what protective mechanism.   He cites some research that stands against this idea of nutritionism: "A whole food might be more than the sum of its nutrient parts." (pg 111)  Fruits and veggies give us many vitamins and micronuitrients that aren't available in other food sources.  And yes, you can take vitamins (and that is good) but these supplements and "fortified" foods are not as effective at delivering some of the health benefits and nutrients as the whole food.
In comes juicing.  The ability to increase your fruit and veggie consumption with real, whole foods.  
So basically after watching this documentary I decided I wanted a juicer and wanted to add some juice to our diet.  I have no desire to go on a juice fast.  No, I would have to be crazy sick (and not pregnant) to jump to make such a drastic decision.  But I can see the health benefits of juicing and wanted to have the ability to juice at home.  So I found a juicer on Craig's list a couple months ago and went for it.  Do you think I'm crazy?

Its been great because although I don't particularly like kale as a cooked green; I do like it in juice.  We've experimented with several different juices, but this one is probably my favorite so far.  It is also the one that is most well known from Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Mean Green

6 kale leaves
1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
2 apples
1/2 lemon
1 inch piece of ginger
My cucumbers and apples were small so I added a I like things sweet so an extra small apple never hurts

I know it looks scary, but really it is a lot better than I thought it was going to be.  The apples and lemon give it a nice sweet and sour taste.

Here's another one I tried one day, but I didn't like this one quite as much.  The beet taste was a little overwhelming and I learned I don't particularly care for the taste of raw beets...

We've also done just carrot and apple juice and that's pretty good.
Am I crazy?  Its okay if you think I am.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting! Your comments make my day!