For the last year or so I have been reading quite a bit of confusing information about juicing. Some experts claim that it is extremely beneficial while others argue it is detrimental for the human body. I must admit both parties have some very compelling arguments.
Sally Fallon explains that “excessive consumption of fruit juice can also upset the acid-alkaline balance of the body, causing the urine to become alkaline rather than acid.”Nourishing Traditions, Page 52
Very true. For this reason we we should juice mostly vegetables. I like to do a ratio of 85% vegetables and 15% fruit. We prefer sweetening our juice with granny smith apples. They have a lower glycemic index and they contain malic acid which supports kidney health.
Sally Fallon also states that “fruit juice consumption should be limited to an ounce or two at a time, diluted with water, so you don’t take in more fructose than you would consume in one piece of fruit. Consumption of apple juice has been linked to failure to thrive in infants.” Page 52
I could not agree more. Drinking 100% fruit should be a rare treat and diluting it with water is definitely a must for both children and adults!
Mary Ennig,PhD, in her book Eat Fat Loose Fat explains that “the process of chewing and thoroughly tasting our food also sends signals to the digestive tract about what to expect in terms of nutrients and which enzymes will be needed to assimilate them. Juicing bypasses these mechanisms and can actually result in poor digestion!” Page 72
After I read that I almost stopped juicing all together until I came across Donna Gate’s perspective on this issue:
However juices assimilate so rapidly, it is still always best to “chew them” alone, wait for half an hour, and then eat your other foods. “Chewing” your juice means to hold it in your mouth, allowing digestion processes to begin by mixing it with saliva. Savoring you vegetable juice in this way makes a huge difference. The Body Ecology Diet, Page 113
This solution responded directly to Dr Enig’s criticism about juicing and I have since begun to “chew” my juice to ensure proper digestion and awaken the enzymes that contribute to the breaking down of nutrients. In fact, Gates goes even farther and recommends adding fiber to juice in the form of chia seeds, flax fiber, coconut oil, flax seed oil, a splash of milk kefir, avocado, sprouted and finely ground nuts and seeds, colostrum powder, or a small spoonful of nut butter. Experiment with these options and see which one works best for your taste buds and unique biochemical individuality! All these options mix well with the juice and ensure a slow absorption of the vitamins and phytonutrients.
However, both Mary Enig and Donna Gates team up and advise us against juicing cruciferous vegetables like spinach, kale, or cabbage.
Also, many foods that are juiced, such as green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables (member of the cabbage family), contain substances that block mineral absorption and depress the thyroid function. When these vegetables are cooked, those substances are neutralized. Eat Fat Loose Fat, Page 72
This definitely concerned me a great deal. A good friend of mine emailed doctor Kate Shanhan, author of Deep Nutrition, asking for her input. This was her response: “…if you try hard enough, you probably can run in to problems from eating way to much of any one [vegetable]. What to do? Eat from the entire edible landscape whenever possible…” In other word, use moderation. If you would like to read a more in depth explanation on oxylates and juicing, Hybrid Mama has a wonderful article on it. The conclusion she reaches at the end of the day is also …moderation.
I have read a few critics on line that blame fresh squeezed juice for indigestion and gas. Donna Gates recommends drinking juice in between meals rather than in combination with a steak, a burrito,or a bowl of pea soup. She explains that it simply does not combine well with other foods.
If they are eaten with protein, starches, which take longer to digest, they will cause digestive problems including fermentation and gas. The Body Ecology Diet, page 111
Also if you have an yeast overgrowth or fighting a candida infection juicing is not a good idea, says Donna Gates, as the sugar it contains will feed the bacteria and allow it to thrive.
So should we juice then or not? I think I will continue to juice while following these golden rules:
- Juice mostly vegetables and a very small amount of fruit with a low glycemic index.
- Fruit juice should be diluted with water and limited to an ounce or two at a time.
- Chew your juice! (Add some extra fiber in the form of ground nuts, flax seeds, coconut oil, avocado, etc)
- Juice cruciferous vegetables in moderation, or not at all.
- Drink your juice between meals.
- Don’t juice if you have a candida or an yeast infection.