HEALTH & WELLNESS
3 January 2017
When I was about 10 years old my father took my sister and I to a home show where we learned about the health benefits of juicing. It was the sixty’s and the natural heath food movement was picking up momentum and this was our first foray into the fold. As we tasted the various samples of juice being handed out I looked at my father and said, “We have to get one of these.” He agreed and we happily carted our “Acme” juicer home to show my mother.
At first, my sister and I were very keen about juicing. Our parents were all about fostering independence and they were quite happy to let us muck about the kitchen chopping up vegetables into little pieces and feed them into our new contraption. Carrot juice was everyone’s all time favourite. Our enthusiasm lasted for about two weeks however as we quickly tired of chopping everything up and hated cleaning up – so laziness won out in the end. Our new juicer found a home in the corner of the kitchen and was rarely used again.
When I was in my forties we inherited my in-law’s juicer. I had to laugh when we received it. It was as you can guess, an old “Acme” juicer. I was thrilled at first but again enthusiasm quickly waned as I grew tired of all the cutting and cleaning. Being a busy mom with a full-time job and two active kids meant time was precious. I was the only one who seemed keen to drink the juice at any rate, so I gave up.
A few years later I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen for years. The last time we had met she had not looked well at all. Her skin was pale, her hair was grey and thinning. Now here she was, ten years later, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, I hardly recognized her. At first, I thought she had had a makeover and was dieting and exercising. When I asked her what she had been up to I was shocked to learn that she had discovered juicing!
Intrigued, I asked her how she got started. She told me that she had stumbled into it quite by accident. She shared the following story, “A co-worker had been going through cancer treatment and not having much success. In the end, she said, they sent her home to die. The surgeries, chemo and radiation hadn’t stopped the cancer from spreading and they gave her about three months to live, tops.”
My friend went on to say, “She went home in the throes of despair. She was only 35 you know and didn’t want to die. She had a friend who was a naturopath that had been trying since high school to get her to change her crappy diet of fast food and diet pop but she just refused to listen. She finally realized that this was the end of the line and she needed to make some changes. On the advice of the naturopath, she went gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free to fight the cancer. It was also recommended that she start green juicing to feed her body what it was missing in the way of nutrients. She found a book that explained how to do it and the book came with recipes. Well, that was three years ago, she is cancer free and having the time of her life. After watching everything she had gone through and the changes in her, I decided I needed to take a long hard look at my diet. I went out and bought the book my colleague used and after reading it, I promptly went out and bought a good juicer and the blender the author recommended. I fell in love with the recipes in the book. It’s been two years and I have never looked back. I juice everyday. My hair colour came back naturally, I lost over 30lbs and have so much more energy. All my digestive problems have resolved themselves and now I feel like exercising every day – which was a real struggle for me, believe me.”
I was amazed.
I decided I need to look into this thing called, juicing, once again. I purchased the book my friend recommend, Greens for Life by Victoria Boutenko. I fell in love with her recipes as well. They were all easy to do and very tasty. Purchasing the equipment she recommended made all the difference in the world.
Juicers, I have learned, have come a long way. Gone are the days of cutting everything up into little pieces. Now all you have to do is make sure the vegetables and fruit are washed. Most foods go in whole, without cutting or peeling (except for a few items like pineapples and bananas). I also learned some additional few things I never knew. For example, doing only green vegetables isn’t palatable at all. Adding fruit to the juicing makes it much more appealing and tasty. I also learned that you need to rotate your greens, otherwise you can have problems with getting too much in the way of alkaloids. All plants contain a small amount of alkaloids and they are beneficial to our immune systems but if you eat too much of one plant all the time, the alkaloid for that specific plant can overload the body. This is why it is important to rotate your greens. Adding fruit to the juicing gives added trace mineral supplementation, which not only improves the taste but was an important part of helping the body obtain additional nutrition it needs to heal.
Having the right equipment has made juicing quicker and easier. I could juice in a faction of the time it took me in the past. That was a bonus! The recipes Boutenko provided made grocery shopping much easier as well. The author also stressed the importance of only juicing organic fruits and vegetables, where possible. If organic vegetables were too pricey I would try the local farmers market and often found the organic vegetables here were a fraction of the price. It also appealed to me that I was helping to support local organic farmers in my community. I also found that frozen fruit could be substituted for the real thing when fruits are out of season. I would put the juice in the blender and then add the frozen fruit there. I also found that by buying frozen, organic fruit in bulk, was a big cost saver.
If organic vegetables are tough to find in your area there is also a lot to be said for how consumer’s actions decide the market. I have no problem speaking to the manager of the Vegetable Department of our local grocery store to ask why some item is not available. As one manager said to me, “We are consumer driven. If you ask for it, we will find a way to get it.” As a result, I regularly enquire about organic vegetables and am finding there is often little difference in price point. Consumer demand lowers prices!
From Boutenko’s book I also learned that I could make up several different types of juices in the morning and keep them in the refrigerator for the rest of the day. This was handy when I was doing a cleanse, as I could make up all my juices for the day and take them into work. The other thing I love about juicing is you can drink your vegetables. Getting enough greens has certainly reduced the number of vitamins we need to take to maintain our health. This is another thing to consider as you look at your grocery bill at the end of every week.
Personally, my husband and I have found that juicing has become an important part of our regime of maintaining our health and vitality. Over time we have found we need to take less vitamins, we feel that we have more energy and like the fact that we are being proactive in reducing the toxic load of chemicals on our body’s. Juicing has become an appetizing and healthy way to do that.
If you would like to know more about juicing and its health benefits, I would recommend the following resources:
Greens for Life by Victoria Boutenko
Other great recipes can be found at: http://www.juiceman.com/Recipes.aspx
Super Juice Me, a documentary Jason Vale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aaxa7rxEbyk
Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, a documentary by Joe Cross: http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/
Juicer Recommendations: Here is a guide to juicers that a team of nutritionists and kitchen experts used to analyze leading juicers. They provide three picks for the unique needs of different readers: a budget-friendly option, one which produces minimal pulp, and another that produced the most juice. https://www.reviews.com/juicer
Atherton Drenth is the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy, (Llewellyn Worldwide) and Following Body Wisdom. Atherton also appears in the documentary, Voyage to Betterment” as one of 12 experts along with other internationally renowned physicians, researchers, and pioneers in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality. Atherton is a Clairvoyant, Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner facilitating transformational healing for her clients. She is also a compassionate teacher committed to helping others develop their full intuitive potential through yearly workshops. She has a private practice in Guelph, Ontario.