Revitalise All Year Not Just New Year!
By mid-January, our ambitious New Year Resolutions to cleanse and detoxify are starting to wilt and wane. All is not lost if you are one of those who started off with good dietary intentions but have “fallen off the wagon”.
Did you know that there is much genetic variability in our liver’s ability to process harmful compounds so they can be eliminated via the kidneys and digestive tract? That’s why we all have different tolerance levels to caffeine, alcohol and chemicals, and why detoxing is easier for some than others.
The human body is continuously removing and eliminating toxic waste, and you can accelerate this by incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Vegetable juicing is a fast and convenient way of achieving this. In the long run this benefits you far more than doing a juice fast once a year after seasonal excess and then reverting to bad habits.
Fresh juices are such a simple, easy way of getting your five-a-day, particularly if you don’t enjoy eating veggies or don’t fancy salads during the winter months. Drink them instead – all you need is a good blender. Expensive food processors or food extractors are not necessary.
Vegetable juicing or blending offers an efficient method of extracting sugars, starches, proteins, vitamins and minerals in a concentrated form that is easy to consume and absorb. It takes only a few minutes for the body to start utilising these nutrients, whereas solid food requires hours of digestive activity. Juices contain high amounts of beneficial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which can be even more potent than vitamins. They also contain enzymes which help us to digest our food as well as being catalysts for many essential processes in the body.
The reward for your efforts is an instant energy and immune booster which looks glorious and tastes delicious. Vegetable juices are best consumed at once as enzymes and vitamins start breaking down very rapidly. Choose home-grown or organic produce as often as possible to reduce the amount of residual pesticides used on the plants.
Get used to juicing by starting off with sweeter juices such as chunks of apple and carrot – these are useful bases that can be mixed with all other fruits and vegetables. Avoid large quantities of fruit or carrot juices, however, as they are very sweet in concentrated form and trigger spikes in blood sugar and insulin. When levels of blood sugar and insulin remain high, or constantly rise and fall very rapidly, there is a risk of insulin resistance, weight gain and chronic health problems.
Experiment with raw kale, celery, spinach, pepper, watercress, sweet potato, cucumber, tomato or even parsnip. Surprisingly, juiced or blended veggies taste entirely different to cooked ones, and adding a dash of lemon or lime juice will reduce the bitter taste of green leafy vegetables that are packed with nutritional goodies. Whizz up different combinations of ingredients and create unique, intriguing blends that are fresh, additive-free and unpasteurised. Always dilute your home-made juices with water or coconut water.
Any berries, including blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are ideal additional choices and can be added straight from the freezer. Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants and fibre but lower quantities of fructose than many other fruits. If you enjoy berry picking in the summer and autumn, freeze them for use in juices and smoothies during the winter months. According to research, regularly consuming richly coloured berries triggers cellular responses in our bodies that increase our very own antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
Super Power Smoothie Recipe:
- 15 almonds (pre-soak for easier blending)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup fresh or frozen berries
- 2-3 kale leaves without the stems
- ½ chopped cucumber (peeled)
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 avocado
- 1 tsp maple syrup or vanilla bean paste (optional)
Pour water and almonds into a blender and whizz on a high setting for a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Drink immediately or the same day. Add 1 tbsp chia seeds for a thicker, dessert-like smoothie. Serves 3.
Tip: Adding spices such as paprika, chilli, cayenne and ginger helps to raise your metabolic rate and burn calories faster.