How do we know when we’re genuinely hungry, and not just craving the salt, fat, and sugar pumped into our food in order to sustain a multi-billion-dollar industry that relies on us stuffing ourselves; and coming back for more? Given that a majority of us are overfed and undernourished, this seems like a question worth asking. Juice diets, or ‘juicing’ as the current trend is known, might just be the antidote to our modern food system and culture of eating for instant gratification.
A juice diet’s first and primary aim is to detoxify the body of the hormones and chemicals, and other toxins, that have polluted it; thereby cleansing and resetting the system. The idea is that the body must be a pure container if we are to expect our other functions to be operating in their natural, optimal state. By aligning our senses and instincts to the body’s natural needs, particularly our taste buds, we begin to crave nutrient-rich foods in order to feed our body’s desire for the nourishment and rejuvenation it gets in return.
The first question on most people’s minds when it comes to juice diets is, why not just eat the fruits and vegetables instead? And for most of us, the answer is simple… Because we don’t. In the UK, the consensus amongst health experts on the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables has recently increased from 5 portions to 10 portions a day; with the NHS only sticking to their 5-a-day recommendation in order to maintain a realistic target for the public to aim for. This is because trying to consume 10 fruits and vegetables from across the spectrum, in their raw natural form, every day, is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve.
As well as being practical in our consumption, there’s also the issue of pleasure to consider. That bitter tinge found in broccoli and Brussels sprouts isn’t for everyone. And even if it were, nobody wants to eat 10-a-day. Juicing, however, is a different story. We can always make a juice tasty by adding other elements; offsetting one flavour with another. We can load our juice with as many raw vegetables as we need, cramming in all that fresh and earthy goodness we’d never get round to eating in a day, safe in the knowledge that we can just throw in some fruit as well. A touch of orange or apple, or whatever fruit we choose as our source of natural sugar, to give it that sweet lift.
Juices are raw living foods and therefore retain nutrients (vitamins and enzymes) that would otherwise be destroyed if cooked or processed. Like the body, a juicer extracts the nutrients from a fruit or vegetable and disposes of the rest, albeit more efficiently. It is only the juice contained within the fruit or vegetable that actually feeds the body so, by juicing it, we are in fact extracting all of its nutrients and receiving a full portion of it. Upon drinking the juice, the concentrated liquid-nutrients enter the intestinal tract directly and are immediately absorbed into the system; all in as quickly as 15 minutes. That is why juicing is a more bio-available form of consumption than solid food. That is to say, more of the nutrients contained within the fruits and vegetables are more effectively and efficiently transported to our 30 trillion cells. Getting more of that valuable nutrition to where it’s needed!
On average, the human body spends more than half of its energy digesting food. Juice, on the other hand, requires almost no digestion at all. This means that all of that saved energy can be redirected to other parts of the body that might require more assistance; like the brain, skin, or joints. This increased vitality, strength, and continual regeneration can be a powerful feeling. It may even inspire us to take more proactive and innovative steps towards creating our own juice diets and concoctions; tailored to our individual needs. By selecting or emphasising certain fruits and vegetables over others, we can target particular organs or bodily functions; whether it be to heal or to boost them. Juicing is a way of life that one is compelled to continue after the juice diet has been achieved; a genuine craving of mind and body.
When we detox and nourish our body, we feel healthier. The healthier we feel, the more we are driven to maintaining and improving that health; and the better we become at doing so. It becomes clear to us that the food we eat, to a great extent, determines the life that we live. We may find ourselves no longer looking at labels on food packaging but, instead, looking for food without any labels or packaging at all. Food with as little human intervention as possible; known as low human intervention (LHI) foods. The right juice diet (and juicer) can help us attain this state of being. Stimulating a craving for continuous physical and psychological nourishment. Our body knows what it needs. By cleansing ourselves, and returning to a natural and harmonious physical state, our mind can know too.