I've worked with nutrition clients who were eating near-perfect diets, yet still experiencing many telltale symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency. How could this be? What can we do?
Digestion is a multi-step process that's influenced by many factors, like stress levels, hydration, and eating habits. Notably, it's also impacted by your vitamin and mineral status, where depletion of certain vitamins/minerals can mean that digestion won't work so optimally. That's quite the circular argument, isn't it?
Digestion may not be working right for you if you're experiencing:
How to feel better?
This is a two-part process that involves getting some vitamins and minerals in you now, as well as taking care of the things that are causing your digestion to be out of whack. Today we're going to talk about one strategy to address feeling better now, by replenishing some of your vitamin and mineral stores.
If you've watched the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" on Netflix, then you're probably already familiar with the concept. The documentary follows a man who's battling an autoimmune disease, so he decides to try juicing - and nothing but juice - for an entire year. At the end of the year, he was nearly 100% healthy and symptoms virtually gone! Juicing is portrayed as being somewhat magical and as a silver bullet in the documentary, so although I'm not promising that juicing is the end-all of answers, it's hard to deny that nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables can heal.
When drinking juice, the nutrients get absorbed very quickly, and many people have reported quick turnarounds in the health (fatigue, mood, digestion) within a week.
Here are some of the incredible benefits of juicing:
Gives your digestive system a break. Many people feel fatigued after eating, often caused by the body's great energy expense caused by trying to break down food. This scenario happens especially when stomach acid levels are low.
Packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It takes a pound of carrots to make a cup of carrot juice. Could you ever eat that many carrots? Doubtful. (I'd still advise against drinking an entire cup full of carrot juice alone!) Selenium, zinc, and magnesium are easy to get from juice, to name a few.
Ensures you get the benefit of nutrients from food. There are a lot of steps in the process where things can go wrong during digestion and hamper your ability to absorb the nutrients from your food. Juicing bypasses a lot of those problem areas.
Keeps things moving. Some people notice better bowel movements within a day or two, which helps with moving toxins and waste out of your system and improving fatigue.
But You Can Do Juicing Wrong
Juicing has to be done correctly in order for it to work, and while it's helpful for many people, juicing will not work for everyone. There are juice stores virtually everywhere here in Southern California, and you can buy juice at virtually any grocery store; I'd caution against using those as juice is most effective when very, very fresh. Those pre-made juices are often bottled in BPA or plastic containers, which can also increase your toxic load by drinking from them.
The biggest mistake people make when juicing is adding too much sugar, which is what you'll find in many grocery store and juice bar recipes. Massive blood sugar swings can cause strain on the pancreas, lead to insulin resistance, and eventually develop into diabetes. In the short term, it may elevate your cortisol levels (cortisol - the same hormone that controls sleep cycles and fat storage!) as your body tries to handle blood sugar highs and lows. Avoid contributing to that with juice by keeping the fruit-to-vegetable ratio reasonably low (under 50%) when you make your own.
Most importantly, think of juice as a supplement. It's not a meal replacement, nor a beverage to drink along with food. Drink juice 25+ minutes before you eat, or 2 hours after your meal for the best absorption.
The Rules of Juicing
Juicing certain foods can support specific body functions.
Keep fruit (sweet) ingredients to 50% or less.
Treat juice like a supplement, not a meal substitute or beverage.
You can adjust the ratio of fruits & veggies to your taste.
Try for 8oz of juice and drink fresh within 30 minutes of pressing. If you must store it, keep refrigerated for no longer than 1 day.