Over the next few weeks I’m going to list some common myths about fresh fruit and vegetable juices. A few will sound ridiculous but I do not include them for comic relief; I know a large number of people who sincerely believe these myths.
I truly believe in the health benefits of fresh fruit and vegetable juices and I hate to see such a valuable health resource as juicing thrown out because a few charismatic “juice evangelists” like to make unsubstantiated health claims about it.
If they are not true, where did these juicing myths come from?
- Some of these myths were started innocently by juice machine salespeople who just didn’t know better. In some instances these untrained salesmen were exposed to some bit of medical information and misinterpreted it because they had no scientific background to understand what they were reading.
- Some times it was a matter of repetition; if everyone was saying something, it must be true! Juicer infomercials were on so often and people heard the same misinformation repeated so often it was easy to accept that information as true and so certain myths took root. What people need to remember is that the older men who sold these juicers were not nutritionists (no matter what some of them claimed). They were salespeople hired by the company owners to put a face on the machine and what they lacked in formal education they often made up for in imagination.
- Other myths got started when people read very old books on juicing (cough, cough Norman Walker cough) that quoted greatly outdated medical information. Outdated was interpreted as traditional and traditional could be relied upon because it had stood the test of time.
- Some myths were believed because the salesperson promoting the misinformation was so charismatic. Their followers believed in them (and their claims) with an almost religious fervor.
- But often the goal was darker and erroneous claims were made just to increase juice extractor sales to a specific population (e.g. this juice will cure your Parkinson’s).
Don’t Throw the Juice Away with the Bath Water
The medical community reacts to this by throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. If some juicing claims are ridiculous, all of them are! I hope to correct some of this misinformation in some small way in a new book I am writing. Meanwhile, treat your juice extractor like the valuable kitchen appliance it is and use it often.
Now in order of how annoying they are to me, here is the first in my top ten Juicing Myths.
Juicing Myth #10: You cannot mix fruit fresh fruit and vegetable juices together.
If I had a penny for every time I heard this, I would be a rich person. According to one salesperson (Jay, the Juiceman, Kordich) this is especially true if the fruit is melon. He claimed if you mixed melon juices with vegetable juice, your stomach would blow up (as in explode) from the gases. I talked to him personally about this and he was very serious. I’ve mixed melon juices with vegetable juice all the time and my stomach is more or less still intact. Others claim the reason for this prohibition is because the enzymes in fruit and vegetable juices are not compatible with each other so the juice cannot be digested. Others claim it causes bloating or indigestion.
There is no known reason not to mix fruit and vegetable together. How do you even distinguish between them? By some criteria tomatoes are a fruit but by others they are a vegetable. Same with cucumbers.
Keep in mind that our body’s digestive system was designed when we were primates and our ancestors did not have the cognitive ability to tell fruits from vegetables. If it fit in their mouth, tasted good, and didn’t bite back or crawl away, they ate it. Therefore, our guts had to be designed in such a way that a wide variety of foods could be eaten whenever they were available. Tomorrow you might not find anything to eat.
I tend to be a garbage juicer. If a fruit or vegetable looks like it might not last another day, I throw it into the juicer. Crisp up that wilted romaine and toss it into the juicer with a stick of leftover celery. Add the baby carrots and broccoli heads you meant to steam last night but forgot about. Top it off with a couple of apples and that forgotten wedge of lemon. The result is a good-tasting juice made with no particular recipe yet it is just as heath-promoting as anything copied from a book.
That said, this does not mean you might want to mix fruit and veggie together. If one of the juices doesn’t sit well in your stomach, you might not want to drink it. I just heard from a young man who couldn’t tolerate carrot juice and he wanted to know what he should do. I told him not to drink carrot juice or to drink just a small amount and see if less was more.
Remember, just because you have a problem doesn’t mean everyone will. Melon tends to make me burp (it “repeats”). That doesn’t mean melon is bad, it all depends on how you feel about burping. If you don’t like burping, don’t eat the foods that cause it. I eat lots of melon and enjoy the taste of it- both times.
However, I can guarantee that melon juice, alone or with a vegetable juice, will not make your stomach explode. Go ahead and mix the two to your taste.