Category Archives: Juicing

My Top Ten Juicing Myths: Myth #10

JUICE FREE DIGITAL PHOTOS PHOTOFRIDAYOver 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myths got started when people read very old books on juicing (cough, cough Norman Walker cough) that quoted greatly outdated medical information. Outdated was interpreted as traditional and traditional could be relied upon because it had stood the test of time.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.

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How to Juice a Berry

Berries are full of antioxidant nutrients. However, many of the phytochemicals they contain are found in the skin. Plus Free digital photos  RASPBERRY ON WHITE James Barkerdelicate berries are mostly made of juice and contain so little fiber it doesn’t really make sense to run them through a juicer. I suggest you process fragile berries like blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in a blender so the skins are pulverized into the berry juice. Then add this fragrant juice/fiber combination to apple juice fresh from your juicer. For a special brunch drink, freeze this blender-berry juice in ice-cube trays, add a few frozen cubes to a glass and pour fresh citrus juice over them. The berries add sweetness, color, flavor and antioxidant goodness to the drinks as they melt.

Juicer?

When is a juicer not a juicer? When it doesn’t make juice seems a good answer to me.

There are several machines that call themselves juicers yet they are really blenders. Many of their salespersons call them juicers and some of their infomercials do too. I asked one at a demo if the machine was a juicer and he said it was in front of a small crowd of people. Later on he also said it was “better than most juicers” because it left the pulp in. Left the pulp in? Isn’t the whole purpose of a juicer to separate pulp from juice? If the two are not separated, how can it be juice?

A juicer is a machine that produces juice-the liquid part of a fruit or vegetable. It does this by separating the two parts in various ways but the liquid part of the produce (juice) always comes out one spigot while the solid part (fiber) exits a different outlet.

A blender is a machine that blends together the different ingredients put into it.  It is the opposite of a juicer which separates.

Let’s take the example of a carrot. Carrots are high in sugar. When you eat a raw carrot the chewing is good for the muscles of your jaw. The chewing also slows down how fast you can eat the carrot so that the sugar in it reaches the stomach over a longer period and so is absorbed slower thereby blunting blood sugar release. The fiber in the carrot enters the stomach in relatively large pieces and that also slows sugar release and absorption. It also makes the stomach feel full, decreasing hunger so you eat less. Finally you have the benefits of the fiber itself.

When you drink carrot juice you are getting most of the nutrients contained in a whole pound of raw carrots in just a single glass of juice. Most people would have a hard time eating a whole pound of carrots. It also fills the stomach less so you can drink your juice along with a meal that contains several more servings of vegetables. On its own the sugar found in carrot juice increases blood sugar quickly. This is why it should always be consumed along with a meal. Plus the antioxidant pigments found in carrots–the carotenoids–need fat to be best absorbed, another important reason to drink carrot juice with meals.

Blend a pound of carrots and the result is a few glasses of carrot sludge that is difficult to swallow, unappetizing and that doesn’t exercise your jaw muscles. Because the carrot fibers are ground so small they give up their sugar quickly, almost as quickly as juice which can spike blood sugar levels. But you can’t drink as much blended carrot as you can carrot juice because of all the fiber so the nutrients you get are limited too nor can you drink blended carrot with a meal without greatly cutting back on other foods. In fact, drinking carrot sludge has all the drawbacks of juice with none of the benefits.

While all this annoys me what annoys me even more is how they are selling their own machines short. A superblender like the VitaMix does not need to call itself or even compare itself to a juicer. It is an excellent machine in its own right and great to have in addition to a juicer. In fact, like a juicer, a powerful blender is an integral part of the well-equipped kitchen.

Moral of this story is to make sure you know what a juicer is before you go shopping for one and know how to tell a juicer from a blender.

Juice & Bladder, Breast & Brain

Grape Juice Helps Prevent UTIs
Most of us have heard that cranberry juice is good for cystitis or UTIs –urinary tract infections. UTIs occur when bacteria, usually e. coli, work their way up from the urethra into the bladder where they adhere to the bladder wall causing a painful infection. Cranberries contain a substance that prevents these bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall so they can be flushed out with the urine. Researchers have found that as little as seven ounces of cranberry juice each day can reduce the incidence of UTIs in some women. However, pure cranberry juice is not palatable because it is so acidic. Luckily researchers discovered that blueberries can prevent bladder infections too.  In fact, all berries in the vaccinium species –cranberries, blueberries, lingonberries and bilberries are effective.
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