In juicing, we often get two hardline positions: (1) the hardcore juicers who believe that fresh juices are the only answer to health, and (2) the anti-juicers who believe that juices are evil, cause digestive problems, and are loaded with sugars, bacteria and other unsavory organisms.
Looking at juicing from an Ayurvedic angle, we find that there are many shades of green. Depending upon what your dosha, or body-mind constitution is, juices can be great or disastrous, and anything in-between.
Juice is easy to digest and the nutrients are easily assimilated. Plus, if you use a blender rather then a juicer, you'll get more fiber. (Note: blended "juices" are also more difficult to digest and can potentially create problems in some constitutions. For example, a Vata person may get bloated, gassy, and constipated after over-indulging on blended juices.
Juice is easy to make and easy to carry. This means that when you've got a juice, you're less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack, and you have a better chance of getting adequate amounts fruit and veggies even if you're on the road.
Juices are great energy boosters. Freshly juiced fruits and veggies can give you the same or more energy then a stimulant, say caffeine or sports drinks, without the nasties, like increased heart rate, adrenal fatigue syndrome, anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns, that come with consuming these drinks.
Juice is full of enzymes, live vitamins, and minerals. The life force, or prana, of the fresh fruits and vegetables is extracted and delivered in very concentrated and pure form.
The following tips can help you make the most out of your juicing experience:
1. Chose organic fruits and veggies. If you don't have that option, make sure you scrub your produce squeaky clean so you don't clog your system with pesticides from your lettuce or blueberries.
2. Stick to the usual suspects. In a pinch, chose fruit and veggies from the clean list, such as pineapple, mango, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage and kiwi.
3. Pick your veggies and fruit according to your dosha type. That way you can do your bit to get the nutrients you want without irritating your constitution.
4. Moderation is everything. Having a glass or two of juice is great. Even a one or three day juice fast can deliver major health benefits. But don't try to live on juice alone. According to Ayurveda, raw juices, though nutritionally packed, are also reducing and can create digestive problems if you don't have a solid diet to accompany your liquid nutrition.
5. Check your season. That means use fruits and vegetables that are in season when you create your juice. These vegetables are generally easier to digest then out of season produce that wouldn't normally grow in your part of the world. You'll also find more Prana (or life force) in produce that is in season.
Whatever side of the fence you're on, you may agree that there are more then just one right way of doing things. This applies to nutrition as much as anything.
Just remember, it is okay to allow others their opinion. We do not have to convert every person we meet to see things our way. Be happy with who you are and what you do and be kind to all creatures, the birds in the sky, your cat, and even the person who won't see eye to eye with you.
On that note, grab your favorite greens and bottoms up!