By Shannon Gierl
The morning light seeping it's way into my kitchen offers the gentlest of reminders. I shuffle my way towards my fridge and methodically pull out a cucumber, celery, greens, tiny organic apples, and pile them on the counter. Oh, the lemon. And the ginger. I pull out the cutting board and my never-sharp-enough knife and begin cutting, my mind filtering through thoughts of the day to come and wedding planning to-do's.
Minutes later I sit down with 14 ounces of green juice and start my day, usually by attempting to meditate for 10 minutes (or as long as I can sit still).
I have been juicing for a year and a half now on most days. I miss mornings here and there, usually when I'm forced to start my day before I'm ready or when my fridge is out of fresh veggies and I didn't have time to replenish the stock.
But I try my best to get some form of green juice into my belly every day because I believe it's one of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy, illness-free and radiant body and mind.
Juicing is Alkalizing
It's what? Ok yeah I know you probably haven't revisited a pH strip or the word "alkalizing" since high school science class, but it takes on a whole new meaning in the health world nowadays, and you should definitely relearn it. Why? The pH of our bodies dictates a LOT in terms of our health, including our propensity to contract many diseases and illnesses: skin inflammations, heartburn, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, and even cancer to name a few. Now do I have the class's attention?
Different pH levels are found in different part of our bodies (our stomach for example, needs to be very acidic to digest our food), but the blood and saliva like to be slightly alkaline (>7.0 on the 0-14 scale). Some medical professionals will argue that what we eat doesn't have anything to do with the pH in our bodies, and that our blood will always fight to maintain a slightly alkaline environment. The second part of that statement is slightly true: but do you want your body always fighting? That's not a healthy state to be in perpetually. The first part of that statement is complete bologna (which, coincidentally, is very acidic).
What we eat, drink, and smoke plays a HUGE role in the pH of our bodies and how hard the body has to work to try to maintain homeostasis. In our modern society, we are exposed to an overabundance of acid-forming substances: think coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, sweets, all packaged foods, meats, even stress is acidic. This means it's even more important to make sure we are getting a huge quantity of alkalizing foods each day, like all greens, some gluten free grains, citrus fruits, root veggies, and avocados (my fave).
It's estimated that with the Standard American Diet, the typical ratio of acidic to alkalizing foods is 80/20. It should ideally be reversed, about 20/80 or 40/60 acidic to alkalizing. Why strive for this? Benefits of alkalizing the body include:
- more youthful, elastic and radiant skin
- more energy
- better sleep
- better digestion
- less flu viruses, colds, etc
- less arthritis
- mental clarity and acuteness
And those are just the tip of the green goodness iceberg. Cancer cannot thrive in an alkalized environment - it requires an acidic environment (and even produces acid itself as it grows) in order to live. But honestly you had me at 'radiant skin'.
Juicing is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get vast amounts of alkalizing veggie yumminess into your Radiant Bod, stat.
Juicing Is Superior When It Comes to Getting Nutrients
There is a bit of a debate surrounding juicing vs. blending, and whether green juices or green smoothies are the best way to get your veggies in liquid form. I have written an entire post on the difference between juicing and blending, and honestly they each have amazing benefits (which is why I do both!). But when it comes to alkalizing the body and getting a truckload of micronutrients and minerals delivered to your bloodstream and organs, nothing beets juicing (terrible pun intended).
Why? Because you strip out the fiber while juicing, but retain all the good-for-you contents of the vegetable. It would be impossible to sit down and eat as many fruits and vegetables as you juice to get one 12 ounce glass because the belly would be full on fiber long before you started into that second cucumber.
What kind of nutrients are we talking here? The best kinds, and pretty much all of them. If you drink juices varied with all sorts of different vegetables (and the occasional fruit) you are going to be infusing your body with tons of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins A to Z. These vitamins and minerals are crucial to helping every cell in your body be healthy and happy so that you can maintain a healthy weight, have uber amounts of energy throughout the day, and fight diseases ranging from the common cold to the Big C. Not to mention the added (AH-mazing) benefit of clear, radiant skin and bright eyes (which I noticed last year after juicing for only a month - no joke!).
The Top Reason Why I Juice Veggies
So I've done my best to outline just a few reasons why juicing (I believe) is one of the best (and honestly easiest) things you can do for your health. The promise of fewer colds, beautiful skin, and a fighting chance to keep my free of diseases like cancer for hopefully a long, long time is what led me to start juicing. But I wouldn't still be juicing today, a year and a half later, if I didn't realize some (incredible) benefits for myself. I feel better when I'm juicing. My brain is clearer, I get less headaches, and my um, bathroom pattern is more regular :). My skin looks more luminous (even when I'm tired!) and I haven't gotten an actual full-blown cold since I started juicing!
Get Started Juicing Today!
But don't take my word for it. Start your own juicing habit like, asap, and see the benefits for your radiant self! Below are a few resources that are super-helpful if you are just getting started:
- Kris Carr's Best Juicer Buying Guide for picking your first juicer!
- Kris Carr's infographic for designing the perfect green juice (this is basically what I make every morning!)
- Radiant By Nature's Juicing Tutorial (I come to your home, bring the ammo (veggies!) and give you a step by step guide to juicing as well as some amazing recipes!) psssss: I'm offering 20% off of this service in honor of this post! Simply email me firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this blog post!