The word “juice” is a noun defined as the liquid obtained from fruit or vegetables and “juicing” is a verb meaning to extract juice from, or to strengthen. Even though it may seem like a hot new concept, juicing is nothing new. The first known evidence of humans extracting plant juices dates back to 150 B.C. to 70 A.D. It was written on scrolls that families were mashing fig and pomegranates to reap health benefits.
With the recommended consumption of fruits and veggies being 6-8 servings per day, one heaping multicolored cold pressed juice is an easy way to knock out your daily dose. Sounds easy right? Juicing “seems” like a hassle free way to be healthy, and in turn lose weight. Just buy a new juicer, stock up on all of the organic items in the produce section, wash, peel and go to town creating inventive flavors. But in actuality, the process is time consuming and can turn out to be quite expensive.
In the past few years’ businesses began to catch on and ultimately capitalize on this trend. As a result, boutique juiceries began to pop up as far as the eye could see. There are hundreds of Manhattan specific brands, with Juice Generation and Liquiteria being some of the most well known.
“Buy one large Kale Conundrum at $10 a pop and you’ve got your greens for the day.” Genius!
Many of these companies make the big bucks by promoting something known as a juice cleanse. This is a liquid diet ranging anywhere from 1 day to weeks at a time, consisting of 100% fruit and veggie juice and many times nothing else. The belief is that an organic juice cleanse will clean out your system, assist with weight loss and leave you healthier than before; but that is just not the case.
Cutting out fat and leaving off carbs makes water weight disappear, but when you start back to solid foods after a juice cleanse the water weight comes right back. After a fast, you’re left with an empty stomach and cravings, opening the door to a full on food binge. Juice fasts can also be dangerous to people with preexisting conditions such as anorexia or kidney disease.
Fruit and vegetable cleanses are a great tool to use as a stepping-stone to a new and improved nutritious lifestyle. Consumed along with other components of a balanced diet and plenty of exercise, the road to long-term wellness may not be far off.
But remember: there are no short cuts in the quest for health.