Just a fad or here to stay? Is it really good for you? And how do you do it if you are on a budget and are time poor.
I would say the year of the Green Juice in London was 2014. Firstly we saw COLD-PRESSED juice bars popping up all over the capital from the trendy East, to Marylebone, Soho , Mayfair , Chelsea. Next the well-known lunch chains such as Pret-a-Manger and Itsu jumped on the train with ‘versions’ of the hallowed green stuff. By December it had well and truly hit the mainstream with Marks and Spencer launching their Brussels sprout green juice.
As with any popular health ‘fad’ there are those that tout its benefits and there are the naysayers too. I believe, from my own experience as well as my clients, that juicing can be incredibly beneficial to support your wellbeing with a concentration of nutrients and anti-oxidants in their natural food-based form.
A daily dose can boost your immune system, balance your hormones, support detoxification and hydrate you. However, criticisms of the lack of fibre, possible negative side effects in terms of blood sugar balancing, thyroid health and gastro-intestinal health are well-founded and become a concern if you are not approaching your green juice consumption in a sensible and well-informed manner.
Green juice should be one hundred per cent or as near as one hundred per cent vegetable-based.
Juiced fruit is basically pure sugar and water, and has very little nutrient content as compared with the juiced green vegetables.
Watch out for the chain shops and supermarket varieties that are often up to ninety per cent apple or pear juice. Drink this everyday it may have a negative effect on your blood sugar balance and cause fermentation in your digestive tract.
Eat your vegetables too! For optimal health you need 8-10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, your green juice may provide you with one to two portions, but you must eat the rest, including a large variety. You should be having your green juice as a drink, but not as a meal replacement, 250ml-300ml day is adequate.
If you have hypothyroid or autoimmune thyroid issues in your family, you shouldn’t be having any for raw cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, Bok Choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, chard and similar green leaf vegetables) juiced or whole as these have been shown to be goitrogenic and exacerbate iodine insufficiency.
If you’re buying a juice every day it can become a very expensive habit with cold-pressed pure green juices usually more than five pounds a pop. Home juicing can be the answer, but if you have a full-time job like me then you have to be clever about it.
Ideally your juice should be produced by a cold pressed process, as heat will destroy some of the nutrients. I like the Hurom juicer range (hurom.com) for some of the more affordable cold-press juicers. However if you already have a centrifugal juicer or that is all your budget allows you will still gain benefit juicing from it.
Juice in Bulk
I juice in big batches as it saves, time, energy and cleaning. Sunday is the perfect day to prep your juice for the week ahead so you don’t have faff around on a week day morning. You can make enough juice for a week and then freeze down portions, for defrosting every day.
You need some watery-based vegetables to create a base and length for hydration and mineral salts e.g. cucumbers, celery, carrots, beets. Next goes in nutrient dense greens spinach, chard or kale if your thyroid is good or herbs, lettuces if you are avoiding brassicas. Lastly choose flavourings and health enhancers e.g. lemon, ginger, more herbs, turmeric.