The Right (and Wrong) Way To Juice

Right And Wrong Way To Juice

Juicing has gained notoriety for its ability to energize, alkalize, detox, and rejuvenate both inside and out. Green vegetable juices fill you with beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. Proponents claim juicing has the ability to improve skin health, reverse degenerative disease and even slow down or reverse gray hair! I am a big fan of green juicing, but there is a right and wrong way to juice. Let’s take a look.

Go easy on fruit juices. Be especially cautious with tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, which are very high in sugar. Fruits offer plenty of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, but they are best eaten whole with their fiber. I don’t recommend regular juicing with fruit, especially if you are on a weight loss plan. Pineapple mango juice sounds delicious but contains almost 8 teaspoons of natural sugar!

That will send your blood sugar and insulin levels soaring, increasing fat storage. The exception is using the occasional green apple or kiwi to sweeten some of the more bitter green drinks. Green apples are relatively low in sugar.

Focus on organic, raw green veggies for maximum nutrition in freshly pressed juice. This is a great way to sneak more veggies in concentrated form into your diet. Juices should not be a substitution for eating your vegetables, however.

Man cannot rely on juicing alone. Vegetable juice should be used as an accompaniment to a meal or in between meals (great afternoon energy boost!), but you still need the fiber from whole vegetables, and juice doesn’t provide this. With that said, juicing makes it easier to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables you’re juicing and makes it easy to get a wider variety of veggies you may not otherwise eat.

Stay away from juicing raw cabbage, collards, bok choy, kale and broccoli. All cruciferous veggies are goitrogenic, meaning they contain substances that suppress thyroid function when consumed raw. They may also cause gas, bloating and stomach upset in some folks. Don’t get me wrong; the cruciferous have wonderful health benefits when cooked or lightly steamed. Cooking deactivates the goitrogens.

Use raw spinach, beet greens and chard sparingly. They contain oxalic acid, which can irritate the the mouth and intestinal tract and block iron and calcium absorption. Oxalic acid has also beed linked to the formation of kidney stones.

The best veggies to juice include the following:

Cucumbers, which are very cleansing and good for skin health.
Celery, anti-inflammatory and alkalizing; also said to lower blood pressure.
Beets, a super liver cleanser and great vegetarian source of iron.
Carrots, rich in beta-carotene, beneficial for eyesight, and also a great liver/gall bladder cleanser. Use caution with carrot juice, as it’s also high in sugar.
Spinach (occasionally), high in iron, very alkalizing, and great for skin health.
Wheatgrass, overall great detoxifier and also alkalizing.
Fennel, excellent for digestion, reduces bloating. Great licorice-like flavor.

I also throw in romaine lettuce or red bell peppers (very high in vitamin C) if I have some on hand.

Herbs are great, too; use parsley, cilantro (helps to chelate heavy metals), and ginger (good for digestion and cleansing). Throw in some raw garlic if you’re brave or want to ward off vampires. It’s great for immune health.

Make your own, or buy unpasteurized juice if you can. The heat from the pasteurization process kills the beneficial enzymes raw juice provides.

Below are a few of my favorite recipes. Get creative! I like to add a squeeze of lime to the finished product for an extra kick. Or, try adding a pinch of sea salt for extra trace minerals. Buy organic where possible and scrub everything before juicing. I have a green drink every morning before breakfast for an energy boost.

Happy juicing!

The Detoxer
1 beet
2 carrots
1 green apple
1 thumb-size piece of ginger
Optional: 1 bunch parsley and/or 1 tbsp spriulina/chlorella blend

The Alkalizer
2 stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 green apple
1 carrot
Handful spinach
Optional: 1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro

The Kitchen Sink
2 stalks celery
1 red pepper
1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro
1 carrot
1/2 cucumber
1/2 fennel bulb
Handful spinach
squeeze lime (into finished juice)
Optional: garlic cloves to taste

Credits: This is written by Mary Vance. She is a holistic nutritionist practicing in the San Francisco bay area. You can find out more about her here. This article has been reposted with permssion. You can find the original post here.

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Success Made Easy

It is important to frame success correctly in our minds. Absent this we may subconsciously shun success and forever struggle to reach our goals. This short video will help. Worth watching and sharing.

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Seven Insights Into Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating

Hardly a year goes by without a new diet fad becoming all the rage. Then like a passing storm this fad too passes and we wait for the next one to come ashore. Clearly we are obsessed about food and will keep experimenting till we have a clear answer as to what is the best diet for our long-term health. But outside this debate about diet, there is larger question. This is not WHAT we should be eating, but rather HOW we should be eating. Sadly the question of HOW we should eat is lost in our obsession with experimenting with different diets. This post explores this question and provides seven key insights related to Mindful Eating.

1. What is Mindful Eating?

Eating for most is an unconscious activity. After the first few bites we simply plow through our plate without any conscious awareness of either the sensation of the food or the act of eating. Mindful eating on the other hand seeks to make eating a conscious activity. Mindful eating requires that you bring your full attention to the taste, smell, aroma, texture, and sensation of the food that you are eating. In many ways mindful eating is a form of meditation.

2. It will allow you to eat less

Because we eat mindlessly we tend to overeat. There have been studies that show that the act of simply pausing before we eat, to take a moment to experience the aroma of the food, helps reduce food intake. It is also true that when we fully chew the food before swallowing, it helps with digestion. In addition the body gets time to release the right enzymes that aids digestion. Slowing down also gives us enough time to get a satiety signal from the stomach to the brain. This allow us to stop before we begin to overeat.

3. Its not easy

Though it sounds simple, it is not. Eating is an automatic activity like breathing and it is quite difficult to turn this into an activity that consumes our full attention. When you begin your journey into mindful eating you will find that you will frequently relapse into your old ways. This is normal. Rather than fight this, accept it with humility. As soon as you notice that you are not eating mindfully, pause for moment and turn your full attention to mindful eating.

4. It will keep you satisfied longer

By its very nature Mindful Eating requires that we eat slowly. Rather than stuffing one bite of food after another into our mouth we need to completely chew the first bite and swallow it before taking the next one. Rather than our hands going back to the plate to pick up the next bite, we may have to set our forks down and rest our hands on the table while we slowly chew our food and enjoy its taste. Eating mindfully is a deeply enjoyable experience that will allow you to experience the eating experience fully. It will keep you satiated much longer than if you stuffed double the amount in the usual frantic way.

5. Gratitude is important part of Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating does not happen in a vacuum. Our attitude towards the food we consume is a very important part of Mindful Eating. We need to be humble and grateful. The opportunity to be fully conscious of the eating experience is something to be grateful for. Most traditions require some sort of prayer of thanks before the start of a meal, and Mindful Eating requires the same too. Mindful Eating is non-judgmental. The food may not be perfect, but we should consume it thankfully and humbly.

6. Remove distractions

Since mindful eating is a form of meditation, it is important to remove distractions while eating mindfully. You must be seated comfortably. No TV, no music, and even no thinking or conversations while eating mindfully. If you have to get up to get more servings that is fine, but first completely chew and swallow what you have in your mouth.

7. Insert pauses

Since Mindful Eating is not easy, you may have to use some tricks. One good technique is to insert one or more pauses in your meal. Every time you stop eating you should completely chew your food and swallow it before you resume. One simple technique is to put small servings on your plate. Also arrange your table so that you have to get up for the next serving. This should allow you to slow down and consciously resume Mindful Eating.

The journey into Mindful Eating is also a journey into health and wellbeing. In this journey you will not reach your destination overnight. But one thing is sure: Along the way you will have many deeply satisfying experiences.

Related: NY Times article on Mindful Eating.

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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Circle Of Joy

Circle Of Joy

One day, a countryman knocked hard on a monastery door. When the monk tending the gates opened up, he was given a magnificent bunch of grapes.

“Brother, these are the finest my vineyard has produced. I’ve come to bear them as a gift.”

“Thank you! I will take them to the Abbot immediately, he’ll be delighted with this offering.”

“No! I brought them for you.”

“For me?” The monk blushed, for he didn’t think he deserved such a fine gift of nature.

“Yes!” insisted the man. “For whenever I knock on the door, it is you opens it. When I needed help because the crop was destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine every day. I hope this bunch of grapes will bring you a little of the sun’s love, the rain’s beauty and the miracle of God, for it is He who made it grow so fine.”

The monk held the grapes and spent the entire morning admiring its beauty. But rather than eating the grapes, he decided to deliver the gift to the Abbot, who had always encouraged him with words of wisdom.

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes, but he recalled that there was a sick brother in the monastery, and thought, “I’ll give him the grapes. Who knows, they may bring some joy to his life.”

And that is what he did. But the grapes didn’t stay in the sick monk’s room for long, for he reflected, “The cook has looked after me for so long, feeding me only the best meals. I’m sure he will enjoy these.”

When the cook appeared at lunch, to bring him his meal, he presented him with the grapes, “They’re for you,” said the sick monk. “Since you are always coming into contact with that which nature produces, you will know what to do with this work of God.”

The cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes, and showed his assistant how perfect they were. So perfect, he thought to himself, that no one would appreciate them more than the sexton; since he was responsible for the Holy Sacrament, and many at the monastery considered him a holy man, he would be best qualified to value this marvel of nature.

The sexton, in turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, that he might understand that the work of God is in the smallest details of Creation. When the novice received them, his heart was filled with the Glory of the Lord, for he had never seen such beautiful grapes.

Just then, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery, and of the person who had opened the gates for him; it was that gesture which allowed him to be among this community of people who knew how to value the wonders of life.

And so, just before nightfall, he took the grapes to the monk at the gate.”Eat and enjoy them,” he said. “For you spend most of your time alone here, and these grapes will make you very happy.”

The monk then knew what he had to do. He gathered all the people in the monastery. They all sat in a circle and ate the grapes with great joy.

This story illustrates how a simple joy multiplies itself by the act of sharing. Let us resolve that going forward we shall not only be grateful for our blessings, as the characters in the story were, but we shall also take their example and learn to share our blessings.

Related: Widening Our Circle Of Compassion

Credits: The author of the story is unknown. We have made minor edits to the story we found here.

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The Art Of Asking

The ego loves having the upper hand. It wants to be superior. It wants to be the giver not the asker. Most of us hate asking for help, and in doing so we fortify our aloofness and separateness and we strengthen our ego. When we miss the opportunity to ask we also miss the opportunity for connection. Asking forces us into humility. It forces us to make connections and share a bond. It allows us to dissolve our ego and submit to the force of universal love. If viewed from this light, we then begin to see asking as a form of yoga. Thus the practice in the East of monks and yogis being required to beg for food makes lot of sense.

For artists and creative people if we accept that humility and connection is the key to the creative process, then this talk by Amanda Palmer is of great importance. It shows that one possible future for the creative process may be with freeing art up to be open source. This may require the artist to pass the hat around and ask for donations. The creative process would then truly become a deeper yogic journey.

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