Want to improve your health? I have two words for you: Green Juice. These two little words have taken my family’s lifestyle and health to a new level.
My husband Alex and I just concluded a three-week program that introduced fresh green juice — that is, juice squeezed from green vegetables such as kale, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumbers, sprouts — into our daily lifestyle. The program, guided attentively by a M.D. and a living foods expert, had us spend the middle week of the program cleansing our bodies with gallons of green juices, broths, herbal teas and just small amounts of vegetables if needed.
Cleansing is hot right now — I’ve seen cleansing workshops advertised in our local yoga studios, gyms and natural food stores. And, while cleansing has been around for ages, I’m glad it’s catching on as new again, given that our environment and typical diets are so full of toxins and chemicals that we all need to find ways to cleanse and detox our systems to remain healthy.
When I researched cleanse programs for me and Alex, though, the only ones I would even consider were those that nourish the body with fresh, green juices. Why? Because in all of the research I’ve done in the past several years about nutritional healing of chronic illnesses, green juice stands out to me as nature’s finest medicine.
In late Fall, after several trips to the hospital with our immunocompromised child, I began adding one green juice a day to our family’s routine — and we have not been downed by a cold or flu (or back to the hospital) since. I have given way less pharmaceuticals to our once-overmedicated child since I introduced this green Earth medicine into our diet. And, since we began including even more green juices into our days, Alex and I have added more energy, clearer skin, less allergies and dropped weight to the list of benefits.
All of this just by adding some juice to our diet, really? How is that possible?
Why Green Juice?
Research shows that greens are the highest-nutrient food on the planet. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of books such as best-selling Eat to Live and his latest Super Immunity, calls green vegetables (in particular dark, leafy greens) the hands-down “King of Superimmunity,” and explains the scientific findings that consuming greens can decrease cancers and actually modify DNA.
Having learned this about greens a few years back, I added green smoothies to my family’s daily routine (smoothies made with kale, spinach, chard or other greens combined with fruits, ice, nut milks, etc.) and my family jokes that I can sneak chopped-up greens into everything from pizza sauces to pancakes. But, it was adding the green juice this past year that really seemed to shift things for our healing.
So, why juice the greens instead of eat or blend them? Living Foods Expert Tricia Barrett, who co-runs the cleanse program Alex and I just completed, describes it beautifully:
"It’s getting harder and harder in today’s society to be able to get enough nutrients, even if you are having organic, from just eating well. Green juice has a maximum nutrient profile that can’t be accessed any other way. It’s virtually predigested, because the fiber is pulled out, so your body doesn’t have to work at all for the nutrition. It’s a straight shot of nutrients that your body doesn’t even need to digest. It is instantly absorbed and effortlessly assimilated — it works wonders internally.”
Barrett and her cleanse program partner. Dr. Lissa Rankin, M.D., teach participants that among the countless benefits of green juice, it:
- fills your body with living enzymes, vitamins, oxygen, and phytonutrients, which boost your ability to fight infection and heal chronic diseases.
- provides your digestive tract with much-needed rest, allowing the body to focus on repair, healing, detoxification, and renewal.
- helps your body return itself to a state of healthy alkalinity.
Tina Pruitt, known as The Green Juice Coach, discovered green juicing when seeking an alternative treatment for her cancer (as she puts it, she didn’t even know what kale was at the time!). Through green juicing, she is now thriving, in full remission, and working as a trained nutritional counselor and teacher of the green juice gospel.
"Green juicing is nature's medicine! You can literally drink disease-fighting, skin-clearing, joint-soothing, energy-enhancing nutrients in each green juice drink!” Pruitt says. “I could never eat the variety of produce I juice every week!"
Make Your Own Green Juice
To get started making your own green juices, you need a juicer (or a blender, in which you can blend the veggies and then squeeze out the juice). The optimal home juicers for greens are called masticating juicers — with brand names such as Omega, Champion, GreenStar — as these machines keep all of the oxygen and enzymes intact and get more juice out of the produce than the centrifugal juicers on the market. But any way you make fresh green juice can give you benefits, so dust off whatever juicer or blender you have in your garage and give it a try.
Rankin and Barrett’s 21-day program, called the Pink & Green Detox Cleanse, offers guided instruction on green juicing along with the cleanse, and both experts do personal coaching. The Green Juice Coach, Pruitt, offers an online course, “Master the Art of Juicing,” as well as an e-book to help people learn how to add green juicing and green superfoods to their daily life.
Now through March 5th, Pruitt is offering Patch readers 20% off of her e-book, Juice Yourself Healthy, with the coupon code CCWINTER12.
In her e-book, Pruitt explains the why’s and how’s of green juicing, such as: “Just remember to keep the green produce as the main player, and keep the fruit low — a 3:1 ratio is a good rule of thumb. To make it even easier, stick to just one piece of fruit such as a pear, apple, or melon."
A great starter recipe (adapted from raw foods author Natalia Rose) and my kids’ favorite green juice, is called “Green Lemonade”:
- One head of romaine lettuce or celery
- One half a head of spinach, chard or kale
- Two apples
- One lemon
Buy It Around Town
If you want to try a green juice for the first time, you’re on the go or you’re not ready to commit to buying your own juicing equipment, there are a few places in and around Carlsbad where you can buy fresh green juice.
In Carlsbad, Jimbo’s juice bar has the best green juice, hands down (I love the Alive Green and Emerald Bliss). Beach City Smoothies also offers some nice veggie juice options.
In South Oceanside, just across the Carlsbad border on Coast Highway, Cream of the Crop has a great juice bar (Green Power or choose your own combo); and you can order fresh veggie juice at Swami’s Café in Encinitas.
Also in Encinitas, Fountain of Youth Juice is the pick (they even offer a 3-day juice cleanse, with 64-oz, fresh to-go juices each day). There are also one or two fresh veggie juices on the menus at Peace Pies and as well.
None of the chain smoothie places I’ve found — Juice It Up!, Jamba Juice, , — offer fresh veggie juices, although they all do offer one- or two-ounce shots of wheatgrass juice. While wheatgrass is a great supplement, Barrett says it is more of a fad being offered at places where green juicing's full benefits are not well understood.
“You can rest assured in years to come you’re going to see green juice bars popping up like you see wheatgrass everywhere today,” she says. “I don’t believe green juice is a fad. I got my first juicer 26 years ago and it is more popular than ever. That's because the proof is in the pudding: it works."
Barrett calls green juice “health insurance,” which is “unsurpassed in staving off the dis-ease process.” While my family is still working on our chronic health issues, we are confidently investing in this natural health insurance, adding it to our daily routines — and we’re are already seeing positive results of this green health gold.