Squeezing the Truth Out of Juicing

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a new policy statement regarding juice consumption, stating juice should not be introduced to infants before 1 year unless clinically indicated and should be limited for toddlers, children, and teens.

In the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, the federal government allows juice to count as a serving of fruit yet urges Americans to consume primarily whole fruits for the benefits Juice, Juice Bar, Juicing
dietary fiber provides. Meanwhile, Instagram feeds are chock-full of “green juice” posts and business continues to boom at juice bars, leaving many people perplexed about whether or not juice fits into a healthy adult’s diet. It’s time to squeeze the truth out of the longstanding juicing trend.

Juice is simply the liquid extracted from fruits and vegetables, leaving the fibrous material behind. Fruits and vegetables are primarily sources of carbohydrates, containing natural sugars that provide their trademark sweetness. Carbohydrates tend to digest quickly in comparison to other macronutrients, but the presence of fiber as in whole fruit helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream leading to greater satiety and less of a spike in blood sugar levels.

Juice is often promoted as a health food, a substance to cleanse or detoxify the body, or a means to lose weight. To set the record straight: juice is not needed for health, nor does it cleanse the body. The body has vital organs responsible for detoxification, and no one food causes weight gain or loss.

Though labels on bottles of juice boast containing the juice of 2 apples, 2 cucumbers, a cup each of spinach and kale, blueberries, and strawberries, most people could not imagine sitting down to eat all of this produce in one sitting! Downing a glass of juice is not the same as eating several servings of fruit just as sipping chicken broth is not the same as eating a chicken breast.

Still, juice can be a valuable source of vitamins and minerals on days it’s difficult to consume adequate fruits and veggies. Since most of the fiber is left behind during processing, juice is ideal for those with medical conditions warranting a low fiber diet. Similarly, individuals who struggle to take in adequate energy or have high calorie needs may incorporate juice for additional nourishment without filling up on fiber. For these individuals, the inclusion of juice boosts variety and consumption of important nutrients their bodies need.

Medical conditions and energy needs aside, let’s not forget this most basic truth about juice: Sometimes a cold, sweet glass of juice is just plain delicious and refreshing, and it’s perfectly normal to select foods (and beverages) purely for enjoyment from time to time.

Still deciding whether to juice or not to juice? Keep these strategies in mind:

  • Use your God-given juicers (aka teeth) most of the time. With consumption of more whole fruits and vegetables comes greater satiety, more fiber, and a slower pace.
  • To minimize peaks and valleys in blood sugar and appetite, incorporate appropriately sized portions of juice (typically ~1/2 – 1 cup) as part of a meal or snack rather than sipping it throughout the day or drinking it alone.
  • Add juice into smoothies with Greek yogurt or whey protein for a satisfying, balanced snack or consider blending your fruit rather than juicing it for a higher fiber beverage.

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How do you “eat an elephant”, enjoy a burger, and achieve a healthy lifestyle?

National Nutrition Month, How to Eat an elephant, enjoy a burger, and achieve a healthy lifestyle Imagine looking at a juicy hamburger that is piled high with cheese, avocado, veggies, and all the fixin’s. While thinking about how delicious the burger looks, you approach it with one major reservation and ask yourself the tough question: “How in the world am I going to wrap my mouth around that first bite?” You may have a similar feeling when it comes to achieving a healthy lifestyle.

March is National Nutrition Month. I wrote an article last year for Good Health magazine to support the 2015 theme: “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle.” I thought I would repost the article here although this year’s theme is “Savor the flavor of eating right.”

When it comes to nutrition, it is difficult to know how to begin the journey toward healthier eating habits and it’s easy to “miss the forest for the trees” as the proverbial saying goes, especially when we are overwhelmed with mixed or distorted messages about nutrition and overall health.

You wouldn’t give up your hopes of eating that delicious burger just because it seemed too big, would you? Don’t give up on a healthier lifestyle either! While it’s easy to get bogged down wondering about all the details, take a step back and focus on the big picture in order to determine what’s most important and where to set your first goals when it comes to nutrition.

Focus on real food.

Memphis Nutrition Group defines real food as “anything that can be grown or killed.” You can’t get much more straightforward than that definition!  (Thanks, Leslie Schilling!) Are you eating primarily real food or processed food products? Sometimes a healthy lifestyle can be as simple as getting back to the basics when it comes to food selection.

Find a balance.

A healthy lifestyle does not mean thinking in terms of absolutes: all or nothing, good or bad, and “should” or “shouldn’t.” Rather than only having two options, there are many more choices that fall somewhere within the spectrum and provide balance. Finding balance means choosing nutrient-rich, real foods most of the time and sometimes selecting and savoring foods you enjoy regardless of nutrient quality too.

Foster progress, not perfection.

How do you define progress? Progress toward a healthy lifestyle is not always related to the number of pounds lost or the amount of willpower exhibited. No one’s diet or lifestyle will ever be perfect, so try not to judge or be too hard on yourself.

Remember: Habits take time to form and sometimes even longer to break; therefore, the journey to a healthy lifestyle requires patience and acceptance of where you are in the process. How do you “eat an elephant”, enjoy a burger, or achieve a healthy lifestyle? Take one bite at a time, setting realistic goals in order to yield satisfying, lasting results in the end.


 

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How to Make SMART New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make Smart, Realistic New Year's Resolutions

There’s good news and bad news related to New Year’s resolutions…

The bad news: A Journal of Clinical Psychology study reported that 54% of people give up on their resolutions within 6 months, and only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolution by the end of the year.

The good news (if you’re still reading…): Another study published in the same journal stated that people who-despite the statistics-make resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t make resolutions at all.

It seems many people have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions, and in my professional opinion, I can see how certain types of resolutions can backfire…especially those centered around strict rules and all-or-nothing thinking.

On the bright side, New Year’s resolutions can be made in a “SMART” way, so based on the research…I’ll go out on a limb and say:  Don’t stop making New Year’s resolutions!

Author Terry Felber sums up a common problem associated with New Year’s resolutions in one sentence:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not going to like where you end up.”

The absence of a clear plan for how to follow through with New Year’s resolutions ultimately leads to a feeling of failure days, weeks, or months after the new year. Although many people have an end result (the resolution itself), in mind, they don’t have a plan for how to get there, so…

How do you make a resolution that leads you toward your desired destination and defies the statistics?

  • Avoid diet resolutions and those that focus on a number on the scale. Since 95% of dieters regain their lost weight within 1-5 years, choose to shift your focus to resolutions that lead to long-term health instead.
  • First, decide where you want to end up. For example, many of my clients want to learn to “Eat healthier.” Notice how vague this is? From here, begin formulating a plan. I’ll help you with this…just keep reading…
  • Since eating healthier encompasses numerous actions, choose ONE behavior you’d like to change. If one behavior doesn’t seem like enough, remember this:

“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” -Tanzanian Proverb

  • Consider the following as you plan a “SMART” resolution:

SPECIFIC (Who, What, Where, When, Why?): Get specific about which behavior you’ll work on changing first. For example, “I will eat more balanced, home-cooked dinners each week to support my goal of eating healthier.”

MEASURABLE (How will you know you’ve accomplished your resolution?): Decide the number of dinners you’d like to eat at home per week. For example, “I will eat dinner at home 4 nights per week.”

ATTAINABLE (What are the steps to reaching your goal?): What will it take to serve a home-cooked dinner 4 nights per week? You’ll likely need to schedule time to plan meals, repurpose leftovers, make regular grocery store trips, and cook dinner. Having a plan is key!

REALISTIC (How motivated are you? What are the obstacles and how will you overcome them to stay on the path to reaching your goal?): Do you hate planning meals? Sign up for an online service like YourSupperSolution.com to get weekly nutritious dinner menus and recipes delivered to your inbox.

TANGIBLE (How will you experience your resolution or know you’ve reached your goal?): You will be cooking and eating dinner at home more often.

With any resolution, no matter how “SMART” it may be, it is normal to experience obstacles. Rather than giving up or criticizing yourself, remember that habits develop over time and will take time to change. It is unreasonable and unrealistic to expect a behavior to disappear or change just because the clock strikes midnight and a new year begins. Use each obstacle as a learning experience and an opportunity to re-evaluate and perhaps modify your plan. It may not be realistic to get 4 home-cooked dinner meals on the table 52 weeks out of the year, and THAT’S OK! Don’t let discouragement related to statistics or previous failures rob you of achieving your resolution to care for yourself in a healthy way this year.

Oh…and don’t forget: You can make a resolution any time of year, not just January 1st!


I’d love to hear about your SMART resolutions for the year…send me an e-mail or share in the comments below. If you know someone who may need some encouragement or guidance in goal-setting, share this post or this clip from http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/embed/iframe?pf_id=1&show_title=0&va_id=6154181&windows=1“>ABC 24’s Local Memphis Live with them!

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