Juicing doesn’t occur in nature, or does it?
There are several voices in the natural health community that are “juicing averse,” and they do make some good points. Personally, I’ve seen good and bad results from different aspects of juice fasting, so I’ll share just a few thoughts about those experiences.
Fiber and Sugars:
Juicing eliminates the fibers that slow down nutrient absorption, but it’s those insoluble fibers that nature uses to modulate the speed of sugar absorption. It’s important to consider the carbohydrate effect on your body, if you are thinking about a juice fast. Some folks juice fast on bottled juices, but I think the denaturing of sugars with heat makes them hit the bloodstream faster and I am not a fan of fasting on pasteurized juice. (I do think HPP provides a great alternative for convenient access to storable juices, but even then there is some nutrient loss compared to freshly extracted juices.) Heat treatments (pasteurization and flash-pasteurization) damages enzymes and some of the antioxidants will be destroyed, either by processing or simply due to the time between packaging and consumption.
Key Learning: raw juices are best!
Juice fasting for an extended period will shut down much of the solid waste processing of the body, so the intake of some fibers (whether in supplements or selected foods) can help the body excrete the byproducts that are burned up in this detoxification regimen. Other options include enemas or colonics for internal cleansing. While there is much less risk of autointoxication while juicing (compared to water fasting) I think it’s worth taking some steps to keep things moving. Bananas or rice can provide just enough fiber to keep the system awake enough to maintain continuous balance of inputs/outputs. Some juicers may leave just enough fiber to strike a happy middle ground and that makes the most sense from a nature centric model.
Simple Alternative: If you’re concerned about getting more nutrients, but don’t want to shut down your digestion…consider green smoothies instead of juice fasting.
Juicing is Energy Intense:
The objection that’s most straightforward is that the amount of energy required to accomplish the juice fast is “un-natural.”. If you simply wash and eat your fruits and vegetables the body supplies the energy required to masticate and digest them. With juicing, you’ll be using a lot of power to drive that juicer, regardless of which one you bought but hopefully it’ll be worth it in terms of nutrient density. A juice fast takes a lot of commitment, from a financial investment in high quality foods and from a food preparation effort too. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s really worth it, but personally I credit a juice fast as the intervention that saved my life, and jump started my return to health.
Conscience Freedom: If you’ve decided to abandon meat eating, then your carbon footprint is decidedly tiny, so you have nothing to worry about compared to your omnivore friends so you can juice all you want and still save the planet.
Bonus tip: Never discard wet pulp…strain it with a nut milk bag and increase your juice yield!