This week, I'm doing a 5 day green juice cleanse with my husband Matt. I know, I know- green juice. You're probably imagining some hideous green sludge that you have to plug your nose to consume. Believe me, I felt the same way. But as a physician working at an integrative medicine clinic in Marin County, California and witnessing the results in my patients, I'm now convinced of the benefits of green juice cleansing.
Before I tried it, I imagined that green juice would be something I'd have to hold my breath and force myself to gulp down. Granted, I do love farmer's markets, and I have always loved salads and other greens. But my own culinary upbringing largely involved what my Daddy always called "food's food"- cow! In fact, Dad gave Mom a pregnant cow for their anniversary one year on our ranch, but that's a whole different story...
Anyway, it was with an open mind and a reluctant palate that I embarked on a seven-day pre-cleanse and a six-day green juice cleanse with Tricia Barrett, the Living Foods Expert at Clear Center of Health, where I practice. At the outset, I was intimidated and felt very vulnerable, but Tricia held my hand, nurtured me through it, and watched me as I evolved. You can read about this evolution on the Owning Pink site, starting here.
When the cleanse ended, I ate an almost entirely raw-foods, vegan diet for a month. It's not that I had become a zealot, I just felt so good. I kind of felt like the cleanse pushed the pause button on my life: before that, I was eating poorly, drinking wine almost every night, hooked on coffee, and eating tons of Fritos, Velveeta, and ground beef from Costco (I know! It's true).
Then, after experiencing a cleanse myself, I am a TOTAL convert. And just to let you know, I am not the "easy-adopter" type. That's a term they use in the pharmaceutical industry to refer to the doctors who are quick to prescribe a new drug (that's not me). Normally, I'm the kind of doctor who sits back, keeps her eyes open, maintains healthy skepticism, and after a while, if it's been proven safe and effective, I might prescribe it. So the fact that I now make my own green juice and drink about five juices per day speaks loads.
But enough about me.
Why is green juice good for you?
1. A few servings of organic green juice is a readily assimilated, easily digestible, unbelievably nutritious superfood, filled with more veggie goodness than you could possibly eat.
2. Drinking green juice fills your body with living enzymes, vitamins, oxygen, and phytonutrients. Because of this, green juice feeds your cells the necessary nutrients, allowing your cells to uncover the body's innate healing power, thereby boosting your body's ability to fight infection and heal chronic diseases.
3. Because the juicer eliminates the fiber that keeps you from being able to eat 3 pound of green veggies in one sitting, green juice allows you to consume more veggies and provides your digestive tract with much-needed rest.
4. Since your body doesn't have to break down the vegetables in order to absorb the nutrition, it allows the body to focus on repair, healing, detoxification, and renewal. And as long as you use organic produce, the nutrition you introduce to your body via green juice has very few, if any, of the chemicals and toxins we Americans usually put into our bodies.
5. It adds enzymes to you body, and your body's aging process is indicative of how many enzymes are in your body. So by adding green juice to your diet, you may even add years to your life.
6. Green juice helps your body return itself to a state of healthy alkalinity. The pH of human blood has a very narrow window of safety, from about 7.35 to 7.45, as measured by an arterial blood gas. If it gets much above or below those levels, you are probably in the hospital- sick. Many foods in the typical American diet (like a grande caramel macchiato with an extra shot, a double bacon cheeseburger, and pasta with cheese sauce) are acidic (the opposite of alkaline) foods, meaning that means that the body has to work hard to neutralize the affects of these foods on your blood. If the body is working like mad to keep your blood pH stable, it has less energy to fight assaults like cancer, chronic disease, and other infections.
Suffice it to say that green juice is good for you.
How do you get your hands on this awesome superfood?
I make my own green juice with my Green Star 2000 juicer, using kale, swiss chard, sunflower sprouts, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and jalapeno. Tricia loves to put loads of sprouts in her juices, because sprouts are the highest energy foods on the planet, but since she has a sprout greenhouse and I don't, I have to substitute a bit. And go ahead and juice wheat grass, while you're at it, which is an even more concentrated superfood. If you have your own juicer but it's been gathering dust under the counter, now is the time to pull it out. If you don't have one, I think this is one of the best investments you'll ever make.
Are you on board?
Green juice cheers to your health!
PS. While we're at it, I do feel compelled to mention one thing. I am super conscious about the issue of eating disorders, and the idea of cleansing can so easily be distorted into something unhealthy. If you're looking to jump start a weight loss program to help fight your diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity, I highly recommend this. If you're thinking to do a cleanse so you can wear a size 4 in time for bikini season, you're missing the point. (It's all about Owning Your Body, and doing it in a healthy way). So please- don't mistake this post as an endorsement for disordered eating. Personally, I do this to detoxify, to cleanse physically and spiritually, and to nourish my body. But it can easily be abused. If this appeals to you because you are engaging in disordered eating and this seems like a quick solution, please get help. There are some amazing specialists who can help address your eating disorder (like Pink Posse member Rebecca Bass). Please, Pinkies, learn to embrace the skin you're in. Here's to your health!
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