Juicing vegetables the correct way

If you are looking to do a multi-day juice fast, find a doctor well versed in environmental medicine, because green juice can have a powerful detoxing effect.

If you are looking to do a multi-day juice fast, find a doctor well versed in environmental medicine, because green juice can have a powerful detoxing effect.

by Mary Budinger — 

After the award-winning documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” became available from Netflix in mid-2011, juicers started showing up in people’s kitchens, big time. In the film, Australian entrepreneur Joe Cross decided to take charge of his health by juicing vegetables and fruits for 60 days. He dropped about 80 pounds and was able to quit taking a handful of pills to control his autoimmune disease.

Lots of people want the same results. Recent figures show sales of juicing machines are up 71 percent from the year before.

There is something for everyone on the market. Centrifugal juicers are inexpensive and fast — they spin the vegetables to separate the juice, much like your washing machine spins clothes to get out the water. Masticating juicers tend to mimic the action in our mouths when we eat — they slowly crush and press the juice. Other people just use a powerful blender.

Which juicer to buy?

We might find a valuable lesson in the cancer clinics where juicing is used for serious healing. Dr. Max Gerson, the famous German physician who developed the Gerson Therapy still in use at the Gerson Institute in San Diego, relied on fresh fruit and vegetable juices to treat cancer and chronic degenerative diseases.

Dr. Gerson said, “At first I thought that liquefiers [blenders] would be the most wonderful thing. But it did not work. The rotating blade causes electricity to be generated, killing enzymes. The same is true for centrifugal juicers. Juices must be made by grinding the vegetables first, then mixing and pressing them. We have recently run across cancer patients who tried to heal themselves on the Gerson Therapy using a centrifugal juicer. They experienced no improvement.”

The Gerson Institute uses the heavy-duty Norwalk juicer to prepare a daily regimen of 13 juices for patients. But at 70 pounds and a price tag of approximately $2,500, it may not be the first choice for people with nonmalignant conditions and healthy people who juice to enhance their health. Some of the more popular and less expensive masticating juicers for the home are the Champion, Green Star, Green Power, Angel and Omega. During the process of grinding and pressing, the fresh produce is not subjected to heat or electricity, so the healing enzymes and nutrients in the raw vegetables are better preserved in the juice.

Fiber or not? 

Google “juicing” and “juicers” and you will find yourself in a debate about whether a machine is good or bad because it keeps or does not keep the fiber.

Dr. Weston A. Price (1870-1948), whose studies of isolated non-industrialized peoples determined the optimal characteristics of human diets, urged that vegetables be cooked in butter. His research found that the bulkiness — the fiber — of raw vegetables interfered with the human body’s ability to extract minerals from them via the digestive process.

He counseled that vegetables should be eaten with a fat, like butter, so the body can better absorb the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Thus, some people add some cream in their green juice, eat a slice of avocado or raw cheese, or munch on walnuts.

Which veggies to juice?

Rule one of juicing: Use organic vegetables to avoid drinking a mixture of concentrated pesticides.

Celery and cucumber produce the most liquid. For a variety of nutrients, people typically like to add kale, collard greens, beets and carrots.

Kale, red and green cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, collard greens, arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, radish, rutabaga and watercress are members of the cruciferous, or cabbage, family of vegetables. Conventional wisdom says cruciferous vegetables should be cooked before eating, as they contain chemicals that block the production of thyroid hormone in the body. When gently steamed or sautéed, however, these chemicals are neutralized and these vegetables are wonderful additions to the diet.

Cruciferous vegetables are important cancer fighters. A review of research published in the October 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that 70 percent or more of the studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer. The benefits are retained when these veggies are lightly cooked.

Some studies contradict the conventional wisdom, however. Dr. Garnett Chaney’s work in the 1950s and 1960s using cabbage juice to cure people’s stomach ulcers found that more than 80 percent were healed within 60 to 90 days after consuming fresh cabbage juice on a daily basis. When they tested cooked cabbage as a cure for the ulcers, there was no response. None of the old juicing masters — Dr. Norman Walker, Dr. Max Gerson, John Lust — ever spoke of the dangers of consuming juices made from kale or broccoli or cauliflower.

So do we want to toss raw cruciferous vegetables into a juicer? The answer seems to be occasionally, not all the time. And that fits in well with the time-honored concept of rotating foods.

By the way, also go easy on the carrots and beets. Although beets add a wonderful deep-red color to the juice, beets and carrots contain more sugar — have a higher glycemic index — than green vegetables. If you were in a holistic cancer clinic, you likely would be told that sugar is sugar, whether it comes from a carrot or a cupcake, and sugar feeds cancer. So juice just one or two carrots rather than the whole bunch.

Fresh vegetable juice is high in nutrition and low in calories — the opposite of the standard American diet. Many people like to substitute a 16-ounce glass of freshly made juice for a full meal to help them lose weight.

If you are looking to do a multi-day juice fast, find a doctor well versed in environmental medicine, because green juice can have a powerful detoxing effect.


Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist who writes about integrative medicine. 602-494-1999.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 2, April/May 2013.


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