As I sip my delicious green fennel, celery, cucumber, parsley apple juice, on day 4 of my latest liquid cleanse, I find it only fitting to take a few moments to share my deep passion for juicing and why it is so incredibly powerful in healing the digestive system.
We are biologically programmed to seek periodic rest in between our action and to take the adequate time to repair and rejuvenate. This is why it feels so heavenly to sit after pacing the busy city streets all day, or to lie down and sleep after a hard day’s work. This rest is critical to maintaining our delicate internal balance and supporting our health. When we sleep, almost every system in the body is able to rest. Only the digestive system which never gets a break; thanks to our western-world abundant eating, it is always filtering, processing and absorbing nutrients from the food we eat.
Digestion requires a ton of energy and takes many, many hours to complete. In this time, it is not only the intestines, which house billions of bacteria, yeasts and other little ‘critters’ that are tediously working to break down our meal but also the liver, that processes everything that enters the body, the gallbladder which is a storehouse for digestive bile and the pancreas which regulates our insulin response and provides virtually all of our digestive enzymes, that are slaving away for us!
When we eat badly (as in commercial meats, dairy, sugar, alcohol and processed food), we deplete our energy stores, stressing those organs dangerously, eventually leading to tissue breakdown and digestive disease. When we eat healthily (as in fresh organic produce, sprouts, juices, sprouted nuts and seeds) AND chew adequately, we are aiding our organs in their digestive process, but they are still very hard at work extracting nutrition from all that bulk.
So what’s the answer? Give your poor exhausted organs a well-deserved break! Juicing mimics the normal digestive process. The act of chewing starts breaking down the fiber and extracting the juice so it can be absorbed by the gut wall. By juicing, our juicer does that work for us so that our gut can rest. We are basically ‘pre-digesting’ the food so that our bodies can take the easily absorbable nutrients and use the ‘saved’ digestive energy for cellular repair and cleaning. In addition, fiber is very bulky and filling, with the plant nutrients deeply bound within it. We would never be able to consume daily the equivalent amount of fresh raw whole produce as we do when we juice. Unfortunately, most of us do not chew adequately (min 35-55 chews/bite) so most of the nutrients remain trapped in the fiber and pass through our systems unabsorbed leading to nutritional deficiencies.
The juicing myth: There is a widespread misconception that liquid diets are ‘starvation’ diets, and that not eating is ‘bad for you’. This is horribly wrong. In fact, fasting (with organic produce to minimize toxic exposure) is necessary to proper digestive healing. When sticking to a liquid diet, the body gets the immense benefit of a surplus of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and complex plant compounds as compared to when we are eating whole food while very little digestive power or vital energy is needed in return. It is like the very best quality ‘free, easy’ food for the body. While the gut rests, the extra energy and abundant alkaline nutrients allows the immune system to fight off pathogenic overgrowths in the intestines, repairing damaged tissue, healing inflammation and regenerating the cells of our organs. Juicing strengthens the liver, the heart, the kidneys, the gut and the brain.
Every species of the animal kingdom, by instinct, naturally avoids food when it is ill. Look at our pets who refuse to eat when they have health problems; there is a reason why we have no desire for food when we are in pain or unwell. Humans, particularly in North America, are the only ones that ignore this instinct. Western society promotes over-indulgence and as a whole, we hideously consume much more food than the body needs or wants. These false beliefs convince even those with chronic, painful, digestive diseases and inflamed, raw intestines, to continue to eat every single day. Many of us, especially those with digestive disorders are already nutrient depleted and malnourished at a cellular level, meaning that water fasting can be unsafe. Juicing offers the unparalleled benefit of fasting with an even superior level of nutrition to regular eating. It is the best power-tool to boost immunity, soothe our exhausted organs and kick starting the inner healing process. Cheers!
Living Juices Montreal Co-Founder