The benefits of juicing can’t be gained by just slurping on smoothies or swigging from a carton of orange juice. Fresh juices provide a highly effective fast track and - importantly - easy delivery mechanism for the body to absorb and process key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are so beneficial to our health. Juice fasts are most beneficial over a short period of time, around 4-5 days.
To start with, you will need just one piece of equipment - a juicer. Many people initially think that juicing will be a real chore, but the majority are pleasantly surprised to find that it is much easier than they thought. Take note, though, that a juicer is not the same as a blender or food processor, although some food processors might have a juicing attachment. A good juicer will separate the juice from the pulp, creating a smooth liquid that concentrates the nutrients rather than simply blending it all together.
Centrifugal models are at the lower end of the price scale and work by grating fruits and vegetables, then whizzing them around washing machine style making the juice separate from the fibrous pulp. The premium end of the market is dominated by masticating (chewing) slow juicers, like the Tribest Slowstar Vertical Juicer.
When you begin to fast you will feel hungry at your usual meal times. However, if you choose not to eat at that time, the peaks and troughs of hunger start to level out. It’s worth knowing that research published in the American Journal of Physiology suggests that ghrelin – one of the hormones that control feelings of hunger - rise just in anticipation of eating. So you get hungry when you’re expecting a meal, not just because you have an empty stomach.
About juice fasting
A juice fast is often mentioned in the context of detoxing the body but it really comes into its own as a fasting technique. Just as your home or office can become dusty and dirty, so your body can become clogged up with toxins and waste matter from our environment and lifestyle. A healthy body is able to disarm toxins by breaking them down, storing them in fat tissue or excreting them. However, here’s the crux, many – if not most - people are depleted in the nutrients needed to detox optimally and chronic health problems, sluggishness and weight gain are common results.
When you fast, the body is given the time to identify and get rid of damaged or defective parts. This process is called autophagy. The term was coined by a biochemist in the 1960s and means “self-eating”, which sounds like something from a zombie B-movie, so it’s better to think of it as a spring clean for your body. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to a variety of illnesses including diabetes, heart disorders and neurological problems. Autophagy enables the cells to get rid of the dysfunctional mitochondria, allowing them to be replaced by more “energy efficient” new ones. It also helps the body to fight infections and recover from injuries.
During a fast the process of elimination of the dead and dying cells is speeded up and the building of new cells is accelerated and stimulated. At the same time, the toxic waste products that interfere with the nourishment of the cells are effectively eliminated and the normal metabolic rate and cell oxygenation are restored.
Nothing in the body, or mind, works in isolation and fasting creates a healthy “ripple effect”. The over-arching theory is that fasting helps to de-stress the body. We all know how good it feels to have a well-earned holiday and return rested, rejuvenated and with a renewed joie de vivre. Well, fasting has a similar effect on your body.
Regarding weight loss, studies of both humans and animals have established that when the body goes without its normal quota of food, the tissues are called upon in an inverse order of their importance, meaning when you fast, fat is the first tissue to go. And, contrary to expectations, instead of food deprivation causing a debilitating loss of nutrients, in short-term fasts the body retains the majority of these. Many people describe feeling 10 years younger after one of my juice fast retreats - now we know why!
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