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What’s The Deal With Juice?

Photo credit: N3T10 on Flickr.

You may have noticed that juices are extremely popular and trendy right now, with everything from organic juice blends available at your local grocery store to hand-delivered juice cleanses being hawked by none other than Gwyneth Paltrow. If you’re thinking of incorporating more fruit and vegetable juices into your diet, here are some things to keep in mind:

Frequent “cleansing” can become addictive, leading to disordered eating. This is sometimes referred to as orthorexia, a disordered eating behaviour that treats food that is perceived to be unhealthy (not necessarily unhealthy, but perceived to be so) as something to be avoided with phobic intensity. Basically, because juice cleanses (and other cleanses) can focus the mind so intently on food, it’s easy for people to take that focus and run with it, choosing to make it the totality of their health plan and regimenting it with military precision as a substitute for balanced eating. Keep in mind that fasting, even juice fasting, can lead to a feeling of euphoria. It’s easy to get hooked on that feeling, but it’s important to understand that sensation as something created by body chemistry and not, say, spiritual enlightenment. There are plenty of types of euphoria, and the euphoria created by fasting limits you from having other kinds, like runner’s high or orgasmic afterglow, simply because you don’t have the energy for those kinds of activities.

Juice is also a multi-million dollar business, with juice bars, juice delivery services, and other markets competing for your dollar. Juice is poised to become the next coffee, which is why Starbucks bought Evolution Fresh Juice in 2011, and is now making its own juices available on the East Coast of the United States. But all that competition is a good thing: it means you can taste test a bunch of different juices from different providers and see what you like best, without making an investment in a juicer. This will also allow you to try new flavour combinations that you may not be familiar with, like watermelon and basil, or kale and pear.

If you do decide to make juice a regular part of your routine, consider whether you want a juicer or a blender. Blenders like the NutriBullet (similar to the Magic Bullet line of blenders) claim to “extract” the nutrition from foods by pulping them. Its blades and motor are powerful enough to make short work of stems and seeds, so the end product has more fibre and protein than juice. Since fibre and protein are key components to a healthy diet, this is important to consider. But if you just can’t handle a smoothie, the Omega 8003 and the JackLalanne juicers are very popular. Before investing in one, make sure to read reviews online, specifically about how easy the juicer is to clean, and how small the fruits and vegetables that feed it are supposed to be chopped. Ease of use is what will determine your regular use of whatever device you choose, so by doing some homework ahead of time, you can avoid wasting money in the long run.