Hello Wellness Warrior!
If you are new to this whole world of juicing and smoothies, I want to make this easy and simple for you to get started. You are in the right place if you are ready to hit the reset button on your health and feel fabulous every day. As you may already know I am a health and wellness coach, business owner, speaker and program creator of whole foods solutions for busy people. I work with all kinds of health issues that stump clients and physicians.
One of the things I love to do is to help people reclaim their natural health and vitality. I also help people stop people from being at war with their body and fall in love with real, delicious food. Does that sound like something you have been seeking?
If you ‘re anything like I used to be, you are endlessly searching for natural ways to work with your body and to support your body’s systems. You might be tired of feeling lethargic, sluggish and dependent on caffeine, sugar or energy drinks. You may have tried it all from extreme diets and strange things you looked up on the internet at 1 am. Sometimes the constant chaos and conflict in the news and media, makes you want to throw your hands up. I know I get it.
My own health history includes a long period of time of making mistakes with my health and not knowing how diet was playing a role. I was eating according to the food pyramid and adopting a low-fat diet thinking that this was the healthiest thing for me.
Meanwhile, I had constant allergies. I got a full-blown sinus infection every time I caught a cold. I had trouble sleeping. And I often felt extremely run down. I did not think that it would ever change. Despite going to the doctor and working with several specialists, I really did not get any answers.
As I dug deeper into functional medicine and functional nutrition in my own life, I began to see how my symptoms connected back to my digestion. I had that ah-ha moment where I realized that my health issues were the byproduct of a shady digestive system. In my case, my long history of taking anti-biotics, steroids and over the counter medications directly impacted my digestion and therefore my health. Now I protect my health via my digestion.
Note: Since working on my digestion, I literally never get colds, allergies or sinus infections. I used to require daily asthma medications and a rescue inhaler. I have not used them in well over a decade.
Enter juices and smoothies as one of the rock star ways to help all aspects of your health and digestion.
Everyone asks me the same question -Why are smoothies so great anyhow?” Can’t I have an English Muffin? Smoothies are miraculous in lots of ways. They are:
- Chock-full of vitamins, enzymes, and minerals.
- Easy to digest, which means optimal assimilation of nutrients (those little buggers get to where they need to go quick and get soaked up by your cells)
- Awesome for stabilizing blood sugar ( a smoothie should have healthy fat and fat is key for blood sugar stabilization)
- A fabulous way to consume a variety of different vegetables, greens, and superfoods.
- Terrific for cleansing the body of toxicity
- A great source of natural energy
Gut health and smoothies:
To understand how smoothies play a role in gut health, you have to understand the causes of gut imbalance. The first is an overworked digestive system.
Just like you need a break from work, your digestive system needs a rest too. Imagine how you would feel if you worked 24/7. You’d feel like complete crap. You’d be angry at your co-workers and you wouldn’t love what you were doing. This is what happens to your digestive system when you don’t give it a break.
Smoothies allow your digestive system to rest while still giving it nutrients. Allowing your digestive system to repair and rest is like a giant tune-up for your whole body. One of the ways, we know our digestive system is tired is when we feel bloated, have skin issues or can’t sleep well. One of the first things people experience is a flatter stomach and healthier skin because the body is not working so hard and can repair itself naturally.
Are you ready to begin?
First, let’s choose your blender. This part gets super confusing if you don’t know what to look for. There are countless options but I want to show you my personal favorites.
While many people swear by a Vitamix, it’s not necessary to start out with one right away. If you are just getting started, you may want to hold off until you know that you are going to be blending all the time. A Vitamix is awesome if you want to get into making soups and nut butters but they start at around $400. I have one and I do love it but it’s not necessary to have one.
If cost is a factor and you aren’t ready to get married just yet to that blending life, then I highly recommend the Nutribullet. It’s a great alternative to more expensive options and it costs around $50. I bought mine when they were around $90 over 5 years ago. I used it almost every single day and it’s a cinch to use. It doesn’t take up a lot of counter space. It’s easy to clean up. You can mix and drink out of the same container which is a plus.
Blendtec is another option similar to a Vitamix and costs approximately $350. It’s slightly less expensive while still having great power.
Another option is to purchase an Immersion blender. This is a handheld blender that is great for making salad dressings, smoothies and soups. I personally find that a handheld blender works better for me for pureeing soups because I can hold it into my pot of hot soup, rather than transferring it. You can get these starting for around $50.
KitchenAid Immersion Blender
Note: If you want the most cost-effective yet versatile combination for making everything from smoothies, to guacamole to being able to blend soup. Then, I would buy the Nutribullet and the Immersion Blender. When your ship comes in you can get the Vitamix but in the meantime, this will do everything you need for quite a while.
And if you are ready to go to the level of a Vitamix, you will not be disappointed at their function and durability. They are great for heavy duty blending, nut butters and also making soups. They are a bit more to store and to clean but worth it when you are ready to make the investment.
Now, let ‘s dig into juicing.
I totally didn’t get why anyone would juice when I was first getting started. But a few things stand out for me in my path to healing that I want to share with you.
- Juicing is one of the easiest ways to heal and seal the gut. That just makes so much sense to me.
- Your body is made up of live cells. The closest thing to your own cell is a plant cell. So when you juice you are putting a concentration of live plants into your digestion.
- The natural pigmentation that is in a plant to protect it from the sun is what your body needs to protect it from damaging free radicals.
- Our bodies today are nutrient deprived because of processed food, toxins and stress. We all need so many more greens and veggies than we are actually eating.
- It would be A LOT to chew all the veggies we really need to get into our diet. Adding juices, smoothies and soups is a convenient way to get them in.
While there are a wide variety of different kinds of juicers, there are two kinds of juicers I like to recommend. There are many more than these but in my experience, these are best for the beginning to amateur juicer. They are reliable and intended for the home user.
Centrifugal Juicers use a fast spinning grater. The juice goes through a strainer and out a spout. They are easy to clean, don’t take up a lot of counter space and juice large veggies well.
The Breville Juice Fountain is a great choice
Masticating juicers (cold press, slow juicer) use a slow turning, screw-shaped gear that grinds the veggies and send them through a stainless-steel screen. This action is more gentle to the cell membrane of the plant or veggie. They take up a bit more counter space and are a little more time consuming to assemble and take apart for cleaning.
The Omega Juicer is a great choice and is what I use personally:
Before you select a juicer, ask yourself the following questions:
How much prep time am I willing to invest in my juicing?
How much clean up am I willing to deal with on a daily basis?
What’s my budget?
How much space do I have?
My hope is that you will make a long term commitment to juicing for years to come. Adopting just one healthy habit and sticking to it, is better than trying a million different things. When I am juicing, I am really aware of what I am putting into my body. This habit alone will increase your energy, reduce inflammation, keep your gut super healthy and reduce your cravings for sugar.
If you aren’t 100 percent sure, try buying a daily juice for a few weeks. It’s more expensive but you may need to try it on for size to be sure that you like it.
Consider borrowing one for a week. I go through phases with mine. So chances are you have a friend or family member who might loan you theirs for a week while you make up your mind.