This summer, rather than reaching for an iced coffee or pop, why not substitute with a cold-pressed juice?
I’m not talking about the artificially flavoured, sugary fruit beverages you can find at the supermarket, nor the mass-produced fruit juice which has been potentially sitting for weeks (if not months) on a grocery store shelf in a tetra-pack with preservatives and no refrigeration. I’m talking about the real deal of juice: fresh, cold-pressed juice straight from fruits and vegetables and nothing else.
Personally, I’ve done a three-day juice cleanse, a one-day juice cleanse, and have tried at least half a dozen cold-pressed juice varieties from locally owned juice brands out here in the West in Vancouver, BC. I’ve attended the opening of numerous local juice cafes, and even juiced on my own with three different machines!
I guess you can call me a hobbyist juicer. Here’s an introduction for the newbies out there.
Let’s begin with what exactly is cold-pressed juice? Unlike the tetra-pack juice you find in the grocery stores, cold-pressed juices are prepared fresh using a machine which specializes in slowly squeezing out juice in a heat-preventative way, rather than pulverizing blades which potentially damages the nutritional integrity of the fruits and veggies through heat and friction. Sometimes you’ll see the term slow-pressed instead of cold-pressed. The theory behind juicing fruits and veggies (rather than blending) is that the vitamins and other nutrients are concentrated in the juice, and slowly extracting the juice will give you a beverage concentrated with nutrients. You’ll also physically be able to drink more juice, rather than if you also had to consume the pulp and fiber in fruits and veggies which tend to fill you up. Because there shouldn’t be any preservatives added to fresh, cold-pressed juice, the juices are easily perishable and need to be kept refrigerated and consumed within 72 hours.
Many juice companies go by colour to describe their juices. For example, “Green” juices are typically made of some combination of kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, green apple, parsley, etc. More unconventional ingredients include bok choy or swiss chard. “Red” or “Orange” juices typically include red apples, carrots and/or beets. Ingredients like ginger and lemon are used to balance out the bitterness of some ingredients. If you prefer sweeter flavours, find a juice which contains apple or pineapple.
As juicing becomes more popular, so have juice cleanses. Typically lasting 1, 3 or 5 days, they are done to “re-set” one’s digestive system while giving your body a concentrated boost of nutrition.
Note that the main benefit of doing a juice cleanse isn’t supposed to be about losing weight. Every juice company will have their own set of juices, and they are designed so you are in-taking all your daily required nutrients, likely more nutrients than you’d consume in a typical day, in liquid form. Be sure to do your research about the legitimacy of the juice company you go with – the juice cleanse I did had a certified nutritionist assist in designing the recipes and schedule.
Everyone has their own reason for doing a cleanse, but some of the main ones I’ve encountered include kicking a caffeine habit for a few days, trying to get off an unhealthy eating binge, wanting to cut out processed foods, seeking a concentrated boost of nutrients, or maybe just to press the reset button on some unhealthy lifestyle habits and going clean and green with a cleanse. Before starting your cleanse, be sure to understand your reasons for doing one – it’ll make it mentally easier for you to have a goal in mind as you’re cleansing.
The day before your cleanse, you should start cutting out meat from your diet and eat a more plant-based diet. It’ll make the transition to a juice-only diet easier on your body. During your cleanse, you’ll probably want to do lighter activities like stretching or going for a walk - don’t expect to do vigorous, high-cardio activities. This may be a good time to get back into your yoga habit! I booked myself in for a hot stone massage, and it was so heavenly. After your cleanse, slowly introduce solid food back into your system.
Overall, I enjoy the taste of cold-pressed juice and love the option of having a healthy and nutritious alternative to reach for to quench thirst. Hopefully after reading this post, you’ll give cold-pressed juice a try too!