Discover the benefits of cold-pressed juices with nutritional therapist Lakshmi Harilela.
Text by Carla Gonzalez
*Featured in Crave’s March 2015 issue
1) What is juice cleansing?
Juice cleansing involves taking solely juices for a period, depending on what the individual hopes to achieve. It is similar to fasting, but with nutrients from the juice. Three-day juice fasts are increasingly popular, but they can be dangerous if not done with caution. I recommend easing into a juice fast by eliminating dairy, caffeine, gluten and sugar for two to three weeks before fasting. This helps negate side effects such as headaches, allergic reactions and skin conditions. Juice cleansing gives the body what it needs in terms of nutrition while giving the digestion a break from heavy foods. It is important to consult a doctor before starting a juice fast.
2) Is it healthy to substitute a complete meal with juice?
It depends. In Ayurvedic and Yogic thinking, nutritional fasting helps the body eliminate toxins by giving the digestion a much-needed holiday. Humans have not evolved to gorge on refined foods everyday, so giving the body a rest now and then is good. For some people, however, this could be too much for their systems and they need more solid food that is easy to digest.
3) How do I get proteins and fibre from juice?
A combination of juicing and solid foods may be the best option if fibre and protein is a concern. Try kitchari, an Ayurvedic dish that combines basmati rice (carbohydrate) and mung beans (protein) and is easily digested. A strict juice cleanse can be done for a limited time without needing fibre and protein. However, juicing for extensive periods is not recommended.
4) What are the differences between cold-pressed and other juices?
Cold-pressed juices are made without using heat. Fruits and vegetables are pressed with just enough pressure to extract the juice while keeping most of the vitamins, trace minerals and very important enzymes intact. This enables the juice to be easily digested and assimilated, and all the nutritional benefits are bestowed on the drinker. Other juices are so loaded with sugar and additives they may as well be called sugar drinks.
5) What are the health benefits of cold-pressed juices?
The health benefits are exactly what nature intended them to be, allowing the body to assimilate nutrients fast without taxing the digestive system. If the digestion is under stress, this affects the entire body. This is why it is important to eat foods one can digest, assimilate and eliminate. Juicing is a great way to obtain necessary nutrients without putting stress on the body’s digestive system. Of course, too much of anything is not good, and juice fasts are only recommended for certain types of digested capacities.
6) Should fruits and vegetables be mixed in a juice?
Mixing fruits and vegetables is not recommended as it may confuse the digestive system. But there are few rules in juicing and custom-making juice blends for your own personal constitution is the key to good health.
7) What juice best boosts the immune system or helps to recover from a workout?
Juices that incorporate greens, ginger and mint help to jump-start the immune system. However, this depends on the individual and even the climate. Spring is a good time for cleansing, as the body is not trying to keep warm. Depending on the intensity of the workout, the digestive capacity and the constitution of the individual, juices can help replenish lost nutrients. A simple mixture of maple syrup, lemon juice and salt can replace lost electrolytes, as well as fresh coconut water. Keep in mind that juicing is only a small fraction of a healthy and balanced diet.
CEO and Founder, Love True Food (LTF)
A firm believer that you are what you eat, chef Lakshmi takes a holistic approach to food. She trained at the Hotel Management School in Switzerland, New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute and the European Institute of Vedic Studies.