Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alisa: On The Road To Raw

The Green Drink

O.K. Let's talk green! Green is beautiful! It's both beautiful to look at and beautiful for the body. None of us, even the 'raw foodies', take in enough greens on a daily basis. Most tend to overdose on healthy fats (olives, avocados, coconuts, nuts) and sweets (raw chocolate).

Green is the gateway to a vibrant, happy, healthy life and it is EASY to incorporate into your daily eating routine, without asking yourself to give up anything. All it takes is to add one green juice or green smoothie a day to your daily diet. That's it. If you want to take in more juices and smoothies per day, I say go for it! You will be a green superhero! But one per day will do the trick!

Simply put, greens provide the body with unending energy, fiber that the body needs and craves and all the protein needed to meet the daily recommended allowance.

Many people ask if there is a difference between a green juice and a green smoothie and, if there is, what is/are the difference(s). They also ask if a green juice is healthier than a green smoothie. There are two different camps on the subject. Some raw food experts recommend drinking juices over smoothies and vice versa; that is because some say that it is healthier to take in the whole fruit or vegetable (fiber), while others say the juice is all you really need. After researching the subject and testing them out myself, it is my opinion that they are both equally vital in mantaining and increasing one's overall vibrancy and health. The real secret, however, to really reaping their reward, is to consistently incorporate both into ones daily eating routine. Everyday one or both should make an appearance in our diet. And I do not want to hear any excuses! If we have no problem drinking our morning cup of coffee every single day, we should have no problem drinking our juice and/or smoothie every day...

So, what goes into a green juice, how do we make it and what makes it a juice and not a smoothie? A green juice is one that is prepared with mostly green, leafy vegetables, other vegetables and a little fruit. These vegetables are then put through a juicer. ( Note: they can also be blended together and the juice squeezed through a nutmilk bag). When you prepare a green juice with whole, fresh greens, vegetables and fruit, the juicer extracts the fiber from the fruits, greens and vegetables and all you are left with is the juice. When you drink a green juice, it's minerals, vitamins, nutrients and natural sugars go directly into the blood stream and little to no digestion is required to break down the juice, hence the body wastes no energy digesting but rather instantly receives , not only the juice's nutrients, but also instant energy. Among other benefits, green juices are great for fasting, illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions.

What goes into a green smoothie, what do we make it from and what makes it a smoothie and not a juice? A green smoothie is one that is prepared with whole fresh greens and whole fresh or frozen fruit. These fruit and vegetables are then blended together in a blender. At the end of the blending process you are left with, not only the juice, but the fiber as well. In drinking a green smoothie, the presence of the fiber allows the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and natural sugars to enter the blood stream at a slower rate, thereby helping to keep the body's glucose level on a more even keel. Your body reaps nutritive rewards along with receiving a longer-lasting constant energy. And, although some digestion is necessary to break down the fiber, it won't take nearly as much energy as if it were trying to break down meat, dairy, processed white sugars etc.

To get a more complete picture of why we should be adding more greens into our lives I highly recommend reading Victoria Boutenko's book "Green For Life - The Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition". She discusses at length the benefits of adding greens into your life. A few of the tremendous benefits are: greens are a great source of fiber, protein, chlorophyll and omega 3's; they help to alkalize and they help to maintain homeostasis in the body.

The idea behind eating a diet consisting of more raw foods is simply that the more whole, fresh and raw one's diet is, the less amount of energy is needed for digestion and the benefit to that is that if the body is not using all of it's energy for digestion it can expend it on more important matters. It can expend it in healing the body when necessary; directing it's healing energies to the parts of the body that need it in that moment. And, if no healing is necessary at that particular moment in time, then your body just gets the awesome benefits of feeling energized! Isn't that what we are all looking for in our lives - more energy, feeling more vitalized and vibrant?

So, what is the final answer? Incorporate both green juices and green smoothies into your daily routine. One day do a juice, another a smoothie and so on. If you are wild and crazy like Marie and I, you can take a juice and a smoothie on the same day. Go even wilder and crazier and add in a shot of wheatgrass juice and Brain On and watch out! You will have so much energy you will not know what to do with yourself. Imagine that... too much energy! What a concept. No matter how you look at it you will be giving your body the stamina, vibrancy and great health it deserves and was meant to have! It's a win/win all the way around!

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