Juicing: Your Key to Radiant Health


Dr. Mercola's
Nutrition Plan

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Congratulations! You have made some great changes to your life. The last step will be to implement a juicing plan. I am firmly convinced that juicing is the final key to giving you a radiant, energetic life and truly optimal health.

I've said this in the other levels of this nutrition plan, but it's so important I'll say it again: There are valuable and sensitive micronutrients that are damaged when you heat foods. Cooking and processing food destroys these micronutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition. In this advanced level, you avoid all processed foods and eat only organic vegetables and fruits unless not otherwise possible.

There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your health program:

1. You probably have a compromised intestine. Most of us have compromised intestines as a result of less than optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to "pre-digest" them for you so you will receive most of the nutrition rather than having it go down the toilet.

2. You need to eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Vegetable juicing allows you to accomplish this, as you can eat more vegetables than you would normally. By incorporating the juice into your eating plan you will easily be able to reach this goal.

3. Nobody wants to eat that many salads. If you eat the vegetables like a salad then you will be having far too many salads. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food.

If you are new to juicing, it's best to start out with an inexpensive juicer. The benefit to this is that if you decide you do not want to continue you will not be out a large amount of money. There are some things to watch for, however. Inexpensive centrifugal juicers produce low quality juice and are very loud, which may contribute to hearing loss. They are probably fine for short-term use. My favorite juicer is the Omega 8003.

You can learn how to select a great juicer with my free report on juicer recommendations.

Many of my patients felt they would have a problem with juicing, but they found that it was much better than they thought it would be. This is partly related to the fact that you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant and not make you nauseous.

It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should be very happy all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Personally, I've noticed that I can't juice large amounts of cabbage, but if I spread it out, I do fine.

Before we get started, I do want to mention a great product that helps me stay healthy when I don't have enough time to juice. This product is called Living Fuel Rx and in my opinion, is the best meal replacement you can find. This superfood is my constant companion when I'm on the road.

The health benefits of juicing are immense for adults and children.

Lesson 1: Drink vegetable juice for breakfast.

Vegetable juice is a great breakfast when balanced with some essential oils and a bit of chlorella. Please remember that vegetable juice and fruit juices are two completely different substances in terms of nutrition. I am confident that fruit juices should be avoided. Although vegetable juice is processed, it doesn't raise insulin levels like fruit juice. The only exceptions would be carrot and beet juice (and most vegetables that grow underground), which function similarly to fruit juice.

Lesson 2: You can eat the pulp, too!

When you juice, you will produce pulp. What should you do with it? It's best to mix it in with the juice and consume it. In my experience when I first started juicing, I would juice every day, and my stools would frequently become loose. Once I started adding the pulp fiber back into my juice, this problem went away. There is a benefit to eating the fiber, as it serves as fertilizer for the good bacteria in the colon.

Eating the pulp increases the time it takes to consume the juice, but it is healthier. One can gradually add the pulp back in over time to get used to it. If you add the entire pulp back in, the mixture becomes almost like a green vegetable porridge that can be eaten with a spoon.

The method I currently use is to drink about 75 percent of the juice and then pour the other 25 percent of the juice back into the pulp. I add some ground seeds into the mixture, stir it up and eat it like porridge.

Try it both ways. Listen to your body and see what works best for you.

Lesson 3: Get ready to juice!

Step 1: Now that you're ready for the benefits of vegetable juice, you need to know what to juice. I recommend starting out with these vegetables, as they are the easiest to digest:

  • Celery
  • Fennel (anise)
  • Cucumbers

These aren't as beneficial as the more nutritionally intense dark green vegetables. Once you get used to these, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable, but less palatable, vegetables into your juice.

Vegetables to avoid include carrots and beets. Most people who juice usually use carrots. The reason they taste so good is that they are full of sugar. I would definitely avoid all vegetables that grow underground to avoid an increase in your insulin levels.

If you are healthy, you can add about one pound of carrots or beets per week. I do believe that the deep, intense colors of these foods provide additional benefits for many that are just not available in the green vegetables listed above.

Step 2: When you've acclimatized yourself to juicing, you can start adding these vegetables:

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Green Leaf lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Spinach

Step 3: After you're used to these, then go to the next step:

  • Cabbage
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Bok Choy

An interesting side note: Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U. The "Eat Right for Your Type" approach does not support lectin compatibility for blood type A individuals like myself and so I avoid it.

Step 4: When you're ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and there are two that work exceptionally well:

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

You need to be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well. If you are new to juicing, hold off. These are more challenging vegetables to consume, but they are highly beneficial.

Step 5: The last step: Only use one or two of these leaves, as they are very bitter:

  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens (bitter)

When purchasing collard greens, find a store that sells the leaves still attached to the main stalk. If they are cut off, the vegetable rapidly loses many of its valuable nutrients.

One important note: I prefer to juice my vegetables at room temperature. I leave my vegetables out overnight, or for at least one hour in the morning, as I do not enjoy drinking cold fluids, especially when it is cold outside.

Lesson 4: Make your juice a balanced meal.

Balance your juice with protein and fat. Vegetable juice does not have much protein or fat, so it's very important for you to include these fat and protein sources with your meal.

  • Use eggs. Eggs will add a significant amount of beneficial fats and protein to your meal. An egg has about 8 grams of protein, so you can add two to four eggs per meal.I suggest that you add the whole eggs, raw, into the vegetable pulp (not the juicer). The reason I advocate this is because once you heat the eggs, many of their nutrients become damaged. If you are concerned about salmonella, purchase organic eggs; it's unlikely you'll have any problems. Additionally, if you are not sensitive to milk, you can add some raw milk cheese, as it will improve the flavor.

There is a potential problem with using the entire raw egg if you are pregnant. Biotin deficiency, a common concern in pregnancy, could be made worse by consuming whole raw eggs.

Please read my recent article, Raw Eggs for Your Health -- Major Update, for further information on consuming raw eggs.

        Incorporate seeds. Raw seeds, freshly ground and alternated regularly, are another great addition to the pulp. The simplest way to grind the seeds is to use an inexpensive coffee grinder. The seeds are full of protein and essential fatty acids that bring a juice into balance beautifully. I recommend pumpkin and flax seeds. If you use flax seeds, please note my special caution.

  • Use chlorella. Chlorella is an incredibly powerful nutrient from the sea and is a form of algae. I use it quite a bit for mercury detoxification as it binds very strongly to mercury to eliminate it from the body. The normal dose is one teaspoon in the juice. However, about 30 percent of people cannot tolerate the chlorella, so if it makes you nauseous you should definitely avoid it.
    • Is a useful source of chlorophyll.
    • Adds magnesium and protein.
    • Binds to heavy metals and pesticides.

If you have high iron or vitamin D levels you will want to avoid chlorella though as it is loaded with both of these nutrients.

  • Add spirulina. Spirulina is another algae that has many similar benefits and is a good balance to chlorella. However it does not bind to heavy metals like chlorella.
  • Consider a protein powder. While protein powders are convenient, I believe them to be far inferior to whole food choices like eggs or chlorella. If you can't tolerate eggs or chlorella you can consider them. Glutamine is an amino acid and the majority of our skeletal muscle is made of it. You can obtain glutamine powder and add one teaspoon into your drink for a very effective healing addition. You can also use protein powders. My two favorites are whey and rice protein. Some people are concerned about my milk avoidance suggestion and taking whey protein. Although whey protein is from milk, most people tolerate it quite well as the major protein in milk that causes an allergy is casein. I would strongly advise against the use of soy protein powders.
  • Add some garlic. Don't worry; this won't give you "dragon breath." I like to add one to two cloves of garlic in my juice, as it incorporates the incredible healing potential of fresh garlic. I strongly advise you to do this regularly to balance out your bowel flora. The ideal dose is just below the social threshold where people start to notice that you have eaten garlic. One large clove, two medium cloves or three small cloves is the recommended dose.
  • Add oil. But not just any oil! I highly recommend cod liver oil for the winter months and fish oil for the summer months. If you live in a primarily sunny climate, however, I wouldn't advise taking cod liver oil. The reason for this is that cod liver oil has a level of vitamin D that can prove toxic to those in very sunny climates. If you are at all unsure of your vitamin D levels, please get yourself tested at your doctor's office.

The reason why fat is important is that green vegetables contain vitamin K, which is very important for gluing the calcium into your bone matrix. Additionally, new research suggests that vitamin K significantly reduces calcification in the arteries. However, vitamin K is not absorbed very well unless there is some fat. Additionally, the vitamin D in the cod liver oil will work with the vitamin K to increase calcium absorption and build stronger bones. The dose for cod liver oil or fish oil is one teaspoon for every 25 to 40 pounds of body weight. Please be sure to read my comprehensive explanation on sunlight and vitamin D testing, and please review my updates on vitamin D information. Adding raw egg yolks, as described above, will also help you to absorb all the vitamin K from the juice. You could also use flax as a source of omega-3 fat, but many people have problems digesting it.

Lesson 5: Make your juice taste great.

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:

  • Coconut: This is one of my favorites! You can purchase the whole coconut or use shredded coconut. It adds a delightful flavor and is an excellent source of fat to balance the meal. Coconut has medium chain triglycerides, which have many health benefits.
  • Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are chock full of phytonutrients and help many women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  • Lemons: You can also add half a lemon (leaving much of the white rind on). If you are a protein Metabolic type you will not want to use lemons as they will push your pH in the wrong direction.
  • Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little "kick"!

Lesson 6: Drink your vegetable juice right away, or store it very carefully.

Juicing is a time-consuming process, so you'll probably be thinking to yourself, "I wonder if I can juice first thing and then drink it later?" This isn't a great idea. Vegetable juice is very perishable so it's best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you're careful you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. To store your juice:

1. Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air (air is about 20 percent oxygen) will "oxidize" and damage the juice.

2. Wrap the jar with aluminum foil to block out all light. Light damages the juice.

3. Store it in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes prior to drinking, as vegetable juice should be consumed at room temperature.

Most people juice in the morning, but if that does not work out well for your schedule please feel the freedom to choose whatever meal works out best for your lifestyle.

Lesson 7: Clean your juicer properly.

We all know that if a juicer takes longer than 10 minutes to clean, we'll find excuses not to do it. I find that using an old toothbrush works well to clean any metal grater. For the Omega 8003, the whole process takes about 5 minutes. Whatever you do, you need to clean your juicer immediately after you juice to prevent any remnants from contaminating the juicer with mold growth.

Warning: Don't follow the juicing recommendations that come with the juicer, as they most often emphasize carrot and fruit combinations.

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