I know lots of people who juice apples and oranges along with their veggies, to make the juice taste sweeter. Most juice bars do it, too — the menus hanging over the juice bar include apples in most recipes.
I always say, “No apples, please.” Here’s why:
Fruits have more sugar than vegetables. Yes, it’s natural sugar, but by juicing the fruits, I’m concentrating that sugar in a cup. I’m also removing something super-important that slows down the body’s absorption of that sugar: fiber.
In contrast, if I eat whole fruit, the fiber helps prevent it from causing a huge insulin spike. It’s also a lot harder to eat five apples than it is to drink the juice of five apples — and it takes longer to eat them, which slows down sugar absorption even more!
(As a side note, even one apple has about 15 grams of sugar, which is at the top end of what I like to consume in one sitting. And 15 x 5 = 75, which is way more than I allowed myself to eat in any normal day at the outset.)
Now let’s switch tracks and talk about vegetables. Because they are an entirely different story.
In general, vegetables tend to contain less sugar than fruits and more cancer-fighting compounds. Even beets, which have a lot of sugar, have been shown to help the liver work better. Carrots come with boatloads of natural beta carotene, which I’d much rather have than a supplement (synthetic beta carotene can actually harm smokers, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest). Spinach, celery and lots of other greens have relatively little sugar and are even more packed with cancer-fighters. THIS is the stuff I want to concentrate in a cup.
(Another side note: My doctor advised me it was better to lightly steam cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale, rather than juicing huge quantities of them raw, because of possible thyroid effects.)
So early on in my cancer recovery, I decided to adhere to a simple principle: Eat fruits, juice veggies.
This simple principle served me well (at least, I think it did, since I’m still here!).
After about six months, I did start including low-sugar fruit smoothies in my program. Smoothies are different from juices because they involve throwing the entire fruit in a blender and liquefying it – but it still contains all of the natural fiber. So I’d go to my neighborhood health food store and order a coconut smoothie with an entire pack of organic red raspberries. This was a delicious treat that didn’t send my blood sugar spiking upward.
There was one exception to my no-fruit-juice rule: Periodically, I’d drink a lot of apple juice in the lead-up to a liver flush, or I’d do a two-day juice fast with orange, grapefruit and lemon juice. Yes, I did liver flushes and juice fasts — and I still do them. But for the vast majority of the time — for 340 days of the year — I eat fruits and juice veggies.
What are your practices? Do you juice fruits and think it’s awesome? Do you have a favorite veggie combo? Let me know — I’m listening!