Sep 252015

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!

Sep 082015

I’m lazy. Juicing, to me, sounded like a major hassle: washing vegetables, chopping them up, feeding them piece by piece into the juicer, and cleaning the juicer. Doing it multiple times a day sounded awful.

I did buy a juicer when I began my recovery period, after traditional treatment (surgery and radiation) ended. It was a Champion juicer, and I fully endorse it. It’s an awesome juicer.

But I’m lazy. I didn’t like the juicing process.

Profit Calculations

I did some quick calculations in my head. Organic health food stores near me would juice fresh vegetables on-the-spot for approximately $5 to $6 per 12 ounces. On the diet prescribed by my doctor, I was supposed to drink 24 ounces of juice per day.

Buying the vegetables and then juicing them myself would cost less than simply buying juice in the store — but not that much less.

Based on the prices at the store, I calculated I’d save about $1 to $2 per juice by buying vegetables and juicing them. But I’d also spend at least 20 minutes, twice a day, on food preparation and juicer cleanup.

It was a no-brainer. I bought the juice.

The Routine

Every day, for years, I bought two juices from organic health food stores scattered around NYC. Sometimes beet-carrot-ginger, sometimes beet-carrot-celery, sometimes green juice with a beet added, sometimes celery juice for a little bit of a change. It was all organic, freshly made and not that expensive. It was part of my routine, something I’d do while walking between meetings or home from the subway.

(Note: This was before the huge popularity of cold-pressed, bottled juice that’s shipped from a processing plant and stored in a refrigerator case. That type of juice often costs $8 or more. Now several of the organic stores where I bought juice have gone out of business — this makes me sad.)

I still buy fresh-made juice whenever possible (though with traveling, it’s harder to do it every day). If I can’t get fresh-made juice, I’ll buy bottled juice, but I prefer the taste of fresh-made juice. Occasionally, I break out the Champion juicer, but it’s a rare event.

Defeating Guilt

At first, I felt guilty about buying all my juice instead of making it — like I was not a “real” juicing superstar, or not really committed to my health.

Then I realized IT DOESN’T MATTER.

What the heck is a juicing superstar anyway? I got well buying juice at the health food store, and that’s as legitimate as getting well by juicing at home.

I did what worked for me and my lifestyle, and that’s my philosophy: Do what works for you. It doesn’t matter how you do it — just DO it. Get it done and move on and kick ass.