Gourmet on the go: why I think you should be using a juicer to maximize your diet

Hi guys, it’s Annie, coming at you with another tasty tutorial! Today, I want to talk to you about juicing. I’m sure you’ve had some exposure to the current juicing trend, if you’ve bought some cold-pressed juice in the store, or had a fresh glass at a cafe. It’s very different from what we’re used to with pasteurized, processed juice boxes that were basically all sugar and no vitamins.

 

New gourmet juices are cold-pressed and unpasteurized, and  most of them have quite a bit of fiber left in, which gives them better texture and way better nutritional value. That’s just the storebought stuff, though. I think it’s definitely great when you need it, if you’re traveling or in a hurry. But the best juice is still homemade. Juicing is super popular right now as a homemade pursuit as well, because that’s the way to get the absolute best nutritional benefit, as well as a much lower cost on your grocery bill.

Ok, so, why juice? That’s a question I get a lot, and funnily enough, it usually comes from people who are pretty interested in nutrition. I think it’ because there are a lot of misconceptions about juicing out there. A lot of people think they shouldn’t need to make juice because they could just eat that produce instead. Others say they don’t want to drink juice because of the high sugar content. Let me answer both of those points and lay out the case for homemade juice!

 

First off, I want to point out that not enough of us get our fruits and vegetables. Not by a long shot. Even those of us who are concerned about having a healthy diet aren’t doing a great job. You’re supposed to be eating 7-9 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Fresh, my friends, not cooked! Show of hands, please–how many are making that happen? Really? Every day? So, most of us aren’t, and it’s ok to be honest about that.

 

There are only so many raw vegetables you can fit into a meal, just because the textures aren’t always pleasant, and a huge amount of fiber like that can be hard on digestion. It also takes such a long time to eat–just think about how long it takes you to chow through a salad, and then multiply that by 5 or so.

 

Juicing solves both of those problems, if you do it right! Go to this page if you need to learn more about different juicing machines and what they’re good for.  One glass of homemade juice, if you use a range of fruits and vegetables, can have several servings of fresh produce in it at once. That’s enough for most of us to make up the difference between what we should be eating, and what we’re really getting in our diet. Since it’s so concentrated with vitamins and minerals, juicing is very convenient, whichever way you go (homemade or premade, as long as the prepared juice is cold-pressed and unrefined). It’s an efficient way to get a bunch of nutrition at once. Consider the best masticating juicers for your juicing needs!

 

I also find that it makes it easier to expand your nutritional palate in one glass, as opposed to what you can do on a plate. You can more easily blend groups of fruits and vegetables in juice, since you don’t have a bunch of competing textures like you would if you tried to eat it all raw and unjuiced. For instance, are you ever going to eat raspberries and kale together? I didn’t think so. But in juice, it can all work really well!

 

Ok, and now to get to that argument about sugar content. Where the skeptics are going wrong is that they’re looking at your average store bought juice, not gourmet fresh-pressed or homemade blends. Pasteurized, processed juice from an average grocery store doesn’t have fiber, which makes it have a higher sugar content per volume when you look at the proportions. Without all that refinement, heating, and processing, homemade juice has a much lower sugar content, so there’s really nothing to be afraid of. It’s all balanced out by the fiber, and you need some sugar content to give you an energy boost!

Don’t think of it as a sugar rush, though! Thanks to all those electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and live enzymes in the juice you make, you’re getting a boost that doesn’t lead to a crash. Instead of artificially making you feel better through stimulants, it’s making your body actually work better from the inside out!

 

Overall, I think juicing is the single best thing you can do to seriously improve your nutritional intake. It’s efficient, convenient for busy lifestyles, and it really does taste fantastic. So, join me in a juicing adventure today! I recommend visiting startjuicing.org on twitter. I’ve posted a few recipes in the archive for you to try!

Cool nutrition news

Hey friends,

 

Two cool and interesting news stories to share with you today!

 

First up, it’s some very encouraging skincare news! We’ve known for a while that dairy products and greasy meats can increase outbreaks. It’s something the food lobby has fought in the medical establishment, and it’s taken awhile to get people to really come to terms with the effects of animal products on skins, but between the saturated fat and the high hormone content in dairy products, it’s getting pretty hard to argue with the fact that animal products don’t do wonders for our faces!

According to a new study I read online, now the reverse is proven! Healthy diets that are low in animal products and high in fruits and vegetables, high in fiber and low in sugar, lead to a significantly reduced rate of outbreaks in skin. Researchers said that high-gluten and high-sugar foods may cause inflammation under the skin, which causes glands to overreact. People in a study who ate fresh fruits and vegetables and fish four days or less per week had twice the likelihood of having an outbreak than those who ate those food groups every day. The study points out that this is mainly correlative evidence at this point, and that other factors like stress and genetics certainly have an impact. But overall, the healthier your stomach is, the healthier your skin will be, too!

 

I also read a very interesting article this past week about how a new theory might shed some light on how the change in what we’ve eaten over time may have impacted our evolution. One theory that’s gone around for a long time is that the extra protein humans got from eating meat helped our brains grow to the abnormally large size they are now (compared with other mammals). That’s something we have to grapple with regardless of whether we personally decide to eat meat now, even though we thankfully have more than enough plant-based options to sustain or brains with protein these days. But this new theory, which I believe was published in Scientific American, talks about how early people used fire to cook fruits and vegetables, which made them easier to digest. So, they didn’t need as much energy to digest them, and their bodies would have redirected that energy toward enlarging the brain and forming other more human attributes. There’s not a lot of evidence of cooking during the periods the theorizers are talking about, but I did find one piece in Ars Technica which talked about some neanderthal pottery that’s been found in Africa which shows sophisticated cooking earlier than anyone’s anticipated so far.

 

The point of all this, from my perspective, is that there are two important lessons to learn. Meat might have allowed us to have bigger brains, but according to the second study I mentioned, evidence of cooking vegetables and processing grains into rough breads and stews in those pottery objects shows that it was the process of preparing foods and becoming able to digest more difficult vegetables that are hard to digest raw meant that

That’s one reason I’m a big believer in juicing as opposed to being strict about eating every single vegetable raw and crunchy. Some produce is just plain hard to digest, and I don’t think we should ignore that. We can get the same nutritional benefits from juicing it without causing our guts to feel like hell. Because, if you look at the trends, what happened was, humans discovered cooking, which gave them a wider range of food to eat, allowing them to settle down, but definitely sacrificing some nutrition (we realize now). Now, we know that juicing gives us the same diversity in our diets, and it takes the effort out of digestion, but without the nutrient loss that you see in cooking.
Anyway, it’s a lot to think about, but I leave it out there for you all as food for thought! Most of those articles should be pretty easy to find with a quick Google.

Why you should think about going vegan

I know a lot of you who follow my blog and my channel are already vegan, and I’m so glad you’re along for the journey. I became vegan myself about 3 years ago now, and while I keep a relatively open diet when I’m traveling in other cultures, I definitely feel that veganism is one of the best choices I’ve made for myself in my life. So, I want to tell you a little bit about why I encourage others to take the plunge!

 

First off, there are a lot of environmental benefits to cutting out animal products. The production of meat and dairy cause a huge amount of carbon emissions in the world, 1/5 of the total output, and it’s by far the biggest source of methane gas in the atmosphere, which has an even worse effect on the climate than CO2. It’s gotten so bad that the UN is now officially recommending a vegan diet because of the impact it’s going to have when all the people in developing countries start to want to eat as much meat and dairy as people do in the West. Agriculture also is responsible for up to 70% of freshwater use, and since we put all sorts of chemical fertilizers and animal antibiotics into that supply, it ends up affecting a lot of what we drink. You can find a lot of other really alarming statistics in this article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet, but the main point is that veganism isn’t just a moral choice for people who are concerned about animal welfare, it’s a moral choice for people who care about human welfare as well.

There’s also increasing evidence which I’ve been following for years that’s telling us that animal products aren’t really all that good for us. The latest version of this is the WHO report that red meat is linked to cancer, which is just another paper on the pile of reports that suggest that red meats cause heart problems, cholesterol issues, and any number of other things. Leaner mets are less likely to give you problems like that, but they’re still far from clean.

 

The fact is that animals aren’t a productive use of land when you compare them with vegetables, fruit trees, or grains. They take far more acreage and a lot more energy to sustain, and grazing from animals degrades grasslands and causes erosion and other soil problems. Basically, they’re a massive waste of resources that ends up ruining a lot of land. I know that’s putting it in stark terms, but that’s where we are in the world right now. Cutting out animal products from your diet gives you more of a chance you’ll get enough fruits and vegetables, and whether or not you’re concerned with animal welfare, you’re making a conscious choice not to endorse mistreatment in the factory farm industry.

 

But aside from all the downsides to using animal products, the reverse of that is that there’s really never been a better time to go vegan. I’ve been getting really excited about some of the new proteins sources out there, which make it so much easier to have a good, full diet without animal products. There’s a really great RAW protein mix made from ground-up sprouts, and it’s probiotic as well as full of Vitamin D. There’s also a lot of solid proteins to choose from, like seitan and tofu, but my favorite is tempeh, which has a super nutty, exciting flavor and texture that’s got a lot more personality than those crappy meat substitutes.

Protein included, now that veganism has become established and been around as a relatively mainstream movement, there’s a lot more effort put into coming up with fun recipes and dishes that cut out animal products without tasting boring or too “healthy”! I frequently experiment with vegan recipes, since I want to respond to my fanbase. But so are so many other chefs, from Jamie Oliver to Nigella Lawson, so it’s a really exciting time to try it!
Whatever reason motivates you to go vegan, my main message is that it’s  a great decision to make, and it’s getting even better every day!