WHERE JUICING FITS IN

I find juicing to be one of the best first steps on the road to returning health. Though, whether one is just starting or has been into juicing-for-weightlosswellness for their whole life, juicing is a valuable tool for our bodies. I am more into wellness than anyone I personally know and I still have a hard time getting enough plant mass into my daily diet. Juicing makes this much more doable. The reason juicing is useful for weight loss can be found in the reason we become overweight. The first step to weight gain/fat storage is taken due to our modern agricultural society, agriculture creates massive food stores which are processed into starchy boxed foods. Vitamins, minerals and enzymes are removed in this process. All that remains is pure starch and food additives. Though starch is pure energy, we cannot use it. This is because our bodies need vitamins, minerals and enzymes to convert starch into useable energy. So when we put that “healthy” cereal bar into our body, it just gets stored as fat. Our body says, “I’ll just wait until some real food comes in with real micronutrients so that I can convert this fat into usable energy.” This is where vegetable juicing fits in. It acts as a concentrated blast of micronutrients, giving fat stores the ticket they need to be burned as a usable energy. [click to continue…]

Of course there is much more to weight gain that processed food, but processed food certainly kick starts all of the other weight gain factors. It certainly kick starts perhaps the biggest factor that also must be addressed naturally for weight loss, which is leptin resistance.

JUICING BASICS

I will provide recipes below, but this article is more about the little tricks you can use in juicing to insure weight loss while still having good tasting juices. These little tricks are actually more important than the recipe itself. Notice before I said “vegetable juicing”. The reason is that vegetable juicing is going to bring much better results than pure fruit juicing, which will spike your insulin and raise blood sugar, even contributing to weight gain. The problem with pure fruit juicing is that the fiber is removed and the sugar is consumed. Fiber acts as the time release for the sugar which at least partially prevents a massive insulin spike. Starting out, it is fine to add a fruit to your juice. The bulk of effective weight loss juices need to be vegetables, but worry not! They will still taste good and sweet.

The first trick I will share is how to bulk up your juice. Just about every juice should have a cucumber, which is over 90% water, and loaded with vitamins and minerals. One cucumber will bulk up your juice greatly and it is a pleasant taste, very mild and slightly sweet.

Cucumber benefits: Loaded with B vitamins as well as important minerals potassium and magnesium, all very important for weight loss. Cucumber is also one of the highest sources of silica which is one of the best minerals for skin, hair and nail beauty as well as bone and connective tissue health. Very low in calories, great weight loss food.

The next trick I would like to mention is one of two tricks needed to make a vegetable juice taste great and sweet without much fruit added. This trick is the addition of stevia, a natural no calorie sweetener from the stevia plant. If you have never used stevia, at first it may bring a slight aftertaste that you are not used to. For me, this aftertaste went away only after a couple weeks of using it. Just start out with a couple drops of liquid stevia. After you get used to it you can add more. Every health food store has many flavors of liquid stevia, for juices I recommend any berry or fruit flavor. Lemon flavor would also be great. One more natural sweetener I would allow for weight loss is a sugar alcohol called xylitol, I only use xylitol extracted from birch trees. Xylitol contains 1/3rd the calories of sugar and zero fructose. It is metabolized independently of insulin and will not result in weight gain. In fact it even prevents cavities! You can stir it into your juice until it dissolves. If you really need a sweet juice, the best option is to use both stevia and xylitol together in moderation for a nice well rounded sweet taste.

This third trick of the juicing trade goes along with the last stevia/xylitol trick. It is to add an acidic/sour aspect to the juice. Similar to lemonade, the sour flavor really brings out the full sweetness of a drink amazingly. One can add a half a lemon or a full lemon or lime to any juicing recipe to accomplish this. Lemon/lime is awesome but I actually prefer to add the acidic bite with a splash of apple cider vinegar. This actually is a weight loss trick! Apple cider vinegar inhibits the enzyme glucosidase in your digestive tract. Glucosidase breaks down sugars for absorption. With apple cider vinegar, you are essentially lowering the carbs/insulin requirement of the juice which is hugely important for weight loss. Apple cider vinegar has long been used to lower blood sugar and this is why I recommend it over citrus for weight loss juices.

The last trick that I will share that is specific to weight loss is the addition of thermogenic ingredients in your juice. A thermogenic food is one that actually increases the metabolism, increasing body temperature, utilizing the bodies ability to burn body fat in the process. The first thermogenic food which is a common ingredient in juice recipes is fresh ginger root. Start with a small slice and increase daily to taste.

Benefits of Ginger Root: Besides burning fat through increasing metabolism, ginger acts as a PPAR agonist, PPAR is an enzyme hugely involved in weight loss and even cancer prevention. To put it simply, ginger works on an enzyme that will inhibit adipocyte differentiation (growth of new fat cells) as well as the growth of existing adipocytes. Not only will ginger work on your PPAR enzyme to prevent weight gain, it will also work to unload the fat droplets from the adipocytes (fat cells) to make existing fat cells shrink. Additionally, ginger is among the most potent anti inflammatory herbs in existence which is vital for weight loss. This is well known as weight gain is an inflammatory process. As an anti inflammatory, ginger is going to work in preventing most all degenerative disease. Ginger is a to longevity healer that I try to take into my body daily, even though my body fat percentage already is down to 4 percent!

The next thermogenic herb you may want to add is any hot pepper. The active ingredient called capsaicin (this is what burns in your mouth) is responsible for increasing metabolism, thus utilizing fat stores for energy. Some people are very fond of a spicy kick hot peppers add to the juice. Others, like my white self, do not enjoy it as much. If you do not enjoy it like me, you can still get the benefit just by taking some cayenne powder mixed in a shot of water three times per day. Do this separate from the juice if you want to enjoy your juice without the hot burn. If you can find fresh cayenne to juice that is great. More commonly you can find fresh jalapenos which do not have as much heat. Bell peppers make a great juice addition but contain no heat and will not be thermogenic.

One more thermogenic vegetable I will mention that also tastes great in most juice recipes is fennel. Fennel is thermogenic and has a sweet flavor similar to licorice but much more mild. Fennel goes well with many other vegetables and fruits. As a food medicine, fennel has potent cancer preventative effects as well as heart disease prevention compounds that are anti inflammatory.

RECIPES

As I said before, this article is less about recipes and more about the Art of juicing, with all these ideas in mind you should be ably to wing a recipe great fat burning ingredients and make it taste great. I have never made the same recipe twice, I always use everything I have in a juice as long as it does not throw the flavor too much. Again, it is okay to add one fruit at first as you are getting into the juicing habit. Good fruits to start with are apples, pears, pineapple, grapes, oranges, grapefruit etc.. As you learn your juicing alchemy and how to optimize the sweet flavors of veggies, you can reduce fruit for more optimal weight loss. I am to the point where I never add fruit to my recipes and my juices still taste plenty sweet using the tricks I mentioned.

Important! Keep in mind, some vegetables are actually quite high in sugar and should not be overdone if weight loss is the number one goal. A great example is carrot. I have had pure carrot juice and it is very sweet with sugars!

Here are some quick examples of juicing recipes that include the tricks and food/medicines I have mentioned.

Carrot Celery Juice

- One half pound carrotsjuicing-for-weightloss

-One to three celery stalks

-One cucumber

-Handful of greens (lettuce, kale, carrot greens etc.)

-One apple

-Slice of ginger-The more the better

-Half lime or splash of ACV

-Sweeten naturally to taste (stevia ACV)

 

Tomato Juice

-Three cups diced tomatoes

-One cucumber

-One stalk of celery

-One bell pepper

-Cayenne or jalapenos to taste

-Half lime or splash of ACV

-Pinch of pink land salt

 

Sweet greens

-One apple

-One cucumber

-Two or three stalks of celery

-Kale to your taste-One to five leaves

-Ginger to taste

-Lime or ACV

-Sweeten naturally to taste

 

Sweet beets

(Great for the liver)

-One to three beet roots

-One cup pineapple or one orange (Half of both is good too)

-One to three carrots

-One to three whole cabbage leaves

-Lime or ACV

-Sweeten naturally to taste

 

Green lemonade

-One applejuicing-for-weightloss

-One cucumber

-Spinach to taste (half cup or more)

-Kale to taste (couple leaves)

-One lemon

-Small pinch pink salt

-Sweeten naturally to taste

I love to eat berries but I will occasionally make a berry juice. Unfortunately, if you have a centrifugal juicer (Example: Jack Lalanne Juicer) juicing berries will be a complete waste. You can juice berries if you have an auger or masticating juicer than you can juice all the berries you want. For these juicers, here is a berry juice recipe.

Green Berry Blast

-One cup strawberries

-One cup blueberries

-One big handful spinach

-Stevia to taste
I hope you have gotten some great ideas here. This was a very brief article on the topic of juicing. The rabbit hole goes much deeper, as always. I have many more tips and suggestions for those wishing to optimize their daily juicing. Remember, seconds and minutes saved adds up quickly with daily rituals. As briefly mentioned, there are many types of juicers and certain juicer juice certain fruits and veggies. No one juicer is perfect for everything. The auger and masticating juicers are best for leafy greens and berries while the centrifugal juicers push through the carrots, beets, celery, cucumbers and apples brilliantly.
Okay one more little tip for better juice. All juicers will make a juice with small amounts of pulp in it. This is great for those who like the pulp but the amount of pulp is so small that the health benefits are minimal. A trick is to take the final juice and strain it through a very fine strainer or even an old shirt. This removes all pulp and provides a juice with a much better mouth feel. Stay wild friends.

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What is Forest Bathing?

forest-bathingQuite simply, forest bathing is being outside in a natural environment. This could be in a forest, prairie or even a park filled with trees. Forest bathing has been compared to aromatherapy in that an ecotherapy trip involves breathing in volatile organic compounds produced by the trees and soil. These organic compounds are called phytoncides and are antimicrobial. The individual compounds include a-pinene and limonene among thousands of other essential oils. The Forest Agency of Japan first proposed that incorporating forest bathing was necessary for a good lifestyle in 1982. In Japan, forest bathing is a well recognized stress management strategy.

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Of course the benefits of forest bathing are much more far reaching than just the aromatherapeutic aspect. As a species, it must be understood that it is in nature where we were created and developed. Our DNA was developed in nature over countless eons. Thus we can conclude that in order for our bodies to reach their optimal state of health, we must be where we are designed to be, nature. An analogy, if we were to spend a month in space, our body would rapidly breakdown. Our bones would decalcify and whither, our lymphatic system would stagnate and our organs would not function properly. Soon our bodies would fail and death would follow. Astronauts can only survive in space via advanced technologies that mimic our natural environment. Likewise, staying inside a house all day is not the environment our bodies need to thrive. We did not biologically develop inside of a modern industrial house.

Is There Scientific Evidence?

forest-bathingSure, common sense dictates that we do best where we were naturally designed, but has science come to agree with common sense? Overwhelmingly, yes it has. A Japanese study was done in 2005 on male and female participants to observe forest bathing effects on immune function. The subjects went on a 3 day/2 night forest bathing trip and had their natural killer immune cells (we want lots of these) and adrenaline (stress hormone that we want less of), by blood and urine, measured on days 2 and 3 of the trip as well as on day 7 and 30 after the trip. On just the second day, both the activity and the total number of natural killer cells increased significantly while the stress hormone adrenaline decreased. Amazingly, the increase in immune function marked by the elevated natural killer cells remained as improved over baseline for over 30 days after the forest bathing trip! More, subjects who took a trip to a city as a tourist did not receive any measured benefits. So one trip into the forest and your body will be working better for over a month after.. Wonderment, simple wonderment.

One of the most in-depth studies was done in Japan. The study involved 280 participants and 24 forests throughout Japan. In this study, forest bathing sessions were only 15 minutes. Stress indicators of heart rate, cortisol levels and blood pressure were measured at baseline, and before and after each forest bathing session. Whether the participants actually walked through the forests or just looked at them, all of the stress markers were significantly reduced after the sessions.

What Do These Studies Mean?

Improved immunity and lowered stress response means less disease and longer life. In fact, natural killer cells cause tumors and virus infected cells to self destruct. Forest bathing consistently can be looked at as a disease prevention and longevity practice. With the lowered stress and raised immune function preventing heart disease, stroke, cancer and more. These studies also show that you do not absolutely have to go into the forest every day though this would bring maximal benefits. If you can only get out there once a week then that will vastly improve your health.

What If I Cannot Get To A Forest?

This is becoming more common in this modern age, deforestation is making many people rich and this will not stop without a global change of conscience. We still can get some of the benefits of nature without actually being in a forest. As mentioned before, a big factor involved in forest bathing health benefits is the aromatherapeutic aspects of it. This is demonstrated in the article “Take two hours in a pine forest and call me in the morning” where the writer demonstrates the power of inhaling the volatile compounds that are found in nature..

“Before taking a drag, I stuffed my right arm into yet another blood-pressure machine. Then we unscrewed the cap of the forest elixir and I inhaled. The oil gave off a nice pitchy, vaguely turpentine scent. We put the cap back on and read my blood pressure again. It had dropped 12 points.”

Though the benefits do come in much greater depth, we derive health benefits from all five senses in nature. Here is how to replicate each forest benefit..

1. Smell- this is the aromatherapeutic aspect just mentioned. You can derive these powerful benefits through aromatherapy. Get an essential oil burner and burn some cypress oil, pure turpentine (natural pine oil), or really any tree or herbal essential oil in your home, they all provide great benefit. Having houseplants provides the same benefit as plants release these compounds into the air. Houseplants also provides forest bathing benefits of cleaning the air. Plants will absorb and neutralize toxic gasses off-gassed in industrial houses which would otherwise be absorbed by you.

2. Sight- Sight is pretty simple. Seeing nature calms us, in fact just seeing the color green does so. Having houseplants is the best strategy here as we get a look at nature and the color green. Also having pictures of nature in the house will be of benefit. If you have trees outside, open those windows up.

3. Sound- The sounds of nature, birds, the wind through the trees, the flowing water. All very calming to us. If you have song birds around, open the windows. Another very effective strategy is to play tapes of nature sounds.

4. Taste- This is a benefit that only the most clever and rewilded forest bathers will receive. A wild or rewilded human will be foraging and tasting plants naturally. There are five flavors that we can taste that all benefit our health. We have taste buds that detect sweet, salty, sour, bitter and acrid flavors because we need foods with all these flavors to maintain peak health. Getting into herbalism (herbs are basically wild foods) is a great start for everyone. Look for herb walks if you do have forests around. Otherwise, make sure to taste all five flavors daily. Most westerners only know and appreciate sweet and salty.

5. Feel- Walking out in the forest, touching the bark, the leaves, the soil.. As children we were drawn to this through instinct. Society domesticated us and as adults it is rare to get our hands dirty. It has been studied that bacterial species in soil, when transferred onto the skin, become part of our microbiome and increase serotonin production. This protects us from depression and also improves learning in children. Asthma protection has also been studied with dirt exposure. So get out into the yard and garden! Touching our house plants and touching and playing with our pets will also provide benefit as well as cuddling with our partners.

Summary

Staying true to our natural human design is the right idea. The farther we stray from nature the sicker and less happy we become. Fortunately the benefits of nature seem to stick to us pretty well. Even one nature walk a week should be enough to keep us healthy. Remember to dive in head first, use all five senses next time you find yourself out in nature. Get out soon and Rewild Thyself. Make it a habit, it could be your most valuable one.

 

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