When one looks back through human history, the search for performance enhancing foods is clearly evident and dates back several thousand years before even the earliest civilizations had formed. In those primitive times, early humans searched for foods that increased strength and performance in order to be better hunters and win wars. How else do you think Spartacus amassed an army of 90,000 and led the revolt against Rome during the Gladiatorial War? History is filled with tales of warriors who ate and drank various foods to boost their combat prowess. Now is the time to exit out of the dark ages of nutrition and enter into the scientifically-based renaissance of high-tech performance nutrition. This is your chance to do things right and get the competitive edge you need in order to add more medals to your trophy wall and be promoted to the next belt. To do this, you must know all the options out there, and by reading this issue, you will be well on your way. The next nutrition tool for your toolbox is the art of JUICING! Not the kind that shrinks your “manhood,” but the one designed to keep you alive until you’re 100 and bench pressing 20 times your body weight!
The juicing craze is taking the world by storm. The days of cooking your vegetables and preparing fruit in the kitchen is coming to an end. It’s easier to throw everything into a juicer and BAM! You have a full glass of liquid gold offering many life enhancing health benefits, including a more efficient way to absorb immune boosting nutrients. So is it health or is it hype? With most anything there will be pros and cons, but let’s first break down the difference between the terms, “nutrition” and “diet.” The term “diet” is often associated with limiting or restricting a certain food in order to achieve a desired outcome (typically to lose weight). “Nutrition” is the process of eating and converting food into structural and functional body compounds like skin, muscle, and hair. It is required for muscle growth, performance, and health. So, ask yourself, “Why do I want to juice? Do I need to go on a diet? Do I need better nutrition? Or do I want to gather an army of 90,000 and take down Rome?”
So, you’ve decided that $2,400 was best spent on the Nutrifaster N450 Juicer (seriously, that’s the real price) and you are ready to start juicing (as a side note, keep in mind that there are a number of highly rated juicers available for less than $100. A simple search on Amazon will show you at least a half-dozen rated 4 stars and up products for less than a Benjamin.) Plugging in your juicer for the first time will set you on a journey of removing the insoluble fiber from your vegetables and fruits. While fiber is an established and important part of an overall healthy diet, removing the insoluble fiber allows for increased absorption of specific health-promoting phytonutrients including enzymes, while the soluble fiber persists into the juice. By removing the fibers and consuming vegetables and fruits in liquid form, you are providing a nutrient delivery system to your body. This allows individuals, who would otherwise have difficulty consuming whole vegetables, the opportunity to reap the numerous benefits vegetables and fruits have to offer.
Simple Jiu-Jitsu Math
The average age of JJM readers is 34 and 93% of you are male. According to my calculations, you should be taking in 4 cups of vegetables and 2.5 cups of fruit A DAY!
Most commercial juices are processed and lacking in nutrition, while freshly juiced vegetables and fruits are loaded with an abundance of antioxidants. Juicing is an easy way to shower your body with concentrated amounts of nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits (hello vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants). Plus, these drinks are automatically low in ingredients you want to avoid like toxic fats, added sugars, and salt. A glass of freshly made juice provides a way to access digestive enzymes typically locked away in the fiber matrix of whole fruits; thus, helping to facilitate the chemical breakdown of food into smaller, more absorbable components for your body.
Consider This: Drinking fresh juice can help you adopt healthier eating patterns. If you, or someone you roll with, does not traditionally consume their recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vegetables and fruits, incorporating fresh juice can be a fun and a different approach to increasing consumption of these important plant foods for improved health and wellness. It is safe to say that juicing is the easiest and fastest way to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. Compare drinking a glass of juice to eating 1 large cucumber, 2 apples, a lemon, 6 kale leaves, and a handful of spinach in one sitting. If you have a hard time getting your daily servings of vegetables and fruit, juicing is a great way to get them in a glass.
Now for the downsides: if you’re considering juicing to drop pounds fast, continue reading. While strictly following a juicing program for more than a few days can promote a downward trend on the scale because you’re slashing your collective daily calories, you pay a price. Most plans leave gaping nutritional holes in your diet. The majority of the calories in these juice beverages come from carbs, including high amounts of natural sugar from fruits. That means almost all commercial juice plans are grossly inadequate in protein, a key nutrient that helps you feel full and energized, while maintaining your lean muscle mass and boosting your metabolism. In fact, following a low protein diet, while simultaneously cutting calories, causes you to lose a higher proportion of weight as muscle tissue (as opposed to fat), which puts the brakes on your metabolism and reduces strength. Plus, most of the fiber in fruits and vegetables are lost during juicing if the pulp is not added back to the drink – a common (and ironic) issue with commercial juice blends on the market. WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? It means that you’re basically following a high-carb, low-protein and low-fiber diet, which can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar and lead to headaches, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue. Another major drawback is that liquid calories do not have the same fill-power as whole, solid foods, which make them hard to stick to with a juice-only plan for longer than a few days without feeling irritable and completely ravenous. Then there’s the cost. Commercial juice plans are prohibitively expensive for most people, with the most popular kits ranging from $65 to $85 a day. Even juicing at home can put a strain on your wallet since there is a low yield of juice per pound of produce.
1. If you want to try juicing, skip the full-on liquid diet and instead, enjoy a green juice (heavy on veggies and lighter on fruit to keep calories and sugar in check) with or in place of one of your meals.
2. If you’re picky, or not sure about flavor start with a higher fruit ratio and gradually lower by adding more veggies.
3. Use fresh fruits and veggies and fruits that are in season generally taste best.
4. It’s best to remove the seeds when juicing apples.
5. Anything with a tough exterior like oranges, bananas melons you should remove the rind before juicing.
6. Wash your fruit and veggies thoroughly and be sure to wash out your juicer after every use. Leaving any trace of raw material will stink quickly and could get you sick.
Try this for a great snack:
Mix in several kale leaves, 2 large carrots, a spoonful of ginger, parsley, and 1 apple. And how cool is this…you then add the leftover pulp from the juicing machine into some muffins!
The More You Know
With the information laid out as simple as it can be, make the right choices when it comes to your nutrition or choosing which diet to follow. Besides, nothing looks more intimidating to your opponent than you showing up to your match slamming down some juice from a sippy cup! As always my friends; eat healthy, eat clean and eat often.