10 Day Juice Fast: Is Juicing Good For You?
Today is day eight. Since this is my first writing assignment here at Breaking Muscle, I thought it would only be appropriate to open with a dramatic statement like that. Today is day eight. “Day eight of what?” you ask. Great question. Well folks, for the past eight days, I have lived (primarily) off of the ingestion of juiced fruits and vegetables.
Yes, I was greatly inspired by the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Yes, I was inspired enough to ask my good friend and business partner Eric to watch it as well. Of course as a CrossFitter, I was also game to try his recommendation of a 10 day juice fast. What better way to derive fodder for articles and Facebook updates then through self experimentation, eh?
The documentary, if you haven’t seen it (and you should see it immediately) is about an Australian fellow that finds himself in a midlife/poor health crisis of sorts and sets out on a 60-day, juice-fueled quest through the United States. His days are spent travelling around our great nation interviewing people on their thoughts on health, wellness and his sixty-day experiment. I should also add the main “character” of the film, for lack of a better term, is also roughly sixty pounds overweight and suffering from Urticaria, a painful auto-immune disease that manifests with skin lesions and rashes.
The goal of the documentary is to show people the power of the human body to heal itself – if given the chance. I won’t go into any further detail regarding what happens to him so as not to ruin anyone’s viewing experience. Our goal, Eric and mine, was to see what would happen if two healthy CrossFit coaches underwent the same challenge – only for 10 days.
Due to the viral nature of life these days, I believe a lot of people will be buying juicers in the next twelve months as this documentary becomes more and more popular. This begs an interesting question, “Is juicing healthier than eating whole vegetables?”
Jennifer K. Nelson a nutritionist from the Mayo Clinic had this to say about the matter:
Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.
Proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion, and help you lose weight. But there's no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.1
Well shoot, if it’s not any healthier to juice than it is to eat vegetables, was my experiment for naught? The Mayo Clinic has its opinion, but I have my own and it reads something like this, “Juicing may or may not be more healthy than the ingestion of whole vegetables, IF you actually eat said whole vegetables, which you most likely won’t, even if you say that you will.”
Take a 15 second pause here if you would. (Seriously, count to 15). Ok, thanks. In that time I walked into my kitchen and poured myself a glass of juice and drank it. This morning, I put nine bunches of Bok Choy, three packs of carrots, six apples, a thumb sized chunk of ginger, two stalks of celery, three cucumbers, and four zucchinis, all organic through my juicer. The glass I just drank was a mix of all of the phytochemicals from those vegetables.
Normally, my “writing break snack” is not all of the above vegetables. It’s usually a handful of nuts (not too bad), maybe a protein bar (don’t want the guns to shrink) or a piece of fruit or turkey jerky. None of those options are necessarily unhealthy, but I’d argue that they are less beneficial to my well being than the glass of juice that I just slugged down. Since today is day eight (as was dramatically arrived at in the opening sentence), and I’ve still got to make a gallon of juice for tomorrow morning, I’ll leave you to ponder your own health and the whether or not you believe that it would be a benefit to you to add freshly juiced fruits and vegetables into your own daily dietary repertoire.
Find out how the rest of Traver's juice-fast experience played out -