RHR: The Pros and Cons of Juicing

RHR: The Pros and Cons of Juicing

by Chris Kresser

Last updated on

revolution health radio

We’re not going to use the fact that our paleo ancestors weren’t juicing as a reason not to do it. So let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of juicing, and then I’ll give you my sense of the role that juicing might play in a paleo or nutrient-dense type of diet.

In the sort of mainstream alternative health community, if you will, juicing is a hugely popular activity and something that gets a lot of airplay and discussion. It’s not discussed quite as much in the paleo world. It’s not really a part of the paleo meme partly because our ancestors didn’t really have any Champion Juicers around to juice anything, so certainly from that perspective it doesn’t really fit into the ancestral framework, but as I’ve said before, the fact that our ancestors didn’t do something is not enough of a reason for us not to do it.

In this episode, we cover:

3:00  What Chris ate today
5:50  Update on the clinician training program
17:40  The benefits of juicing
21:36  The drawbacks of juicing
26:08  The role juicing can play in a paleo or nutrient-dense type of diet

Play

Steve Wright: Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. You are listening to the Revolution Health Radio Show. I’m your host, Steve Wright, co-author at SCDlifestyle.com. I want to let you know that this episode of RHR is brought to you by 14Four.me. Now, 14Four.me, if you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s a 14-day healthy lifestyle reset program. It handles the four areas of your health that we’re typically talking about on the show, specifically diet, sleep, movement, and stress. If you’ve ever tried to tweak all of those at the same time — I have — it gets really complicated, it can be very confusing and frustrating, and so what Chris has done is he has created this 14-day healthy lifestyle program where it sort of hand holds and walks you step by step how you might structure your day so you still eat well, sleep well, move a little bit, and stay low stress. It can be complicated, but in 14Four.me Chris has made it easy. So go check it out, 14Four.me, and we’ll get on with the show now.

With me is integrative medical practitioner, healthy skeptic, and New York Times bestselling author, Chris Kresser. Chris, how’s your day?

Chris Kresser: Oh, it’s going pretty well. How about you, Steve?

Steve Wright: It’s going great. I’m in the beautiful mountains in Utah right now.

Chris Kresser: Sounds nice. Is it snowing?

Steve Wright: It’s raining.

Chris Kresser: Wow.

Steve Wright: Kind of not to be expected.

Chris Kresser: Hmm. Not great for any snow activities, huh?

Steve Wright: Yeah. That’s why we’re having a podcast and I’m not skiing!

Chris Kresser: Right! Well, we had no measurable rain in California in January for the first time, I think, ever since they’ve been keeping records, and it’s a crazy drought.

Steve Wright: That’s not good.

Chris Kresser: You see pictures of the water levels in various areas around California. It’s looking pretty apocalyptic.

Steve Wright: I’m gonna have to ask you, Chris, to get on this problem because I really like your avocados, bananas —

Chris Kresser: Yeah, there’s not going to be a lot of that. Well, the upside is that while California turns into an uninhabitable desert, it’s at least a very nice place to live in the meantime!

Steve Wright: There are lots of cool people that live there!

Chris Kresser: I was out in my t-shirt enjoying 70-degree weather yesterday, so there’s always an upside to everything, right, Steve?

Steve Wright: That’s true. You have to look at both angles. There’s always a good side.

Chris Kresser: Yeah.

Steve Wright: So before we get on with today’s show, Chris, people are dying to know, what have you been eating all day?

What Chris ate today

Chris Kresser: Today was kind of a, well, not totally intermittent fast day. I skipped breakfast, went to the gym, got a lot of work done early on, and just was so focused. Something I was doing was the clinician training program, actually — I’ll come back to that in a second — and I just didn’t really want to take the time to stop and eat, so I kept working and then I went to the gym, came back, had brunch, and brunch was —

Steve Wright: Mimosas, right?

Chris Kresser: Exactly! I had this raw kale salad from The Zenbelly Cookbook that is, as I’ve said, one of my favorite cookbooks by far. It’s shredded kale that’s marinated and sits for a while and gets tender that way, some sauerkraut with beets and carrots and cabbage, a green chile pork sausage from my favorite charcuterie, The Fifth Quarter, and some white potato hash browns.

Steve Wright: Mmm.

Chris Kresser: The beloved, often maligned white potato.

Steve Wright: So delicious, though, especially with salt and butter.

Chris Kresser: So good, yeah. This was salt and a little bit of expeller-pressed coconut oil and a little bit of bacon grease just to give it that extra hash brown diner flavor.

Steve Wright: Nice.

Chris Kresser: Yeah, it was good.

Steve Wright: Were you able to crisp them up? Did you, like, boil them ahead of time and then shred them?

Chris Kresser: Oh, yeah. Well, we have this flat electric griddle, and what I do is I grate them with a grater so they’re pretty fine.

Steve Wright: And they’re raw?

Chris Kresser: Raw. And then I lay them out flat, but I put a baking sheet over them with this kind of weighted — I don’t know what it’s called, but it has a handle and it’s basically just a flat — it’s like a thing that you press stuff with on the grill, and it weighs down the cooking sheet and then that creates some steam so that the potatoes get kind of steamed, and it also makes them really crispy because it’s pressing down and pushing them into the griddle. That’s a little trick I picked up from our friend Robb Wolf, actually, when I was out visiting a couple years ago, he and Nicki and Zoe in Reno. We were staying with them, and Robb pulled out that trick for hash browns, so I’ve been using it ever since.

Steve Wright: I like it. I’m going to have to check this out. I’m going to try this.

Chris Kresser: It’s good.

Steve Wright: So tell us more about this project that’s got you extremely focused right now.

Chris Kresser: Got me skipping meals?

Steve Wright: Yeah.

Update on the clinician training program

Chris Kresser: You know, I’ve been talking about clinician training for a long time, and this has just come out of my experience working with patients and having a practice that’s been largely closed to new patients for the last several years and the growing demand for practitioners who understand both functional medicine and evolutionary ancestral nutrition and health. It’s so clear to me now that there’s no way that I as a single practitioner could ever even remotely come close to scratching the surface of meeting the demand for this kind of work. So many people want and need this kind of help, and even if I train associates that work in my practice as I’ve already started to do, there’s just a fairly hard limit on the number of people that can serve that way, and so I’ve always known that the next step would be to create a clinician training program that can serve a lot more people than I could train on a one-on-one basis in my clinic.

I’ve spent really the last year thinking about this, developing it. I’ve started and stopped on several different iterations. To be honest, it’s taken me longer than anything else that I’ve ever done to really figure out what the best way to move forward is. For example, I wrote my book in about four or five months, and the first draft of it was 600 or 700 pages! And of course, I had a lot of material that I had already written from years of blogging and stuff like that, so it wasn’t like I just started from complete scratch and wrote it in four or five months, but the outline came together very quickly, and my vision for it was clear from the start. It just went and I didn’t really have to rearrange any old ideas or concepts to make it work, whereas with this training program I’ve kind of gone back to square one.

First of all, I went and read the scientific literature on the most recent developments in learning theory and realized that almost everything that we think about learning is not true. The way that we have typically been taught in school is a disaster.

Steve Wright: Perfect.

Chris Kresser: Yeah, the worst possible way to teach, in many cases, in terms of retaining information. So I went down that rabbit hole for a while and got really fascinated by how we learn and how we retain information and how we translate knowledge into practical skills because, of course, that’s what the goal of this training is. It’s not to just give people a whole bunch of information that they then forget and don’t use in their life. It’s to transfer the knowledge and skills that people will need to start and manage a really successful and effective functional medicine practice.

Steve Wright: Can you give us, like, one cool tip about learning that will just blow our minds?

Chris Kresser: I don’t know about that, but the typical method of learning is what you might call ‘covering material.’ A textbook covers a ton of material, but it’s all out of context. It’s like learning the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. It’s out of context. You don’t really understand when you read a textbook how it applies to real situations. You don’t understand the relative importance of one thing versus another because it’s all basically emphasized to an equal degree, and in terms of medical education, learning a bunch of facts without having any understanding how they apply to what you’re doing in terms of treating patients is not that useful.

An example of this would be, back in the ’80s, Harvard recognized this and Harvard Medical School transitioned to a case-based learning style in their medical school. It wasn’t pioneered by Harvard. It was McMaster University, I think, in Canada — if I’m getting that right — started it, but Harvard kind of really expanded it. It used to be that medical school, the first two years of it was just didactic education, lectures basically, lectures on pharmacology and physiology and all the medical sciences, and you didn’t really get into the clinic and start thinking about patients until the last two years, and that’s still how a lot of medical schools are set up, but they just totally switched it to where when students come in, they immediately just start working on case studies. I mean, they don’t know what they’re doing, but they get in small groups and they work on case studies. They get a case and then they have to figure out, what do I need to know in order to be able to work on this case? If it’s someone that has a cough, they go, OK, well, I need to study the physiology of the lung. I need to study pathology, what can go wrong in this kind of situation. I need to — And then they go off and they use their own learning styles and preferences in terms of how they like to learn to figure all that out. That’s an example.

Another example is this kind of fire hose method of education, like the weekend seminar where you sit there for 16 hours and then you just have, like, information fire-hosed at you, and then you go back to your clinic at the end of that and you’re like, What?! How do I even apply this?!

So the way I’m setting things up is in a way that maximizes what we know about learning science to retain information and be able to use it in a practical manner, so it’s going to be a case-based learning method where we just immediately start looking at labs, interpreting labs, designing treatment protocols, and there will be a lot of reference material provided to fill in the gaps, but really my intention is that when somebody finishes this training, they will be able to start and run a very effective, successful functional medicine practice. That’s the goal. I’m not setting out to deliver a whole bunch of information or to give people the broadest possible education in functional medicine. I’m setting out to create super-effective functional medicine practitioners.

That’s kind of the whole background of it! And more specifically, the curriculum is going to be offered in much shorter segments, like 8-10 minutes, to maximize retention. There are going to be low-stakes quizzes because we know from the learning research that having to recall information after you’ve learned it really dramatically increases retention. There’s going to be homework assignments and case assignments, and there’ll be a monthly workshop, a longer seminar with me where I present cases and advise on cases of participants and answer questions. There will be weekly support with my trained clinicians, kind of like the university model where there’s the larger lecture and then there are the discussion sections with the TAs on a week-by-week basis.

And it’s going to cover four key areas: diet and lifestyle, like how to customize diet and lifestyle recommendations from an ancestral perspective based on the particular patient that you’re seeing; functional blood chemistry; GI disorders; and HPA axis or adrenal fatigue syndrome. Those are the four core areas that I think should be the starting place for any functional medicine encounter. They’re going to help the greatest number of people. And certainly some people will need more than that, but if that’s all you focused on in your entire career and you just learned to do that really well, you would be able to help an enormous number of people, and for probably 80% of the people that come through the door, 70%, that’s going to be enough to get them back to health.

Steve Wright: Yeah, I’m excited for that, Chris. I think it’s going to be a wonderful program, and I think you’re hitting on something that’s really important that’s kind of missing from almost all areas of different medicine, at least that I’ve been involved with, which is that as a clinician you have to recognize that everyone’s different and yet, if you have a framework that you can sort of hang the whole problem around, typically you can move the ball way down the field just using the framework, and then once you start to hit some obstacles, that’s when you get into the custom stuff. So I’m looking forward to having a big group of people who really get this stuff. I think it’s going to be amazing for the world.

Chris Kresser: Yeah, I’m excited. I’m really excited to teach it, and I think it’s going to go a lot faster now. All those months were just figuring out the frame and the context and the strategy for how to deliver it, and now that I have that settled, I’ve just been making very quick progress in terms of taking the actual steps to get it out there. I hesitate to make any projections, but my strong intention is to launch it this year and hopefully before the end of the summer.

Steve Wright: Perfect.

Chris Kresser: Fingers crossed.

Steve Wright: Alright.

Chris Kresser: Alright. So today we have an interesting question. Let’s give it a listen.

Question: Hello. I’d like to know your thoughts on juicing, the kind of juicing done by Jay Kordich, and your thoughts on the benefits or negatives of doing so.

Chris Kresser: Alright, so juicing. In the sort of mainstream alternative health community, if you will, juicing is a hugely popular activity and something that gets a lot of airplay and discussion. It’s not discussed quite as much in the paleo world. It’s not really a part of the paleo meme partly because our ancestors didn’t really have any Champion Juicers around to juice anything, so certainly from that perspective it doesn’t really fit into the ancestral framework, but as I’ve said before, the fact that our ancestors didn’t do something is not enough of a reason for us not to do it. We’re not going for paleo reenactment here. We look at things from an ancestral perspective to generate questions and hypotheses and give us some ideas about what may or may not make sense, but we’re not going to use the fact that our paleo ancestors weren’t juicing as a reason not to do it. So let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of juicing, and then I’ll just give you my sense of the role that juicing might play in a paleo or nutrient-dense type of diet.

The benefits of juicing

The pros are that fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytonutrients that more and more studies suggest have a lot of health benefits. These are nutrients that are not the same as the essential nutrients that research is very clear that we need, things like vitamins and minerals, you know, vitamin A, D, C, and minerals like zinc and iron and things like that. I mean, those are all, of course, important and are found in fruits and vegetables, but we’re talking about other phytonutrients and things that are referred to as antioxidants that are found pretty exclusively in fruits and vegetables. They’re not found so much in meat and animal products. They’re found more in plants, and these things do, I think, have important health benefits. Overall they seem to play a hormetic role, and what this means is that something that’s hormetic is something that induces a positive adaptation. It’s a stressor, but it’s a stressor that helps us to adapt and evolve, evolve over a longer timescale or adapt in a shorter timescale.

An example of hormesis that everybody knows about is exercise, and we can talk about weightlifting in particular. If you go and you lift a weight at a gym and you lift a weight to the point of failure, you’re going to be creating some tears in the muscles, and that’s a stressor, putting stress on the muscles, and the body’s response will be to rebuild that muscle so it’s a little bit stronger so it can ideally deal with that amount of weight the next time you lift weights. This is an oversimplification, but that’s the general idea. So exercise and weightlifting, in particular, has a hormetic effect.

It appears that a lot of the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables have the same effects. They’re referred to often as antioxidants, but they’re really more pro-oxidant in that they have this hormetic effect where they ramp up the body’s own antioxidant defense system. They cause a little bit of stress, and they ramp up the body’s own internal antioxidant defense system. So they have an antioxidant effect, but they, the nutrients themselves, are not antioxidants. And this probably explains, in part, why studies consistently show that eating fresh fruits and vegetables is associated with better health.

Juicing is a way that some people find easier to get more fruits and vegetables into their diet, so that’s one possible pro.

People with digestive issues who might have trouble breaking down a lot of the fiber that’s in whole fruits and vegetables might be able to tolerate juices, and they’re part of the GAPS diet, which is a gut-healing diet, for this reason, I think. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be important for healing, but a lot of people who have a really inflamed gut can’t deal with the insoluble fiber and other tough fibers in fruits and veggies.

Raw fruits and veggies contain nutrients and substances that are not found in cooked foods or that are lower in cooked foods. Glutathione is a really good example. It’s the master antioxidant in the body and helps protect against oxidative damage and has a regulatory effect on the immune system. Glutathione is not really present in cooked vegetables or cooked meats. It’s in raw fruits and vegetables and raw meats, so juicing can give you glutathione. There are enzymes in raw fruits and vegetables that are destroyed in the cooking process, so that’s another potential pro.

And then some people feel really good when they do some juicing, and that’s obviously another pro.

The drawbacks of juicing

On the con side, depending on what’s being juiced, juices can have a lot of sugar. I’ve written and talked about how I don’t think that even small amounts of sugar are toxic and that we can’t tolerate sugar in the form of honey or juices like this, but certainly for some people that could be problematic, depending on their metabolic function and insulin and glucose tolerance. That’s one potential issue.

When you juice using most juicers, it removes the fiber, and the fiber in fruits and vegetables can feed the beneficial gut microbiota, and it also increases satiety. I don’t think most people are going to eat too many calories with fruit or vegetable juicing because they’re super low in calories anyway, but fiber does play a beneficial role overall in terms of feeding the gut microbiota and increasing satiety. Of course, you can get around that. There’s a new kind of device that’s become pretty popular called the NutriBullet. Do you know about the NutriBullet, Steve?

Steve Wright: I’ve heard a little bit. I get marketed to a lot, so yes, I’ve seen some of these.

Chris Kresser: The NutriBullet is essentially a blender, I think. I don’t own one, but I know people who do, and it basically blends and pulverizes the fruit or vegetable so that the fiber is still intact, so it’s not technically a juicer. It’s more of a blender. And of course, things like the Vitamix, which has been around for a long time, can do that as well. So you’re putting a whole fruit in there or whole vegetables, and you blend it around and it’s more like a fruit or vegetable shake, I suppose, than a juice.

Steve Wright: A smoothie.

Chris Kresser: A smoothie, yeah. There’s still the fiber, so it may not be absorbed as quickly or as fully as the juice for some people, but on the other hand, it will have the benefits of the fiber.

Another potential con on the flipside for people with digestive issues is that a lot of raw juices can cause loose stool or diarrhea in some susceptible people. I’ve seen that in people on the GAPS diet early on who start to add raw juices into their diet.

Juicing a lot of raw green vegetables, which is really popular in the juicing community, can be problematic for people with thyroid issues because a lot of those green vegetables have goitrogens, and if iodine intake is low because someone’s not eating iodized salt and they’re not having fish head soup or sea vegetables, then they could very well be iodine deficient. If they have a pre-existing thyroid problem, that could be problematic to have tons of raw kale juice, for example. It’s not going to affect everyone, but it can affect some people.

And then the last con is just a personal pet peeve about juicing and juicers, is that they’re a pain in the butt to clean!

Steve Wright: I have another good one for you, but that one sucks. That one totally sucks.

Chris Kresser: That’s my biggest reason for not juicing, to be honest!

Steve Wright: Yeah, I’m with you on that! I’ve actually had some friends who were essentially sticking to the same recipe on a regular basis and they were trying to cut cost because obviously sourcing the same recipe every day, good fresh stuff organic is tough.

Chris Kresser: Yeah.

Steve Wright: They end up with, like, half non-organic vegetables, and so you’re actually increasing your pesticide load if you continue with the same recipe and you do non-organic, so you have to watch out for that, too.

Chris Kresser: Yeah. The con would be it’s expensive to do right, if you’re getting local farmers’ market kind of produce, and you have to have quite a lot of it to make enough juice, of course. Yeah, that’s another one.

The role juicing can play in a paleo or nutrient-dense type of diet

So how do I feel about juicing overall and what role could it play in someone’s diet? I think occasional juicing or even a small amount daily in the context of a whole-foods, nutrient-dense diet is perfectly fine, assuming you don’t have any of the issues that I mentioned and you follow some of the guidelines that I just mentioned. I think it can play a therapeutic role in certain situations. I know it’s been successful for some people doing the GAPS diet. Some people seem to like doing it at certain times of the year if they start to feel sluggish or if they’re fighting a cold or the flu and they feel like they need some additional nutrient support or something like that. Like everything else, it depends on the individual and their needs and their health status and circumstances. If a patient asks me about it, I essentially say what I’ve said here and I’m not opposed to them trying it as long as it doesn’t become the focus of their nutrition plan. I’m not a big believer, obviously, in a diet that is centered around juicing.

Steve Wright: Yeah, it seems to be one of those things that’s the last 10% or last 15% of the overall sort of treatment plan for monitoring your health. When you try to mix in sleep and stress and food and movement and then supplements and maybe some tests, juicing can eat up a lot of that budget both mentally as well as monetarily. It does seem to be very therapeutic for some people, but like you said, if you get focused on that and you miss the 80% that really seems to matter, I think that’s where a lot of people don’t get what they’re looking for.

Chris Kresser: That’s a great point, Steve, and I’ll just put that another way: You’ll probably get more bang for your buck in just dialing in the basics, making sure you’re maximizing nutrient density and minimizing toxicity in the diet, you’re dialing in the best macronutrient ratio for you based on your circumstances and your health status, you’re making sure to eat plenty of paleo superfoods like sea vegetables for iodine, fermented foods, fermentable fibers, bone broth, organ meats — all the stuff that I talk about in my book. And then once you have all that dialed in, then if you want to mess around with juicing, that would be fine, but I definitely agree with Steve that focusing on the other stuff first is probably going to be the best approach for most people.

Steve Wright: Awesome. Well, if you’d like your question answered on the Revolution Health Radio Podcast, please go to ChrisKresser.com/PodcastQuestion and record your question there, and hopefully we will be talking to you soon about it.

Chris Kresser: Alright, everybody, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.

Steve Wright: Yeah, thank you, everyone. In between shows, if you’re wondering what Chris is working on, what sort of research — apparently he might be posting things about learning behaviors and cool fun facts like that — he posts all that cool stuff that doesn’t necessarily always make the show or the blog at Facebook and Twitter, so go to Facebook.com/ChrisKresserLAc and Twitter.com/ChrisKresser to get those updates. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you on the next show.

Chris Kresser: Thanks, everyone.

58 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. Im confused by this paragraph…
    On the con side, depending on what’s being juiced, juices can have a lot of sugar. I’ve written and talked about how I don’t think that even small amounts of sugar are toxic and that we can’t tolerate sugar in the form of honey or juices like this, but certainly for some people that could be problematic, depending on their metabolic function and insulin and glucose tolerance. That’s one potential issue.
    It says “how you i dont think that even small amounts of sugar are toxic and that we cant tolerate sugar in the form of honey or juices like this”.
    What does this mean? If we cant tolerate small amounts of sugar than juicing is bad? Honey is bad too even raw?
    Thanks for taking the time to answer

  2. Wouldn’t some of the ‘cons’ apply not just to juicing, but to eating lots of vegetables too?

    For example, if you have goitrogens and aren’t eating/juicing iodine rich foods (cranberries, strawberries, etc) then you might get an overactive thyroid when consuming spinach and brassica vegetables (cauliflower, radishes, etc)?

    I think there’s also a ‘pro’ in that juicing can extract some enzymes/phytonutrients that would have gone out with the fiber if left to the body’s digestion… or at least would have been damaged if cooked.

    I use an Omega 8600J and the clean-up is nothing.

    I’ve been looking at blenders to make soups, apparently they come out hot and can be a great way to sneak in a few more veggies..

    Anyone know how the CleanBlend, Blendtec or the Salton Harley Pasternak Power Blender compare against the the de-facto standard Vitamix 5200/750?

    • The 3 Squares’ Soup3rb might be a better option if just doing soups. What does Dr. Tom Cowan think of Rainbow Vibrance Health?

  3. I was hoping you would talk about how to properly wash your vegetables before juicing them. I’ve read some articles that demonstrated raw produce contained bio films/microbes that could cause some problems in immune compromised individuals , which I am. I’ve tried soaking my veggies in a solution of vinegar, but am clueless as to whether this is effective solution. Any thoughts?

    • I’ve read that diluted vinegar (1 part to 3 parts water) is the best solution available for soaking off pesticides and herbicides — bacteria tho?

    • Wash your veggies with apple cider vinegar and Himalayan salt. Lemme soak for about three – five minutes and then rise off with cold water. You’re good to go!

  4. I like juicing because management of piles of vegetables in the fridge leads to mismanagement problems. When veg are have been in the fridge for a few days and are looking slightly limp, I just add them to my daily juice to get rid of them. Juicing solves the problem of wasting money on organic veg that don’t get eaten.

    Juicing is a good way of dealing with parts of veg, such as stalks and leaves (of cauliflower and broccoli for example), which are often discarded.

    Juicing helps to maximize your benefit from expensive organic produce.

    My Hurom juicer is not hard to clean. It take only five minutes, after ten minutes of juicing time. This is far quicker than cooking a dish of the vegetables. Cooking for my non-diabetic partner takes at least 40 minutes for each meal. Preparing my raw diabetic food, including clean-up, takes a fraction of the time. Juicing and blending save time cooking.

  5. Chris did not mention the difference between different kinds of juicer. Fast juicers oxidize; slow juicers don’t.

    For my diabetes, I have a (Thermomix) blended smoothie for one meal and a (Hurom) non-oxidizing slow-juicer juice (with bitter melon and beet or carrot and greens) for another, as well as a third cooked meal of mainly veg using coconut oil. Ingredients organic as far as possible. Any objections?

    • Again, juicing is extremely unhealthy! Quite frankly, Chris Kresser knows better than to struggle to find value in juicing as there is NOT any; none at all! Regardless of all the American advertising and paid studies; juicing is DANGEROUS and violently UNHEALTHY! Period!

      Vaduz, Liechtenstein

      • Madison,
        What is your expertise? There’s no value in juicing despite all the studies? This is science in action. Science proves or disproves things and has done so since the dawn of time. Are you saying you know more than science? Your expertise is greater than the positive results of hundreds of thousands of people who have juiced? And what do you care? If you don’t want to juice, good for you! But why be a Downer Debbie to those that enjoy it or have benefited from it?

        First of all, I can tell by your series of posts that you are anti-American and anti-juicing. By all means, that’s your choice, but I think it would be more beneficial if people on this board were supportive instead of negative and derogatory.

        Second, you are clearly ignorant on juicing. I find that those spewing negatives about juicing usually are uneducated about juicing, and of course, have never juiced themselves. Where did you get your information that juicing is giving your pancreas an insulin rush? This is simply FALSE. In fact, juicing has actually improved people’s insulin sensitivity.

        Third, are you denying the nutritional benefits of fruits and veggies? Regardless of how they are getting them, extra fruits and veggies in one’s diet is a positive thing! Much better than Twinkies and Pop-Tarts!

        And by the way, someone being overweight is NOT always about eating too much [sugar, carbs, food, calories, etc.]. For example, hormonal imbalances can affect ones weight and inability to gain (those that are very thin) or lose (those that are heavy). To say that one’s weight is simply a result of calories in and calories out or that you simply need to cut sugar is also FALSE. Oh, and hormones are more than just estrogen – it’s the entire endocrine system.

        And in case you come back with a comment that hormones are controlled by food, I will agree to a certain extent. A tumor on one’s pituitary or adrenal gland results in Cushing’s Disease. Bad food didn’t cause it and good food won’t cure it.

        Anyway, my point is that you’ve been more negative than positive. I get that that is just how some people are, but my question is, why open your mouth?

  6. What’s the lowdown on hypothyroidism from kale consumption ? I’m seeing it claimed that kale can do this, especially because of big raw kale smoothies – but only based on animal studies and only one case study of a human who ate huge amounts.

    • It might be helpful for you to know , I developed a huge Goiter on my thyroid after a week of drinking daily large quantities of kale and Apple Juice . I needed to go to hospital ,as I Could hardly breath .
      As soon as I stopped Juicing it all went away . This is how I discovered Paleo and I haven’t looked back .

      • Raw cruciferous vegetables are goitrogens, inhibit thyroid. Steaming reduces this substantially. It is possible to overdo cruciferous vegetables, especially if raw.

      • I developed pain similar to fibromyalgia. This built up over time. I have some arthritis or symptoms of in my joints. My muscles and tendons were very sore and i was very tired, fatigued and a bit depressed. A functional medicine practitioner told me to hold off on the daily green juice I had every day for a while…all of my symptoms except some joint tenderness has gone away. I found out my T3 was low. There is something to be said for moderation with all good things.

    • Hypothyroidism is everything to do with excessive sugar in the Diet. Extreme cases of eating too many calories. One cannot expect to weigh-in at 67 kilos eating as much sugar and excessively (tons of calories) as the Americans do.

      Eating is to sustain ones health…really! Not to ‘pig-out’! Not to eat slabs of ribs covered in 100 grams of sugared barbecue sauce. Not to eat tons of wonder bread along with the barbecue sauce loaded with sugar

      Weight management is simple…simply STOP eating simply sugars…process foods. The US is loaded with process foods and high-fructose corn syrup etc… It is extremely difficult to buy those things here in Europe. Well where I am.

      Vaduz, Liechtenstein

  7. As with everything, moderation is the key and your current health should be the determining factor how often or if at all you should be juicing and what you should be juicing. On average I would juice once or twice a week and that’s enough for me.

    • Well, the practice of moderation should be used in moderation as well! Compared to juicing 3 times a day, juicing once a day would be practicing moderation! And there is reason to think that it would be beneficial.

    • Anne, the BEST response I’ve read thus far. 1x /week juicing is already too much as it is authentically the extremely unbeneficial health practice. There is NOT any value in juicing except to give one’s pancreas the Insulin rush and the immediate and temporary head rush. It is horrible, horrible, and still horrible.

      Vaduz, Liechtenstein

  8. I don’t juice regularly mostly because clean up is a pain. When cooking for five, it is so much easier to throw it all in my vitamix. But our family has experienced the benefits of juicing in the past.

    One thing i often hear debates about is the fiber. But there are two kinds of fiber. Fresh juices are full of soluble fiber. This is the kind of fiber that the bacteria in our gut feed on and helps with balancing blood sugar etc. The juicing removes the insoluble fiber from the vegetables that adds bulk and helps you feel full. But that doesn’t seem to matter with me, I often find that I feel satisfied after drinking a glass of juice. It satisfies my hunger and i attribute that to the fact that my body is able to easily absorb a large dose of nutrients.

    Just something to think about.

  9. Hi Chris, fellow AP here..In reference to the clinician training; it sounds like that would only be available to those that live in your area. I am wondering if you will have a distance-learning only option since I am in FL. I plan on attending another FM school as well but I like your idea of making a program that’s practical and basic. I too have suffered with my own GI/systemic issues and have learned first hand, that figuring out the most essential testing is the key to successful treatment.

  10. Yes, eating healthy is great if it is healthy stuff that you eat. Thiocyanate found in many plants prevents the absorption of iodine by your thyroid and you are screwed, taking extra iodine will NOT compensate or open the iodine receptors on your thyroid gland. People think flaxseed, kale, and all the cruciferous veggies, are ok to load up on daily, even juice with it, and then they wonder why their thyroids slow down. Flaxseed is just plain ruinous to the thyroid but is being sold by the bagful in almost every grocery and health food store. Even the oil in it is horrible for a person. On a podcast I was listening to they said Seth Roberts was experimenting with high amounts of flaxseed oil and fish oil at the time of his death. He died from a coronary blockage, flax is very pro inflammatory so maybe that contribute to an early demise.

  11. Great discussion and I totally agree. We promote the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids but even eating too much fish is not ok. You should consider everything that you do ‘too much’. Even healthy things like running.

  12. When I juice, which I try to do daily, I add a little of the fibre back into the juice, then add some berries and green leafies and put it into the blender for a few seconds. That way I am still getting a good amount of fibre, but making it easier on my digestion and nicer to drink.

  13. My favorite plant-based protein add-ins to juices include: brewer’s yeast, hemp protein, Fruitein Revitalizing Greens, Spirutein (various flavors), Detoxitech, Vega One (various flavors including a neutral flavor for veg juices), Garden of Life Raw Protein (various flavors including a neutral for veg juices), and Maca-Up. Another add-in is Garden of Life Perfect Food Raw. Juices are less detoxing if you add protein, but are more suited to being an ordinary everyday meal such as breakfast (or any meal or snack).

    Anyone with high blood sugar issues would want to emphasize the vegetable juices, especially cucumber+celery is a good one for this in the summertime. And possibly add protein to other veg juices like carrot-celery-tomato-beet-radish.

    As for fiber, you’ll likely be getting fiber through your other foods, such as salad vegetables, lightly steamed vegetables, nuts and seeds, etc. (But you could do only juices for a few days, as in a Spring detox, without fiber, and not be the worse off for it – the system moves things along and finds waste to get rid of.)

  14. I do like to do intermittent fasting. But I do like to have something in the morning such as coconut oil and a little yogurt or green smoothie. Does that integrate well into Chris’ diet recommendations?

  15. Great discussion, Chris!
    Have you read much about liquid meals/juicing spiking blood sugar levels. I’ve seen some of my clients’ A1C levels increase just by adding green juices (greens + lemon + small amt of apple). It seemed strange to me, but then again I’ve heard other practitioners notice the same thing. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks so much!

    • MReasor,

      Are the juicing you’re referencing to just meal replacements or a full on fast? Juicing once in a while without “cleansing and rebooting” the system probably would result in increased blood sugar levels, but juice fasting program wouldn’t in the long run.

      I was diagnosed with insulin resistance a few years back which is why I decided to go Paleo. Having spiked blood sugar was a concern when I was considering a juice fast, especially since diabetes is prevalent on my dad’s side of the family, however, I had no issues with my blood sugar during the 30 day fast. In fact, my numbers were great – and did better the longer my fast went. My doctor was fully on board with my fast and we did tests before and after and there were no issues.

      I kept my fruits to only 2 a day though as most of my juices were 100% vegetable based. I did this knowing my susceptibility to increased blood sugar levels and I used a glucose meter 2-3 times a day to make sure I wasn’t outta whack. I did notice that my numbers got better the longer I was on the fast. A 30 day fast helped heal my system so that it processed sugars more efficiently and now I can enjoy white potatoes on occasion without any spike in blood sugar – and I could not eat them before the fast.

      • Hi Toni,
        My clients were having 2-5 green drinks per week (spin, celery, cucumber, parsley, a little lemon and apple). They had them as snacks, not as part of a cleanse or fast.

        I recently saw an article talking about liquid meals causing a blood sugar spike, but I’m not sure where I saw it (Mercola?), so I was hoping Chris would weigh in.

        I hope this helps.

  16. I apologize for posting this here, But it is in hopes that I will get some attention regarding my recent order. I placed an order on Feb 11th and finally received it today Feb 20th, after 9 days of waiting the box only contained one of the items that I ordered, however the invoice inside the box listed 2 separate items. This is very upsetting to me, and especially upsetting that I have no way of calling to inquire about this mistake. The missing product was GI renew, which was $62. Please advise

  17. Can you comment on fermented vegetable juice? Since partaking daily I’ve found an enormous benefit in terms of energy. It’s almost a miracle. Any thoughts?

      • You most likely can get fermented veggie juice at your local food co-op. Fermented veggie juice is also VERY easy to make yourself. I make beet kvass and cabbage, onion carrot juice all the time.

        Run-of-the-mill pickles in pickle juice contains vinegar, which has NOT been fermented (just “pickled” in vinegar).

        A helpful website to get started fermenting veggie juice is: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/how-to-make-fermented-vegetable-juice/ . There are many others, just do a search. I personally do an air-tight ferment using a glass Fido jar (with wire-bail flip top lid) to insure a mold and yeast-free ferment. 7-10 days later, I’ve got fermented veggie juice!

  18. The great thing about juicing for me is that I can drink a quart a day of fresh juice every day and never get tired of it. A smoothie is more like a meal and it can be hard to get down if you don’t have a taste for it on any given day. Not so with juicing. And to keep the sugar content down, I use mostly green vegetables and sweeten the juice with stevia rather than more fruit. Yum!

    In addition, at least one manufacturer has claimed that with their slow-gear type of juicer, up to 85% of the pesticide residues are expelled with the pulp. Here’s a link to the information:

    http://juicing-for-health.com/juicer-review/what-to-look-for/minimize-chemicals.html

    http://juicing-for-health.com/juicer-review/what-to-look-for/minimize-chemicals/alpha-juicer-lab-test-result.html

  19. Question: Don’t the enzymes from raw juices become denatured in the stomach? They are only active if they are in a particular shape which is pH sensitive.

    I am not a fan of juice fasting more than a day. Starving the gut bacteria that break down inulin and other soluble fibers doesn’t sound like a good idea, especially over long time periods. It can be difficult to replace them once they are gone.

  20. Juicing for 1 or 2 meals per day, possibly with the inclusion of a variety of plant-based protein add-ins, can be a stunning gamechanger when it comes to weight loss, detox, mental clarity, emotional calm, and even spiritual joy. It’s one of the things I’d do first, not last, especially in persons who have high inflammatory tendencies (Ayurvedic pitta constitution) or are obese (and as we know, anyone who is obese is going to have more inflammation). I’ve been a juice fan for 35 years now.

    I recommend Walker’s book Raw Vegetable Juices. There is also the sheer aliveness factor and vibe that’s concentrated in fresh juices — I recommend David Wolfe’s book on beauty for a visual demonstration of the life upgrade in raw foods and fresh juices.

    The rawfood community has discovered that one can do high carb percentage from fruits and vegetables and juice sources, if fat percentage in the diet overall is kept low, and there is adequate protein, e.g. the 80-10-10 idea, or the macronutrients version I use for myself which is more like 60-20-20 together with a lower calorie count for maintenance than the more-athletic people use. This, along with optimized thyroid levels, also optimized all of my glucose and lipid tests, got rid of stubborn post-menopausal insulin resistance.

    I view a rawfood diet, or high percentage of raw in the diet, as a subset of paleo.

    Make a juice (with a juicer, not a blender) of equal parts carrot-celery-green apple, and it will change your outlook on life itself within minutes. I guarantee it.

    • Totally agree! Juicing has been THE gamechanger for detox, health and weight loss for my husband and I. A 3-day juice fast on a regular quarterly schedule is awesome!!

  21. I lost 45 lbs. in 30 days on a juicing diet while adding muscle. I continued to use juice in my diet for six months and then I got a really nasty kidney stone. Turns out everything in my juice recipe was loaded with calcium oxalate. Be careful about juicing to excess and drink a lot of water with it.

    • Good point about oxalates. Highest oxalate vegetables commonly juiced or blended are spinach, chard, parsley, beets and beet tops. I include a beet in vegetable juices only occasionally, and never use these vegetables in blended vegetables or otherwise in juicing. If you wanted a similar green with lower oxalates, try collard greens or romaine lettuce. Genetics can also give a risk for high oxalates. High oxalate foods plus genetics would multiply risk of kidney and other stones. High oxalates are also extremely irritating to the bladder.

  22. It’s too bad juicing just has so many misconceptions, especially among the Paleo crowd!! Juicing is key to me and my husband getting our 9 servings a day of fruits and veg following the Wahl’s protocol Paleo—I juice twice a day, eat a salad at lunch, steamed veg at night AND a smoothie with greens and fruit in the afternoon using my Vitamix. The difference in energy is amazing. And pesticide laden produce is ALL we can get in remote Idaho mountains, but I still think it’s better than eating Twinkies and grains. I really wish everyone who suggests Organic Only would educate themselves on the fact that so many people can’t get any organic in this country and explain that conventional is STILL better than none!! In fact, if I get horribly glutened, a juice only fast with lots of avocado is the ONLY thing that heals up my system fast. I can’t do bone broth because of histamine issues. A juicer is not hard to clean and you would have to be juicing literally pounds of greens to worry about goitrogens etc. I highly suspect, not the smaller amount of daily greens, Especially if you rotate your greens daily. Vitamix and Nutribullet retain all the fiber.

    • I’m following the Wahls protocol as well, and agree with you that adding that smoothie a day makes a huge difference. I have my veggie and fruit combo at breakfast along with either sardines, liver pate with more raw veggies or thinly sliced, marinated, broiled or grilled beef heart (I’m just getting used to eating organ meats). The smoothie I put together has a 2:1 ratio of veggies to fruits along with Spirulina, Collagen Hydrolysate, psyllium husk powder (helps prevent loose elimination) and kelp powder (iodine) with stevia for added sweetness. If I skip having that smoothie each day I feel it, the energy that’s lacking is so obvious. I rotate between kale, spinach, collards and arugala as my base greens then use an assortment of lettuces, cooked sweet potato or butternut squash, raw tomatoes , cauliflower, beets, carrot, bok Choy, etc. as the secondary veggie followed by the fruit for which I rely heavily on berries, but will also use citrus depending on the base green – orange and lime taste awesome with arugula. Adding either whole coconut milk, avocado or olive oil helps emulsify the mixture. Where I live organics are readily available but, not always affordable, so I try limit my organic shopping to the “dirty dozen” and agree with you that eating whole food is better than the alternative. Oh, and I have a Nutri-Bullet 900 which is awesome. The mouth feel of the smoothie is as good, I find, as what you’d get from a Vita-mix at a fraction of the cost. I highly recommend one if your objective for the equipment is only to make smoothies. I was using a regular Ninja previously and there is no comparison in texture. Smoothies with all their fiber are the best way for me to ensure I’m eating a nutrient dense diet.

    • You make an excellent point here and I agree. Where I’m at, organic is pretty readily available, so I use it mostly. Juicing is not that new though and people like Jack Lalanne and Jay Kordich juiced for decades before it became popular. I have to think they didn’t always buy organic fruits and vegetables and seemed pretty healthy into a ripe old age. If you can’t find organic, then just mitigate the issue as best as possible by cleaning your vegetables thoroughly, which I would do regardless of their organic labeling.

  23. While juicing can be useful at times, I prefer something to chew on.

    And as much as I love fresh squeezed orange juice, blood sugar rises way too much too quickly.

    • I almost never drink straight fruit juice, although I love a glass of fresh grapefruit juice once in a while. I use minimal fruit in my juices and then often use low sugar fruit like a lemon or lime, and maybe half a sugary apple to a 20oz juice full of a variety of vegetables. The little bit of fruit softens the bitter blow of the vegetable juice, otherwise I wouldn’t juice it at all and just eat the fruit whole. Many people who juice recommend juicing your vegetables and eating your fruit as a general rule.

  24. You mentioned having fiber left out when juicing and how the NutriBullet would leave the fiber in. Juicing to just be juicing I’m sure is a choice people make for a variety of reasons and it’s probably a regular part of their lifestyle. However, a juice FAST is specifically designed to be void of the fiber while juicing.

    A juice fast is designed to give you most of the vital nutrients you need (you should supplement with B6 and 1 Tbs. of coconut oil to a couple of your juices daily) while avoiding the need for your body to digest and process the food and fiber. Digestion uses a tremendous amount of energy to take place – your body is digesting, breaking down, absorbing and distributing nutrients during this process. A juice fast is designed to give your digestive system a break. When your body does not have to use its energy to digest, absorb, and distribute nutrients, it can spend it healing.

    A juice fast is a great detoxifier and allows your body to spend it’s energy on healing and repairing. I eat well on a day to day basis and get lots of veggies and a couple of fruits in every day. But before I was this health conscious, I was on birth control for 14 years. That added some extra “padding” all over my body that I didn’t like. It caused a ton of hormonal issues (hormone overload that put me at a very increased risk for uterine, ovarian, cervical and breast cancer) and a variety of other symptoms. I can tell you, having one hormone outta whack disrupts the whole hormonal system! Just last year, I had a total radical hysterectomy because of precancerous cells were detected in my pap.

    Although I ate well (Paleo), and was doing everything I could to be healthy, 14 years on the pill had done its damage. Most doctors wanted to put me back on the pill as their solution – one I didn’t agree with. They all kept telling me I couldn’t lower my hormones – even though I’d been off the pill for 17 years – and that they could only “control” my symptoms. Basically, they wanted to apply a bandaid instead of dealing with the source of my issues. But I wanted to heal – I wanted to drill down to the source of my issues.

    Blood tests revealed that even with a healthy diet, exercise and sleep routine, I wasn’t absorbing nutrients, my hormones were high, my liver was damaged (I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs) and I just simply felt tired and out of sorts. I did my research and decided to give juicing a try. My first juice fast was 30 days long. If you’ve never done one, I highly recommend it because you won’t believe it until you experience for yourself. The initial detoxing that takes place can be hell – I’m not going to lie. The time of this “flu-like” experience varies from person to person and how “clogged” up their system is. I had the initial discomforts within a few days, but then it went away. Then it came back about three weeks in and eventually went away again.

    Blood tests reveal a different story now, my liver shows some improvements, and I’m feeling better. I don’t feel at 100% yet, but I’m closer than I’ve been in a long time, so I want to do another fast and I’m waiting for the Spring when I can get the freshest of veggies and fruits for my juices. This time, I’d like to do a 60 day fast and I will be incorporating infrared sauna therapy while I’m on my juice fast.

    So, I wanted to comment to say that juicing in general isn’t something I do. I feel I can eat veggies and fruits – and I do enjoy eating them – to get all the nutrients I need now that my body is more receptive to them. But doing a juice fast has benefits way beyond just the nutrients you get from the veggies and fruits. The detoxification process that your body goes into to heal itself is an amazing thing to witness and experience. The body is an outstanding machine but sometimes it can get bogged down and clogged up, and for that, a juice fast is a great way to assist the body!

  25. Hi Chris
    Fascinated by the learning philosophy part of the discussion. I was a University lecturer in Computer Science here in the UK for 25 years. The typical way I was taught Computer Programming and still is to this day, is to teach components via abstract ideas rather than concrete case studies. For example the idea of a loop would be introduced via a Fibonacci series or maybe the factorial of a number (despite promising applicants you don’t have to be mathematical to come on the course). In the last 10 years of my time I switched to teaching programming via a case study approach and what more enjoyable case study approach for students than the development of a web site. They find it far easier to grasp concepts with this relevant and interesting underpinning than studying a collection of ideas that they are then expected to bring together at a later date. I think your approach is similar and far what its worth I firmly believe you are on the right lines. All the best

    • On integrative med learning, we need both conceptual foundations AND case studies. It’s not an either/or. Optimizing the process is all in HOW it’s done. I welcome collaboration in this area.

  26. As in everything, balance is essential. Part of the key, to me, is using a Vitamix so all fiber is retained, and only blending the amount I’d normally eat in, say, a salad, adding water or (pre-soaked) nut milk to bring it to a desired volume, rather than juicing enough spinach to get an entire glassful. Also, variety is key. And frozen veggies are a less expensive alternative – and often contain more nutrients than “fresh” that have been sitting around for some time.

  27. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your informative podcasts! I am writing to inquire further about your clinician training program, will it be open only to M.D.’s and D.O.’s or will the program welcome N.D.’s, D.C.’s and other such healthcare professionals?

    Thank you for your time!
    Best,
    Rae

  28. For those with gut issues, juicing can sometimes be the only way to get nutrition in there without serious upsets. There are times when the juicer is a real friend but I wouldn’t want it to be a mainstay of my healthy eating for all the con reasons given. Juicing has kept me alive during some very serious illness so the cleaning up issues are just something to live with (altho my juicer is a doddle to clean). It is an expensive option to keep up the sheer volume of veg required, and the fibre is lost (which may actually be necessary in some cases) so for long term it’s not a sensible eating option, but on occasion, for the right reasons and with a view to the cons, frankly it’s a very good tool. Like all tools, it should be used with background knowledge and understanding of what you’re doing so thanks again for another v helpful summary Kris.

  29. What about oxalates? Greens like chard, spinach and kale contain significant amounts of them. If you just juice them and eat them raw you will likely get a good amount of oxalates.

  30. I think that juicing is amazing when you have a cold coming on. In that case I always suggest to my clients to juice cucumbers, lemon, ginger, fresh turmeric root and adding a tiny teaspoon of honey. If you combine this protocol along with eating lots of garlic and diffusing essentia oils like tea tree and eucalyptus then you can pretty much prevent a cold in many cases. Here is to good health for everyone! 🙂

  31. Juicing a lot of green vegetables or making smoothies out of them is also a good way to overload on oxalates, especially if you choose spinach which is one of the highest oxalate vegetables (along with beets and rhubarb). People have ended up in the ER with a kidney stone after daily spinach drinks. I think anyone who is drinking green juice or smoothies every day would be smart to read up on oxalates since, as you point out, it’s not just the beneficial ingredients that get concentrated in juice or a smoothie.

    • Yes! I wish this information was more widespread. Although I personally did not drink much juice, a lot of the vegetables and other foods I ate (especially after switching to a gluten-free diet) were very high oxalate. Lots of healthy foods aren’t a good idea if you have a problem with oxalates. Some of the high oxalate foods that seem less well-known are quinoa, chia seeds, kiwis, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, and most beans. Kidney stones are a horrible result from attempting to eat healthy!

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