To Juice Or Not To Juice?

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By Kristin Yancy

This is one health craze that might have all of us Fly Gyals a little confused. Is it really a fail proof weight management option? Or is it another fad diet? In the wake of New Years resolutions, Fly Gyal decided to investigate the truth behind juice- check out the pros and cons to sipping your way skinny:

Juicing Might Be a Good Idea If…

  1. You don’t find yourself getting fruits and vegetables in your diet on a daily basis. While drinking fruit and vegetable juices won’t replace the health benefits of eating them whole (cooked or especially raw), it’s a good way to incorporate some of these nutrients if you aren’t already getting them. Juicing can also be a great solution for an on-the-go-gal, because, let’s face it, sometimes there just isn’t time to whip up a vegetable medley in between class, auditions, and that 6 hour work study shift.
  2. You find yourself munching on unhealthy snacks. Juicing isn’t necessarily a low-calorie option, but it’s definitely better than that bag of chips you grabbed to keep you from the notorious mid-afternoon crash. The nutrients in the juice should help to perk you up and keep you going when your energy starts to drop, and it’ll definitely fuel your body for those evening rehearsals better than a diet soda.
  3. You are transitioning into a diet regimen geared for weight loss. Juicing definitely goes along with some of the newer, healthier food choices you’ll be making if you’re aiming to get that bangin’ bod into tip top shape. Fruits and veggies are key to a healthy lifestyle!

Juicing Might Be a Bad Idea If…

  1. Your bank account is currently running on empty. We might be fly, but dancers aren’t exactly at the top of the financial food chain. A good juicer can be a major expense- something to consider if you’re not planning on making juice a regular part of your diet.
  2. Your juicer doesn’t blend vegetable and fruit skins, or strains the pulp out of your juice. If your juicer is leaving out the nutrient-rich skin, or strains your juice so it’s pulp free, you’re missing out on a ton of the health benefits that make fruits and vegetables such a smart choice. You’re likely also removing all of the fiber from your green smoothie, which means you’ll be hungry again soon. This could lead to binge eating, a surefire way to pack on empty calories. Depending on how long you’ve been juicing before you binge, you may also have slowed down your metabolism, which means your body is more likely to pack on and store fat cells the second you remember how much you like to chew your food.
  3. You haven’t included a protein. A diet of juice is a diet low on protein. Not getting enough protein in your diet can lead to loss of muscle mass, a dangerously unhealthy side effect– especially for a training athlete.
  4. You’re expecting a miracle detox. As nice as it may sounds to “give your digestive system a break” and “clean out all the toxins from your system,” physicians generally seem to agree on this one: there is no good science behind a detox. Cleaning out toxins from your system are the job of the liver and kidneys, and these organs aren’t going to be aided by a lack of nutrients. If you’re concerned about the health of your liver or kidneys, juicing is not for you! Pound water, and cut back on those boozy Saturday nights.
  5. You’re combining it with three regular meals a day + snacks. Juicing is not always a low calorie solution. Fruit packs a lot of calories, and if your drinks are fruit heavy, you could be taking in a lot more than you think. For example, a medium piece of fruit has about 60 calories and yields about 4 ounces of juice. A normal serving size is about 12 to 16 ounces– which leaves you with 180 to 240 calories. Vegetable-heavy juices can cut the amount of calories in your juice in half, and fruits can be added in more sparingly for flavor.

If you’ve weighed your options and decided that juicing is definitely for you, try substituting just one meal a day with juice (breakfast or lunch is easiest). Add a protein to your drink, like almond milk, yogurt, flaxseed, or peanut butter, and spoon some of the pulp back into the blend- keeping your liquid lunch balanced and healthy. If you think you’d like to ease into juicing a little more slowly, try it as a broth for cooking rice, pasta, or soup. WebMD’s Jennifer Barr recommends trying a blend of “spinach, pear, flaxseed, celery, and kale….going the extra step to fortify your meals.” As always, talk to your doctor before you make any major changes to your diet- juicing may interfere with medications you are taking, and is not recommended for people with diabetes or kidney diseases. And because your juices are homemade (and not pasteurized), throw them out if you’ve had them for more than a week- nothing like an upset stomach to wreck a Fly Gyal’s day!

Ready to juice but unsure of what to mix? Try the yummy recipes here

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