It’s sweet. It’s cheap. It comes in pretty colours. And you don’t need to be Martha Stewart to work out how to make it. What’s not to like? Who doesn’t love a little bit of juice in their life?
If nutritionists, wellness experts, the yoga crew, the organic crew and most of Hollywood are to be believed, a little bit of juice is OK, but what you really need is a lot of juice. Like tonnes. Like a supermarket load of fruits and vegetables (but mainly veggies) every week, whizzed into juices and structured into your daily menu.
Why? Because it’s like a natural multivitamin, without the chemicals and with more antioxidants and other natural health boosters that you don’t get in your average manufactured vitamin.
Juice guru Jason Vale, known in the UK and internationally as ‘the Juice Master’, says that most diseases begin and end with diet. “Every food on the planet has come under some criticism, with the notable exception of fruit and vegetables,” he says. “These foods nourish every cell in the body, help prevent disease, flush the system of waste and contain a wealth of vitamins and minerals. There isn’t a single person on the planet with any shred of common sense that could possibly argue against these magnificent foods!
“I have been extremely privileged to bring a juicy lifestyle to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. When I set out to ‘Juice The World’, I never truly envisaged the incredible impact juicing would have, not only on virtually every aspect of physical health, but also on people’s mental wellbeing and life in general.”
For Dubai-based Brit, Paula Hughes, being bitten by the juicing bug pretty much saved her life. Two years ago she weighed more than 122kg and was a size 24/26. Her weight was impacting her physically, mentally and emotionally. Even though she desperately wanted to change, nothing seemed to work.
“In January 2011, I went to the doctor because of a virus and was told that my blood pressure was so high I could drop dead at any moment,” she says. “It took a while for the reality to sink in, but by the end of that month I was on the blood pressure medication she had prescribed me and I had started thinking about changing my lifestyle.”
Luckily for Paula, she was surrounded by health-conscious, supportive friends who rallied around her, encouraging her to start exercising and eating more healthily.
One friend bought Paula a juicer and started going to boot camp with her. A few weeks later at a weightloss show, Paula signed up for a 14-week health workshop with a nutritionist.
Unfortunately, however, her path to health was halted by a vitamin D injection that injured a nerve and left her with agonising back pain and completely numb in her right leg. The numbness caused a fall, which led to her dislocating her hip, knee and ankle.
Unable to exercise and bedridden for weeks, Paula decided the only option was juicing. “The old me would have given up, but I think once you start eating healthier and exercising, it gives you a chemical release and makes you more upbeat and positive,” she says. “I started eating right and working my upper body as much as I could.”
By her 39th birthday in May 2011, Paula was down to 100kg. She was still numb in her right leg, but she could walk again. She treated herself to a skydive and pledged to lose another 20kg by her next birthday.
In October of that year, Paula went to Jason Vale’s Juice Master retreat in Turkey, which combined a pure juice detox and a gruelling exercise regime of around six hours every day.
Paula says, “That week changed my life. Day three was bad – I cried, I felt sick and I couldn’t cope with it. But on day four, I felt reborn spiritually. I woke up early, I felt alive and positive. It was like I’d pressed a magic button and everything mentally and physically fell into place. I decided then and there to do Jason’s Juice Master course.
“By the end of the year, I was 94kg and, by my next birthday, I had hit my goal and weighed 78.8kg,” she says. This time, Paula awarded herself with tattoos of wings on her back. “They link with skydiving, which was a pivotal point in my life, and with my belief that a guardian angel kept me alive through 38 years of unhealthy living,” she says.
Now free from meds, with normal blood pressure and weighing an incredible 50kg less than she did two years ago, Paula is living, walking proof of the benefit of juicing.
According to Jason and Paula, just one juice per day ups your intake of nutrients for that day by 33 per cent. Have two, and you’ve more than doubled your nutrient intake for that day in two tasty gulpfuls. How can that not do you good?
When you witness the amount of fresh produce you get through on a daily basis, it’s easy to understand why it’s so powerful. Spinach, celery, beetroot, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, ginger – all stacked with healthy nutrients – and you consume more in one juice than you could ever eat in a meal.
What are the benefits?
Some people, like Paula, start juicing to lose weight. Others, like Jason (who suffered with asthma, psoriasis and eczema) and Kylie Minogue (who had breast cancer), get into juicing in order to arm their bodies with the strongest ammunition they can to fight disease and illness. Others turn to juice because they want to prevent disease before it happens.
Whatever the motivating factor, the proof of juicing’s power is piling up. This year alone, German researchers have found that juicing improves skin health; American experts found that grapefruit juice boosts the effectiveness of cancer drugs; scientists in Edinburgh labelled pomegranate juice as a ‘natural Viagra’; and an Australian study reported that beetroot juice reduces blood pressure. And this is just to name a few benefits.
In the face of all this evidence, the question is not ‘Should I juice?’ But ‘What should I juice and when?’ Read on for Paula’s top recipes...
The ginger zinger
Two apples, two carrots, a third of a lemon with the rind, plus ginger, lemongrass and lime to your personal taste preference.
Paula says... “I love ginger in my juices – I get through a lot of ginger every day. It’s so full of nutrients and wakes you up far better than a shot of espresso. I have a Ginger Zinger most mornings.”
The super-workout juice
A quarter of a long cucumber (one of the local cucumbers), one stick of celery, two apples and ice. Jason says... “The late Dr Norman Walker, one of the world’s leading juice pioneers, was a great believer in this juice. He believed the combination was the perfect balance of sodium and potassium – the two vital minerals that are lost when working out. The Super-Workout Juice should be taken around 30 minutes before a workout and then at some point during the first hour afterwards. The juice helps with aches and pains usually associated with exercise.”
The juice master's turbo express
Half a small pineapple, half a stick of celery, an inch of cucumber, a small handful of spinach leaves, a small piece of peeled lime, two apples, half a ripe avocado and ice.
Jason says... “Juice the pineapple, celery, cucumber, spinach, lime and apples. Place the ripe avocado flesh in a blender along with the ice and juice mixture. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.” The Turbo Express is good for any time of day.