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First off:  the important stuff.  A really big thank you to all who shared and participated in last week's giveaway.  I was really overwhelmed with the response we got!  SO, the winner is...

Entry #434:  Danielle M.

Congrats, Danielle!   I wish you many happy avocado oil adventures!

As for today's recipe, I bring you another of my favorite juices.  Since purchasing our Hurom, I've been really interested in learning about how juicing is good for our bodies.  I knew I loved juicing, loved how I felt when I did, but I didn't know why.  Previously, I'd bought into the detoxing hype, believing that forgoing all other foods (namely fats and proteins) would somehow be better for my body than had I not.  I've tried all-juice cleanses, for as long as a week at a time.  They were difficult and often very unpleasant, to say the least.  Which prompts a very important question:

Is juice detoxing healthy?  

Does it have a place in a paleo or real foods diet?  I'm here today to debunk the idea of juice detoxing, and really the idea of detoxing as we know it as made popular by the media.  I feel that the problem lies in the definition of the word "detox" and the connotation it carries.  The most common definition floating around popular culture is the idea that doing a detox (used as a noun here) will nearly magically rid your body of all harmful toxins/waste/fat/InsertAttentionGrabbingBuzzWordHere.

Do we carry around toxins/waste/fat that our bodies should be rid of?  Most definitely.  Especially if, like me, you've lived any portion of your life on the SAD (Standard American Diet).  But will drinking juice for 7+ days take care of ALL that necessary elimination?  Unlikely.

I'd like to introduce the idea of detox as a verb rather than a noun.  Our bodies possess an innate ability to detox toxins, like hormones, bacteria, medications, and chemicals.  This is done primarily by the liver via conversion of fat-soluble to water soluble toxins to be moved out through the gall bladder's creation of bile for elimination.  But it's a little more complex than that.  And our present-day lifestyles don't make it any easier.

Diet, stress, lack of sleep, and environmental factors all play a role in our bodies' ability to effectively detox.   And when your body is not effectively detoxing, you'll find yourself dealing with symptoms like hormone imbalance, skin breakouts, energy problems, and depression or mood dysfunction.  So if you've dealt with some (or all) of these issues, you'll want to try out this juice recipe and possibly make juicing a regular part of your diet.

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Juicing for 7 days straight will not eliminate all toxins from your body.  But juicing on a daily or every-other-day basis WILL improve your body's ability to detox when practiced for an extended period of time.  And incorporating veggies with nutrients that are liver-friendly can only enhance the process. 

Beets are famous liver-cleansers due to the presence of betaine, which aids in the liver's conversion responsibility.  They also increase the body's production of bile (via the gall bladder), which will help push stuff out. 

Lemon will stimulate nerve and hormone activation of the liver due to its sour nature.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables increase the organic compound glucosinolate, which is needed for enzyme production during toxin elimination.

Berries contain high levels of phytonutrients (antioxidants), which stimulate detoxifying enzymes.

Ginger is a powerful antibacterial and can aid in the liver's elimination of harmful bacterias. 

When & How Long to Juice?

I love this article from Dr. Joseph Mercola on the power of juicing as a regular part of your diet.  Dr. Mercola encourages a grain-free diet and loves his juicing, stating he juices every morning.  I've read the rants against juicing (eliminating fiber from produce is bad, juicing is high-glycemic, etc) but he clears up most objections to juicing in this article.  He states:

Benefits of Juicing
There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing:
1.  Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. 
2.  Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. 
3.  You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet.
 Benefits of Juicing:  Your Keys to Radiant Health by Dr. Joseph Mercola

He mentions also that blending (to keep the fibers in the drink) can create a lot of heat and potentially damage nutrients.  Note, in the video in the article, he does mention avoiding fruits because drinks high in fructose can cause insulin spikes and negate a lot of the healthful benefits of juicing.  I've kept the fruits at a minimum in this recipe.  Blueberries, which are extremely low-glycemic to begin with.  And 1 apple to lend a bit of sweetness and make the juice more palatable.  You've got to want to drink it, right?

The last point I want to touch on is in regards to juicing as a meal replacement.  Most juice detoxes include this aspect, skipping meals for often days at a time in favor of juice.  Dr. Mercola explicitly states that juices are not a complete meal and should be used a compliment to a meal consisting of healthy fats and clean proteins.  For example, enjoy this Beet & Berry Juice in the morning with a side of 2 poached eggs and half an avocado.

So while I know my paleolithic ancestors did not have a fancy juicer to push piles of produce through, I do believe they pressed foods for drinks, etc.  And more importantly, they consumed a high number of fruits and vegetables each day, which is something I'm always striving for myself.  So as a grain-free/paleo model lover, I think that juicing definitely has a place in a modern primal or real foods diet.  Both for the potential to improve digestion and natural detoxification but also as a way to truly feed our bodies the complex array of nutrients we need.

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Beet & Berry Liver Cleanse Juice

Yields:  4 c. juice 

2 medium beets

2 c. blueberries

1 apple

2 large carrots

1/2 c. raw broccoli

1 whole lemon

2" knob ginger, skin removed

1/2-1 c. pure coconut water

Optional: balanced, grass-fed protein like these collagen peptides

Directions: 

Chop beets, apples, carrots, lemon, and ginger into 1" cubes.   Feed through your juicer (per the instructions), alternating small amounts of blueberries between the other ingredients.  Midway through, pour a portion of coconut water through (1/4-1/2 c.) to help clean and push pulp through.  Continue feeding everything through, finishing with enough coconut water to bring the juice to a total of 4 cups.

If using as a meal, add in collagen peptides and stir to dissolve.  Serve with ice or drink at room temperature.  Nutrients are most available within hours of juicing so drink right away!

References

Paleo Diet Challenges and Solutions:  It's All About the Gut by Chris Kresser

Paleo Diet Challenges and Solutions:  Is Sluggish Detox Sabotaging Your Paleo Diet by Chris Kresser

Benefits of Juicing:  Your Keys to Radiant Health by Dr. Joseph Mercola