Losing weight is easy, but maintaining that weight can be tedious. Instead of sweating it out at a gym, and following rigorous diet plans, simply incorporate green juices into your daily diet and obtain the desired results.
The green juice was first introduced by cancer patient Ann Wigmore, who healed herself by drinking the juice and wheatgrass almost 50 years ago. Since then, the juice has been used as a detoxification agent because of its alkalising, cleansing, healing, hydrating and restorative properties. And in recent times, with the phobia of keeping the weighing scale at bay, green juice detox has become a popular choice among health buffs.
A quick, green recipe:
• Include fresh greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, fennel, mint and apple/pear into a heavy-duty blender and pulverise all the contents till the mixture has a smooth consistency.
• Add lemons or lime for a zesty flavour.
• Once prepared, consume immediately or within the next 24 hours to yield the best results.
According to experts, the green juice should either be taken on an empty stomach, or at least half an hour before consuming a proper meal as it helps in better absorption of the nutrients in the body. Do not, however, add more sweet fruits to the juice to make the taste ‘bearable’ as this will only increase the sugar content in the juice.
Fresh vs packaged green juices
According to health experts, fresh, homemade green juices are better for health in comparison to their packaged counterpart. Since most packaged juices are pasteurised, the heat treatment not only kills all the bacteria but also accounts for a loss of valuable nutrients. There is also a chance of added sugars in the commercially available green juices to make it tastier. Supermarket giants including Whole Foods and Sainsbury’s have shelves stocked with green juices made under their own brand names and the price of each bottle varies from $3 (approximately Rs300) to $10 (approximately Rs1,000), depending on the brand.
On the other hand, green juices made at home are relatively cheaper and can be consumed immediately to extract the most benefits. They even offer individuals an opportunity to create a blend using their choice of vegetables and fruits, based on their personal preferences.
Cold-press juicers vs centrifugal juice extractors
Leading dieticians are of the opinion that juices produced using centrifugal juicers lose their nutritional value during the blending process as the fast-spinning metal blade generates heat which destroys some of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables. These juices do not contain fibre which is ideal for maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol. When prepared at home, the juice should be made in a cold-press blender which crushes the contents to extract juice and keeps all the nutrients intact.
The green guide
Despite the exceptionally high nutritional value of the drink, the body requires a balanced diet for optimal functioning of all organs. This includes a regular intake of protein and carbohydrates, as green juices alone cannot provide all the nutrients required by the body. According to Dr Shamim Mirza, a gynaecologist at the Cantonment Hospital, Rawalpindi, young girls are ready to do just about anything to lose weight and will implement anything that they read on the internet. “You may not see the implications now but in the long run it is a balanced meal that will keep you fit even during old age, when you need health the most,” she says.
Although five-to-seven day green juice diet plans are gaining popularity, it is important to remember that there are pros and cons to just about everything. Twenty-four-year-old Mina Saleem, who followed the almost week-long regimen to lose weight, explains that replacing complete meals with the juice resulted in a massive drop in her energy levels. “My dietician strictly told me not to replace meals with green juice but I consumed only juices for a span of five days. Even though I managed to shed six pounds, I also noticed a decrease in my energy levels,” she says, adding that the time spent making the juice and cleaning up afterwards was also a tiring chore.
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, August 17th, 2014.