Author Archives: Ferdie Goose

The FGC Juicing Manifesto

Our crash course in juicing, the best juicers, and what, why and how to juice your way to the good life!

 

Here at the Feel Good Collective, we’re all juicer junkies, every last one of us. We’ve been juicing since before it was, you know, juicy!

 

Over the last few years, juicing has exploded from a kind of a cult practice among nutrition nerds like us to a super hip industry, with juice bars in every major city, and most good supermarkets carrying a brand or two of cold-pressed juice and coffee shops integrating juice into their menu.

 

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We’ve been super excited to see juicing take off like this, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there these days. If you google “juicing”, you’re going to find dozens of articles arguing back and forth about whether juicing is actually a good thing to do.

 

Today, we’ll look at the arguments that are commonly made against juicing, and then make our case for why you should start juicing!

 

So, who’s behind all the attacks on juicing? A lot of the pushback comes from junk food companies like Coca Cola, who want to paint juicing brands as being roughly equal to soda when it comes to sugar intake. That’s simply not true. You’ll also find a lot of old-school nutritionists pushing back against it.

 

Let’s set the record straight: Is there any downside to juicing?

 

Here are a few of the arguments opponents make, and our responses.

 

First you’ll be told that when you drink  juice, you miss out on all the fiber content of your fruits and vegetables. That’s true if you’re buying processed, filtered juice, but it’s much less of a problem with the sort of juice you’ll buy at a fresh juice bar or from cold-pressed companies. Sure, you’ll miss out on some of the pulp after the produce has been squeezed, but the vast majority gets broken down into the mix. As for what’s left, well, let’s face it: most of us weren’t going to eat that much raw produce anyway, so it’s bad logic to think that you’re “losing” fiber intake. You’re just not getting as much as is theoretically available. Don’t worry about fiber. After all, that’s not the point of drinking juice. Granola for breakfast and some whole grains throughout the day will more than cover your fiber needs.

 

Second, you’ll be told that there’s a sugar rush that comes from drinking juice, which is much the same as drinking soda. By juicing, these people argue, you’re consuming a lot of sugar, which isn’t very healthy at all. Now, let’s debunk that in a few stages. First off, most of us aren’t drinking “sugary” juices like apple, pear, or grape. Maybe we’ll use them in the mix, but juice from carrots, beets, or leafy greens contains far less sugar to begin with. Next, we should have some perspective here. Most soda contains cups of sugar per bottle, not tablespoons. Most fresh glasses of juice have a tablespoon or less of sugar content. That’s just not a good comparison. You be adding a bit of sugar to your diet by drinking juice, but it’s far less than you’d get from eating most granola bars or other more traditional snacks.

 

So, really, there aren’t any reasonable arguments to be made against juicing. It’s no substitute for eating vegetables at meals, but we wholeheartedly endorse it, and are thrilled that it’s become embraced by the mainstream.

 

Now that we’ve dealt with all the supposed “downsides” of juicing, let’s get into all the reasons we love it!

 

Number one, it diversifies your nutritional intake far more than most diets. No matter how much you try to incorporate different fruits and veggies throughout the day, the nature of a cohesive meal means you’re only using things that fit a certain flavor group, or texture profile. Juicing lets us combine pretty much everything! Greens, apples, carrots, you name it! It’s like having a meal that includes something from every group of produce!

 

Number two, it’s convenient. If you’re like us at all, you know how much of a struggle it is to find the time to make all the amazing, delicious, and nutritious food you dream of having in each meal. Juicing takes a lot of the stress out of planning lunch and dinner, because you can get a bunch of servings of produce all at once. For people like us who are always working or running around to different activities and functions, the convenience of juicing is probably the most appealing piece of the puzzle.

 

Number three, you can get it anywhere, even if you aren’t going to be lugging your juicer on the road with you (because, really, that would be insane). Nearly all of us here at the FGC travel for work, since we go to lots of nutrition conferences, wellness retreats, and writers’ workshops. You aren’t going to make juice on the go, but being able to find a good glass near your hotel is going to help you so, so much with jet lag, travel sickness, and the general stress of being away from home. Seriously. Restaurant salads are super expensive, and juice is a way more cost effective way to cover your dietary bases. And if you ever get motion sickness driving or flying, bringing a juice blend with fresh ginger will do literal wonders for your stomach! Storebought or juice bar juice is never going to be quite as satisfying as juice you’ve made yourself at home, but it can be an absolute relief when you need it.

 

Beyond all those reasons, there’s one other key thing that we think totally seals the deal. Juice is just amazing to drink. It tastes great, and you feel like literal sunshine after you drink it. And it’s not like coffee or alcohol where that feeling goes away and makes you crash. It’s just goodness, plain and simple.

 

Ready to get juicing? Try a few of our favorites!

 

Jack’s go-to: carrot, ginger, beet juice

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Jack loves a thick, red juice, and this one is both zingy from the ginger and creamy from the beets. It’s great for winter and fall.

 

Kyra’s calming tonic: cucumber, mint, kale, apple

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Kyra’s less of a fan of the heavier root drinks, and she’s perfected the refreshing green juice. This one is a great way to cool down in summer or unwind after an important meeting.

 

If you need help buying a juicer, we’re fans of startjuicing.org, which has reviews and recommendations in a bunch of different categories. We’re admittedly purists, so we’d point you to the masticating/triturating juicers that fall under the “slow” or “cold press” umbrella. But if you don’t have time for all the prep, you shouldn’t feel bad for using a fast juicer. Any juicing is better than no juicing!

 

Remember to mix it up and diversify, so you’re packing maximum nutrition into each glass. And don’t be afraid to get adventurous! Our favorite part of juicing is discovering two flavors that work well together which you would never have thought to combine in normal food!
Oh, and one last thing: juicing creates lots and lots of fibrous pulp. A lot of people consider it a waste product, but it’s one of the FGC’s most prized and versatile substances! What do you do with it? We like to add it to compost, since it’s simply amazing as a soil base. You can also use it to bake, if you need something fibrous to stretch out your bran muffin batter, for instance. Or you can use it to fertilize and mulch your flower beds! Whatever you do, don’t throw it away!

 

FGC recommends: the best wheatgrass juicer brands. Check them out!

Nutrition News

It’s been a busy year for nutrition news!

 

Here’s the Feel Good Collective roundup of what we’ve learned over the past year.

 

First, the World Health Organization added processed red meats to its list of known carcinogens. That’s a huge boost to healthy eating campaigners like us, who have known for years that the saturated fats, nitrates, and other elements of foods like pepperoni were extremely harmful. The most shocking part of their report was that they ranked red meat consumption right up there with cigarettes, as having a very high probability to cause heart problems, cancer, and other fatal health problems. It just goes to show that we’ve been on the right track for years. We need to cut out those processed red meats, and focus on either cutting out animal products entirely, or trimming our diet down to the most nutrient-rich, low-impact options, like fish, poultry, or goat’s milk.

 

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The US government has also released new recommendations for the amount of fruits and vegetables we’re supposed to be consuming on a daily basis. You probably remember being in school when we were told that 3-5 servings (cups) of fruits and vegetables were the optimal goal. Not anymore! After a few years at 5-7 cups, we’re now told that your ideal diet should include something like 7-9 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Here’s another sticking point: they have to be fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked properly to maintain nutrients. So, tomato soup doesn’t count. Try juicing to meet these goals!

 

And in probably the biggest “healthy eating” story this year, nutritionists found that in their research multivitamins were an unnecessary step for most adults to take in their diet. For years, we’ve been told that we should supplement our diets with a  complete multivitamin. They’re everywhere these days.

 

Composition with dietary supplement capsules and containers. Variety of drug pills

 

According to their findings, an adult eating a balanced diet doesn’t need any major supplementation.  In fact, researchers found that some multivitamins can actually do more harm than good, since they have wildly disproportional amounts of nutrients (up to 2000% your daily value!).

 

Of course, a lot of us don’t actually eat a properly balanced diet, no matter how much we try. That’s why we’re so attached to our juicers to keep us properly topped up. Vitamin D supplements are still good for most Americans, and if you’re a vegan, you probably need to think about adding some iron and some of the other nutrients that are found in animal products.
The best thing to take away from all these findings is to eat even more fruits and vegetables, with a wider range of colors and nutrient profiles, in order to hit the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals. And, of course, stay away from red meat.

New research on yoga physiological aspects shows even more benefits than previously known!

Yoga’s taken the world by storm over the past decade, and it’s steadily moving from the fringe to the mainstream. We’ve been into yoga for about 5 years or so, and we’ve been seeing all sorts of benefits from our practice. We’re calmer, more focused, more in tune with what our body needs from food or exercise, and we’re so much stronger through the core than we were when we were just running and working out as usual.

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New studies in the past few months have been confirming the benefits we already knew existed in yoga, and they’ve demonstrated a few new ones as well.

 

First off, yoga is now confirmed to be a huge boost for mental health. By focusing on breath and posture, practitioners more easily dispense with stress and anxiety. They find inner clarity of mind that helps them deal with life problems and turmoil more adroitly.

 

It’s also a great workout, more than we ever knew. In terms of sweat and cardiovascular benefits, yoga is actually just as thorough as jogging, especially if you do hot yoga under infrared lights. Physical therapists have also been saying that yoga is a better strength-building routine than normal exercises, because it develops deep, structural muscles as well as the cosmetic ones like abs and pecs. You’re actually getting strong, not just looking strong. And it’s safer as well. Because you inhale rather than exhale as you go into strength poses, you strengthen and stretch at the same time. Yoga also encourages you to keep your joints engage, and to develop all the connective tissues that protect joints while you’re moving around. You miss out on all that by just lifting weights.

 

This next one is super cool. All exercise keeps you healthy, and we’ve known that for years. Getting your blood pumping and moving around keeps your immune system engaged, and maintains your inner defense mechanisms. But the specific breathing work you do in yoga is also a massive boon to your sickness prevention systems! That’s partially because yoga encourages nose breathing, which sends airborne germs through your nose hairs and mucus membranes, which trap the germs. The main benefit is actually the depth of the breath, though. You breathe more deeply and fully in yoga than in any other activity, which helps clear bacteria and germs in your lungs which can cause colds and other ailments.

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Finally, this one might seem too obvious to people who practice yoga every day, but keeping a regular practice makes a world of difference in your posture. People who work on lots of lengthening and straightening poses have superior core engagement sitting, standing, and walking, which means they’re protecting their neck and back from injury. Keeping one open channel of energy from head to heels also encourages optimal immune system operations!
Between all these new health findings, and what we’ve already known about how yoga helps your flexibility, stability, and balance, it’s a better time than ever before to get back to your daily practice and feel the health benefits! Namaste!