Juices and Smoothies play an important part in any wellness program. I’ve been asked on occasion which is better. I don’t believe one is “better” than the other–each provides something a little different. Juices are typically used as a cleanse or a “rebooting” of the body. Smoothies can be used as meal replacements, snacks, replenishment of nutrients after workouts, etc. Both juicing and smoothies are valuable additions to a nutritional wellness plan.
When you juice, you are removing the insoluble fiber and extracting about 70% of the nutrition from the vegetable/fruit. Without the insoluble fiber, your body is able to absorb 100% of the nutrition from the juice. When juicing fruits some care has to be taken because pure fruit juice alone can cause a sudden rise in sugar levels in your bloodstream, resulting in imbalances. It is not advised to combine fruits with vegetables when juicing unless you are using green leafy vegetables.
When you blend (smoothies), the fiber is retained and it helps to keep your digestive tract healthy, as well as slowing the absorption of sugar. You get full faster and you are not able to get the same high level of nutrients as you obtain with juicing, but your body processes the nutrients at a slower, more even pace.
Using The Right Equipment
To get the most benefit from your juices and smoothies, it’s important to use the right equipment. Invest in a good-quality juicer. Cheaper, centrifugal juicers introduce heat and oxygen and destroy the enzymes and nutrients in your fruits and vegetables. While it may cost you a bit more initially, a premium cold-press juicer will produce a superior-quality juice and allow you to extract more from your fruit and vegetables, saving expense in the long-term.
The machines themselves will also generally last longer. In contrast to the rough extraction of centrifugal juicers, mastication or cold-press juicers compress fruit and vegetables to ‘squeeze’ out their juice. ~ Food Matters Article
Somewhere, in a small room in a house in Florida, a family is gathered. Eyes welling up with disbelief and hearts aching, they are trying to make sense of what happened–trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and start the grieving process for their lost loved ones. They are not alone–there are other families who will never again see their son or daughter or friend, never again hear their laughter, never grow old with them. Across the world, many have grieved for them and with them–we share their losses in our hearts.
Others in the world choose sides; they judge and condemn without knowing all the facts. Hate-filled words are thrown out with carelessness and malicious intent, and the darkness grows. People cease to be people–they are put in categories, tagged with guilt, and we open fire. Sometimes we forget the power of our words–forget that we ourselves can do as much damage as an assault weapon. Hatred and intolerance fired the gun into the crowd at the Pulse bar in Florida, and the damages continue to expand.
There has been research done on the effect that thoughts and words have on water and snowflakes. Words and extreme emotions carry energy vibrations that have the power to change the composition of molecules and the energy around us. Our energy affects the people we come in contact with, and in turn they affect others, good or bad. We get to choose what we put out there to grow, and we need to understand that it is not only a choice for ourselves but a choice we are making for the future of our children.
About 15 years ago, I was bitten by a Deer tick and developed the tell-tale bulls-eye rash around the area. My first blood work done showed a positive result for Lyme’s disease. I had some joint swelling and pain in a couple of areas and was given a medication called Vioxx (which was taken off the market several months later because they found that long-term use of 18 months or more caused irreversible heart damage and death). The Vioxx was to fight inflammation and dull the pain.
Fortunately, I had an allergic reaction of face swelling when the doctor increased my dosage a few months into the treatment, and I took myself off of it. Less than a year later, Vioxx was pulled off the market. (I did not have any damage from it beyond an allergic reaction.)
I had been researching alternative treatments for joint swelling and started taking two Herbalife products called Joint Support (which has glucosamine and other herbs that work synergistically) and Herbalifeline (which contains Omega 3 fatty acids). Within 2-3 weeks my “discomfort” was completely gone, along with the swelling. A subsequent blood test showed a result of “borderline”, which was considered a negative result by the medical testing facility. My C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels had returned to normal. High CRP in the blood indicate inflammation–and my results in my first test showed very high levels.
Due to stringent FDA regulations, I am not able to claim that Omega 3’s and glucosamine actually healed my issues–but I can tell you my personal story. My results reinforced my belief in the power of good nutrition, vitamins/herbs, and spiritual care to balance our bodies so that they can repair themselves.
Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain health, cardiovascular health, and can help with with skin, joints, eyes, and all-around healthy aging. In addition, these fatty acids play an important role in fetal brain, nervous system, and retinal development. Adequate intake by the pregnant mother also helps to ensure a full-term pregnancy.
Getting enough omega-3s during pregnancy has been associated with numerous benefits for the child, including (22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27):
Better communication and social skills.
Less behavioral problems.
Decreased risk of developmental delay.
Decreased risk of ADHD, autism and cerebral palsy.
Omega 3’s help with blood clotting, build cell membranes within the brain, help to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and they act as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Two crucial omega 3’s are EPA and DHA, and they are primarily found in the following fish:
Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
*Farm-raised fish may have a higher level of contaminants, so choose the wild-fish option whenever possible (such as wild salmon or wild trout). Eating 1-2 servings a week (no more than 7-8 oz. total per week) is optimal.
The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
What makes omega-3 fats special? They are an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. They also bind to receptors in cells that regulate genetic function. Likely due to these effects, omega-3 fats have been shown to help prevent heart disease and stroke, may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and may play protective roles in cancer and other conditions. – Harvard School of Public Health
ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts, flaxseeds, and dark green leafy vegetables. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but the body uses it in the production of energy.
A commonly known superfood, acai berry fruit is actually richer in Omega 3′s than some types of fish per ounce (choose the raw, unprocessed version or the frozen. This fruit is also a great source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins that have been shown to prevent heart disease. Blueberries also contain these same antioxidants, but acai berries are the only berry to contain measurable amounts of Omega 3′s.
I can feel such a difference in mood and energy levels when the short days of winter in the Midwest transition into the longer, sun-filled days of Spring and Summer. I go outside in my garden and soak up the sun like a little solar panel, and when I come inside my energy is recharged and seemingly endless. I apply coconut oil to my skin when I am outside for long periods–it has a natural sunscreen which does not prevent the production of Vitamin D and it contains no artificial additives that can cause other toxic reactions.
Vitamin D is a hormone that our bodies make when our skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It works in the small intestine to increase calcium absorption. It is needed for bone growth and repair, and it acts on bone cells to release calcium and maintain blood calcium levels. Research has shown that most human cells have vitamin D receptors, indicating that it plays other roles in the body as well. This vitamin also helps to regulate many genes. Vitamin D insufficiency is a term that is used to describe blood levels of vitamin D that are not low enough to cause deficiency diseases, but low enough to potentially cause other health problems.
In our concern about medical research showing skin cancer to be a potential result of sunburn or extended sun exposure, our society today has perhaps become over-zealous about covering up. We wear hats, sunglasses, slather our skin with high-SPF sunscreens, and we not only block out the harmful rays, but we block what is beneficial to our bodies as well. A sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of only 15 reduces the production of vitamin D by 99 percent. While we can get some vitamin D through food sources or supplements, our greatest source is through direct exposure to sunlight. Glass windows filter out most of the ultraviolet rays that we need, so the best method is to spend some time outside in the sun.
When the sun’s UV-B rays contact the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. If you have fair skin, experts say going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun—in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen—will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin. Darker skin is more protected against skin cancer but it is less able to absorb UV-B rays. If you are already tan or of Hispanic origin, 15 to 20 minutes in the sun will provide you with what you need. Black skin may require six times the sun exposure to make the same vitamin D levels as a very fair-skinned person.
Protecting the skin
While covering up to prevent too much sun exposure is an important step in protecting yourself from skin cancer, research has not always shown that sunscreen is the safest and most effective method.
Research has shown that sunscreen helps prevent squamous cell carcinoma, but has no effect in preventing basal cell carcinoma. For melanoma, research has been contradictory. Some research shows that sunscreen prevents melanoma, while other research shows that it increases your chance of getting melanoma.
For these reasons, the Vitamin D Council believes that covering up with clothing and/or going into the shade (after you get a little bit of sun exposure), is a safer way to protect yourself from too much sun exposure. – Vitamin D Council
Sun exposure to the skin is the human race’s natural, intended, most effective and most neglected source of vitamin D.
Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.
Few foods naturally contain or are fortified with supplemental vitamin D. For example, an 8-ounce glass of whole milk is fortified with 100 IU (international units) of vitamin D – just 10 percent of what the most conservative vitamin D researchers now say we need daily. In contrast, sun exposure to the skin makes thousands of units of vitamin D naturally in a relatively short period of time.
While vitamin D supplements are an alternative means of producing vitamin D when regular, non-burning sun exposure is not possible, oral supplementation of vitamin D is not nature’s intended means of producing this vitamin.
While overexposure to sunlight carries risks, the cosmetic skin care industry has misled the public into believing that any UV exposure is harmful. No research has shown that regular, non-burning exposure to UV light poses a significant risk of skin damage.
Humans spend less time in the sun today than at any point in human history – which is why more than 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D Comes From the Sun
Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine your body takes what it needs, and de-metabolizes any extra. That’s critical – as vitamin D experts and many health groups now advocate 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily – five to ten times the old recommendations. Because too much ‘D’ from dietary supplements may cause the body to over-process calcium, nobody really knows for sure how much supplementary vitamin D is safe. On the other hand, sunlight-induced vitamin D doesn’t have that problem – it’s the way your body is intended to make it! –Sunshine Vitamin.org
Sunlight exposure is also important for helping to regulate the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin. When sunlight hits the retina in our eyes, it cues the brain to produce serotonin. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher prevalence of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a condition in which people find themselves struggling with low (depressed) moods and have difficulties staying calm and focused. According the the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, panic attacks and other anxiety related disorders have also been linked to changing seasons and reduced sun exposure.
Light has been shown to also affect brain blood flow. Cerebral blood flow has specifically been found to improve after phototherapy in pre-term infants  and SAD patients , and has repeatedly been found to be associated with cognitive functions, such as memory. Inadequate cerebral blood flow has been found to be a likely cause or result of decreasing cognitive functions among those with cardiovascular diseases [32–34], as well as correlated with age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s  and non-age related diseases such as Lyme disease . The relationships that serotonin, melatonin, and cerebral hemodynamics have with sunlight, depression, and cognitive function suggest that persons prone to sunlight-related mood disturbances may also be prone to sunlight-related cognitive difficulties. – Effect of sunlight exposure on cognitive function among depressed and non-depressed participants
This doctor in this video from John Hopkins University briefly explains what happens when we get exposure to bright (artificial lights) at night, and he encourages sunlight exposure during the day:
This next video is just under 35 minutes long and covers the importance of Vitamin D and our immune systems. Data is presented by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Very good information. There is a huge difference between using supplementation and getting it naturally through sun exposure. (With sun exposure, the body makes what it needs and discards the rest.)