Juicing and Juice Cleanses: The Ayurvedic Perspective
How and Why Do Ayurvedic Experts Juice?
Juice cleanses are becoming more and more popular day by day. As a nation that loves novelty, we embraced the newly found panacea and categorically proclaim that juicing will save the health of the sick and overweight nation.
Very few people making juices or writing about juice cleanses consider the unique individual nature of people and make consideration based on that. Does juicing work for everyone? Is it safe to do it the same way as your friend does it? (same vegetables, same times of the day, same quantities?)
According to Ayurveda, an ancient science of health, what is nectar for one, can be poisonous for another being. It all depends on your inborn constitution, your current state of health and digestion, seasonal changes, and emotional state. Very few recommendations are generalised across the board in Ayurvedic science. Same goes for juicing. I wrote about my perspective on Ayurveda and Juicing before and the article got a great response but there is always more to learn!
I asked 7 of my favorite ayurvedic experts about their opinion on Juicing and Ayurveda. I asked them 2 questions:
- Do you juice and if yes, what, when, and how?
- What do they think about a new trend of juicing and juice cleanses?
The answers are very diverse and thought-provoking! We will cover the 1st question today on Spinach and Yoga and will share the 2nd one on my favorite Mind Body Green.
What is your personal perspective on juicing? Do you drink raw vegetable of green juices?
Claudia Welch – What I’ve learned from Ayurveda is that any substance can be either a medicine or poison depending on the individual’s constitution, the season, dosage and timing. For example, if someone is living in a hot climate and has strong agni—digestive fire—juices will benefit them more than someone with low agni, who lives in a cold climate. In general, agni is higher in the middle of the day—so that is generally when I’ll enjoy fresh veggie juice. Claudia has been a huge inspiration for me. You can learn about her work here http://www.drclaudiawelch.com/ and check out her must-read book for women Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life
Linda Gobindoss – I personally like a glass of raw vegetable/fruit juice as a snack, especially on warm days when I feel that my body needs something refreshing and revitalizing. I would usually have it away from my main meals especially if the latter is made of cooked food. I listen to my body which gives me signs as to what to feed it, in what form, and when to have it (always when I’m hungry). If I feel that my digestion is a bit sluggish I would definitely avoid juicing raw veggies, I might have a soup instead.
I usually have green leafy vegetable such as spinach, celery and kale. And also carrots, beetroot, cucumber and a whole range of herbs and spices: ginger, parsley, coriander, mint. I might also add some fruits. It’s never the same and always according to how I feel and how my stomach feels. More from Linda at www.satya-ayurveda.com & www.youtube.com/SatyaAyurvedaTV
Ivy Ingram – I do not personally juice. According the ancient healing science of Ayurveda, there are many potential problems that can result from juicing. First of all, Vata dosha (the energy of Air and Space in the body) can get elevated due to the rough, cold and clear qualities of raw vegetables and frozen fruits. Elevated Vata can lead directly to anxiety, nervousness, feeling ungrounded, tremors/shaking, irregular digestion (constipation alternating with diarrhea), and many other problems both dramatic and subtle. Second potential problem is the digestive fire (agni) can be put out by consuming excess liquid, particularly cold liquid, resulting in poor assimilation of nutrients. Third is that poor digestion results from combining fruits and vegetables in the stomach, which require different digestive enzymes to be broken down well. To learn more about Ayurveda, check out Ivy’s ongoing “Ayurveda Foundations” blog series and http://IvyIngram.com.
Eric Grasser – Juicing is a great way to consume phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables easily and quickly. Caution should be observed, however, by people prone to blood sugar spikes and those needing to calm Ayurvedic vata constitution and its rough, light, and cold qualities. Dr. Grasser is the founder and medical director of Unity Medicine, and is a primary care physician practicing Integrative Medicine. Dr. Grasser supports his patients through his extensive experience in Western Medical practice as well as his deep knowledge of the alternative healing systems of Ayurveda, Yoga and Functional Medicine. More at drgrasser.com
Gwen Nagano – Juicing can bring a profound change to our tissues. Juicing must be done with organic ingredients. It is advisable not to mix fruits and vegetables together when juicing. When the digestion is strong and juicing can be done daily. When digestion is weak it must be done in small amounts with ginger. I drink raw vegetable green juices in moderation. I make different juices for different times of the year and always considering my body type. I keep the core juice as local and in season as possible with fresh ginger and turmeric root included in each juice. In my opinion it is best to take green juices in between meals, one hour either side of the breakfast or lunch. Gwen is a Certified Ayurvedic Wellness Consultant and Postpartum Doula. To learn more about Gwen’s work, visit her website at www.gwennagano.com.
Monica Bloom – Personally, I would rather eat veggies and fruits rather than juice them because I enjoy the textures, beauty and variety on my plate. I enjoy them and like to spread them out over the day. Being an Ayurvedic gal, I don’t eat raw veggies much, unless it’s summer because it’s too tough on my digestive fire (agni). Raw veggies are cold and rough, so unless we have a very strong agni to begin with, these cold foods can put out our fire and stall our digestion. Monica is the creator behind www.heymonicab.com, Your Modern Guide to Living Healthy Through Ayurveda. Check it out! Her blog is full of amazing information and resources!
Felicia Tomasko – According to my personal interpretation and practice of Ayurveda, variety is one of the key concepts in choosing and maintaining a healthy diet. Variety means more than simply planning to enjoy a number of different colors of foods, but also how we take in those foods. For example, making sure we have some raw, some cooked, some fermented, some fresh, some juiced, some whole, some spiced, some plain—these are all digested and absorbed by the body slightly differently and have varying effects. I do think it’s important to have juices by themselves, rather than mixed with a lot of other foods.
In general, juices tend to be quickly absorbed by the body and often promote cleansing (depending on the exact juice or juice combination). Personally, I love juice in the morning….and I love combinations that have a bit of a kick (with some added ginger), or that offer a shot of vitamins and minerals (with some parsley), or support cleansing (cilantro). I’ve also been loving mixing some chia seeds or a bit of oil (flax or coconut) in with juice for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids that also slow the absorption rate of some of the sugars in the juice. A few of my favorite juice ingredients include lemon, lime, cucumber, carrot, apple (call me a traditionalist), grapefruit, and some greens, as I believe the more greens we eat, the better. When I can, I love some cherries or berries as they help pull excess heat from the body and are high in antioxidants.
Felicia Tomasko, RN, is the editor-in-chief of LA YOGA and Find Bliss: www.layogaonline.com. She serves on the board of directors of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (www.ayurveda-caam.org) and the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (www.ayurveda-nama.org) and teaches in the studio and online at Yogaglo: www.yogaglo.com
Do you juice? How and why? Please share what worked for you!
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