In August 2019, I admitted myself to a naturopathy facility at Urli Kanchan near Pune. It was part of my learning journey into naturopathy.
All naturopathy and ayurveda facilities follow a somewhat similar routine: early morning yoga, some juice/herbal drink breakfast, morning treatments, early lunch and dinner by 6 pm (food is prescribed for each person separately by the doctors), meditation/dhyan and lights out by 9-10 pm. I had experienced a similar routine in 2008 at the Kayakalp facility in Palampur, so knew what to expect.
The one thing that I had not experienced before was the number of glasses of fresh juice we were given during the day. On an average, a person drank 4-6 glasses of vegetable or fruit juice per day: 200 ml if they were carrots or fruits and 25-100 ml for juices of wheatgrass, potatoes, and other leaves and vegetables. Overall we were all drinking anything between 500-800 ml of juice daily. This did not include the coconut water that we had at least once or twice daily. A lot of people were slowly moved to an all juice diet as it gives a good cleanse and rests the digestive system.
On the 11th day, as I was leaving , my doctor gave me a diet chart emphasising that the best diet for me to take care of my deficiencies (I had anemia, low B12 and Vitamin D) would be lots of vegetable juices and fruits. “Really?!” I exclaimed, showing my disbelief. In my head I had already planned to eat a richer diet filled with nuts, diverse grains especially millets and more home cooked food.
The good doctor’s advice lingered in my head and having drunk juices for 10 days, I bought myself a cold pressed juicer and decided to read up and integrate juices in my life.
I have been juicing for over a year now, undertaken a 3 day juice only cleanse, and drink about 250-350ml of fresh raw juice at least 3-4 times a week.
The good in juices
Micronutrients: Our foods can be broken into two: Macronutrients and Micronutrients. Macro are the big boys: the carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Why are they big? Because our bodies need them in larger quantities. Micro are the little kids: basically all the vitamins and minerals, which our bodies need, but in much smaller quantities. That doesn’t mean they are less valuable. In fact, just the opposite.
Juices are full of vitamins and minerals and the sweet ones provide us with simple carbohydrates (simple means they are already broken down to a large extent, so the body doesn’t need to do a whole lot to break them down).
Cleansers: Fruit juices of ripe fruits are the cleansers of the body. Citrus juices are the most important here, as they act as detergents, dissolving the toxins in your body and flushing them out. This is why we say while breaking a fast, break it with the juice of an orange or sweet lime. Sweet fruit juices are also great energy boosters as they contain loads of simple carbohydrates.
Builders: Vegetable juices are the builders and regenerators. They come loaded with, minerals, salts, enzymes, and vitamins needed by the body. Given their low carbohydrate content, they are safe to drink even for those with diabetes.
Rest digestion: All solid food taxes the digestive system and depletes our energy. Energy is spent on breaking down the food, ensuring enzyme action and absorbing and eliminating waste. Liquid food needs much less energy to absorb and eliminate. This frees up the ‘vital force’ in our body to perform other functions of elimination and repair. This is why drinking liquids is recommended even when you are sick and feel low on energy.
Suggestions basis self- experimentation
But first some basic guidelines:
- The best time to have them is on an empty stomach in the morning. This ensures maximum absorption. If mornings are not possible have it 3-4 hours after a meal. Avoid having with meals, as it does not combine well with some foods and secondly drinking fluids with meals hampers the digestive process.
- Don’t add any extra salt or sugar. As your taste buds get cleaner, you will taste the salt and sweetness already present in the juices.
- Have them fresh, which means don’t cut the vegetables and fruits and juice them the next day or juice large quantities and drink them over many days. Have them immediately after juicing, especially citrus which turn bitter if exposed to air.
- Wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly. I prefer juicing with the skin on wherever possible, so wash and wipe before juicing. Do NOT wash after you have cut the vegetables or fruits, as water soluble vitamins and minerals get dissolved and simply go down the drain.
- Juice either through cold pressed juicer or hand squeeze. The heat generated by centrifugal juicing (and mixes) reduces a lot of the nutritional value. It’s the same principle as cold pressed oil. If you are planning on buying a cold pressed juicer ensure that its rpm is between 40-80 (the less the rpm, the better); check that it can also extract nut milk (most can and since cold pressed juices are a bit expensive, you want to make sure they can do both)
- Sip; gulping a juice down can cause indigestion and gas.
- Best to stick to seasonal produce that’s also local. So in North India, avoid bottle gourd, for instance, in winter.
Below is a list of juices I have experimented with and drunk:
|1. Carrots+ beetroot +orange+ gooseberry |
Carrots+ beetroot+ apple+ gooseberry
Helpful with vitamin A, B12, RBC and vitamin C, so a good juice for eye issues, anemia, and immunity
|For 300ml: 150-170gm/5-6 carrots; 50-70gm/1 beetroot; 50-70gm/2 orange; 2 gooseberries. |
For 300ml: 150-175gm/5-6 carrots; 50-70gm/1 beetroot; 50-70gm/2 apples; 4 gooseberries.
Fresh ginger can be used instead/alternatively with gooseberry.
|2. Carrots+ beetroot+ spinach+ gooseberry |
Helpful with constipation in addition to adding Vitamin A and C. Sometimes spinach can cause a bit of unease. I found it useful to eat papaya whenever this happened
|For 300 ml: 150-170gm/5-6 carrots; 50-70gm/1 beetroot; handful of spinach leaves; 3-4 gooseberries|
Fresh ginger can be used instead/alternatively with gooseberry
|3. Ash gourd or White Petha |
Ash gourd is considered one of the best alkalizing drink and helps remove and balance acidity in the body. Can be had throughout the year.
|For 300 ml: Take 500-600 gm ash gourd, peel the outside, remove the inner layer of seeds and put it into a juicer. |
Fresh ginger can be added.
|4. Tomatoes + Orange |
Helpful in stomach issues
|For 300ml: 150gm/3 tomatoes; 150 gm/3 oranges|
|5. Citrus Fruits: Orange, kinu or sweet lime |
Rich in vitamin C and simple sugars, these help cleanse the body and also act as energy booster.
|Best to have juice of one fruit only without mixing anything|
To know more about juices, below is a book that specially deals with the subject: Raw Vegetable Juices: What’s Missing in Your Body, Norman W. Walker