When I drank my very first green juice, I prepared myself for the worst. I pinched my nose and threw back the glowing green kryptonite concoction like it my first shot of tequila. But I was left pleasantly surprised. It actually tasted really good – very fresh, almost vibrant and I could instantly tell I was doing something good for me.
I truly believe food has the power to heal (or harm for that matter). A nutrient rich, plant-based diet is my first line of therapy in managing my PCOS. You can see just what I eat by downloading my Meal Plans. Veggies and fruits are loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and enzymes that build red blood cells, enhance brain function and balance blood sugars just to name a few benefits. I would much rather be eating or drinking veggies than popping prescription pills down the road.
For the last couple years, I have been juicing veggies and fruit everyday. This helps me blow away the USDA’s 5-a-day recommendation. It actually takes over 1lb of veggies to make just one juice!
There are not many research studies on juicing, but I can share that a recent in-depth survey of 500 raw foodists showed that people who followed an 80 to 90% raw foods diet for 2 years reported marked improvements in immunity, digestion, allergies, weight moderation, chronic illness, and mental, and emotional well-being.(1) Juice is the ultimate raw food.
“Drinking the juice of green plants infuses the body with the sun’s energy, renewing every cell it reaches. It cleans the blood through its rich alkalinity, near bio-identical makeup to haemoglobin, delivers the most absorbable form of minerals, floods the body with fresh Life Force Energy, and makes you feel absolutely fresh and energetic” ~ Natalia Rose, Detox 4 Women
While I am not recommending that everyone run out and become a raw foodist, I do think drinking raw green juice can provide many benefits for women with PCOS. Here are some benefits -
Balances Body PH
Our cells thrive in a slightly alkaline environment (a pH between 7.365 and 7.45). Seven on the pH scale is neutral. Our body becomes more acidic as our pH drops below seven and more alkaline as it rises above seven. The standard American diet (SAD) is filled with acidic foods, such as refined sugars and grains, soda, coffee, meat, milk, cheese, alcohol and anything heavily processed are all acidic foods. Alkaline foods include veggies, greens, almonds, sprouts, avocado, millet, some fruits and of course, green juices are at a pH of seven or above. Refer to this acid/alkaline food chart for more details.
Juices are striped of fiber so they need very little if any digesting. Juicing is the easiest way to get phytonutrients in their most absorbable form because the concentrated nutrients go straight into your bloodstream.
Free radicals are the by-products of the burning of oxygen by cells in your body to produce energy. These by-products are damaged molecules. They are missing an electron, and they take electrons from important components in your body, such as DNA. Phytonutrients actually have at least one extra electron. Why is that so valuable? The electron attaches to the free radicals deactivating their destructive potential.
Source of Enzymes
Raw juice is a rich source of enzymes. Enzymes act as catalysts in hundreds of thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout the body, enzymes are essential for digestion and absorption of food, for conversion of food into body tissue, and for the production of energy at the cellular level. Since the enzymes in your juice begin to break down immediately, it’s best to drink it within 20-30 minutes.
Whenever my clients start juicing, they start feeling better, lighter, and they have more energy as time goes on. Their sleep improves and mood stabilizes. I have experienced these results too. I like to juice at 3PM before my kids get home for school. It gives me more energy than coffee ever will. So how do you get started? First things first - you'll need to go shopping.
Purchase a Juicer
Two years ago I dipped my toe into the world of juicing with the Jack LaLanne JLPJB Power Juicer Juicing Machine. It is still running strong, although I don’t think it extracts as much juice as other higher end juicers may.
I have heard good things about the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor and would love to upgrade soon (If my husband is reading -it would make a nice anniversary gift)
Clean your juicer while you are drinking your juice. If you let things sit it makes cleaning a real chore.
Shopping for Produce
I try to purchase organic veggies whenever possible. Please refer to this guide from the Environmental Working Group when buying produce. If the produce is not organic is is important to peel the skin to reduce pesticide exposure.
Purchasing in-season produce at my local farmer’s market is much less expensive than the grocery store. Also consider purchasing a farm-share from your local CSA –everything in my basket is juicable. To locate one near you visit Localharvest.org
What to juice?
As women with PCOS, we have to be very careful with our juice combinations. Juicing too many fruits and sweet veggies like carrots and beets without any fiber to blunt the insulin response, can get us in trouble. I try to stick with a 3 to 1 ratio of veggies to fruit.
My perfect juice combo is cucumber, kale, green apple and a little lemon. You can use the guideline below to come up with your perfect juice.
50% cucumber, celery, zucchini rhubarb or broccoli stems.
25% dark leafy green like kale, collards, cabbage, spinach or romaine,
25% green apple, pear, strawberry, blueberries, cranberries, grapefruit, orange, carrot, beet
Extras: lemon, lime, ginger root (a little goes a long way), mint, cilantro, parsley
I recently watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with my family. You can watch it free online. In the movie, Joe Cross chronicles his 60-day juice fast where he transfoms his health and body. You 've been reading about all the benefits of juicing, but I don’t think juice fasting is a good idea for women with PCOS. Vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat, so by itself it is not really a complete food. It isn't balanced and it really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it.
I would love to hear from you about your adventures in juicing. Please share your favorite combos in the comment section and on Facebook.