Vegetables – Raw or Juiced – Nutrition Tips – as part of the expert series by GeoBeats.
Juicing is one of those things that comes up a lot in my clientele as well. There are some really big benefits to that, there are also some really big detriments. Okhay, if you think about it, you have somebody sit down at a table and you put down in front of them a bunch of celery, a head of cabbage, two carrots, a chunk of ginger, and an apple, and you say, “Have at it!” they are going to look at you as if you are crazy. “I cannot eat all of that.” However, if you take all of that stuff and you put it into a juicer, juice it, and then pour them this nice glass, maybe this size, it is very easy to have all of those vegetables all at once. In some ways, that is a good thing.
In some ways, that can be a bad thing because even though vegetables are fairly low in sugar, when you concentrate that much into a single glass or a single bottle which you can find a lot of times in the stores, you can end up with way too much sugar all at once. It is like a sugar bomb. In some ways, you might as well have that Snickers bar, right? Be really aware of how much sugar you are getting in that glass. One of the key things that people do not usually understand about juicers: there are two kinds. There is the Vita-Mix kind, which just looks like a blender, and you put everything in and it all goes, “Buzz,” and you pour everything out.
There is the other kind of juicer that has the juice that comes out of one side of the machine and the pulp that comes out of the other side of the machine. I do not recommend that kind because that pulp is what contains the fiber, both soluble and insoluble fibers, that help to slow down the entrance of the sugar into the system. If you use that kind of machine, or you have spent a whole lot of money on that kind of machine, take at least half of that fiber and stir it back into your juice glass, if you insist on juicing. What I tend to recommend for using juicing for is a basis for a smoothie, which is going to give you protein and fat as well, so you have a complete meal in that glass rather than just a shot of juice. That little ‘zing’ you get after having that little glass of juice in the middle of your afternoon, it is not from the enzymes, folks. It is the sugar.
Raw versus cooked vegetables, it all depends on the vegetable. Some vegetables you want to have at least what I call wilted: the mustard families, which include mustard greens, which is obvious, it is also spinach. When you are looking at certain vegetables that need to be cooked or at least wilted, the reason for that is that they contain high amounts of certain substances that can cause damage if you keep taking them in, in large quantities. A lot of my vegetarians—that is great, they are eating lots of vegetables—have a tendency to eat a lot of the raw ones that actually should be cooked for the best benefit of the body. Things like spinach, things like mustard greens have a high amount of oxalic acid. You want to have that cooked because the heat actually helps to break that down and does not cause the tendency to create kidney stones that the raw vegetable does.
Then you can look at things like, well, the cruciferous family. You have Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy—that whole group that if you were to cook it and put some extra in the fridge and cover it up, you open it up the next morning, you pop up the lid and go, “Whew, it smells like sulfur!”—that group. That group also needs to be blanched at least to the al dente. Even if you are doing a vege-dip for a party, you want to make sure you blanch those just a little bit: they can still be crunchy. Again you are breaking down some of those things that are going to be potentially much more difficult for your body’s chemistry to deal with.
Lettuces are great, and green beans are fabulous: you can have them cooked or raw, no matter which way you want to go. There are certain vegetables as well that you ant to have, depending on whether you are male or female, you want to have raw or cooked. The key one here is tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes for men is much better—they get much more lycopene released when those tomatoes are cooked—and lycopene is a key player in prostate health. Women actually do better when that tomato is raw. The key when you are looking at what is right for you is to really know what is right for your chemistry. Sometimes it takes getting some help in figuring that out, but really, if you are going to be vegetarian, raw vegan, omnivorous, or lacto-pesca-tarian, there are lots of different ways to eat, and eat healthy. You just need to know how to do it.