Juicing is a popular part of many modern diet plans. It is often used as a “detox” system, or as a way to take in large amounts of fruits and vegetables that are labelled as super-foods because they are so nutrient-dense. For someone who is follows a strictly calorie-controlled diet or who eats a lot of processed foods, juicing may make sense, but does it fit in with the Paleo diet? The answer is a categorical yes.
The most avid smoothie drinkers believe that drinking juice allows them to access more nutrients from the foods that they consume than they would be able to if they ate the foods whole. This benefit is rather debateable, at least for non-athletes who do not need large amounts of calories and nutrients. The real benefit to juicing, for most of us, is not that the nutrients are any more bioavailable, but rather that it is easier to drink vegetable juice than it is to eat the quantity of vegetables that it takes to make the juice. Think of juice drinking as a way to encourage yourself to comply with your diet, rather than a superior way of actually consuming the food.
What Should You Juice?
For Paleo diet followers, the best kind of juice to drink is vegetable juice, although juices made with some berries or low-sugar fruits such as bananas can be a good choice too. Stay away from juice that contains a lot of oranges, apples or other sweet fruits. Many people make the mistake of assuming that a fruit smoothie has to be healthy because it contains a lot of fruit ? and fruit is natural, so it must be good! The fact is that a fruit smoothie can easily contain far more sugar than the recommended daily intake for an average adult, and is incredibly calorie-dense as a result too. Yes, you are getting vitamins and minerals from the smoothie, but in terms of simple carbohydrates and calories you are no better off than you would be eating a chocolate bar.
Vegetable smoothies offer a similar amount of vitamins and minerals but with more fibre and fewer calories. They can also be surprisingly tasty too. Depending on how strictly you are following the Paleo diet, you can add organic protein powder or nuts to your smoothie for extra bulk, making a good meal replacement.
Juicing or Blending?
Traditional juice machines squeeze the juice out of the ingredients and filter out the fibre. This is not an ideal choice for someone following the Paleo diet. Instead of using a juicer, use a blender on a fine setting. This will make a thicker, fibre-rich smoothie. The fibre aids digestion and also slows down the rate at which sugar enters the blood stream. If the juice is too thick, add a little water to it part way through the blending process or use almond milk instead for a more luxurious taste.