Juicing Your Way to Weight Loss

Photo credit: Ashlyn Paulsen (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It seems that each new day brings a new weight-loss fad, and you can usually spot the fakes. They promote a pill, a powder or a belt that promises rapid weight loss without actually changing your diet or your lifestyle. Some of these fads may result in some weight loss in the short term, but you will most likely re-gain the weight you lost and then some more. You have to change your diet, get more exercise and drink healthier beverages if you want to lose weight and keep it off. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is one way to change your diet to promote weight loss. If raw vegetables are unappetizing to you, consider getting more veggies in your diet by juicing. Juicing vegetables and fruits is one way to get all the benefits of raw, whole foods.

Juicing is not just squeezing fruit juice into a glass. A juicer blends raw fruits and vegetables into a cool, smooth drink that tastes great. Even if you don’t like vegetables, such as kale, spinach, or broccoli, you can combine these healthy greens with bananas, strawberries and apples for a delicious, refreshing and healthy drink.

Drinking your fruits and vegetables can help you to get more fiber and nutrients into your diet. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best way to get the nutrients, trace minerals and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. The raw fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables can help you feel full so that you do not overeat. Fiber also helps to regulate your digestive system and stimulate your metabolism for additional weight loss.

Invest in a high quality juicer for the best juicing. You don’t want your juice to be lumpy or contain chunks of raw vegetables. Find one that produces a smooth textured juice. Try juicing only the fruits and vegetables that you already love if you are new to juicing. Start with some sweet red apples, strawberries and a banana. You can blend these fruits with a cup of ice for a refreshing smoothie. Mix and match sweet fruits to find your favorite combination. Once you settle on a favorite flavor, add one green vegetable, such as a few kale or spinach leaves or one carrot. The rich flavor of the blended fruits will cover the taste of the carrot, spinach and kale, but you will still get all the benefits of these nutrient-rich vegetables.

Juice whole, unpeeled vegetables and fruit. Much of the taste and many of the nutrients are found in the skin. Replace your bacon, eggs and white toast with butter and enjoy a breakfast juice instead. Drinking juiced vegetables and fruits on an empty stomach will help you feel full faster and will keep you from getting hungry for hours. Take a thermos of juice to work for your lunch instead of a fast food burger. Your body will get the nutrients and energy it needs without the empty calories and bad carbohydrates found in most fast food. Even people who refuse to eat vegetables will enjoy a cold, fresh glass of juiced fruits and veggies.

 

Eat Light & Stay Cool

DSCF7627The temperatures are rising and soon the full heat of summer will be upon us. The summer heat can diminish  your appetite. You may not feel much like eating especially when the heat combines with high humidity, but you still have to eat to maintain your health. Eating light and fresh foods can provide your body with all the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy without bogging  you down. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste great, won’t weigh heavy in your stomach and you might even lose a little weight too.

Avoid Fatty Foods

During the summer heat  you should eat light meals and limit the size of your portions. Your body creates heat when digesting food and burning calories. You want to get nutrition without making your body work too hard extracting those nutrients. Fats, grease and oils fill you up quickly but can bog you down. Summer is the time when many people grill outdoors. Limit fried foods and avoid too many burgers and processed meats.  Heavy breads, cheeses, pasta and meats can make you feel lethargic. You can make delicious meals on the grill with light fare, such as shrimp, skinless chicken breasts, fish and vegetables.  You don’t have to sacrifice flavor when eating light. Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious alone, but you can perk up the flavor of your veggies with your favorite spices. Try some light, grilled lemon-pepper fish or coconut shrimp on your barbecue along with some grilled red, green and yellow peppers.  Stir fry is also a delicious way to enjoy vegetables. Chop fresh peppers, broccoli, snow peas, onions, and cabbage. Stir fry lightly to preserve the crisp and retain nutrients. Top some fresh spaghetti squash with the vegetables for a light dish that will fill you up without bogging you down. Take it easy on the soy sauce as it is loaded with sodium. Choose colorful vegetables and fruit for energy and nutrients including antioxidants. Free radicals are a natural result of cell oxidation, but can lead to cell damage. Antioxidants help to remove free radicals from your cells. Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are a delicious way to get nutrients and rid your body of free radicals.

Stay Hydrated

Remember to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is dangerous and you are especially susceptible to dehydration during the summer months. Eating fruits, including apples, watermelon, strawberries and fresh peaches are not only rich in nutrients like iron and vitamins including vitamin C, they contain water too. Fresh fruits contain natural sugars that can help boost your energy level too. A delicious way to enjoy a variety of fresh fruits is to make a fruit salad. Slice fresh fruits and mix them together well. You can add a bit of fresh fruit juice, or simply enjoy the fruits in their natural juices. Watermelon is delicious after being chilled in the refrigerator. Keep some slices ready for when you need a boost and a cool, refreshing snack.

 

Best Fruit Juices

Photo Credit: Metoc  CC-BY-SA-3.0

Juice is one of the best ways to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. There are hundreds of brands and different fruit blends to choose from. But how do you know you are getting nutrients without loading up your body with sugar, preservatives and extra calories? You have to read the label. Select fruit and vegetables juices without added sugar, sodium or preservatives if possible. Many juice-like drinks are made from 10% or less fruit juice. The rest is flavored, colored and sweetened water. Juice cocktails and juice drinks are usually sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and provide little nutrition. Different fruits provide a variety of benefits. Apple juice, for example, is rich in fiber, vitamins A, C and B. If you like juice, try a variety made from different fruits.
Vegetable juice blends are a good way to add more vegetables to your diet. Tomato juice is rich in the nutrient lycopene and has been linked to a reduced risk of some kinds of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Beets may help keep high blood pressure in check because they are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber. Vegetable juices are usually low in sugar and calories, but may be high is sodium. Check the label and select a low-sodium or no-sodium added variety. 
Pomegranate juice is delicious, sweet and is packed with antioxidants. The trade-off is that pomegranate juice is high in calories, mostly from natural sugars. Cranberry juice is extolled for its beneficial effects on the urinary tract. It is also rich in vitamin C for a strong immune system. Blueberry juice and acai berry juice may have a beneficial effect on your ability to concentrate and have more antioxidants than most other fruits. Cherry juice has anti-inflammatory antioxidants and grape juice is rich in the antioxidants. Orange juice is known to be loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C. Prune juice is high in fiber and iron. It also contains a sorbitol, which is a laxative and can help keep your digestive system regular. Like most other fruits and juices prunes also contain antioxidants and potassium.