juice bars are popping up all over

Today I’m covering all things juicing! Juicing is a trending topic here in NYC, as it may be in your city as well. I knew juicing had hit the big time when I came across an article while flipping through the pages of my New York Magazine. (Not to mention the paparazzi picture of Kate Upton strolling Soho with a Juice Generation® “Mr. Greengenes” in hand.) While they haven’t quite reached the height of coffee shops (in terms of locations), juice bars are popping up all over Manhattan and the boroughs. If you want your juice you can certainly find it. Juicing as it turns out isn’t exactly cheap, but it packs a lot of punch! (I’ve clocked in a whopping eight dollar 20 oz beverage from a popular chain of juice bars here in the city. There is also a well-known home juicer, which sells for upwards of $600, yowza!)

When I refer to juicing, I’m not talking about the more “old-school” smoothie. I’m talking about the process of extracting the minerals, vitamins, and nutrients directly from fresh fruits and veggies, and then drinking them. I’ve been asked about the benefits of juicing vs. simply eating your fruits and veggies the old fashioned way. The truth is that juicing isn’t necessarily providing you with added nutritional value over and above the original source it was extracted from. The benefit of juicing is that it’s more convenient, and we can gain more of the important health benefits from a wide variety of what can be squeezed into a 16, 20, or 24 oz cup, vs. eating an entire plate full of vegetables. (Sizes are simply for example.)

Juicing has been criticized for a reduced amount of fiber, which often is removed and discarded during the process of juicing. When eating a whole fruit or vegetable in it’s original form, we are ingesting and processing the fiber, which is necessary for proper colon function. Fiber is a key player in maintaining regularity and helping to fend off colon cancer. Some also argue that fresh vegetables are higher in nutrients than cooked or steamed. It is true that uncooked veggies have live enzymes, but it isn’t important to me whether the veggies are raw or cooked in terms of overall nutritional value. My bottom line advice is that you eat the veggies in whatever from you choose (steamed, sautéed, roasted). Personally, I cannot digest raw broccoli. If I’m going to eat broccoli it has to be steamed, steamed, and more steamed! For me I’d rather eat cooked broccoli than no broccoli at all. I also fully recommend a frozen vegetable option. There are many brands, including organic, which can be easily prepared by popping them in a microwave, or simply tossing the bag into a pot of boiling water. The only thing I ask is that you don’t smother it with cheese or butter. A simple serving of olive oil or whipped butter, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt and pepper will allow the flavors of these delicious veggies to come alive on your taste buds. Simple, but I digress, back to the juice…

If you need your healthy daily dose of fruits and/or veggies, and you want to jump on the juice bandwagon, I don’t see any harm to it. If anything, I see benefits! Please always be aware of calorie content and know that fruit juices often have loads of sugar. As usual we must watch calories in vs. calories out, so better stick to the veggie juices and avoid all that sugar! (Lots and lots more in my upcoming book “Lose Weight, Find Yourself! 6 Steps to Having a Healthy Relationship with Food…Bite by Bite and Pound by Pound.”) Juicing can be a simple, fun, and delicious way to round out your dietary needs. Go for it and have a wonderful day!