Freya Drohan: Why I believe green juices are more than a fad
As organic green juices have become the Diet Coke or takeaway Starbucks cup for the Instagram generation, Freya Drohan weighs in on the trend.
‘Detox’ is the buzzword of the month, but does the solution to a brighter and healthier lifestyle lie in a bottle of cold pressed liquid vegetables?
Experts and nutritionists are divided on the matter. Shop-bought juices and smoothies tend to be laden with unnecessary sugars and additives to prolong shelf life and thus can do more harm than good to your metabolism and the idea of juicing as a desperate measure to drop some weight is prickly territory.
However, I have been consuming and drinking juices and green smoothies for over two years and I wholly advocate their benefits in a balanced diet. In my (unprofessional but personal) opinion, the answer lies in moderation, and here are some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.
I first learned about the cult of juicing through the 2010 documentary ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’ (available on Netlix and YouTube). The documentary follows the journey of Joe Cross as he regains control over a debilitating autoimmune disease. After 60 days surviving on the juice of fresh fruit and vegetables, the results speak for themselves as he loses 100 lbs and is able to swap his medication for a plant based diet.
I admit I did my first three day juice cleanse in 2013 in the run up to my j1 where the thought of spending a summer in the bikini haven that is California frightened the living daylights out of me. In hindsight, I didn't do it properly at all, but after three days of hunger pangs, I was delighted to find my skin glowing and my cravings for sugary foods diminished.
I then began to incorporate fresh smoothies into my diet sporadically, but relied too much on sweet fruits, low fat yoghurt and cartons of juice.
Thanks to Instagram, Pinterest and health blogs I researched more and discovered that while fruit boasts a myriad of vitamins and minerals, it is vegetables and superfoods that are the building blocks of a truly healthy blend.
If I’m feeling run down or sluggish, a three day signature cleanse from Pure Green leaves me feeling better in myself. Some nutritionists and dieticians warn against ‘extreme’ juice fasting, but if I’m finding it difficult, I’ll include some nuts and blueberries and of course the key is to keep yourself hydrated to the gills with water, lemon water and decaffeinated herbal teas.
Like most Irish people, I grew up in a household that adored food and nothing was ever restricted. But my experiences living in more health conscious cities like Vancouver and San Diego encouraged me to include more fresh produce, get accustomed with the health store and include nutritional powerhouses in my diet.
I’m a normal 22-year-old who certainly doesn’t deprive herself of food, but I am always in optimum health, never suffering from colds, flus and I credit my daily superfood smoothies with this.
If you want to reap the benefits of a more varied diet, invest in a reliable blender that is easy to clean and easy to use (my Nutribullet is like my best friend). Head to your local supermarket and stock up on non-dairy milks such as oat, rice, coconut or almond milk, coconut water, full fat natural yoghurt, oats, fresh fruit, leafy greens, chia/flax/sunflower/pumpkin seeds, nuts and sugar free nut butters.
(Tip: For a creamy smoothie, always use a banana or avocado to give you a thicker consistency.)
If you want to up the ante, visit a health store and ask the staff for advice on some additions that would suit your daily needs. I generally opt for wheatgrass, spirulina, bee pollen, goji berries, raw cacao nibs and raw cacao powder (NuaNaturals is a good brand). I also use protein powder to fuel workouts and help with muscle recovery.
You might have seen the hashtag ‘Strong Not Skinny’ on various social media sites. This is what it’s all about - don’t starve yourself and guzzle green smoothies to fit into an outfit, rather experiment and incorporate a healthy blend to fit in with your lifestyle.