Juice cleanses seem to be all the rage these days. While I’m all for consuming more vegetables, I am against the concept of substituting eating vegetables with juicing unless you somehow have a rare disorder of not being able to consume plant-based fiber. Some may even pose to ask the question juicing or blending, which is better?
The answer in this case is blending because you would not disregard the fiber and other remnants from the fruits and vegetables. But as many of my trainer friends would say, human bodies were designed to masticate food.
So my personal take is that neither one can beat chewing real vegetables. I also emphasize “vegetables” instead of “fruits” because many people don’t realize how much sugar can be in fruit and while a small dosage is great (I consume about 1/4 cup of fruit in the morning), you should aim to get your vitamins and minerals from lower sugar sources. So if you are going to in fact blend (or juice), you should keep that in mind and add more vegetables to the mix, though it will probably not taste as sweet.
For the same reason, I don’t think there really is an added benefit to consuming coconut water over regular water. Like my previous take on orange juice, the nutritional value of the fruit it was originally derived from is lost as it sits on the shelf. At the end, it’s just flavored sugar water.
I understand that people want to be on-the-go these days. So here’s a few portable vegetable snack options that I personally approve of and like to have on hand for those days when you might not have the time to pack a salad or want something to take on a hike (though I’ve also packed salads plenty of times to take with me on hikes):
(Click on the image above if you want to buy it)
I am in disapproval of most protein bars because they are basically like those sugary cereals that have added vitamins and minerals artificially added on, covered in chocolate. However, this one actually tastes great and has a great protein-carb-fiber ratio in my opinion. And if you’re into the raw food diet or need to be on a gluten-free diet, this is a great option. The only downside to this bar is you want to make sure you check your teeth in the mirror right after you’ve eaten one to make sure you don’t have any remnants of chia seeds (which can easily be removed via a napkin). Very portable! And it has a significant amount of vitamins A, C, and E as well as Calcium.
NOTE: There are other varieties of bars made by the same company and none of the other ones compare nutritionally. So double check what kind you’re getting before you purchase in stores. The nutrition of this bar includes the following for one bar: 220 calories, 9g fat (1.5g saturated), 18g carbs, 2g fiber, 16 g protein
(Click on the image above if you want to buy it)
I do like Lydia’s Organics, so while there are numerous brands out there for kale chips, I chose to post theirs on this posting. Kale chips can be crumbly, so what I like to do with the remaining kale chip crumbs at the end is to sprinkle it on top of my Greek yogurt (the last item I eat at night everyday) along with other things I might sprinkle on from chia seeds to hemp seeds. It’s a great way to get your vitamin A if you can’t carry around fresh leafy greens.
Nutritional information for the mega green kind consists of (per serving) 150% vitamin A, 40% vitamin C, and 10% of the recommended daily amount.
If you like Kale chips, chances are you’ll like this one (also by Lydia’s Organics). And you can also do the same thing with the Greek yogurt for any crumbs left behind. The box packaging and the nature of the product texture does make this one less prone to crumbling than the kale chips. It also has a good protein-carb-fiber ratio so it’ll feel more substantial than eating just kale chips. For the serving size of 3 crackers, it’s 150 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated), 9g carbs, 4g fiber, 7g protein and 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
Here’s also a few fad diets that I don’t really think people should follow so strictly:
The Paleo Diet (aka Caveman Diet)
This one is popular amongst cross-fitters and other gym enthusiasts. While the concept of eating things that would have only been found in nature by our paleolithic ancestors is generally good, some of the items on the list of things that you aren’t supposed to eat doesn’t seem 100% correct to me (the list was found on the Paleo Diet website at http://thepaleodiet.com/what-to-eat-on-the-paleo-diet/). Potatoes and legumes are on the list, which would rule out sweet potatoes and lentils (both of which I consider to be health foods).
Raw Food Diet
It is true that often times the nutritional value of foods are lost in the process of over-cooking them (eating raw slices of apple is more nutritional than eating apple pie filling, no doubt). So while it’s also generally a good idea to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet, eating all foods raw isn’t always better. For an example, cooking tomatoes replaces the vitamin c (when eaten raw) with an increase in lycopene (when eaten cooked). And when you cook mushrooms, it helps release antioxidants such as ergothioneine while toxins and carcinogens such as agaritine get removed. So again, you shouldn’t strictly have to follow a raw food diet.
Gluten- Free Diet
This diet is supposed to be for people who are celiac-positive, meaning those who have trouble absorbing nutrition from food when gluten is involved. However, there seems to be many people who go on this diet thinking it will help them stay fit. This is similar to the misconception that being a vegetarian is healthy as you can be on a potato chip and beer diet and qualify as a vegetarian (there are people out there who claim to be vegetarians but won’t eat vegetables). Here’s a video from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show that had me laughing because it really goes to show how ignorant people are:
And there you have it. The bottom line is, you should always make informed decisions and be ready to question fad diets so that you can weigh in on the pros and cons. A diet is not supposed to be a fad anyways – it’s a lifestyle.