Being a mom is both a thankless and rewarding, albeit a very busy task. Between soccer drop offs, sick days and nights up with a crying and colicky baby there are countless reasons why moms (all parents – really) have a hard time finding the energy to make it through the day. Many turn to caffeine, and we certainly aren’t dissing that option – we at Daily Mom are hardcore caffeine lovers! However, juicing is something you’ve certainly heard about, read about or tried at one time or another. Fresh juices are an amazing craze that will hopefully never go away. They come with a long list of benefits, but like anything else health or nutrition related, it will serve you best to be informed. Today we are prepared to bring you a little bit more information on juicing, how to use it to up those ever dropping energy levels, and talk about what all the hype really is about. New moms, take note! We will be touching on the safety of juicing while breastfeeding as well!
Number one parent complaint? Probably busyness or exhaustion. And while in a perfect world we would love to try to cut out some of the business in favor of a simpler life, this just isn’t always a possibility. How about instead of stressing about all the things that you can’t seem to fit in, you start being mindful of what you do accomplish everyday, and in addition to thinking positively you also start flooding your body with super nutrients! Fruits and vegetables fortify your body with both vitamins and minerals as well as the all-important phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are powerful tools for cleaning up your body and facilitating a healing process.
How is your food digested?
Unhealthy foods, especially when you are busy, certainly have some sort of romance about them. Although they are quick and easy, consuming all of these foods can do a number on your entire body. It takes your body a lot of work to break down the food or fuel that you are giving it and then use it for different processes throughout the body. Digestion begins in your mouth when you start salivating and continues down your esophagus (the simple tube connecting your pharynx or throat with your stomach) to your stomach. Once in the stomach, food is squeezed and mixed with digestive juices that are released from specialized cells in walls of the stomach. These juices include hydrochloric acid, which kills microorganisms and activates an enzyme called pepsin that helps break down proteins, and intrinsic factor, which is a substance that helps the small intestine absorb vitamin B12. The lining of the stomach contains cells which help produce mucus to help protect the walls of the stomach from damage due to the acid.
From the stomach your food travels to the small intestine which is ironically the longest portion of your digestive track. Here there are three different sections – the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. The small intestine is mainly where digesting is finished and the absorption of nutrients begins. Aiding in this task are a few other organs including the pancreas, gallbladder and the liver. The last stop of your digestive system is the large intestine or the colon. The material that’s left after digestion and absorption travels here. The large intestine then removes water, salt, and some nutrients, forming stools.
Understanding all that your body goes through is important, because now you can see why your digestive system and some of your vital organs may need a little bit of a break sometimes.
Giving your Body a Break
Swapping in that bowl of cereal or mid-morning snack will be a decision that will allow your body (mainly the digestive system) to thank you. When juicing, you do lose a little bit of the benefits of consuming added fiber (more on that in a little bit), but it absolutely does take your body considerably less energy to digest food in its liquid form. By adding juice in place of an unhealthier choice, you will be:
- Resting the Stomach – Liquids require less of the stomach’s digestive processing (churning, acid and pepsin) allowing nutrients to be extracted easier.
- Resting and Repairing the Gut – Toxic foods, medications and stress all take their toll on the functioning of your intestine. An imbalance in your gut microbiome can happen very easily. By adding fresh juice into the rotation you are consuming a more phytonutrient-dense food that can be assimilated quickly through the intestine — consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense food helps to repair the gut itself.
- Resting the Liver – Your main detoxifying organ is your liver. The molecules of food absorbed through your intestinal wall then move into your liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. Many times though there are too many toxins for your liver to weed out, making its job very difficult and allowing for toxins to accidentally pass through and wreak havoc in other parts of your body. Drinking organic juices can allow your liver to get a bit of a break.
Juicing for Energy
Now that you understand how juicing can aide your body, lets discuss how it can help with your energy levels. Simply put, the nutrients that you get from juice can provide your body with both the physical and the brain power that you need to increase your energy. Green juices are especially great for energy, one of the main reasons being because they are filled with chlorophyll. This green pigment found in plants helps oxygenate the blood, creating increased brain function and physical energy. The miraculous substance of chlorophyll is identical to hemoglobin within the body. Because of this similarity some people believe that chlorophyll can actually be converted to hemoglobin, which will increase the quality and quantity of red blood cells, boosting your energy and increasing well-being. Since cooking breaks down chlorophyll, juicing is the best way to ensure that your body is getting enough!
Cold Pressed Juice
Juices, by their nature, are raw foods. They retain powerful nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking. These include B vitamins and especially digestive and anti-inflammatory enzymes. If you are going to use juicing as a means to increase your intake of nutrients you want to focus on your juice being the following two things: organic and cold pressed or raw. Organic goes without saying. By drinking organic juices you are avoiding all of the harmful chemicals and pesticides often found on conventional produce. This will further enable your body to properly do its job without overloading your liver with toxins. If you are making your own juice at home, you obviously can rest assured knowing that you are using fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are opting to purchase juices from a company, a great term to look for is “cold pressed”. This type of juice is made with a hydraulic press that uses thousands of pounds of pressure and extracts the maximum amount of liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. Because this process uses no additional heat or oxygen there are no nutrients lost. Traditional types of heat pasteurization can kill off these nutrients, ultimately making it more difficult for the body.
Juicing While Breastfeeding
Juicing can be a great way to help both your body and your little one’s body receive necessary nutrients. A juice cleanse or any cleanse is not appropriate for new moms, though. This is not the proper time to try to detoxify your body; rather it is the time to make sure your body is properly nourished. Therefore, breastfeeding moms should not jump right into a juice cleanse. Rather you should supplement your already existing healthy diet by adding in an array of fresh juices.
Busy moms everywhere can rest assured that whipping up your own fresh juice at home certainly is not the only option that you have. Project Juice is a fantastic company based out of California (they ship throughout the US) selling custom juice packs, cleanses, wellness shots and more! While they do have a store based in California they will ship their beloved juices to you directly via overnight delivery. The company actually began as a personal ‘project’ to develop and deliver the highest quality plant-based foods and cold pressed juices in a convenient and accessible form. What started as a personal conquest has grown into so much more.
Project Juice sources the best certified organic produce and features ingredients from local farms. Their products are certified by the USDA to be organic and they are non-GMO. They take extra steps to know where all the fruits and vegetables that end up in your juice were grown. Considering the modernized food system we live with, this is a huge step!
They have a wide array of juice options, from their large selection of green juices to their citrus juices and their amazing blends. Project Juice also has a delicious selection of nut milks, chocolate protein and more! All of these juices contain a wide variety of benefits for your body. In addition to their juices they also offer wellness shots. These cold pressed and potent 2 oz shots are a great addition to any health regimen. You take these in the morning on an empty stomach and they can help with issues ranging from digestion problems and inflammation to detox and nutrient absorption.
Our tried and true favorite Project Juice pack is the “Mommas Lil’ Helper”. This pack contains 10 juices, 5 Sweet Greens and 5 Get Up And Go-Gos and is specifically designed for high energy moms everywhere. You know who you are! The ones with a never ending to-do list looking for the extra pep in your step to accomplish as much as possible. You can start your morning with Sweet Greens which is packed full of nutrient rich ingredients like spinach, lettuce, cucumber, kale, celery and apples! Reaching for leafy greens is always a great way to begin your day. Then, when your energy begins to take a turn for the unproductive, you can indulge in a Get Up And Go-Go. This is a healthier, lower-acidity cold-brew coffee that is blended with their signature and protein packed, sprouted Almond Milk. It is full of both healthy fats and proteins, making it the ideal drink of choice for (exhausted) moms everywhere!
EXPLORE AND CONNECT
Looking for even more information on juicing? Be sure to check out Juicing 101: What You Should Know!
Photo Credits: Jessica