Crazy for Juice

Celebrity trainer and star of a forthcoming fitness themed Bravo reality show, Courtney Paul, is known to tell his students “when you stay ready, you never have to get ready.” Unfortunately that’s easier said than done and he’s quick to remind us all that summer is around the corner. You might be thinking that after a brutal winter layered up and indulging in calorie-rich foods , a juice cleanse isn’t looking too bad right about now. Before laying out a few hundred bucks and setting out on a path of hunger induced grumpiness we turned to Nicole Fasules, R.D.,C.D., Board Certified Sports Dietitian (CSSD), and Certified Personal Trainer to find out once and for all the ins and outs of all things liquid produce.

Long Island Pulse Insider: There’s been such an explosion of juice bars, shops and services what are some important things to consider when people are deciding where to get their juices?
Nicole Fasules:
Are they juices that they use from organic sources? Are they sweetened? Are they pre-packaged or are they freshly squeezed? Are they just juicing or are they blending your juice or smoothie?

PI: You mentioned juices versus smoothies. Which is better?
Smoothies are always better! Always! It is important to use the entire fruit not only for better blood sugar control, but also for all the vital nutrients and fibers that are found in the skins. That’s where the benefit is, not from the carbohydrate extracted from the fruit.

PI: Any favorite at home blenders/juicers?
Not really, I would rather eat my fruits and vegetables whole. When you chew you release extra digestive enzymes for the tissue breakdown as well as for the uptake of the actual nutrition. We were meant to chew our food. Not drink it.

PI:. Does that mean you don’t believe in juice cleansing? Is it safe? Beneficial?
It’s not necessary at all. If we are eating a whole foods diet and lots of water, we are giving our body what it needs to stay well. If we have a weekend of indulgence (too much caffeine, sugar, rich foods, alcohol…), our bodies are actually designed to take care of that by themselves. We don’t need to go on some sort of fast or “cleanse” – which isn’t a real thing anyway, its more to satisfy our minds then it is for satisfying our body . Again, our bodies are designed to take care of that type of thing.

PI: For people who can’t fit in produce any way beside a juice or smoothie, can you recommend some ingredients?
Berries are a great summer produce and are rich in antioxidants. Strawberries are high in folic acid and contain more vitamin c in 1 cup serving than 1 orange. They are great for incorporating in juices such as strawberry lemonade! Backberries and raspberries each contain 8g of fiber in 1 cup. Add these to a lemonade or smoothie and it makes for a refreshing drink. Fresh greens. Adding these into juices or smoothies sneaks in a dose of iron and also great sources of vitamin K, which is a must for blood and bone health.
Again, I prefer blended drinks, so blend any combination of these, add some flaxmeal for extra fiber and omega-3s and maybe some nut butter or avocado for extra smooth texture and you’re good to go.

PI: How important is organic?
Not important for fruits with tough skins on them such as bananas or avocados or oranges, but absolutely necessary for most.

PI: What fruits/veggies are most important to get organic?
Apples, Peaches, Nectarines, All berries, Grapes, Celery

PI: With summer around the corner what’s a good action plan for someone looking to kick-start some healthy habits?
Everyone loves to kick-start things. Each day we have an opportunity to choose things that are good for our body. There isn’t anything that we need to start because if there is a start that usually means there is a finish. Take an inventory of your present habits and see what you can do to incorporate more positive habits into your day whether that be choosing an apple over a snickers bar or choosing to accept your body shape for what it is and that you are just going to take care of it as best as possible. It’s all about balance, not elimination, not cleansing, not giving up as much as just being more inclusive of what’s missing in your diet to make your body healthier.