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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eating With Your Dollars: The best fast food money can buy

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Sawadee ka from Thailand!

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Drinking fresh raw organic vegetable juice is one of the fastest and easiest ways to stay in tip-top shape while vacationing. It also happens to be one of the best ways to "Eat With Your Dollars." It's something I do no matter where I am in the world (including here in Thailand) and do almost daily back home. And I'm not talking about opening a can of V8 or buying a ready-made juice like Naked that has been pasteurized. I'm talking about drinking the juice of this many vegetables (see photo below) at one sitting - raw, fresh and straight out of a juicer.

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The reasons to drink vegetable juice seem endless to me, but here are just three reasons why adding this habit to your repertoire is the key to ultimate health.

1. It's really hard to get the amount of vegetables required by most experts (6-8 servings) in a typical day. I don't know about you, but when I wake up, I don't crave a big bowl of collard greens or broccoli. It's rare to see Americans eating vegetables for breakfast, and at lunch it could be as small as a piece of lettuce and tomato on a sandwich, leaving very little room in the day to get that 6-8 servings. It takes a few pounds of vegetables to get a 12-ounce glass of juice - which gives you the whole day's worth of servings in one class. Additionally, juicing allows you to get a wide variety of vegetables you would probably not otherwise consume in your diet, giving your body the variety of vitamins and minerals it needs to repair damaged cells, prevent disease, and keep you looking and feeling younger.

2. Drinking juice gives you a ton of energy. When juice is separated from the fiber of fruits and vegetables, it is easier for your body to absorb all the nutrients, giving you an instant boost of energy. Consuming the abundance of live enzymes, vitamins and minerals in juice is like drinking a natural version Red Bull. There's nothing wrong with a little organic coffee, but my daily habit was eliminated after I started having fresh juice daily. I simply didn't need it anymore to feel awake and alive.

3. Our soil is depleted. Due to the use of pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and conventional farming practices, several vitamins and minerals have become depleted from our soil. Eating a piece of broccoli now vs. 20 years ago does not yield the same amount of nutrition. It's crucial that we try to overcompensate this fact by consuming as many whole plant foods as possible. Juicing allows you to get the extra boost you need much more efficiently than trying to chew vegetables all day. When I started drinking carrot juice, my eye lashes immediately started to grow longer within just a couple of weeks. Feeling the extra energy boost is one thing, but seeing the results in the mirror can be quite dramatic and make you a firm believer of the powers of drinking juice.

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Obviously, you don't have to travel all the way to Thailand to get fresh organic juice. My favorite way to get juice is through my juicer at home. (There are some easy and fast recipes on my blog. I like to flavor my juice with lemon, ginger and garlic. If you have never tried fresh raw vegetable juice before or are new to juicing, I recommend starting off with an 80 percent vegetable to 20 percent fruit ratio and slowly migrate over time to 100 percent vegetable juice with fresh lemon or lime juice as the only fruit-based flavor enhancer. It's really important to slowly drink your juice, almost chewing it, so the juice will mix with your saliva. This action stimulates your digestive enzymes allowing you to absorb all the nutrients.

If you don't have a juicer of your own, no worries, there are several fantastic juice bars in town that can make you a fresh raw juice in no time! Here are some of my favorites:

Berry Brook Farms: Great recipes, fast service, call in orders and take away.

Luna's Living Kitchen: Innovative combinations, the "Kale Lemonade" is perfect for those just starting out and need a little apple and lemon to help that kale go down.

Home Healthy Market and Earth Fare: I love combining my juicing and shopping! Sipping on juice while shopping keeps my will power in check and prevents me from loading my cart with junk food.

And if you are too lazy to make your own juice or can't get your butt off the couch, you can always call Viva Raw, who delivers fresh raw juice straight to your door. They just upgraded their equipment with a Norwalk Juicer - the best juicer on the market that cold-presses the juice, preserving many of the raw enzymes longer than other traditional juicers.

See! Fresh juice is the most nutritious "fast food" money can buy. Now, how's that for Eating With Your Dollars?

I'm off to drink juice with the elephants. Until next time ...

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A management consultant by day and food activist blogger by night, Vani Hari has been featured here on CL's 2012 Lust List, the Charlotte Observer, and the New York Times. She has made it her mission to spread as much information about what is in food as well as how to make the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store and how to live an organic lifestyle on her blog Foodbabe.com.

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