Fit people don't have it easy. Choosing a salad over a fries doesn't come effortlessly, nor does sneaking in a run (not to mention HIIT sessions, Barre or Soul Cycle classes) in between toddler naps, work projects and household chores. But these are not deal-breakers in their relationship with a healthy lifestyle. Portion control is.
I, for example, could easily polish by myself an entire bowl of guacamole; with corn chips, of course. Avocado is, after all, a super-food chock-full of mono saturated aka good fats, while corn contains an array of vitamins, such as C and B5. What's the harm, right? The short answer: too many calories. Another healthy food I tend to overdo is kale. And why should I pace myself when this bitter green is low-cal, low-carb, fat-free and sugar-free.
But after one too many kale chips, my tummy feels like a washing machine about to explode.
Moderation is a learning curve, yet it is particularly hard to practice when it comes to natural, fresh-squeezed juices. Magazines offer an encyclopedia of tips on how to keep your food portions in check: don't cook big batches; when at restaurant, ask for a brown baggie and immediately pack half of your meal; drink a glass of water before picking up the fork; use your palm, fist and thumb as a guideline.
For the consumption of natural juices though, instructions are scarce and vague. No wonder people have blindly jumped, in recent years, on the juice detox bandwagon, allured with promises of "weight-loss", "total-body cleanse" and "skin regeneration". These detoxes, lasting anything between 10 and 60 days, prompted its adherents to eat little to no solid foods and, instead, to gulp down glass after glass of liquefied fresh produce.
Some lost weight but only because their bodies were being starved of valuable nutrients. For most "juice junkies", the results were devastating: cavities, digestive issues, lack of energy etc.
Don't take my work for it, listen to what the experts have to say.
So how can you benefit from this amazing health tool without crossing the line?
- Try to limit your servings to 8-12 oz. of liquid a day.
- Don't forget to chew on whole fruit and vegetables, as they contain fibers, which keep your blood sugar stable and help with satiety.
- Pair that glass of juice with healthy fats and protein, otherwise you'll find yourself ravenous in a couple of hours. Some suggestions: nut butters, seeds or Greek yogurt.
Thirsty for more tips on juicing? Nutritionist Elaine Briseboins has come up with three more awesome ideas.