3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

As the weather warms up and is beginning to feel a bit more like spring, I find myself getting back into my daily juicing routine.

There’s nothing like a fresh infusion of easily assimilated vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to energize and nourish your body, while helping to protect it against premature aging and disease.

Incorporating juice into your diet is a great tool for giving your digestive system a much needed break so your cells can go to work detoxifying and repairing themselves.

To learn more about the wonderful health benefits of incorporating fresh vegetable juice into your routine, and grab some yummy juice recipes, make sure to read this post where I covered the topic extensively.

As I’ve become somewhat of a “veteran” juicer over the years, I realized that there are a few things about the way I juice that have become second nature to me, and might not be so obvious to people just starting out.

So today I want to share with you…

3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

1) Choose Organic

This is a time when you definitely want to opt for organics since you’re consuming the juice in concentrated amounts. Some of the most heavily sprayed, pesticide-laden produce are among the ones commonly juiced. For example, celery, cucumber, apples, and kale are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of most heavily sprayed produce. If you follow my Facebook Page, you may have seen that yesterday I shared their updated 2014 Guide for Pesticides in Produce including both the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list. This is a handy guide to have in your back pocket when grocery shopping, especially if you’re on a budget, so you’ll definitely want to check it out if you haven’t already. If you’re going to use non-organic produce at least peel the skin off if possible – as in the case with cucumber and apples.

2) Juice Mainly Vegetables

While fruit can be a nice addition for added sweetness, especially as your palate adjusts to the taste of juiced greens, aim to make your juice predominately veggie-based with no more than 1/3 juice coming from fruit, or 3:1 veggies to fruit. Too much concentrated fruit sugar can cause blood sugar imbalances, not to mention it’s a major yeast-feeder. If you’re consuming mainly green juice with little-to-no fruit, you likely won’t have to worry about these issues. It’s when you’re juicing a lot of fruit and sweet vegetables like beets and carrots that problems can arise. Also remember that you can lower the glycemic index of any fruit or sweet veggie by cutting it with greens.

Most people can benefit from an all greens juice cut with lemon or just a little bit of apple. My average vegetable juice is usually a combination of celery, cucumber, leafy greens, ginger and lemon (as pictured above). I rarely juice fruit, except on occasion. If you already have blood sugar problems to begin with than this is the type of juice I recommend you stick with.

3) Drink it on an Empty Stomach

When you’re infusing your body with easily assimilated vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes, all of these healthful substances can go straight to work where they’re needed most repairing and detoxifying the cells of your body. That is until you impede the process by throwing food into the mix! Call me a juice snob but it always bewilders me when I see someone drinking their juice while eating a meal, because I know they’re not giving the juice a chance to work to its full healing potential. Not to mention that consuming large amounts of liquid with food is just a no-no in general.

Since juicing on an empty stomach is best, the ideal time for most people is in the morning before consuming solid food. Fresh vegetable juice is a great tool for breaking your overnight “fast” and extending your body’s cleansing capabilities, all while providing deep nourishment to the cells and tissues of the body. Once you consume your fresh juice try to wait at least 20 minutes before consuming anything else to reap the most benefit from your juice.

Don’t forget to check out this post to learn more about juicing, plus grab some delicious juice recipes!

Have a question about juicing? Ask me in the comments below!

All love,

Elaine

Don’t forget to schedule your complimentary, 20 minute “Health Discovery” phone session with me if you think you could use some extra guidance with your nutrition and healthy body goals.

Bloated? Watch the Fruit!

apples

Last week I sent out an email asking readers to send me their burning questions.

What a great response I got! Thank you for taking the time to submit them. I loved reading them and I look forward to addressing many of them in upcoming blog posts. If you didn’t get a chance to ask me, it’s not too late – send them along!

One common concern for many women (including many of the women I work with) is digestive complaints, particularly bloating.

There seems to be an awful lot of bloated bellies!

There’s nothing worse than going for lunch midday only to return back to your desk feeling bloated like a balloon and having to continue on with your work. Talk about feeling unproductive.

I’ve even had women tell me that they get so bloated at times they look as if they’re 5 months pregnant!

So how does this relate to fruit?

Well fruit seems to be one of those foods people are often confused about. Is it healthy or not? Is it best limited? Are the sugars bad? Does it disrupt blood sugar? What do I think?

People are looking for answers!

I figured I’d tackle both of these topics at once, and how they relate to each other.

I‘ll start first though by saying I love fruit! I think it’s a perfect food, brimming with easily assimilated nutrients that can provide a quick source of energy when needed. It also has the highest water content of any other food, making it a very powerful cleanser, which we can use to our benefit when consumed properly.

Here’s the caveat though.

Fruit can be too cleansing for some people if they’re not internally clean enough for it, which is why it often exacerbates digestive issues, particularly bloating.

For example, if you have undigested food sitting in your stomach or intestines, or your bowel is impacted with waste matter (or you’re constipated), then when that cleansing fruit is thrown into the mix and hits those contents it’s going to “stir things up” or “awaken” old dehydrated waste matter. In other words it’s going to cause some movement.  Not necessarily a bad thing! But, at the same time it can cause a lot of uncomfortable bloating and gas…not very comfortable say if you’re at work.

You might recall one of the principles of proper food combining is to always eat fruit alone and on an empty stomach. This is because it’s the quickest digesting food. And while there are definitely some exceptions to this rule which you can read about here, generally people who suffer from digestive problems, such as bloating, do better separating fruit from other foods.

This is why the ideal time to enjoy your fruit is first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten anything else or well after other meals, such as late in the afternoon.

So is fruit healthy? That depends on what type of body it’s going into!

Now with that said, even when proper food combining is adhered to and/or bloating isn’t an issue, there are a few other scenarios where it may be best to limit your fruit intake to only lower sugar, sour/acid fruits, such as berries, grapefruit, green apples, pomegranate and cranberries, OR avoid them all together until your body is either clean enough for it, or your symptoms have subsided.

These scenarios include:

1) Systemic yeast problems or other fungal related-issues (i.e. Candida overgrowth). Unfortunately sugar feeds yeast –  even the natural ones found in fruit. I wrote more about this here and here.

2) Weight loss. Although you don’t necessarily need to cut out fruit, I find people usually do better limiting their fruit intake to a few pieces earlier in the day and emphasizing the lower sugar, sour/acid fruits mentioned above.

3) Blood sugar problems (i.e. diabetic, metabolic syndrome). In this case it’s usually best to stick with the lower sugar, sour/acid fruits mentioned above, or you can lower the glycemic index of the fruit by mixing it into a smoothie with (for example) greens and avocado, or by pairing your sour/acid fruit with a small serving of high quality seeds (i.e. berries with a tbsp of hemp hearts), which is a fairly benign combination.

Keep in mind that if you’re having fruit first thing in the morning, you can always follow it up with something else  20 minutes (or more) later. You don’t only have to eat fruit!

In closing, fruit is not an enemy to be vilified. Once your body becomes clean enough for it (and your digestion back on track), you’ll likely be able to enjoy it more abundantly without the unpleasant reactions.

Have a burning question that you’d like me to address in an upcoming blog post? Contact me and ask away!

xo Elaine

In the Kitchen with Joyous Health + Giveaway!!

High-rez Cover

Today I’m so thrilled to be featuring my dear friend Joy McCarthy here on the blog!

If you’re not already acquainted with Joy McCarthy, she’s the Joy behind the popular blog Joyous Health and one smart and sassy holistic nutritionist with a ton of credit to her name. She also just happened to write a fabulous book that came out earlier this year called Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting. In this beautiful book you’ll find simple and practical tips to creating a healthy lifestyle, along with lots of delicious recipes that will soon become fast favorites.

You’ll also have the opportunity to win one of two copies here today!

Now just to give you a little background about how I know this lovely lady…

I first met Joy when we were both students at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition here in Toronto, where we became friends. Since then I’ve had the great opportunity and pleasure of following along with her journey and watching her inspire the world one health tip and recipe at a time, as well as growing her successful business Joyous Health Inc. I even had the special privilege of standing up beside her as her maid of honor this past September when she married the love of her life. Really I couldn’t be more proud and inspired by my beautiful friend, and all that she has accomplished in both her business and life.

This past Friday night Joy had me over to her place for dinner so I could put some of the recipes from her book to the test. And who are we kidding? It was a chance for us girls to hang out and have fun in the kitchen, and do what we love to do best – eat delicious food!

me + joy

I have to say, what I liked most about the dishes we whipped up (besides how great they tasted), was just how simple they were to prepare. Because if there’s one thing I know about making healthy eating a priority, it’s that simplicity is key.

On the Dinner Menu

We made Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon with “Cream” Sauce with a side of Walker’s Spicy Brussels Sprouts, (both featured in her book). We also roasted up some cauliflower for an added kick of cruciferous veggies!

You’ll need to check out her book to get these delicious recipes but I’ll tell you that the “cream” sauce comes from tahini (sesame seed paste), and that it takes regular baked salmon to a whole new level of taste and flavour. Also, if you’re already a fan of Brussels sprouts (which I am), then you’ll love Walker’s spicy rendition. In case you’re wondering who this Walker fellow is, he’s Joy’s hubby!

SalmonDinner (2)

For dessert we had the Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Bark, and Joy was kind enough to let me share the full recipe here with you straight from her book.

If you’re a chocolate lover, make this as soon as possible!

chocolatebark(Photo Credit: Nicholas Collister)

Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Bark

1/3 cup (75 mL) coconut oil

¾ cup (175 mL) raw cacao powder

¼ cup (60 mL) real maple syrup (add more if you like it sweeter)

1 tbsp (15 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper

¼ cup (60 mL) raw cashews, coarsely chopped

Instructions

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Slowly stir in cacao and real maple syrup. When fully combined, stir in cinnamon and cayenne. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour chocolate mixture onto the paper and sprinkle with cashews. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Break into pieces. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for a couple of months.

(Recipe Credit: Joyous Health Book)

A few side notes…

If you don’t have cashews on-hand you can pretty much use any chopped nut. We swapped the cashews for hazelnuts, and it still turned out great and tasted ah-mazing! Also, the bark was good to go after only about an hour of being in the freezer – just in time for dessert!

Now if you’d like to get your hands on a copy of this book you can do so here if you’re in Canada, or if you’re in the United States you can pre-order it here, before it comes out May 6th of this year.

Perhaps though you’ll be lucky enough to win one of the two copies that I’ll be giving away right here, c/o of her publisher Penguin Canada.

Official Contest Rules

(Contest is now closed)

Contest is open to residents of North America only.

To enter, leave a comment below sharing 1 or 2 of your favorite health tips or practices!

Contest closes Tuesday April 1st, 2014 at noon (EST).

2 winners will be chosen at random and announced back here later that same day.

I look forward to reading your responses!

If you haven’t already, come join me on my Facebook page where I post more health tips and inspiration, along with updates!

And the winners are…

winner 1

winner 2

Congratulations!! Please contact info(at)elainebrisebois.com with your mailing details to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their favorite health tips with me!

The Benefits of Homemade Bone Broth

benefits of homemade broth

Did you know that you can easily and inexpensively whip up your very own digestive health tonic?

That’s right!

Homemade bone broth, prepared by simmering the bones of healthy animals, packs a powerful punch of easily assimilated nutrients that not only support healthy digestion, but also boasts a number of other health benefits – which I’ll get to in a second!

Meat and fish broth (also called stock) is still revered in traditional cultures all over the world not only for its nutritive and healing properties, but also for the rich flavour it imparts to many classic cuisines. Making homemade broths and stocks from the leftover parts of the animal not commonly eaten, such as the bones, marrow, cartilage, ligaments and tendons, was a way for our ancestors to make use of the whole animal in what is now commonly referred to as “nose to tail eating”. As these parts are simmered, they slowly start to release a number of healing compounds including easy to assimilate minerals and amino acids, as well as collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin sulphates – some of which are now sold as expensive health supplements.

Unfortunately in North America, the consumption of bone broth has dwindled over the years since the advent of our modern meat processing methods, and likely (one can assume) as more women left the home and kitchen to enter the workforce.

Commercially prepared, store-bought broths (and stocks) don’t contain the same nutritive properties as homemade bone broths and usually contain a host of other unhealthy additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), a known neurotoxin. For these reasons store-bought broths pale in comparison to homemade ones, since they don’t come even close to offering the same range of health benefits.

Speaking of health benefits, here are a few!

Health Benefits of Bone Broth

1. Improves Digestion

Bone broths provide gelatin (produced by the breakdown of collagen) which helps to soothe and heal the mucosal lining of the gut, thereby preventing (and improving) autoimmune conditions that happen as a result of a “leaky gut”.

Francis Pottenger, famous for his cat studies and research on the health benefits of gelatin, pointed out that gelatin unlike other cooked food, contains hydrophilic colloids that attract liquids (including digestive juices) to the surface of cooked food particles, thereby supporting digestion. And if you’re familiar with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPs) Diet, you’ll know that bone broths are a key component to her gut healing protocol.

2. Supports Healthy Joints and Builds Strong Bones

Bone broth contains compounds called glycosaminoglycans (from boiled down cartilage) such as glucosamine, chondroitin sulphates and hyaluronic acid that help to repair damaged joints and improve mobility and function. It’s also abundant in easily assimilated minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and other trace minerals important for healthy bone formation.

3. Supports Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails

Collagen is the structural protein found in the connective tissue of vertebrate mammals, and it’s plentiful in bone, marrow, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It supports the growth of hair, strong nails, and smooth skin.

4. Improves Immune Function

It turns out there’s a reason your grandmother recommended chicken soup when you were sick with a cold! This study showed that eating chicken soup during an upper respiratory infection can mitigate some of the effects of infection. Bone broth is also rich in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine, arginine, and proline.

Preparation

Preparing your own bone broth is pretty simple; you just need a large stockpot or crock-pot, and some leftover (high quality) bones from healthy animals – meaning naturally-raised, pasture-fed, organic, etc.

The easiest method is using a crock-pot (my preferred choice), since you can safely leave it simmering away as you work, sleep and run errands, and not worry about leaving it unattended.

If you don’t have leftover bones from your own cooking, you can buy high quality bones very inexpensively from a butcher or at some healthy grocers. This is a great option, especially if you don’t eat or prepare a lot of meat at home yourself.

You can find a number of different bone broth recipes easily on the internet, or another great resource is the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Depending on what types of bones you are using, the cooking time will vary. Most resources I’ve come across suggest simmering your bones for a minimum of 6-8 hours, but chicken broth can be simmered up to 24 hours, and beef broth up to 48-72 hours.

Here I’ll share my easy recipe for easy homemade chicken broth.

Easy Crock-Pot Chicken Broth

1. Place bones and leftover chicken parts in a crock-pot.

2. Add in 1-2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (this will help draw minerals from the bones).

3. Fill your crock-pot with cold filtered water, leaving enough room at the top so it doesn’t boil over.

4. Add vegetables of your choice (optional). I’ll often use 1 onion cut in half, along with 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks, both chopped roughly.

5. Cook on low heat for 8 to 24 hours. I usually let it go for the full 24hrs. Once it comes to a boil, skim off any “scum” that has risen to the top and continue simmering.

6. Let stand and cool a bit before straining the broth through a strainer or mesh sieve.

7. Once cool, transfer to glass mason jars and store in the fridge for up to 5-7 days, or place in the freezer for longer storage. Before using discard any fat that has accumulated at the top, and be sure to do this before placing in the freezer.

*Note: I prefer to add sea salt to taste at the end of cooking

After the broth has cooled in your refrigerator, you’ll notice that it looks jiggly like jello. Don’t worry; it will turn to liquid again once it’s reheated on the stove.

A jiggly broth is a sign that your broth is gelatin-rich – a good thing! If it’s not it may be a sign that you didn’t use enough of the right kind of bones, or you didn’t simmer them long enough. Either way, you can still enjoy the broth for its many other benefits besides gelatin.

Use your broth wherever a recipe calls for it, such as a base for soups and sauces, or drink it straight from a cup – this is what I like to do in the cool winter months!

Are you a fan of homemade bone broths? Share your tips, tricks and recipes in the comments below

Resources:

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig

Broth is Beautiful article by Sally Fallon