How Juicing Reboots Are Changing Lives
November 15, 2016 (datsyn.com) – If you’re at all interested in living a healthier life, or have friends who are notorious for jumping from one miracle cure to the next, then you’ll have heard of vegetable juicing – at one point or another. The juicing fad, back in its full glory in the 2010s, is a food trend with a surprisingly long history and an equally infamous rap sheet.
Good or bad, juicing has become the focus of an entire industry hell-bent on profiteering. In the United States, for example, the juicing trend has ballooned to a $200 million annual industry as early as 2014, and an additional $300 million industry in the home juicing market. As one NYC-based juice guru told Food Republic: “you throw a rock, you hit a juice bar.”
The Benefits of Juicing
Yet amidst the buzzwords and cash-cow tactics, the juicing trend is one that actually carries an enormous number of benefits – not because some strange alternative doctor says so, but because countless anecdotes show that plant juices improve your health under the right circumstances. But anecdotes are anecdotes – the real science hasn’t spent much time dwelling on whether or not juices are 100% undoubtedly effective for weight loss and health versus simply eating said vegetables.
But there is a lot of science on the fact that fruits and vegetables are essential to a good balanced diet, and increasing your intake of these – specifically green vegetables – commonly leads to weight loss and helps prevent a number of non-genetic lifestyle-induced chronic diseases.
These chronic diseases are all too common in modern Western society. Think diabetes, obesity, lethargic tendencies, and a number of other symptoms and illnesses born of a sedentary lifestyle and unfortunate lifestyle choices, from excessive and unbalanced consumption to alcohol abuse and nicotine addiction.
The basic science is simple. Our body ideally functions on a balanced diet of macro and micronutrients – that is, your basic fat, protein and carbohydrate ratio, coupled with a list of essential minerals and vitamins. Too many people today are malnourished in their micronutrients, and overfed with macronutrients, either due to the availability of cheap, unhealthy and exploitative foods overloaded with salt and sugar, or due to economic circumstances which make affording the knowledge, time and resources of a balanced meal impossible.
The answer? Heal a malnourished and overfed body by fasting from macronutrients, and overloading it with micronutrients. After an initial painful phase wherein the body is getting used to the sudden reduction in calories (and thus fuel), your brain activates all sorts of internal functions that improve your senses, and puts your system to work. This is the “detoxification” process, although no toxins are actually expelled during this process.
For the millions of Westerners who can’t stand going to the doctor’s on a regular basis to find out whether or not they’ll live another year, or shell out pay check after pay check on medical costs and specialized treatments, the allure of juicing as an almost sure-fire way to rapid weight loss and physical improvement is large. Throw in the spiritual and emotional benefits being advertised at every turn and page, and it’s easy to see why many are interested in diet.
Juicing Retreats as a Way to Health
Most people can’t be bothered to munch on an apple or consume a celery stick over crackers or chips. But take away the allure of cooked and solid foods entirely, and give people no choice but to consume fresh vegetable juices, and you radically change their lives.
At least, such is the premise of the growing juice retreat trend – a successful industry born from the juicing trend, alongside juice bars and other related businesses. One such retreat notes that the main allure to juice retreats isn’t easily identifiable, as it changes from person to person. But in general, every potential customer has a goal within three parameters: physical improvement, emotional improvement, or spiritual improvement.
The retreat, like many others, offers yoga and other mindfulness exercise programs to both improve a client’s strength and flexibility, and encourage them to complete the fast and re-enter their lives with a newfound perspective on things.
Generally, overconsumption in the West is a side effect of a sort of societal fatigue, wherein individuals fall prey to a cycle of marketing tactics and emotional entrapments that puts them on the path to worsening health and growing hospital bills. Juicing retreats aim to teach their clients to resist those temptations in the name of better health, giving them the opportunity to experience that health in a temptation-free environment in order to incentivize an ongoing improvement throughout their lives.
It doesn’t work for everyone, of course. The retreat owner notes that quitters are all too common, yet also notes that several tips can make the initial steps of the process – by far the hardest – much, much easier.
The retreat mostly sees customers with some level of need or desperation, rather than healthy individuals hunting for the next trend. From sedentary office workers to overweight business people, many customers tend to be working professionals lacking the time or energy to exercise, or radically change their diet – and stick to said changes.
Selectivity in Juicing Trend Growth
Juicing is a massive phenomenon in the Commonwealth and the United States, but much less so in developing nations and many Western countries with large, established food cultures. The reasoning for developing nations is simple: while vegetables and fruits generally exist in abundance, the means to juice them does not. Furthermore, obesity is a relatively new issue in these countries, existing mostly in parts of local society where the idea of abstaining from richer foods clashes with the have-and-have-not mentality.
In Western countries like France, Italy and Spain, a rich local tradition surrounding eating makes the idea of fasting for any purpose other than a religious one, simply preposterous. That being said, the trend is growing among younger generations with an interest in fitness and athletic ambitions, as juicing also works to supplement a regular balanced diet.
Juicing and Its Future
Although the growth seems to have reached a peak point, seeing waning popularity in many areas in favour of newer, controversial counter-trends such as the Paleo diet and other lifestyles equated to a growing love of CrossFit training and extreme sports, juicing still maintains an incredibly large community, and the industry is going strong as a stalwart supporter of the practice’s benefits.
While research has proven that vegetables and fruits are absolutely great for you, and drinking them simplifies the delivery process for their benefits, the fact remains that not everyone can juice fast. Freshly-pressed juices may be dense in nutrients, but lacking in calories – making them unideal for athletes or pregnant women, unless as part of a larger, regular diet.
But for a whopping percentage of the British and American populations, both of which rank among the most obese nations in the world as per the Guardian, a juice fast carries promising results – especially in a retreat, where willpower is much less of a factor than at home.