If you had to name one thing that paleo, vegetarian, vegan and raw food diets have in common, what would you say?
If you said that they all advocate eating a lot of vegetables, you’d be right.
Here’s why vegetable intake is so crucial for not just acne, but also for overall health…
Why Vegetables Are Amazing
Vegetables contain super high amounts of phytochemicals with low amounts of sugar. The nutritional density of different foods, as defined by Dr. Furhman in his ANDI (aggregate nutrient density index), places green leafy vegetables at the top of the list. To formulate ANDI scores, different foods are evaluated based on their vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities. They’re then placed in a scoring system from 1 to 1,000. The highest rated foods, which provide us with the most healing properties, the most antioxidants, the most vitamins, the most minerals and the most phytochemicals include kale, swiss chard, watercress, bok choy, mustard greens, turnip and collard greens, Chinese or napa cabbage, and spinach. All of these foods score a nearly perfect 1000. These foods are truly the main players when it comes to healing the cells of the body, including the skin cells. The nutrients found in these foods not only prevent oxidative damage from free radicals, but they even provide protective properties to our cells.
Food Works At A Genetic Level
Probably the most profound effect that vegetables (and other foods) have on our body is their capability to turn our genes on or off. In a landmark study, Dr. Dean Ornish showed that by drastically increasing the consumption of vegetables in the diet, along with performing lifestyle changes such as light exercise and meditation every day, we can turn off genes that contribute to disease and turn on genes that help heal us, prevent aging and even prevent cancer and heart disease. Ornish, along with other doctors, has proven that by increasing vegetable intake and utilizing lifestyle changes such as meditation and physical activity, we normalize our blood sugar levels, normalize our blood pressure, decrease our risk for nearly every disease and even decrease or eliminate depression and live healthier, happier lives.
While eating vegetables is great, it can be hard to get in the amount that we need in today’s world, especially if we’re trying to combat a disease or reverse something like acne. That’s because the vegetables we eat today are shipped from around the world, have less vitamins and minerals than vegetables of the past and are usually sprayed with chemicals that further contribute to our toxic load.
Also, because of the greater amount of stress that we’re under today, our requirement for the crucial nutrients found in vegetables is greater than ever. If there was a way to supercharge our vegetable intake, that would help us out a lot.
And that’s where juicing comes in…
Juicing – Taking Vegetable Intake To The Next Level
Vegetables play a crucial role in combating diseases and conditions like acne. But because of the sub-par soil quality, lack of nutrients in most vegetables available today and the increased toxic burden that is straining our bodies, it is nearly impossible to conveniently eat all of the vegetables we need to get our bodies back into health. Even if we didn’t have all of that going against us, it’s honestly still difficult to get in the recommended 9 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, even if we’re health conscious.
That’s why I highly recommend juicing. Juicing vegetables plays an intricate role in many different healing therapies. I’ve done plenty of juice cleanses. If you want to try it, then go for it. Juice cleanses, where you drink only vegetable juice for a period of time, have both physical and psychological effects on the body and brain. The psychological aspect includes the feeling of accomplishment and the understanding that even without solid food you can thrive. This is why I recommend drinking green juices. For overall health, I believe that everyone can benefit from incorporating vegetable juices into their lives.
What Should You Juice?
I recommend juicing vegetables. Cucumbers and celery are the best things to juice as they provide a lot of liquid. Then I recommend adding in kale or some other leafy green. And finally, supercharging your juice with turmeric, ginger and/or lemon. I don’t recommend juicing fruits. Many people juice apples, but I’m against juicing apples because of their high fructose content. Fruit juices are something that we should not drink. Though fruit juice contains vitamins and minerals, the sugar within the juice still acts on our body the same way as sugar from soda. We get the same spikes in blood sugar, the same insulin release and the same biochemical reactions whether we drink apple juice or Pepsi. This is simply what the science states. If you want to know more about this, check out the work by doctor and researcher Robert Lustig. Juicing can play an integral part in restoring our health, but we have to be sure we juice the right things, aka vegetable. If you do juice fruit other than lemons, limes and cucumbers, don’t juice more than one fruit (i.e. 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 cup pineapple, etc.) and have lots of greens along with it.
When we juice, the fiber is removed from the produce and we are left with 100 percent liquid nutrition. The nutrients of this liquid immediately get absorbed into our bodies. We get all of the phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other highly beneficial components of the plant in the most easily absorbable form. However, this also means that if we juice fruits, their sugars get immediately absorbed into our bodies. Fruit juices, carrot juices and beet juices all contain super high amounts of sugars that may not be the best thing for the body.
My college roommate used to call me Roger Rabbit because I would buy the 15-pound bag of carrots and juice them every day because I thought the vitamin A would be helpful for my skin. I’m sure it had some beneficial effect, but as mentioned previously, the vitamin A in vegetables is beta-carotene, which needs to be converted into retinol, the bioactive form of vitamin A that is used in prescription acne medication. While I’m sure I was getting a ton of healthy nutrients from the carrot juice, their sugar content probably wasn’t helping my blood sugar levels or my skin. The fact that you can get pre-formed vitamin A in the form of retinol from fermented cod liver oil, desiccated liver or other supplements that don’t contain sugars makes them my go-to choice for getting in the vitamin A that will heal your skin.
So what are the best things to juice? Greens! Cucumbers, kale, bok choy, spinach and all of the foods that score the highest on the ANDI nutritional index.
Wheatgrass – The Ultimate Superfood
I don’t think I could write a book that focuses on detoxing without talking about wheatgrass. Wheatgrass became extremely popular in the “live foods” movement and was popularized by Ann Wigmore and Victoras Kulvinskas in the 1970s. It is a prime component of the healing methods used at the Hippocrates Health Institute and the Ann Wigmore Institute.
Just two ounces of wheatgrass has the same nutritional value as five pounds of vegetables! It is beneficial for acne. It’s antibacterial. It contains copious amounts of oxygen. It has more than a hundred beneficial minerals, twice the vitamin A content (beta-carotene) of carrots, all of the essential amino acids and live enzymes. It’s a superior detoxifying agent that helps move heavy metals and toxins. It has copious amounts of chlorophyll, which has many benefits including purifying the liver, improving blood sugar problems and more. It also helps to neutralize odors as well, so you’ll smell better when you drink wheatgrass. Wheatgrass has so many health benefits it would take an entire post to cover them all. There’s a comprehensive post on wheatgrass by CookingDetective.com you can check out to learn even more about this amazing super food. If you can have a shot of wheatgrass in the morning I believe that will help improve your health.
What If I Don’t Have A Juicer?
If you don’t have a juicer, you can still supercharge your vegetable content by making smoothies. You can learn how to make the perfect green shake for acne and overall health by clicking on this awesome “How to make the perfect green shake” guide.
You can also follow a detox, such as the Acne Detox, to help clear your skin using a ton of different methods.
Check out the Acne Detox here.
Most important though, is that you sign up for the Clear Skin Nutrition newsletter. You’ll get ALL the information you need for clearer skin and a happier, more optimal life. Sign up and get a free Clear Skin Guide as a free gift!