Juice Brawl

17JUICE-articleLargeThe Juice Bar Brawl, a New York Times article on the new juice bar craze that’s taken root in New York and LA, caught my eye, partly because it’s clear the entire industry has taken note of (but missed the core point of) my Drink My Salad article.

As you may remember, my recommendation for those, like me, too lazy to actually sit and, you know, eat vegetables, was to try throwing them in a blender with a bit of carrot juice and coconut water (for liquidity) as well as raspberries and mint (for sweetness and zing).

Apparently, the LA / NY scene is on to the same idea:

Half a decade ago, most people who were found guzzling and gushing about juice — not grocery store O.J., but the dense, cold-pressed stuff that is made by pulverizing mounds of ingredients like kale, beets, ginger, spinach and kohlrabi — were either zealots from the raw-food fringe or Hollywood celebrities who believed that a “juice cleanse” would nudge their toned bodies even closer to radiant perfection.

But along the way, more people started drinking it. And for consumers and entrepreneurs, a realization took hold: juice did not have to be part of a challenging, expensive cleanse. It could simply be lunch. Suddenly, cold-pressed juice morphed from a curiosity to an industry.

But wait! Not so fast! There’s a big difference between eating the whole, blended vegetable, and just drinking its juice: the fiber!

When you juice a vegetable, you leave the fiber behind. But the fiber is a key component in modulating the way your body absorbs sugars. If you extract just the sweet juice from vegetables and leave the fiber behind, you end up with a sugar rush: the same kind of thing you get from drinking a soda. Rapid fluctuations in blood sugar has been tied to a variety of health ailments, including Type 2 Diabetes. Fiber also lowers bad LDL cholesterol, promotes heart health and gives you the feeling of satiety that helps keep your mind away from unnecessary snacking.

And don’t even start talking Jamba Juice, which adds corn syrup to their “smoothies”, unless you really want to get me started.

When Michelle talks about “whole foods”, it’s usually set in contrast to “processed foods”. But here, it also means: “the WHOLE food”, as in, eat the whole thing, rather than strip-mining just the sweet parts you like.

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