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My Opinion to “Juicing”

Juicing has been in the media for a couple of weeks now. My 8-year- old daughter (a mini me in the making – God help the world :)), comes home and says “Did you know? They are getting rid of juices in the Food Guide.” And yes it was stated like that – a fact. I smiled and corrected her so that she could understand it was a debate right now.

So myself and Deb from ‘NSTEP discussed juicing a year ago (us grassroots charity people tend to be in-the-know and on the ground to know the trends earlier than what mass media can express). It was definitely a one-sided conversation (no wonder I like working with her!).

I teach with ‘NSTEP in schools and I even tweaked lessons to be used at a local girls camp held at a university in town. What do I teach – whole foods are way better than parts of it. We use language like “healthier” instead of “bad” and “good” – it’s called positive reinforcement.

My problem with our North American society right now is that we are starting to classify even whole foods that come from nature. One day a new “super food” is being promoted, and the next day we are villainizing another.

Learn from this old gal and goes along with a presenter at the Southern Ontario DC Conference this year – we do not know EVERYTHING! I worked for Agriculture & AgriFood Canada for many summers and as well at 3 different locations across Ontario. One fall, I was in a chemistry lab trying to discover the phytochemicals in strawberries in the late 1990s.

We “know” now that a component in red wine (resveratrol) and healthy fats (olive oil) can possibly help with heart disease as we look to a Mediterranean diet (my dad is Italian and I can tell you this is not always the case when you live in Canada and your diet changes).

We “know” that blueberries are full of antioxidants that help prevent cancer to a point – but really who studied the blueberries and not the chemistry they are made up with? (Petri dish vs pills/nutraceuticals vs whole foods) We don’t know what combinations exist in nature to split everything up and give praise or blame to one part.

We “know” so many things that we didn’t “know” before. Why do I put it like this – because like the presenter at the conference said (I’m paraphrasing here)- even if we don’t know something now, we cannot ignore the fact that we might not have discovered the health benefits of some food or diet – even if science cannot back it up at the moment.

Advice – Take everything with a grain of salt – good or bad.

I’m a huge believe in scientific studies as I have helped with enough in my days. I believe that there is so much proof about many things we do actually “know”. But there is a business behind publishing studies that the public might not know – many studies never get published…. this is based many times on how any magazine would publish things including public interest, funders, the people reviewing the studies as well as if the study came back with NO significant results.

I think the best approach to reading mass media in this over-information age is to stick with tried and true. Whole foods have many health benefits. A peach (Niagara native here), cheese, eggs, beef, wheat – why put one on a pedestal (or ditch completely) because of the one study a popular newspaper or the Dr Oz-of-the-day goes on about.

So here’s what I teach – an orange is better than the juice itself. It has all that fiber that you are missing by having the juice. This helps to slow the digestion of all the components in the orange making less (natural) sugar spikes as well as keeping you fuller for longer. Nature made things more “perfect” in my opinion than whatever concoction we can come up with in a lab or factory or with a (juicing) machine. And juice is better than an orange “drink” or “beverage” or “snack” that is not 100% juice.

We live in a world where there is convenience and products being marketed to us constantly. I don’t see fig trees promoting themselves as the new best thing – they grow, they exist, they are not the only food in the world. They have great things in them even if there isn’t enough funding for massive studies, promoting the figs themselves or assisting the farmers to, or we haven’t discovered yet or “know” what beautiful benefits nature has in those juicy, sweet and delicious treats this Canadian-Italian girl has stolen from the ants in her dad’s garden after the mulberries were snatched before the birds ravished the tree’s harvest.

Listen to your body. Eat whole foods. Let’s get back to the basics. Back to nature. And oddly enough, we might have to do a bit of cooking as well along the way. Everything that is old is new again (and I don’t mean Kraft Dinner 😉 ).

Stay tuned for my solution to “juicing” leftovers with my “worst client” Post coming this week!

(For more info on ‘NSTEP please visit


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