Juicing is everywhere right now! And more often than not, I hear patients say things like, "When I get it together, I'm going to start juicing and doing smoothies" or, "I need to drink more juice". Do you equate juicing and smoothies with a healthy lifestyle? If you're an acupuncturist like me, you're probably already shaking your head no. What gives? Don't get me wrong. A diet that is high in plant content (vegetables) probably ranks highest on the health spectrum for the largest range of constitutional types. That being said, we are all uniquely and constitutionally varied. Gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhea and inconsistent bowel movements are some of the most common issues I see in practice. These symptoms can be caused by a wide variety of reasons according to traditional Chinese theory, all of which are related to the functioning of the digestive system. There is some overlap with physiological functioning of the digestive system, but this can come down to a deficiency (meaning there is not enough energy or substance to run the digestive organs) or even an excess (meaning there are potentially emotions or pathological substances hindering the digestive system). Ok - what does that all have to do with juicing and smoothies?
If your digestive system is deficient (sluggish bowel movements, diarrhea, gas, bloating) or excessive (diarrhea, heartburn) I guarantee you are not digesting your food properly. This means you are also likely not getting the nutrition you need, which can result in fatigue, sleep issues, pain, chronic illness, and so much more. Who feels good when they're bloated? By nature, juice and smoothies are concentrated, cold, raw, and sugary. And typically, if you suffer from any of the previously mentioned issues, juice and smoothies are only going to make your problems WORSE. You may notice similar symptoms when you eat raw foods, such as salads or ice-cold beverages. What happens to a creek or small river in the winter when it's cold? It slows down or freezes. Same thing applies to your digestive system when you eat foods or drinks that are cold or raw, especially if you are already challenged in that arena. Quite frankly, diet and digestion are common issues in modern society.
A few things to keep in mind:
*Raw, cold, un-cooked foods are best consumed in small amounts, if at all, or reserved for warmer, summer months.
*Ginger root tea or adding ginger to juice or smoothie can be an easy way to "warm" the beverage up.
*Acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine (herbs & food therapy) can help heal the gut or treat any type of digestive issues. You are unique, so why would one-size-fits-all "health" advice apply to your challenges & goals? It certainly does not!
*Ask what you are trying to achieve with juicing or drinking smoothies. Do you want more energy? Clearer skin? Better digestion? If these goals are not being achieved via juicing, just know that there are other, more balanced approaches to wellness.
Schedule your appointment today if you are ready to feel better!
Here's to your health! - Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist at Bluegrass Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky.
About the Author:
Holly Christiansen, Licensed Acupuncturist, currently practicing in the gorgeous, horse capital of the world: Lexington, Kentucky.