By Shiela Jimenez
Being brought up as a young child in Caticlan gave me many pleasures and a good basic outlook on life as a whole. I wasn’t one of those city kids from Iloilo or Manila who had a full time yaya and a driver to take me to school. Just me, mom, my three siblings and tita, all living in a small house just outside of town.
Life was simple, and I never thought of it as hard, (although I now realise that mom and tita did) because as kids, we had everything we needed. A nice beach to play on with lots of other kids, friendly and helpful neighbors, and a local school that under financially restricting conditions, did a fantastic job. Although our family finances were not that good, mom always made sure we had enough clean clothes, a well kept home, and enough food to eat. Yes. Life was good, for me anyway…
Rice is the staple food of most Filipino families. But instead of the normal accompaniment of fish, pork or chicken, tita had a wonderful knack of giving us fruit, sometimes fresh, sometimes cooked, with almost every meal.
Amongst the many things that her and mom taught me as a kid, was that fruit is good for you.
After I managed to get a scholarship and worked my way through college and Uni, I embarked on a period in my life where I wanted to help and educate people. Writing became a passion, and I realized that by disseminating information through articles, I could provide knowledge to a wide range of people.
It’s easy to start writing if the topic is something that you know about and have personal experience of. Over the years, I had continued my daily habit of eating fruit, and had recently got into juicing both fruit and some vegetables. So I started writing for a food magazine.
Modern day trends across a whole ray of different industries has completely changed the way that most people live. Our eating and drinking habits haven’t escaped this change, but has it occurred just to make us healthy, or others wealthy?
Juicing has become a health and wellness global megatrend that has ballooned into a multi-billion dollar industry over the last decade.
It has earned accolades from health and sporting enthusiasts, weight watchers, and even many health professionals. The abundance of fruit and many vegetables makes it easy for most of us to become part of the trend.
Juicing a fruit or vegetable simply produces its nutrients and goodness in a liquid form. This liquid contains many of the vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds from the fruit or vegetable.
These homemade juices are far better than the packaged varieties available as they are pure and don’t contain any preservatives, and more importantly, there are no added sugars.
Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that are well known for reducing inflammation, preventing disease, and promoting overall health. In addition, many fruit and vegetable juices contain certain nutrients that function as prebiotics which feed the healthy bacteria that live in our gut, thereby promoting a healthy digestive system.
A clinical study in 20 healthy adults found that drinking 2.8 liters of fresh juice per day for three days positively altered gut bacteria composition and promoted weight loss. Interestingly, the research suggested that people who regularly drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice, also tend to eat more whole fruits and vegetables. People develop the taste for them. Eating fruit and vegetables helps provide fibre that juicing eliminates.
But juicing is not always perfectly safe for everyone. Diabetics for instance, and this affliction is prevalent in the Philippines. If you have diabetes, carefully monitoring and controlling your carbohydrate intake is essential to maintaining balanced blood sugar levels. Eating a high-fiber diet can slow the rate of absorption of sugar from your digestive tract. Because a large portion of the fiber is removed from fruits and vegetables when juicing, the sugars in these foods are consumed and absorbed more quickly, leading to rapid blood sugar spikes. So if you’re diabetic, you need to be careful.
You can mix low-carb options like cucumber, lemon, or lime with your fruit juices to reduce the carbohydrate content. Or you can drop the fruit and drink veggie-only juices made with non-starchy vegetables like kale, celery, spinach and tomato. It’s just as tasty and healthy.
Wherever there is a product with massive volume sales – the big boys move in. If you look at the popular (I dislike them personally) TV shopping programs, and the number of pop-up ads on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see that a great number of them are selling juicers and blenders. And they come in an overwhelming choice of designs, sizes, colors, multi-functions etc, etc. But the bottom line here is; you only need a simple one or two speed juicer. If it’s just you, a small hand held one perfectly suffices.
The change in these selling trends became more apparent when consumer sales of packaged juices started falling. The big boys weren’t selling their produced from fresh fruit drinks in a box as much as before, and needed to fill the void left when people wanted fresh sugar free products that were actually good for them.
If you read any of the online recipes for juicing (Enrich publishes Juice & Health each month), they will advise you to add a variety of different things, all specifically designed and orchestrated to get you to spend more money.
Fresh fruit and vegetables contain enough of what we need for juicing purposes. Does it really matter if your juicer is red, blue, or white - of course it doesn’t. And are those extra five speeds gong to extract any more juice or make it taste any better … make your own mind up here.
A recent trip to a big supermarket surprised me when I looked in the frozen food cabinets and saw packet upon packet of frozen local fruit and vegetables – don’t we grow enough fresh for our needs? We live in the tropics. Why would I want to buy a packet of frozen mango or pineapple chunks to put in a blender…
Oh Yeah. I forgot – Wealth takes place over Health – some of the time…