By Laura Armada-Buch
Qualified Juice Therapist
Those of you who know me, will probably have noticed that one of my favourite pastimes is having occasional little rants about health every once in a while... so please feel free to completely ignore my post or to totally disagree with my views, (I promise you won’t hurt my feelings !).
For over twenty years fitness has been my absolute passion, my world, well my everything really , but as the years have passed and I have accumulated so much knowledge and first-hand experience about the way in which our bodies work, I can honestly say that nutrition has now become my number one focus. At the end of the day, you cannot out train a bad diet!
Even though I have always had an interest in proper nutrition and I like to think that I’ve treated myself to a pretty healthy diet all my life, my entire outlook on food became more serious when unfortunately, my mum fell ill eight years ago. Like any child would, I wanted to help her recover and quite literally, it became my mission to save her by using food as her medicine. I probably didn’t realise it at the time, but this was the beginning of the birth of THE JUICE WORKS! As soon as I saw for myself the astonishing impact cold pressed juicing had on my mum, (who had always had a mega healthy lifestyle, always eating fresh food, never smoking or drinking), I realised that I was onto something truly special that without doubt, could be of huge benefit to some of my fitness clients. (To read more about my mum’s journey please click here).
Until now we generally thought that nutrition was all about carbs, proteins and fats along with micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, right? And that being overweight could be completely avoided if our macro and micro nutrient intake was balanced with our energy expenditure. But, strangely if this is all there is to the formula, how is it possible that so many people are exercise and diet resistant? We all know people, or maybe you’re one yourself, who believe they’re eating all the right foods in the right proportions and combinations and are hitting the treadmill six days and week and still can’t seem to shift any weight. Well we have finally come to realise that nutrition is so more than just calories or fat. Believe it or not, BACTERIA plays a huge part in the whole process, a part we have been ignoring for far too long.
Lately I have become somewhat obsessed with the funny little ecosystem that we all carry inside our tummies: our microbiome. Bear with me now for a little bit of science!! Our microbiome is basically a huge population of over 30 trillion, (phew!!), organisms, mainly bacteria, that develops from birth and evolves over time, based on our food choices. Yes I know that most people find the thought of having bacteria living happily in our bodies slightly on the gross side of things, but hey, none of us could stay alive without our bacterial buddies so time to learn to love those little bugs folks!
By now, I’m sure you are wondering what the hell has bacteria got to do with juices? Surely, you wouldn’t go out of your way to purposely consume something that you knew had lots of bacteria floating around in it? Keep reading – it will all make sense in a minute!
Back in the day, we all bought juices which came in a carton, most of which were made from concentrated fruit juice, the nutritional value of which was somewhat questionable but of course back then we were none the wiser. Things have since moved on and COLD FRESH PRESSED juices are now ‘the thing’. Marketing companies know this for sure and are working hard to capitalise on the demands of the consumer, who has become for more discerning in their taste. But how can a ‘fresh’ juice stay ‘fresh’ for 30 days or even longer, in a fridge? We all know that if, for example, we make soup at home the longest it will last, even when properly refrigerated, is about three days, any longer and it goes off. Well not surprising, good old science has come up with the answer……
HPP stands for High Pressure Pasteurization and is the new kid on the block in the juice industry. This process allows for what was once a fresh juice to have a much longer shelf life, thereby becoming a much more attractive commercial proposition to big companies and retailers. With HPP, the juice is subjected to elevated pressures, (up to 87,000 pounds per square inch), to achieve microbial inactivation. Put simply, all our friendly little bacterial bugs are killed off so now the juice can sit happily on a supermarket shelf for anywhere between 10 and 45 days - oh yes, so fresh…..eh not !
So surely there are advantages of HPP? well as far as I’m concerned, NO, there are none whatsoever. Juices should contain all the naturally occurring organisms, (the good and bad bacteria), that help keep our gut balanced and healthy. Destroying all this bacteria takes away from the full health benefits of the cold pressed juices. What’s the point in trying to preserve something, if the process of preservation destroys the property which you were trying to preserve in the first place? What you started out with is not the same as what you end up with by a long shot. It’s like you have removed the juice’s ‘engine’: It may look and taste fine but it really isn’t going to get you very far in terms of proper nutrional benefits. Unfortunately, however once a juice has undergone the HPP process, it becomes a very marketable product and that’s why a growing number of the juices you find on shelves will be HPP. For me, whenever I see ‘HPP’ on a product, I automatically think, ‘Hideous, Pointless Product’!!!
In the last three months, I have twice been approached by retailers who want to stock our juices. A very tempting proposition but of course there is a catch... they would have to be HPP. To me, I don’t even have to think twice about my answer which of course is a simple ‘NO’. My aim is to improve people’s health and so I refuse to compromise on this in any way just for the sake of making money. I’ve been laughed at for saying this - apparently in the heady world of high flying business, the word ‘healthy’ is not profitable. My angle is different; what good is all the money in the world if you don’t have your health? Am I missing something? Sadly, we have become the sickest, most undernourished generation ever, yet business still continues to be all about profit margins. In my eyes it is about time that big companies stop targeting people for profits.
Money is not everything. To me, there is nothing more rewarding that getting up in the morning and reading about a client who, after spending a fortune on skin treatments and medication, finds for the first time in seven years, that their skin is now flawless, or the client who has been debilitated for years by IBS / colitis and who now has it totally under control and tells me that for the first time since they can’t remember when, they feel amazing! This is worth MILLIONS to me. The fact is that none of these results would be possible if our juices became just another brand on the shelf.
I’m sure that with time, HPP will be come to be called something else just for the purposes of keeping people guessing, but no matter what the term, raw fresh juice is not supposed to be sitting on a shelf for 10, 20 or 30 days... it defeats the purpose of filling your body with the live enzymes and nutrients which it needs. Fresh juice will only stay FRESH for 72 HOURS!!!! No more! So don’t be fooled by a label that has, ‘Natural’, No Additives’, ‘No Preservatives’, ‘No Colourants’, ‘No Added Sugar’ emblazoned all over it. Once you see a shelf life longer than 3 days you are not getting the real deal. Our juices are cold pressed every day and contain the absolute maximum nutrient and vitamin value you can get from a juice. Our juices contain bacteria, (good and bad!), that is naturally found in every leafy green, fruit or vegetable. It’s these very same bacteria that keep our gut in top condition. You wouldn’t buy a Rolls Royce and try to run it on cheap, low grade petrol and oil would you? Well it’s the same with your body. We only get one in this lifetime; you can’t upgrade it, recycle it or replace it, so why shouldn’t we want to look after it and nourish it in the best way possible?
At THE JUICE WORKS, we are passionate about juices and their health benefits. Juices that are fresh, raw and untreated. Yes, maybe they are a little bit more expensive than others and yes, maybe it takes a little bit of thought and organisation to make sure you order and drink them within a specific time frame, but I promise you, you will not find a better, healthier juice out there. So don’t just make what you think is a healthy choice. Make what you know is the BEST healthy choice – a juice from The Juice Lab.
Love Laura and the Juice Team x