Some thoughts on supplements & fasts
Even nutritionists recommend juicing, but ONLY under certain conditions…
Last week, we got a package of eight bottled fluids—ranging in color from olive green to milky white—a jar of handmade cookies simple labeled “healthy,” and a brown envelope holding chia seeds. Not sketchy at all. It was all delivered—voilà—still cold, though I’m sure the winter weather helped, from the FSJuice office in Pudong, along with a note asking us to try their Post-Holiday Detox Pack (288 RMB).
Health and nutrition are a passion of mine, partly out of necessity, or, to be blunt, survival. So I’m always wary of dieting fads—in this case, trendy juice cleanses and fasts. It just can’t be healthy to skip solid foods for days, or even weeks, at a time, as some juice diets suggest. But I don’t think it’s impossible for the right kinds of juices, made with the right science, to supplement or even augment a healthy diet.
Well, according to more notes that came with their detox pack, FSJuice’s juice recipes are crafted by their resident certified nutritionist Jacqueline Zhan Fraise, a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) and American Nutrition Association (ANA). Even more notes: Jacqueline has a sensible approach to juicing—supplements, not replacements; health, not “beauty-hunger.”
I had a big Christmas, an even bigger New Year, and big breakfast, so I thought I’d try the pack and find out if their notes weren’t just empty marketing PRese.
Don’t toss the directions
The first good sign is that the pack doesn’t ask you to give up meat or starches. The pack came with an instruction card that explained how the juices were designed to supplement a normal city diet, along with suggestions for food to pair with each juice.
For example, a slice of whole-wheat bread or a salad to go with the bottle of celery and apple juice called “Fuel” for breakfast. And for lunch, a broiled chicken breast or fish to go with their low-sugar nut blend “Restore”. Maybe that’s a little much for a lunch break, but consider that other diets might have you on wheat dust and a couple gasps of air.
Health fads come and go before anyone has time to analyze them—at least while people are still paying attention. Research into juice fasting has found that a diet like that actually sheds your muscle mass and water instead of fat. The long-term damage is a weakened metabolism from a lack of carbs. Slowed-down metabolism means sped-up and unhealthy weight gain. So, funny thing, kind of the opposite of what you want.
Still, juices are good for instant nutrition of the non-carb variety. With juice, fiber digestion is done for you, so your intestines absorb more vitamins in a shorter amount of time. Good for rushed city living, but you’re not excused from eating solid food like a normal human being, or attending your aerobics classes.
The Cold, Raw Press
Compared to centrifugal juicers in most restaurants and homes, cold-press juicers have the least destructive effect on the nutrients in vegetables and fruits. Cold means cold— it does not “cook” the ingredients through the juicing process, so those vital vitamins and enzymes are preserved.
FSJuice also uses raw, unprocessed ingredients. The difference is slight, as greens are really just greens and fruits are effectively sugar, but nuts can be roasted, salted, and so on before they’re used in other juices. So FSJuice spares no cost in that respect, and I like that.
Not for the warm of heart?
FSJuice cautions drinkers to keep bottles nicely within 0-4 ℃. For example, FSJuice’s Kombucha juice can last for a month or so, but its nutritional value drops if not refrigerated. (Want to get the most for your money, right?)
Still, their nutritionist explained that even their vegetable and fruit juices can be warmed up for those with sensitive digestive systems, or maybe to appeal to those China veterans who have started secretly believing that cold drinks are actually the devil. Or maybe it’s just a miserable winter and you want something warm. I overlooked the sub-zero air and cold-drink pairing, so I felt my stomach twitching from the cold by the end of Day 1. I did not last longer than that, and not just because of the cold.
Everyone’s body is suited to a certain type of diet. For someone else, losing weight might be desirable, but for me, right now, losing one stone after just one day’s trial of FSJuice was not ideal. And the hunger I felt by dinner time was probably a red flag.
The instructions say two bottles of mainly vegetable juices for dinner, which seems a bit out of character for the “supplement-not-fast” angle that FSJuice is doing. It’s probably supposed to be just a recommendation, along with the rest of their pairings. It would seem that FSJuice doesn’t want you to go hungry, or unhealthy. They don’t strike me as that kind of health people—the kind that glamorizes gummy bears and scotch diets. So I ate some nice roasted shrimps promptly at five.
Diet Your Way and Keep Eating
In this juicer’s personal opinion, diets should be flexible, adaptable, and more of a helping hand than a drill instructor. And that, for the most part, seems to be FSJuice’s opinion, too. It’s nice that FSJuice has quite a personal service and hires a certified nutritionist for our benefit, and they have an eye for quality and consistency that’s mostly reliable. But it also hikes up their prices a bit. The real star amongst FSJuice’s offerings is their One-Day Trial Pack (128 RMB). It’s palatable both for your wallet and taste buds, with a dose of “Mighty-Cs” that’s très delicious.
You can try it out for yourself on their website (www.fsjuice.com) and see if it works for you before signing up for any full-on juice remedies. Just remember, juices are a great way to augment your flagging city diet of street noodles and Starbucks muffins, but there aren’t replacements for food.
–by Quintana Hoyne