Juice diets and juice fasts are becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle choice for anybody looking to shed unwanted pounds, cleanse your body and generally add to your health.
Couple this with the fact that anybody following a Diabetic diet will also be heavily focusing their intake on low-glycemic fruits and vegetables and, in theory, you have all the key components of a fantastic way to keep yourself healthy and nourished.
The question is, does the practice match up to the theory?
Is a Juice Diet Safe for Diabetics?
On paper, following a juice diet is almost identical to following a raw food eating plan, which is potentially great for Diabetics.
Of course, the problem that could face anybody living with this condition is that many juicing recipes rely upon fruits for sweetness and taste, and anybody following a Diabetic food plan will need to steer clear of sugar-laden foods – regardless of how many nutrients and vitamins they may otherwise contain.
Stick To The 80/20 Rule
If you are going to follow a Diabetic juicing plan, stick to an 80:20 ratio – that's 80% of the foods that go into your juicer being vegetables, and the remaining 20% comprising of fruits (though 100% vegetables will always be preferable).
Ease In Gradually
It's also advisable to ease yourself into a juice diet gradually – don't try to walk before you can crawl, and start by replacing one meal per day with a juice-based substitute (breakfast is ideal, as consuming your liquid meal on an empty stomach will typically allow all of those lovely nutrients to really work their magic).
Get A Balanced Selection Of Nutrients From Your Other Meals
You should also be aware that juicing can and will remove the fiber content from many of the foods that enter your body, so ensure that you are getting a balanced selection of vitamins and nutrients from your other meals (or, at the very worst, an external supplement) lest this play havoc with your blood sugar.
Dropping all solid food in favor of juicing instantly may also send your body into shock, which is dangerous for anybody – especially Diabetics – and you're more likely to grow hungry and end up munching on potentially harmful snacks if you find your stomach rumbling through an imbalanced intake of solids vs. liquids, especially if you stick to one 8oz glass of your concoction per meal (it’s risky to go too high above this).
If you feel that you need to add any form of supplement to your juice, please check with your medical practitioner before entering into any supplementary products.
Definite Advantages to a Juice Diet
There are undoubted advantages to a juice diet, even if you are a Diabetic, including improved lateral thinking thanks to a reduction of brain-fogging carbohydrates and the steady release of energy that comes with healthy vegetables and fruits.
Provided you approach this new eating plan sensibly, gradually and carefully, you will be reaping benefits in no time at all – just don’t neglect the importance of other food groups, keep a very close eye on your blood sugar readings, and listen to your body.
There is no shame attached to finding that a juicing diet does not work for you.
Best Fruits and Vegetables to Use
We have established that you need to follow a ratio of 80:20 in favor of vegetables over fruits, but which low-glycemic vegetables in particular should we be looking to include in a juice diet?
Green Is Good
A golden rule is, put simply, Green is Good. Load up your juicer with leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and romaine lettuce – or even broccoli – for all the benefits associated with these superfoods.
Go Big On Water-Based Veggies
Also go big on water-based veggies, such as cucumber and celery. Not only will they add some volume to your liquid meal and dilute the potentially stronger aftertaste of some of the ingredients that may be included, but they'll also add a cool, refreshing hint to please your palate.
Carrots For Blood Sugar Regulation
Carrots are a great addition, as not only do they taste delicious when liquidized and assist with eye health (an important consideration for any Diabetic), they also work hard to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
Green peppers will add taste and vitamins, and in terms of fruit, toss in very small amounts of green apples (always green and never red – the skins of the latter are absolutely loaded with sugar) or equally small slices of melon; the latter, in particular, has a surprisingly positive effect on insulin resistance despite being sweet to the taste.
Garlic may have an unfortunate effect on your breath but will work wonders for your immune system.
Consider adding tomatoes too though; these Diabetic superfoods offer more vitamins than almost anything else that you may consider.
Want Something Sweet? Go For Berries
If you have a particular hankering for something sweet, add some delicious fresh blueberries, strawberries or raspberries for a delightful taste, as these antioxidant-rich ingredients will help protect your organs.
Mint leaves are another option if that’s an appealing flavor for you.
Of course, there will also be plenty of ingredients to avoid, especially when it comes to fruit.
It goes without saying that anything canned or tinned should be given a wide berth, as should oranges, mangoes and bananas due to the high sugar content.
Removing the fiber from these ingredients ensures that you will simply be ingesting empty calories and risking a dangerous spike in your blood sugar.
Five Simple Recipes for Diabetic Juices
Juicing couldn’t be simpler – you simply pick up an appropriate kitchen gadget, drop your ingredients inside, and let the whirring blades do their work.
Depending on the make of juicer that you own, time can be a crucial factor in making sure that your juice is ready as soon as possible – it’s a good idea to wash and prepare any vegetables or fruit and place them in plastic bags in the fridge to get a head start.
Juicers can take anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes to work their magic.
Likewise, an easy to clean juicer gives more encouragement to your juicing regime, particularly those that allow you to use ‘filters’ to keep all the unwanted bits and pieces that can clog up your feeder.
Here are 5 potential combinations of fruits and vegetables that make for a great juice meal replacement for any Diabetic.
All of these ingredient mixes are healthy for those having to watch their blood sugar. Adjust quantities accordingly until you find the right flavor for your palate.
Use water, coconut water or nut milks in small quantities to dilute if you find the juice too thick to digest. Remember, you can use herbs as much as you like to add extra flavor when avoiding sugar.
- 1 green apple, half a cucumber, 3-4 sprigs of mint, 3-4 leaves of kale, a handful of spinach and half a lemon
- 2 tomatoes, 2 small green apples, a handful of parsley and 6 sprigs of watercress
- 2 celery stalks, 1 whole cucumber, 1 green apple, 1 carrot and 1 full cup of spinach
- 1 stalk of broccoli, 4 carrots and 1 green apple
- 2 stalks of celery, 1 green pepper, half a bunch of celery, 1 carrot, half a cucumber and a handful of spinach
These are just five examples, but part of the fun of juicing is to find your own favorite blend using any number of the ingredients we have discussed over the course of this article.
Experiment using trial and error (being careful while you do so – remember to keep everything low-glycemic, and there are plenty of resources online to point you in the direction of appropriate ingredients) and discover what works for you.