Durban - It’s healthy, delicious and it keeps you regular.” This is what a colleague said when I asked about her juice. It was a freshly made concoction of beetroot, celery, apples and mint, and she was drinking it straight out of the measuring jug. “I didn’t have time to pour it into a proper juice bottle. The jug would do,” she said.
It’s therefore no surprise that celebrities have been so caught up with juicing these past few years. Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Bill Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Russell Simmons, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker and Salma Hayek are just some of the A-List celebrities who swear on juicing for their slim physiques.
It’s become so popular that at last year’s New York Fashion Week, there were juice trucks so that those present could refuel between shows.
But why is juicing so popular?
Juicing is a huge industry worth $5-billion, according to a report on Slate. Last year, Starbucks spent $30-million to acquire juice operation Evolution Fresh. The juice industry, according to investment news site Barron’s, is projected to grow by four percent to eight percent a year.
Locally, juicing and juice cleanses have also caught on. Durban is also in on the juice craze, boasting a couple of juice bars. Boost Juice, which is in The Pavilion, being one of them. Mobile juice bars, such as Roxy’s Smoothie Cocktail Bar and Splash Smoothie Cocktail Bar, which can be found at I Heart Market.
Boost Juice is an international franchise and can also be found in Australia, Malaysia, the UK, Portugal and Hong Kong. But some also prefer making their own juices at home, which is something that department stores have noticed.
Walk into any homeware store, and juicers are front and centre among appliances, and even though they are pricey (you’ll rarely ever get one that costs less than R500) people still buy them.
Earlier this year, I noticed that model-turned-news anchor Nzinga Qunta was tweeting juicing recipes every morning.
It turns out that the Africa News Network 7 anchor has been juicing for a while and is not following a so called celebrity fad. “My parents (have) juiced since the ’80s,” she said.
“I only really got into it properly at the beginning of last year. Juicing is a way of me drinking juices exactly as I want them to taste. It is also a quick way of getting the nutrients I may miss out on when I don’t eat properly.”
For Nzinga, juicing has many health benefits.
“I mix fruit and vegetables to get what I feel my body needs for the day or week.
“If I juice beetroot, ginger, carrot and apple I know I’m getting vitamin A, C amongst others, a boost in iron, and a mini-detox in a glass. I’ve found that the juice is great for glowing skin and it’s a way of getting rid of bloating.”
Melody Langerman of Splash Smoothie Cocktail Bar agrees with Nzinga.
“Juicing is super healthy. It’s like you are feeding your blood, strengthening and empowering your immune system, decreasing allergies, balancing out your skin and giving it a healthy glow.
“Plus it decreases body odours, increases energy and mental clarity and alertness, while also improving the mood and decreases the need for medication.”
Passionate about juicing, Melody said the reason juicing was so popular was that people were aware of how healthy it was. “I think the public have a growing awareness in ‘You Are What You Eat’ and focus has definitely shifted from fast and unhealthy food to health, fitness and healthier lifestyle. That they taste good is an added bonus.”
But she does warn that too much of a good thing, can be bad. “Fruit is full of natural sugar and if not monitored, too much could spike blood sugar levels, causing problems with diabetics and others with blood glucose disorders,” she said.
“Also, make sure that you wash your fruit and vegetables properly. If they are not organic they are guaranteed to have been sprayed with chemicals and pesticides harmful to your health if ingested.”
So while juice fasts and cleanses have been used by the super health conscious to help shed unwanted weight and to detox, the latest craze is because young people are gravitating towards healthier eating habits and greater consumption of raw and organic produce, which then makes juices the best way to consume all the natural goodness they need while on the run.
Nzinga’s and Melody’s juicing recipes
For warm spring days try a mix of pineapple, celery, cucumber, apple, ginger and mint.
It’s really refreshing and sweet, with the ginger and mint providing a great kick.
6 to 8 carrots, 2 oranges, 1 whole pineapple, a chunk of ginger the width of your thumb and a handful of mint.
Add ice to your juicing jug, then start adding the ingredients to the juicer and enjoy!