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We all know that eating more fruit and vegetables is good for us. The benefits of eating plant foods in general are numerous. Fruit and vegetables not only supply essential macro and micronutrients but also special plant chemicals called phytonutrients. The problem is that most of us don’t meat our daily minimal requirements for fruit and vegetable intake. Juicing is a great way to help us meet our requirements and boost our health in amazing ways. The main health benefits of juicing is that we are able to get maximum nutrition with minimum effort.

In plants, phytonutrients also serve to protect them against the elements, but have also been found to exhibit amazing health benefits in humans when consumed in the diet. Unlike vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals are not essential to life, but if eaten in adequate amounts, they contribute to optimum health. So, phytochemicals can be seen as the bridge between good health and super health.

Phytochemicals protect us because they act as antioxidants and help the body mop up cell-damaging free radicals. Smoking, bad diet, stress, pollution and medications all lead to free radical buildup. If left unchallenged, these villains can destroy or “oxidize” healthy cells, leading to disease. Phytochemicals help neutralize these free radicals and bring the body back into a state of wellness. Phytochemical nutrients can help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and other diseases attributable to lifestyle and ageing. In fact, many experts believe that the medicine of tomorrow is leaning away from pharmaceuticals and more towards these neutraceuticals (medicines derived from food) to correct the body’s chemistry and restore well-being.

For optimum health, it is recommended that we consume at least 5 and up to 11 servings of fruit and vegetables per day (a serving being 1 medium fruit, one-cup of raw vegetables, half a cup of cooked vegetables or half a cup of fruit or vegetable juice).

The Health Benefits of Juicing

It is not recommended that we get all our phytonutrients from juice, because whole fruit and vegetables have the additional benefit of bring rich in fibre. When we juice foods, we take the fibre out of the food but the nutrients are retained in a more concentrated form. This means more nutrients but it also means less fibre and more sugar (in the form of fructose). However, juicing does have some benefits over eating whole fruits and vegetables:

Juicing is a good way to get lots of nutrition in a small amount of food. Juices are very concentrated in terms of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and at the same time they lack the bulk from the fibre. This means we can take in more nutrition without getting full.

Juicing is easy on digestion. The nutrients in juice are pre-digested because they have been broken down through the juicing process. Foods that have just been juiced also contain more enzymes, which help digest the nutrients quickly and efficiently.

Juicing allows for more variety in the diet. By combining different fruits and vegetables in your juicer, you can ensure that you get a wide range of nutrients every day.

Juicing is more hydrating. The high amounts of fluid in juices help hydrate the body to a greater extent than whole fruits and vegetables.

The Best Juices

The best foods to juice are vegetables. Fruit juice is high in fructose and if we consume too much of it, it could lead to problems with blood sugar control. However small amounts of lower Glycemic Index fruit juices do offer some benefits. The best fruits to juice include:

Apples

Apples contain a wide range of phytonutrients and are most balanced in terms of their antioxidant content (they contain almost all known fruit antioxidants in small amounts). Apples also have a low glycemic index.

Pineapples

Pineapples are anti-inflammatory and their juice can be used to help quell inflammation associate with arthritis, inflamed bowels or skin disorders.

Oranges and Grapefruits

Oranges have a low glycemic index and an excellent vitamin C content.

Base fruit juices are usually used to add some sweetness and flavour to vegetable juices.

The best vegetables to juice include:

Celery

Celery is a natural diuretic. It is also a good source of B vitamins and the minerals calcium and magnesium.

Cucumbers

Cucumber is a natural diuretic and a good source of vitamins A and c and the mineral magnesium.

Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene, a cancer preventing antioxidant that is also good for the skin and eyes.

Beetroot

Beetroot is good for liver and kidney cleansing. It is also an excellent source of folate, iron and copper.

Spinach

Spinach is rich in a vast array of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. It is particularly rich in vitamin C folate and magnesium.

Good Juicing Combinations include:

 

  • Carrot and orange
  • Carrot and pineapple
  • Apple and celery
  • Apple and beetroot
  • Apple, celery and beetroot
  • Celery, cucumber and spinach

 

Adding Flavour

Herbs are a great way to add flavour to your juices. Try herbs like parsley, basil, and coriander

Juiced ginger is a delicious addition too. Raw coconut, berries or lemons are also often used to add some flavour.

Fruits like bananas, papayas and berries can be blended whole with fruit juice to add some fibre and bulk.

How to Juice

Ideally, you need to invest in as high a quality juicer as possible as not all juicers juice greens. For juicing of fruits and carrots, an entry levels juicer should do. The alternative is to get your juices daily from your green grocer, as many do have their own juicers onsite.

Freshly Squeezed versus Bottles and Cartons

The fresher and more recently squeezed the juice is, the better. Nutrient quality declines as soon as the juice is exposed to the air. The longer it is left standing, the less nutrition it will have. Also, preservatives and additives found in juices are not always favorable and can cause allergic reactions. There are many preservative and additive free juices on the market but their quality cannot be compared to that of freshly squeezed. Also, it is very rare to find fresh vegetable juices and most store bought juices are fruit-based and therefore high in fructose sugar.

 

 

Put simply, NIA (Neuromuscular Integrative Action) is a fusion of movement styles, including dance, martial arts and the healing arts. “NIA is an extremely free and fluid form of dance designed to help people connect with the joy of movement.” explains Town based NIA instructor, Nicci Gates. The steps are simple and repetitive, which assists the body to deeply relax as it moves and sways. It aims to create movements that are absorbed by the body without using any mental thought processes, making it somewhat meditative in nature. Visualisation techniques are also used to help create a sense of present moment awareness. The class uses an eclectic range of music styles selected to inspire a range of physical, mental and emotional responses. It demands no prior dance experience and is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels.

Where to find it

Visit www.niasouthafrica.co.za to find a teacher near you

 


It so happens that it is not just our physical

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footprints that have impact on the world around us. The term Carbon Footprint was coined as a measure of the total set of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions caused directly or indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product. Human beings are the ultimate consumer and it is through our consumption that we imprint our carbon footprints on the earth. Almost all our daily activities send carbon emissions into the atmosphere with driving, cooking, heating, lighting and flying all having a carbon footprint. Anything that we produce or destroy has a carbon footprint too, like construction, manufacturing, deforestation and food production.

 

While consumption of a certain amount of food, fuel and power may be necessary to our survival as a species, we are actually jeopardising our survival by simply consuming more than we need. Human consumption has increased to such a degree that it has become frightfully obvious that our planet is battling to keep up with our demands. We are literally raping Mother earth of her natural resources and upsetting the balance. The resultant global warming and climate change that ensue could ultimately render our future here, unsustainable. It is becoming clear that if we are to thrive on earth, we need to find a new way of being and a way of living in harmony with our environment.

 

Before we can change we first need to understand the impact of our carbon footprints. According to information found on the United Nations Environment Programme website (www.unep.org) global warming (or the rise in the average temperature of the earth) is due to human activity. In fact, we are the only species on earth that hasn’t actually doesn’t live in relative harmony with its environment. Our fall from grace began with the industrial revolution and has accelerated rapidly over the last 50 years. Fossil fuel burning is mostly responsible, because it releases gases (particularly carbon dioxide) that trap infrared radiation. This “greenhouse effect” creates a whole system disturbance, that we call climate change. The major fossil fuels are coal, oil and gas, with coal having the most impact on climate change.

Putting it into Perspective

The carbon and other green house gasses that we emit into the atmosphere and that have impact on the environment are measured as Carbon equivalents or C02e. Project 90x2010 has a nifty carbon calculator on their website, which can help you to determine your personal annual carbon footprint. According to Project 90x2030, the South African average per capita carbon footprint is 9.3 tons CO2e per annum. The following can be used as a do it yourself carbon footprint calculator. Here is a look at what some of our daily habits cost the environment in term of carbon emissions:

Electricity

For every R100 spent per month on your electricity bill you will emit 2.98 tons CO2e per year. Remember to divide this number by the number of people in your household.

Transport

Travelling an average of 15.000km per year, an 1800 SUV will emit 4.07 tons C02e; A 1300 sedan will emit 2.73 tons CO2e 4.07 C02e and 350cc motorbike just 0.78 tons C02e annually.

Recreational flights

One return flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town for example will emit 0.24 C02e; to Asia will emit 2.25 tons C02e, to Europe or Australia 3.0 tons C02e and to the West Coast of America 4.5 tons C02e per return flight. Fly first class and your carbon emissions can go up by almost 70 percent.

Waste

1 wheelie bin full of waste per week equates to 3.12 tons of waste and 5.07 tons C02e per year, if you don’t recycle. If you recycle paper, metals, plastic and glass your waste remains the same but carbon emissions go down more than 3 times to 1.59 tons per annum for one wheelie bin per week worth of rubbish.

Making the Shift

It is clear that we cannot as a human race completely stop emitting carbon, but we can do a lot lower our carbon footprints until more lasting solutions become apparent. Be the change you wish to see and start reducing your personal carbon footprint with these suggestions:

· Limit your power usage. Switching lights off and unplugging electrical equipment when not in use; eating more un-cooked fresh foods or reading a book instead of watching television can all help.

· Use gas instead of coal for heating and cooking purposes where possible.

· Consider solar power.

· Consider using a lighter vehicle for travel purposes, like a scooter, motorbike, hybrid vehicle or at least something with a small engine that is lighter on fuel.

· Optimise your fuel consumption by having your tire pressure checked regularly, avoiding carrying heavy loads in your car or reducing the use of your air-con system.

· Choose local destinations over international ones for travel purposes where possible. Or take fewer trips.

· Reduce the amount of waste you throw out by reducing your consumption of unnecessary items.

· Before throwing something in the rubbish, consider re-using it for another purpose or donating it to charity.

· Recycle your waste

· Buy locally produced items, including food and clothes, to help reduce emissions relating to the transportation of goods.

· Support local organic farming, which supports the environmental principles of sustainability.

· Reduce the amount of meat you eat. There are huge energy costs involved in feeding cattle that also produce large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

· Plant trees and home gardens. Trees and plants don’t just supply us with food, shade and something pretty to look at. They are an indispensible part of the eco-system and help suck up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while at the same time oxygenating it. According to information from Food and Trees for Africa, a social enterprise that develops, promotes and facilitates greening, climate change action, food security and sustainable natural resource use and management in South Africa, 2.67 trees are required to offset 1 ton of Carbon.

 

Shimmering, flowing skirts; slow, hypnotic movements and a rhythmic swirl and thrust of a women’s bare belly, make for a mesmerising and powerful dance form. Created in 2500 BC, belly dancing was originally developed by women for women, although many women get into belly dancing these days to learn a sensual dance for their husbands. Belly dancing creates enormous flexibility in the hips and pelvis. According to Astrid Lewis, Johannesburg-based belly dancing instructor, “Working into the hip area can also help with gynecological problems and helps boost fertility. It’s also an empowering practice that helps develop self-esteem, confidence and sensuality.

 
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