Juicing 101: Q&A with Urban Juice Press

I'm a big fan of cold pressed juices. If you scroll through my blog, or follow me on Facebook, you might have noticed. I'm also a huge fan of local businesses. Combine the two and you have Ottawa's own Urban Juice Press. 

I recently interviewed Justin Gauthier and Tyler Saikaly, who co-own the company.  These guys are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to cold pressed juices. Especially the health benefits of juicing.  For these two, juicing is not only a business, it's a big part of their lifestyle and overall wellbeing. 

Justin admitted that learning about cold pressed juicing played a very important role in his health history. In 2010, he became quite ill and was diagnosed with Crohn's disease (an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks gastrointestinal tract causing ulcers and open wounds). Eating was extremely painful and he regularly experienced severe abdominal pain.

During that time, Justin's doctors prescribed a cocktail of medications, such as prednisone and immune-suppressants, which he says further declined his quality of life. He was fed up with being sick and decided to seek out alternative treatments. He went to see a naturopathic doctor and subsequently adopted several dietary changes - one of which was juicing. By 2011, he was free of any Crohn’s-like symptoms and he has been in remission ever since.  

Read on to learn what Justin and Tyler have to say about the benefits of juicing, their thoughts on juice cleansing, and more...

Amy: How did you get into juice and juicing? 
Justin: When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's, I started juicing because of Tyler. He is always researching information on health and fitness. About 5 years ago, he bought a masticating juicer that we would use at home. It became an addiction almost instantly. I noticed that my face appeared smoother and had a brighter glow! It's super good for your skin because you're boosting your cells with so much micro nutrition! 
Tyler: As Justin pointed out, I am a health guru, not by trade but out of curiosity. The power of the human body with the right foods and nutrition is simply amazing to me.

Amy: What are the benefits of drinking cold pressed juices?
Justin: There are so many! Cold pressed juice is extracted by a hydraulic press that crushes the cell walls of the plant material being juiced and so the extracted juice is not exposed heat or oxygen. When exposed to heat and oxygen, the nutrient profile of juice begins to decline because of various environmental reactions. Cold-pressing allows the extracted juice to maintain a higher nutrient profile.  Recall from biology class that heat causes proteins to denature and enzymes to become in-active. 

The benefits of drinking cold pressed juice is such a long list but the short version is essentially this: because the juices are so high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and because the fibre has been removed from the mix, these juices are quickly and easily absorbed by the gut and are immediately carried to the blood stream and to parts of the body that are craving these micronutrients. In today's world, we get way too many macronutrients and not enough micronutrients and you see this in the form of obesity and associated health conditions. Drinking cold pressed juice is such a pure form of easily digestible nutrition that goes a long way to improving cell, tissue, organ, and system function in every aspect, not to mention, it helps to protect the body from the aging process and environmental stressors.

Amy:  Since you started drinking juice regularly, have you noticed any changes in your mind or body?
Tyler: Absolutely!
Justin: Yep!
Tyler: You have to be consistent, like anything, consistency is key to achieving your goals.  The same is true for nutrition. Drinking raw juice is the same thing because each daily juice boost (or how ever many you drink each day) is cumulative and has cumulative effects. Regular replenishment of micronutrients really gives your cells the fuel they need to function at their highest capacity and keeps your body humming.
Justin: I'd say that at first, I noticed a sudden jolt of energy but that was probably because my body was not used to receiving such a high dose of highly digestible plant based nutrition. I still notice a similar type of feeling, especially when I drink greens juices and it gives me an overall good feeling which is hard to explain really. Over the long term, I've noticed that my body is quite resilient, I don't get sick too often and when I am really consistent, I see it in my skin. My skin appears almost thicker, stronger, tighter (if that makes any sense) - as if it's getting what it needs to be healthy.
Tyler: I would agree with what Justin said and for me, I've noticed that it does improve cognitive function. I've noticed that my thinking is clearer and I can remember more easily.

Amy: Do you think it's essential to drink a cold pressed juice every day - or to do a juice cleanse - to reap the benefits?
Tyler: Both. I think that we humans are not getting enough plant based nutrition and such is life. We're busy bees, always focussing on careers, work, others and we don't put enough time or thought into our daily eating choices. Most people are just not getting enough vegetables and fruits and so drinking organic cold-pressed juices (has to be organic) is a fantastic way of squeezing in a lot of nutrition into one beverage. You want to drink it on an empty stomach and wait 20-30 minutes after drinking for the best absorption results. You can argue that vitamins are a replacement for "not getting enough" but juices are ultimately nature's provider of vitamins that you know will be absorbed by the gut. One thing to remember about juicing is the importance of including a variety of different vegetables and fruits. You'll be able to get more out of your juice if you incorporate a wide variety of colours. 
Justin: Agreed! We also believe that doing a juice cleanse a few times per year is very good for the body. I recently wrote a blog post about this. Essentially, it's been identified that the immune system can regenerate itself during fasting. During say a 2-3 day fast, the body's white blood cell (WBC) count decreases and so the body needs to compensate by replenishing the WBC level. What happens in this process is that old or dead cells are replaced by new ones.

Adding raw, organic juices to your fast is an excellent opportunity to infuse your body with micronutrients. The macronutrient level is still calorically restrictive enough that your body remains in "fast mode" but has the added benefit of being replenished with phytonutrients, enzymes, etc. In addition, these plant nutrients in high doses are extremely important in helping to detoxify tissues such as your liver and adipose (fat) cells.

Amy: What's your favourite juice? Why? 
Justin: My favourite juice is the Greens 201. This juice is made with kale, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger, and it's quite potent. I also love the Happy Rabbit (carrot, apple, pineapple, lemon and ginger) and Immune Supercharge (carrot, apple, beets, lemon and ginger) because I love the taste, but for health, I'd say the Greens 201. 
Tyler: I would have to agree. The Greens 201 for me is better than coffee.

Amy: For those who are interested in trying one of your cold pressed juice, where can they find your products? 
Tyler: Our products are found on our website at urbanjuicepress.ca. We deliver daily to anywhere within the Ottawa greenbelt or you can pick-up after placing your online order. For convenience, you can also buy select juices at Nature's Buzz on Beechwood, Pressed Cafe on Gladstone, Bread & Son's on Bank Street, Market Organics in the ByWard Market, and soon a few more locations. Also, we'll be opening up our own shop in the very near future in Hintonburg at Spencer and Parkdale. 

For more on Urban Juice Press follow them on Facebook, Twitter and visit their website: www.urbanjuicepress.ca