Monthly Archives: August 2014

Is Organic Produce Healthier and Does it Really Matter?

The web is abuzz with news of a recent meta-study (published in The British Journal of Nutrition – June 2014) that proves that organic produce is healthier than conventional. The study analyzed data from over 300 peer-reviewed articles and found that:

  • Organic crops have lower pesticide residues (the frequency of pesticides in conventional foods was 4 times higher than in organic food)
  • Organic crops are higher in some antioxidants such as phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanins. Antioxidants are linked to lower risks of cancer.
  • Organic crops had significantly lower levels of toxic cadmium compared to conventional crops.

So, the question is – should you and I switch to eating exclusively organic?

The answer, surprisingly, is not that simple… It all depends!

Fact: most people are not eating the right kind of food. Most eat too much meat and fatty dairy,  and too little plants; too many processed snacks, too little real foods; almost only refined sugars and flours, instead of whole grains.

Modern eating habits have a much more profound effect on most people’s health than does their decision whether or not to buy organic produce.

For the majority of us, going organic is “like doing advanced Algebra when you are still struggling with the multiplication table” ( We should start with the simple, basic decision to eat more vegetables and less junk food.

Don’t misunderstand me, the organic movement is super important. It does matter: sustainability, animal welfare, reduction of pesticide and hormone use ; these are all important on a regional, national, and global level. Organic produce is our choice, too.

It’s just that “organic” sometimes blinds people as to what they can do to improve their diets. There’s a lot you can do to eat healthier, starting with conventional foods. For example, if you think you need more antioxidants – just eat more fruits and vegetables.

If you can afford organic produce, then go for it … and enjoy!

If not, don’t use that as an excuse not to buy conventionally grown fruits and vegetables… and eat them!

People often ask: “Is Juice Plus+ organic?” For those who eat ONLY organic produce, that’s a fair question; for the rest… !? After reading my post above, you fill in the gap.

Oh, and is it? Here’s my reply: “Juice Plus+ is better than organic!”

You see, every batch of Juice Plus+ is tested and certified to be free of every toxin known to man. Whereas “organic” produce may still have permissible (by the USDA) traces of insecticides, etc., Juice Plus+ does not.

Organic produce may be free of toxins, but if the produce is picked too soon, before ripe, the nutrient value will be much lower.  Juice Plus+ produce is picked at peak of ripeness and processed quickly, to retain the nutrient levels of the original fruits and veggies.

Juice Plus+ has earned the “seal of approval” from NSF International, “the Public Health and Safety Company.”

Lastly, the quality of growing and the process of manufacture also ensures that the essential nutrients remain intact and find their way into all Juice Plus+ products.

After 21 years of eating Juice Plus+ we sleep well at night knowing that we are getting “better than organic” fruits, veggies, berries and whole grains, every single day.

10 Things to Know About Vitamin D

vitamin DA recent study has found that insufficient levels of vitamin D in older adults doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. But it’s not just older folks, like me, who aren’t getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. Most kids don’t get enough either.

What is vitamin D? Why is it important? Why aren’t people getting enough? And what are its best food sources?

But first …

Vit­a­min D is not a vitamin

We’ve been taught that Vit­a­min D is the “bone vit­a­min”, but it is really more of a sun hor­mone. The word “vit­a­min” means “some­thing my body needs that I can’t make, so I must get it from the food”. D hor­mone is instead, a chem­i­cal that we make on our skin from sun expo­sure. It is a hor­mone like thy­roid, estro­gen or testos­terone. Using the proper word “hor­mone” reminds us that it affects mul­ti­ple parts of the body and that it is not “extra”. It is essen­tial to every cell in the body and it is not in the food. It is sup­ple­mented in milk but as a cup of milk has only 100 IU of vit­a­min D you would have to drink100 cups of milk a day to keep from being D deficient.

What else you need to know

1. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in food but can also be manufactured by our body after exposure to sunshine’s UV rays. fat soluble means it needs a to be consumed together with a small amount of oil/butter/lard etc… to be effectively absorbed by your body.

2. Vitamin D’s job is to help the body absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorous levels in the body.

3. Without vitamin D, our bones don’t get enough calcium and bones become thin and brittle, or don’t develop properly if you’re still a growing child.

4. In the past most people got enough vitamin D just by being outdoors, but the industrial revolution and lifestyle changes it brought about have led to drastic reduction in this source for most people. Today, many people apply sunscreen for outings, thus reducing the vitamin D manufacturing capability of the body.

5. According to the National Institute of Health, anyone over the age of 1 needs 600 IU (International Units* ) of vitamin D. Seniors over the age of 70 need 800 IU.

Note:* 1 microgram of vitamin D = 40 IU.

6. In the past, vitamin D deficiencies led to skeletal diseases such as rickets. The US and other countries began fortifying milk with vitamin D as a public health measure, and pretty much eradicated these types of diseases.

7. Today virtually all milk sold in the US is fortified with 100 IU (International Units) of vitamin D per cup. Other products are also fortified with vitamin D. Examples include yogurts and breakfast cereals. Some sugary children’s cereals have jumped on the vitamin D fortification bandwagon, but they usually provide just 10% of the daily requirement while pumping your kids up with too much sugar.

8. The best food source of vitamin D is a teaspoon of cod liver oil (1,360 IU), but most people dread just the sound of that, not to mention the taste. Herring, sardines, salmon, and tuna are also good sources but usually do not supply enough of the vitamin.

9. Some nutrition experts therefore recommend vitamin D supplements, even if you are eating healthfully.

10. There are several forms of vitamin D:  D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5, but the most relevant to nutrition are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). When used in supplement pills, D2 is derived from yeast or fungus, while D3 is from animal sources.

Convincing Doctors to Embrace Lifestyle Medicine

This powerful article is by .

I talk a lot about numbers and statistics, but as the Director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center Dr. David Katz put it in an editorial in the American Journal of Health Promotion, to reach doctors, our fellow colleagues, maybe we need to put a human face on it all.

We have known, for at least a decade that the “leading causes of both premature death and persistent misery in our society are chronic diseases that are, in turn, attributable to the use of our feet (exercise), forks (diet), and fingers (cigarette smoking). Feet, forks, and fingers are the master levels of medical destiny for not just thousands of people on any one occasion but the medical destiny of millions upon millions year after year.”

We as doctors, as a medical profession have known—Ornish published his landmark study 23 years ago. “We have known, but we have not managed to care,” writes Dr. Katz.

At least not care deeply enough to turn what we know into what we routinely do.” Were we to do so, we might be able to eliminate most heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

But saving millions of lives is just a number. He asks doctors to “forget the bland statistics of public health, and ask yourself if you love someone who has suffered a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or diabetes … Now imagine their faces, whisper their names. Recall what it felt like to get the news. And while at it, imagine the faces of others readers like you and me imagining beloved faces.”

Now imagine if eight out of ten of us wistfully reflecting on intimate love and loss, on personal anguish, never got that dreadful news because it never happened. Mom did not get cancer; dad did not have a heart attack; grandpa did not have a stroke; sister, brother, aunt, and uncle did not lose a limb or kidney or eyes to diabetes. We are all intimately linked, in a network of personal tragedy that need never have occurred.”

Which leads to what he is asking doctors to do about it: put a face on public health every chance you get. “When talking about heart disease and its prevention—or cancer or diabetes—ask your audience to see in their mind’s eye the face of a loved one affected by that condition. Then imagine that loved one among the 80% who need never have succumbed if what we knew as doctors were what we do.”

Invoke the mind’s eye, he advises, and then bring a tear to it.

I think I’ve only profiled one other editorial (Ornish’s Convergence of Evidence), but this one really struck me (so much so I used it to close out my latest live presentation (More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases).

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at

We, in Juice Plus+, are privileged to work with many forward thinking doctors like Dr. Greger, who are at the forefront of the Lifestyle Medicine ‘movement’. You can meet a few of them here.

The Future of Food: How our eating habits will change

Food is changing: what we’re eating, how we’re eating it and where it’s all coming from.

The way we eat — the kind of food we buy, where we get it, how it’s prepared — has become a part of our identity, a guiding force that shapes how we live. It unites us. And divides us. Food brings people together in communal functions. But it also pits ideologies against each other: vegetarians vs. carnivores; all-natural evangelists vs. the convenience crowd; calorie counters vs. indulgence seekers.

No matter where individuals fall on the spectrum, we are a country obsessed with food. And with a seeming explosion in allergies, heightened concerns over obesity, increased scrutiny of chemical additives and growing environmental concerns, there’s more attention being paid to what we eat than perhaps ever before. After decades of stocking our kitchens with meat, cheese and noodles, while simultaneously dieting to reverse the effects of all those fatty, starchy foods, we may be realizing that food isn’t just a way to live, it’s a lifestyle choice.

“We’re beginning to get to where Eastern culture has been for thousands of years,” says Mark Erickson, provost at the Culinary Institute of America and a certified master chef, “which is the idea that food is medicine, and we cannot disassociate our health with what we eat.”

So where is this all headed?

USA WEEKEND asked some experts: How will Americans be eating in five years? Here’s what they said about the future of food:

Food that’s good for us will taste better

A growing number of chefs, food bloggers and restaurateurs have started dedicating themselves to promoting healthy food that’s also delicious. They’re finding ways to cut down on fat, sugar and meat and still make money. Vegan bakery Sticky Fingers in Washington, D.C., won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and restaurants such as New York City’s Dirt Candy and Philadelphia’s Vedge are making vegetables the star of great meals.

“There are plenty of restaurants and food purveyors out there that are working to make nutrient-dense food delicious and appealing and exciting,” says Trish Watlington, owner of two farm-to-table restaurants in San Diego where she supplies most of the produce for the menu from her garden.

At Andrea McGinty’s vegan restaurant chain, Native Foods Cafe, most customers aren’t even vegan. “I bet one person would raise their hand,” she says. “All the rest are looking for a better way to eat.”

Betting that she’d be able to make vegan food — or a plant-based diet, as she likes to call it — mainstream, McGinty moved the headquarters of Native Foods from the health-nut hills of Palm Springs, Calif., to Chicago (a city once known as “Hog Butcher for the World”). McGinty was confident she’d be able to change people’s minds about her “hippie dippie” food, and she has designs on growing from 17 stores across the USA to more than 200 in the next five years.

McGinty says vegan is going mainstream as people seek healthier, convenient options. Included on her menus is a “bacon cheeseburger” made with seitan, a gluten-based meat alternative; caramelized onions; tofu bacon; and battered dill pickle chips. “When you can have something that tastes delicious and it feels good in your body and you feel like you did something good for yourself, why wouldn’t it sell?” she says.

Farm-to-table will trickle down

The advent of farmers markets and farm-to-table restaurants have brought food sourcing to the forefront of Americans’ consciousness. Not only are strawberries grown an hour away fresher and better tasting than the ones that spent days or even weeks being shipped across the country, buying that produce supports the local economy and a more sustainable way of eating.

But it’s also expensive. Access to locally grown produce is still relatively reserved for those who can afford it and have the time to seek it out. “Unfortunately, if you’re a single mom and work two jobs and can barely put food on the table, you don’t have time to think about where your food came from,” Watlington says.

That could change if the country collectively demands better food. Watlington hopes that support of local farmers and farmers markets, and programs that introduce kids to gardening, will help make access to better food a national movement. “If you can have this happen on a grass-roots level, then it spreads so it’s in the community. No one is dieting. They’re just eating better food.”

Erickson says the farmers market movement already serves a broader purpose. “As people begin to look for (fresh food) in their everyday dining occasion, they put more pressure on grocery and other fast-food segments of the industry.”

That has already started to happen, with companies such as Subway being called out for the chemicals they’ve added to food. Other major brands, such as Cheerios, are eliminating genetically modified organisms. And Panera Bread is removing artificial ingredients from everything on its menu by the end of 2016.

“I think the only way that it really changes is if it becomes a class-divide issue,” says Mary Beth Albright, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who specializes in sustainable food issues and a former contestant on Food Network Star. “Like, look, all these other people are getting better things than you. Either … the traceability movement is going to be reserved for the elite, or everything is going to have to go sustainable.”

We might see ads for broccoli

Another way to make produce cheaper? Get people to buy more of it. Processed foods dominate the grocery business, luring us with million-dollar marketing campaigns that show up on our TV screens as commercials with our favorite athletes or celebrities, in magazine ads and in eye-catching store displays.

“The problem is there’s no branding in produce,” says Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat, about the processed-food industry. “The power of marketing is huge.”

The produce growers could catch on, he says. “Absolutely we could see the produce association getting Madison Avenue-savvy and competing with snack foods and the rest of the grocery store in that arena,” says Moss, who last year challenged an ad agency that has worked with Coca-Cola and General Mills to come up with an ad campaign for broccoli.

Unfortunately, the government doesn’t necessarily make it easy, Moss says. “How do we level the playing field for people financially to make it possible for them to eat healthier in ways that aren’t going to cripple their budgets?” he asks. “One big way would be to totally rethink the Department of Agriculture. Because so much of that agency’s energy and research and development money is going into crops that fuel the highly processed food industry. And so little of it is going into making fruits and vegetables less expensive.”

We’ll see the end of the diet

Can a country that has built an entire industry around dieting decide to, instead, just eat healthier all the time?

Groups of people have adopted gluten-free diets even though they’re not technically allergic to gluten. Others prescribe themselves the Paleo diet, eating the protein-heavy, dairy-free foods of our Stone Age ancestors.

When it comes to eating, we are a country of extremes, Erickson says, opting for meat and potatoes or doing a complete 180 and going only for vegetarian and non-fat food. But what were once considered specialty diets are starting to be combined and adopted into a more balanced and manageable way of eating all the time.

“Somewhere in between is something we cannot treat as a diet, but treat as an accepted and sought-for lifestyle as it relates to what we consume,” Erickson says.

And as fresher, local food not only becomes more widely available but is prepared in ways that are appealing, “eventually people will make more choices of things that are better for them because it tastes good,” Watlington says, “not because they’re necessarily disciplined about it.”

Juice Plus+ is the ultimate “Farm to Table” nutritional product.

Eating For Happiness

In the wake of the sad death of Robin Williams (didn’t we all love him?), there has been much discussion about the causes of depression and treatments for it.

Contentedness is the much desired opposite of depression – some would call it joy or happiness; that’s our “right” as Americans, right?!

But what contributes to happiness? Could what eat our way there? Yes! This fascinating article by Shayli Lones confirms it. She starts with an intriguing question:

Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?

Eating For Happiness

We need food to survive, and what we eat impacts not only our health but also our well-being. Until now, little has been known about the potential influence different foods have on happiness and psychological health.

“Economists and public health researchers from the University of Warwick studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. They found mental well-being appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruits and vegetables people consumed. Well-being peaked at seven portions a day,” says a press release from the University of Warwick.

Most western doctors recommend 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. “In Britain today, a quarter of the population eats just one portion or no portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Only a tenth of the British population currently consume the magic number of seven or more daily portions. The study does not distinguish among different kinds of fruits and vegetables and it defines a portion as approximately 80 grams,” says the University of Warwick.

In the study, the researchers explain that, “People who are healthy in one kind of behavior are likely to be healthy in others.” They found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables showed higher mental well-being in a variety of ways compared to those who did not.

“In each of three data sets, and for seven different measures of mental well-being, we find evidence for the existence of a positive association between well-being and fruit-and-vegetable consumption,” says the study. “Our findings are consistent with the need for high levels of fruit-and-vegetable consumption for mental health and not merely for physical health.”

Study co-author Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown, Professor of Public Health at Warwick Medical School, says, “The statistical power of fruit and vegetables was a surprise. Diet has traditionally been ignored by well-being researchers.” There is still much to be learned about how diet affects our metal well-being, and scientists hope for more research in the future.

Are you getting enough fruits and vegetables?

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotionreports, “Adults in the United States consume fruit about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day.”

Here are some easy ways to start adding more fruits and vegetables to you diet.

  • Smoothies are a great source of fruit and you can also add spinach or kale with almost no effect on taste.
  • Salads are a great way to add vegetables and fruits to every meal. Try starting off lunch and dinner with a small salad loaded with seasonal produce like blueberries, zucchini, avocados or garden tomatoes.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and eat them first. Pair a grilled chicken breast with steamed broccoli, carrots or asparagus.

We make no claims for Juice Plus+, but I can tell you that people like us who eat Juice Plus+ daily are a happy, contented, even joyful bunch!

Steps to Sensational Smoothies

We LOVE smoothies – some call them Shakes! Year ’round we usually enjoy at least one a day. As a meal, as a snack and/or as a pre- or post-exercise boost. There’s no limit to the imaginative ways to make sensational smoothies, but this is a great guide:

smoothiesClick the image above for a printable version.

Here’s the Complete article

One more step: add a scoop of delicious Juice Plus+ Complete (our powdered drink mix), for more ‘complete’ nutrition!

7 superfoods to eat this summer

Summer brings with it an abundance of fresh, tasty produce at the peak of perfection.  Fruits and vegetables are bursting with antioxidants to help keep your body working at its best. The National Cancer Institute and others advise people to eat five or more daily  servings of fruits and vegetables in order to maintain optimal health.

Unfortunately, well over two-thirds of Americans don’t meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake. Eating in-season produce can make it easier – and tastier – to include  these superfoods in your diet. Whether you’re preparing for a holiday spread or  simple breakfast to charge your day, here are seven seasonal superfoods to include on  your summer menu.

1. Cherries

Cherries are bursting with nutrition. One cup of sweet cherries packs roughly the same amount of potassium as a small banana. A diet that includes natural sources of potassium is important for  controlling blood pressure, as potassium lessens the effects of sodium.

Sweet cherries are also rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, and anthocyanins, which is responsible for the bright red color of cherries.  Anthocynanins help combat  inflammation, which may decrease oxidative damage to muscles and joints after  exercising.  Cherries also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may help protect against stress and promote heart health.

Go ripe when it comes to cherries – the darker the cherries, the more antioxidants they  provide.

2. Zucchini

Zucchini is a type of summer squash with green skin and mild flavor, so it can work well in a variety of dishes. You can add grated zucchini to cookies and bread for added moisture, or add chopped zucchini to a soup or stir-fry dish.

Zucchini provides vitamin C, A and B6, potassium, and folate. Zucchini is also an excellent source of lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant that protects the eyes against light damage and age-related macular degeneration – the most common cause of blindness. High blood levels of carotenoids, including lutein, are associated with decreased risk of a number of different cancers, including cervical, kidney and colorectal.

Many of the beneficial antioxidants found in zucchini are more readily absorbed in the body when the vegetable has been cooked.

3. Watermelon

Some summertime favorites make eating healthy a breeze. While it’s incredibly hydrating – containing up to 95 percent water – watermelon packs a nutritional punch, providing vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.  It’s also low in calories: 1 cup of cubed watermelon contains just 46 calories.

Watermelon is also one of the best dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives watermelon its reddish-pink coloring. Lycopene intake has been linked to a variety of health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer.

4. Grapes

Whether you prefer red, black or green, grapes are a convenient and nutrient-packed summer favorite. In fact, grapes from California are available May through January, so they are almost always ripe and ready to eat.

Grapes are a superfood for the heart. Fresh grapes contain the same heart-healthy compounds found in red wine, including resveratrol, which is found in the skins of grapes of all colors. Grapes may contribute to a healthy heart by improving vascular function and inhibiting the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. One serving of grapes (3/4 cup) contains just 90 calories and has no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium.

Grapes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, which plays a key role in helping blood to clot and may be important for bone health. And these tiny fruits can be added to almost any dish for a boost of color, flavor and nutrition – or they can be enjoyed straight off the vine.

5. Figs

One of the nicest things to come out of farmers markets is the explosion of fresh summer figs. Known for their fiber content, figs also contain more calcium, more potassium and more iron than many other common fruits. Among dried fruits, figs and dried plums are rich in antioxidants and are comparable to beverages such as red wine and green tea, which are well-known for their polyphenolics.

The pectin found in figs is fermented in the large intestine. There, it acts as a probiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as bifidus and lactobacillus. A serving of figs is just three to five dried (1/4 cup) or fresh (1/2 cup).

6. Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries – summertime is berry time! Berries in general contain 40 to 60 calories per 1 cup serving and are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants for good health. Research has shown berries to have immune-boosting properties, and studies have linked them with good vision, acuity and brain development.

The mental boost of berries may be due to a class of compounds they contain called anthocyanidins, a powerful phytonutrient that may protect people from diseases. Anthocyanidins are found almost exclusively in berries and are known to cross the blood-brain barrier, traveling to learning and memory centers in the brain. In addition, research suggests that flavonoids and other compounds found in berries may help reduce colon cancer risk.

7. Bell Peppers

Summertime is a great time to top your dishes with colorful and crunchy bell peppers (or sweet  peppers). While all bell peppers are high in vitamin C, potassium and other important nutrients, red bell peppers are especially high in vitamin A and a specific type of antioxidant, known as lycopene.

Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives red peppers their color and might also help prevent certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Yellow and orange peppers are also rich in carotenoids that have been shown to be heart healthy.

Bell peppers may also help with weight management, since they are low in calories (1 cup chopped provides just 30 to 45 calories) and can be used instead of a chip for dipping or as an addition to almost any dish. When it comes to bell peppers, go for a variety of colors to get the most diverse health benefits.

Original article at Fox News…

You can do what we do and add more than 40 ‘superfoods’ to your diet every day with Juice Plus+ and Juice Plus+ Complete!