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To juice or not to juice?

Why Cycling in the Sun advocates juicing as part of a well-balanced Mediterranean diet.

One of the many reasons we decided to start a new life in Spain in 2020 was to improve our overall health and wellbeing. It is well documented that a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains, combined with the consumption of extra virgin olive oil rather than butter, improves heart health and is effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and overall mortality.

Plenty of sunshine, a Mediterranean diet and a sociable, outdoor lifestyle must therefore be the secret to a long, healthy life here in Spain. According to recent studies, life expectancy in Spain is one of the highest in the world, averaging 83 years old; we’ll take that!

Juicing: an easy way to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet

In the UK, the NHS has a wealth of information on its website about the need to eat a balanced diet. Their advice focuses on preventing lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening conditions which poor diet and physical inactivity can cause. Anne Harguth, a wellbeing dietician and runner, also gives similar advice when it comes to eating enough fruit and vegetables every day. She suggests breaking down the recommended 6 portions a day into a 1-2-3 approach, eating 1 portion of fruit or vegetables for breakfast, 2 for lunch and 3 for dinner.

More recently, we have been adding extra superfoods and vitamins to our own version of the Mediterranean diet through daily homemade juices and soups. We were introduced to the concept of homemade juicing by clients who had attended several of Jason Vale’s Juice Master retreats. They suggested we try Jason Vale’s juice, soup and superfood recipes as a way to improve our overall health and well-being, both physically and mentally. Curious to learn more, we started following Jason Vale on social media, bought and started using a basic cold press juicer and invested in one of his many health books, Super Fast Food.

What the research says about juicing

To ensure that we were not blindly embarking on what could essentially become a juice-only diet, we began researching the pros and cons of juicing. It is safe to say that the research on the health benefits of juicing is less than favourable, especially when compared to the research on the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. There is undoubtedly more critical research available than complimentary, positive research. There is also little evidence to suggest that juice-based diets improve an individual’s health in the short, medium or long term. The main criticisms are the amount of sugar in fruit juices and the lack of fibre and protein, both of which are needed for the body to function properly.

Why we decided to add juicing to our diet

Given the overwhelming negative research on juice-only diets, you may be wondering why we here at Cycling in the Sun have added juices to our routine. Given that our daily diet is already 75% healthy, you could argue that our vitamin and mineral intake is sufficient! However, with such busy days building two businesses, running a holiday villa and training daily, we still felt the need for a vitamin ‘kick’ to maintain our energy levels throughout the day. That’s why we decided to try juices as an addition to our Mediterranean eating plan, rather than a replacement for meals.

Having tried numerous juice recipes from a variety of sources, we believe that juicing can provide that extra energy kick and increase your intake of quality vitamins as part of a healthy diet. The added vitamins and minerals from fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables such as ginger, mint, spinach, beetroot and carrots definitely keep our batteries charged before lunch and dinner. More importantly, they seem to curb sugar cravings during the day and that annoying energy slump after lunch. So instead of reaching for coffee and cake, crisps and chocolate, cheese and biscuits or a glass of wine, we have a freshly made, nutrient-dense juice to hand. These juices hit the spot and discourage the need for refined sugars, starchy treats or high saturated fatty products such as cheese. Of course, we are no saints, we still have cheese and biscuits with a glass of wine on the solarium whilst watching the sunset! But we see this as a treat once or twice a week rather than a daily norm.

Here at Cycling in the Sun we wholeheartedly agree with the research that suggests that you cannot survive on juices and soups alone, especially if you are working, training or participating in endurance sports. However, as an addition to a healthy, balanced diet as suggested above, juices, soups, salads and superfood recipes undoubtedly not only add value but taste delicious too!

How Cycling in the Sun can help you look after your health

So, what does this have to do with booking a stay at Cycling in the Sun’s Casa au Lilas Rosa? Well, we don’t pretend to be nutritionists, juicing experts or chefs. What we do know however is that looking after your health is not a luxury, it is a necessity. As a cancer survivor, Nigel knows first-hand that he can no longer take his health and wellbeing for granted. The combination of superfoods and juices, along with Spanish sunshine and outdoor activities, are as much a part of our daily lives as work, training and building two businesses are. We are lucky to be in Spain, where we can take advantage of the sunshine and fresh food markets, which definitely give us the energy to tackle everyday life!

As a result of our own findings, we have decided to offer luxury health retreats that combine fun fitness activities with nutrient-dense meals and snacks, including juices, soups, salads, fish, whole grains and legumes. The retreats are not ‘starvation weeks’, they are carefully planned to provide you with healthy, delicious food that will give you the energy to tackle any activity we throw at you!

Luxury health retreats at Cycling in the Sun

Our luxury health and wellbeing retreats are currently available for two weeks of the year and can accommodate up to 6 people. Your health and wellbeing retreat will depend on your goals and will include healthy eating, physical activities, nutritional advice and relaxation in the sun on the terraces, in the pool and in the jacuzzi. Some weeks include cycling on either e-bikes or road bikes, others focus more on sea swimming, pilates, yoga, mountain hiking and walking along coastal paths.

Before you arrive, we will schedule a one-on-one FaceTime conversation to assess your unique needs, discuss any current lifestyle issues you may have, and give you an idea of how a week at La Casa can help change your current lifestyle.

Joining us on a luxury health retreat is not only good for your long-term health, but it also gives you the opportunity to taste and make your own juices. You will spend time with like-minded people to break unhealthy habits. The retreat will give you time to recharge, de-stress and focus on yourself as a person. The combination of relaxation, physical activity, healthy food choices and daily juices will enable you to return home with renewed positivity and strength, ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.

For more information, visit our website or get in touch via email. You can also WhatsApp us on +44 7958 596 662.

We’d love to hear from you!

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