Using the same leafy green in your juices over and over for many weeks or months can cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning. Whilst the risk of poisoning is small, you can easily reduce it further be rotating your greens.
I often get messages from people saying how they love the taste of a particular green juice and drink it every day, or asking things like “is it safe to do 60 days on just xyz green juice”?
The Risk of Alkaloid Poisoning
Almost all leafy greens contain alkaloids, such as oxalic acid. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you stop juicing leafy greens and in fact, the good news is that moderate amounts of these alkaloids included in green juices can help to strengthen the immune system.
However, if you keep using the same leafy green for many weeks eventually the same type of alkaloids may accumulate in your body and cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning.
This is a problem caused by the way we get our food in the modern world.
Not so many years ago food was local and seasonal. This meant that each particular type of plant used for food would only be at certain times of the year, but modern farming methods and global food distribution has changed this and you can now get the same crop week after week at the major supermarkets, even if it is being sourced from different parts of the world at different times of the year.
Our modern food system means we can overload on a small number of ingredients, which not only goes against the idea of a varied diet with a wide array of nutrients, it is also increases the risk of alkaloid poisoning.
For example, one of the symptoms believed to be linked to the over consumption of the alkaloid oxalic acid is the formation of kidney stones.
Rotate Your Greens
You can easily overcome the risk of alkaloid poisoning by simply “rotating” your greens. No, I don’t mean turning them around or putting them in a salad spinner – what I am talking about is varying the produce that you use.
You will notice in my recipes I use a number of different greens, such as kale, spinach and romaine lettuce. Having this variation stops us from over consuming a single source of alkaloids and hence minimises the risk of alkaloid poisoning.
The number of alkaloids in a single green juice is tiny and it is only prolonged use of a single source of greens that is likely to cause a problem.
In an ideal world try to use local and seasonal produce.
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