The Juice Master himself Jason Vale is holding a seminar at London Eventim Apollo on Saturday 7th January so we spoke to him about all things juicing and how it all began for him nearly two decades ago.
What can people expect from your new seminar ‘Reclaim your Health’?
It’s a psychology based seminar with a bit of humour thrown in as well. The seminar focuses not on juicing and blending- although there is a very short juice master class in a condensed version. It’s all really about the mind manipulation of the junk food industry. How the chemicals that they use affect our biochemistry and ultimately affect our mind. This, combined with advertising, conditioning and brainwashing means we feel we can’t enjoy our life without what we perceive to be a ‘friend’, ‘crutch’ or ‘pleasure’.
It’s about changing people’s mind-set from the diet mentality- which is ‘I want it but I can’t have it’ to ‘I can have it but I don’t want it’. That’s really what the premise of the seminar is about.
You suffered with several health complaints before juicing so can you tell us a little bit about this and what led you to try juicing in the first place?
I was covered in a skin condition called psoriasis, I also had eczema, asthma, I was overweight, I had severe hay fever, I was a heavy smoker and a heavy drinker- I was in a bad way.
I knew that fruits and vegetables were good for me but I just didn’t like broccoli, I still don’t to this day to be honest. So I found a way to get it into my body without eating it- and drank it instead. All sorts of vegetables are over 85% pure, organic, liquid fuel that feeds the body. It was a way of getting it in by mixing it with some other stuff and that’s what I did, so I got into juicing. It helped me on every level and I set out on a journey to juice the world. It seems like a silly mission statement but that was about 15-20 years ago now.
How soon did you start to feel better once you started to juice?
It depends- my asthma went in about a month- I’m not saying it cures asthma in a month but for me personally- that’s what happened. Then my psoriasis went in nine months and my weight fell off as it does on a well thought through juice plan. I lost about two and a half to three stone. It depends on the person, but for me it was relatively quickly but I had certainly changed everything in about 6 months to a year.
What is a typical day like in your world in terms of what you eat and your physical activity?
It depends, I don’t have a strict regime- it’s whatever I feel like or fancy- it’s never always perfect either. You have got to find a balance. It was perfect for about 5 years when I first made the change because I was so worried about getting those conditions again. I was scared to touch anything other than fruits and vegetables. Now I have introduced other things in so I can have friends and a life as time has gone on. Normally, I wake up, it might be a cup of green tea, a bit of exercise if I’ve got the time that particular morning. Then it’s a juice at some point at 10.30 or 12 then a pitta bread stuffed with a bit of salad and maybe and avocado or hummus. Then a regular kind of dinner.
What I tend to do is juice cleanse four times a year- that’s where I use juicing most as a ‘give your body a service’- for 7 days normally.
So I keep myself active and busy. My advice would be- just don’t consume the sheer volume of junk. You can’t outrun a bad diet. You can do all the training in the world when you’re past 40- it might work when you’re 20- but you lose 10% of your metabolism over 40- 10% every decade. I have got nearly 50% less metabolism than I had when I was a kid.
Why do you think the business of healthy eating has been overcomplicated?
We are human and we have intellect. That’s our downfall- ironically. If you look at every single wild animal- they don’t have intellect and they don’t have complicated nutrition at all. In fact, they are very sensible about the food they eat- squirrels just know when they need some nuts- it’s simplistic. The same with koala bears and eucalyptus leaves and it goes on and on.
Because of our intellect, we challenge nature and we try to explore. Through exploration, we have shot ourselves in the foot because we have made it complicated. All you need ask is- ‘was it grown in good soil?’, ‘Is it designed for humans?’ Let’s eat it! That’s it. Fruits vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins- ‘can I find my food on an island?’ 80% of what you eat, you should be able to source on an island- growing naturally. 20%- it’s the party, it’s the weekend, let’s have a bit of fun. That’s it-balance. That’s all it is when you break it down, it’s not rocket science. But I suppose people have had to analyse why they are eating junk because they don’t know why they are eating it. They blame it on things from when they were young.
The need for junk food is created by junk food. The need for cigarettes is created by cigarettes. That is what the seminar explains. It’s a chain reaction. If someone is on heroin it’s because they have taken heroin. The need for that drug is caused by the drug. It’s not caused by having a bad day at school and then they decided to take heroin. That’s not what happened. They had it with a positive intent, it was a positive thing when they were growing up and unfortunately, they don’t understand why they continue to do it- they are on a chain reaction.
How did it feel when your book 7lbs in 7 days reached the number one spot on Amazon and how did you celebrate?
Genuinely, I celebrated it by having a juice! What other way is there to celebrate? Even today, three of my apps are in the top five of the food and drink category. That’s where Jamie Oliver is, Gordon Ramsay is, Nigella Lawson is. We have got three in the top five- no other person has ever done that. That tells you the appetite people have for simplistic nutrition and a clear and concise message.
It went to number one all those years ago and I’ve been dining out on it ever since. It knocked The Da Vinci Code off the number one spot for about three minutes but I still talk about it every day! It just shows that people have got a huge appetite for this stuff.
I am just watching Tom Daley now on This Morning who’s rustling up some clean eating food. What’s nice is among the younger people- it’s all in vogue. It’s trendy now to eat well and have quinoa and eat gluten free. It’s becoming a movement. On the other end of the scale- 80% of 40-60 year olds are in trouble with their health.
You have recently released you first whole food recipe book so can you tell us a little bit about this?
My first and only ever! People for 15 years have been asking- ‘can you write a book on food because I can’t live on juice alone?’ So I did. It’s called Super Fast Food: No Chef Required! I could have called it ‘Uncomplicated’, I could have called it ‘Unpretentious’. I was going to call it ‘There’s more to life than quinoa’ because I think that would have been a great title. You can buy all the ingredients in any normal supermarket, you haven’t got to go to Notting Hill and find an Amazonia berry. It’s so ridiculous- superfoods are normal foods. Superfoods are lemons, limes, avocados, cucumbers, beetroot, broccoli. Fish is a superfood. Eggs are superfood. That’s what the book is about- again it’s simplification. I don’t need to write another one- it’s all said in this book. It’s done. It’s just saying- look- superfoods are foods by the way! We shouldn’t have a category called ‘superfoods’, it should just be called food. What we need is a category for 80% of the food that is in the supermarket.
Many people started doing Veganuary this year, so how safe is juicing when following a vegan diet? Can it give you everything you need?
If you are following a vegan diet- without a doubt. First of all- the largest land animals on earth are all vegan before everyone starts worrying about their protein or calcium. If you look at elephants, bullocks, giraffes, rhinos, the hippopotamus, they are all vegans. If you think about the size of an elephant and they get all their amino acids through the plant foods they eat. They never eat meat, they never have dairy they don’t have a mini Babybel. If you think about their teeth, the largest, strongest tooth in the world is the tusk of a bull elephant and of course their calcium intake is pretty good without having to drink tonnes of milk.
First of all- people should stop worrying. Secondly, you do need a spectrum of nutrients going in but avocados are key. You have got to get avocado into your body. They contain everything the human body requires and you need them blended not juiced; an avocado should be your best friend. To be honest I don’t advocate veganism. It’s an ‘ism’- I don’t like ‘isms’. I don’t like people using ‘isms’ like veganism or vegetarianism. All these things just label you to not taste the rich tapestry of life. If I am travelling the world, I don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t want to end up in some little village where someone has cooked up a local dish in a tent and I say ‘oh no I’m gluten free!’ I don’t want to do that- I want to live as well. There is a way to live intelligently and now have to label yourself.
A vegan diet is still incredibly healthy and I was a vegan for five years. I thrived on it. I loved it, every minute of it because I felt amazing. The minute I started craving something that wasn’t vegan I had it because I have no willpower.
What is next for you?
Continue juicing the world. Obviously, we have this seminar coming up and we are opening more retreats and expanding. I have got a retreat in Portugal, one in Turkey, we are opening another one in the Algarve because they are constantly full. We have got our juice delivery service for people who can’t be bothered to make the juice- and they can get it delivered to them. We have got juice extractors. I have only got another couple of books in me- then that’s it- I’m done. Then my writing days will be over because that will be fifteen books and that’s enough for anyone.
I am going to keep doing this- I’ve got a mission but my last juice book was going to be called- ‘If you haven’t got it by now I can’t help you’ because there’s nothing else to write- let’s be honest.
Tickets for Jason Vale's 'Reclaim Your Health' seminar are onsale now at www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk
The Big January Clean Up (thebigjanuarycleanup.com) starts on Monday and involves people from countries all around the world doing juicing at the same time. It’s FREE to everyone.