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By Scott Scanlon & Jane Kwiatkowski // news staff repoRters

Heath Garlow is a juicing believer. • Garlow, 42, an adult education teacher for the Seneca Nation of Indians in Irving, need only slip on a pair of old pants to see what happens when someone limits junk food and blends some meals into fruit and vegetable treats. • Last fall, he weighed 283 pounds, about 90 pounds more than he does today. He lost 16 inches off his waist. He’s off his triglyceride-lowering and blood pressure medications. A Type 2 diabetic, he’s also off his medication for that, and has a new classification: diet-controlled. • “I feel really, really good,” Garlow says. • His wife, Azalia, helped him and others on the Seneca Nation bring juicing to their nutrition repertoire, but the Senecas are not alone when it comes to reaping the benefits of the practice. DeChantell Lloyd, owner of Code Blu Juice Bar in Allentown, and Patti Green, certified holistic health coach and owner of The Better Body Cleanse, also are among those who recommend liquefying some of the foods that are good for you. • “There are so many healthy benefits to fruits and vegetables, but people don’t have time to cook anymore,” Green says. Juicing is an option and here are some things to know, whether you’re buying or making it at home:

1. Mix it up: Lloyd uses 27 fruits and vegetables in her juice bar at 23 Allen St., and recommends those new to juicing start with a blend that’s 60 percent fruit and 40 percent vegetables, and boost the percentage of veggies as you become more seasoned to the taste. What fruits and veggies can be juiced? “There’s nothing I won’t juice,” says Lloyd, who tends to use apples and lemons to balance flavor.

2. Replace a meal: When packing several fruits, vegetables and spices into a juice, you generally get a low-calorie concoction that tends to be quite filling and should be enough for breakfast or lunch. Green says juicing can help with a weight loss plan, but that healthy foods still need to be part of the mix. Limit the size of your juice to 16 ounces or less, Lloyd advises, especially if apples, pears or lemons are part of the mix. Otherwise, you may spend more time in the bathroom than you’d like.

3. Cleanse your body: Some blends are designed to clear your system, and for good reason. “If you are feeling sluggish, try and reset the clock with a juice cleanse,” Green says. Her “Not Your Mama’s Lemonade” is similar to a “master cleanse,” she says, and contains fresh pressed lemons with filtered alkaline water and cayenne pepper. “Beyonce used this for a movie,” Green says. “It puts your body in a more alkaline state. It’s hydrating and great for your skin. It’s low glycemic, so it’s not a sweet beverage.”

4. Save the pulp: Code Blu uses juicers to mash and extract juice. Green uses a juice press, a slower grind with the same pressure of an elephant’s foot. Pulp can remain in both cases. It can be used in soups, as garden compost or frozen to be reused for juicing, Lloyd says. The juicing process removes some, but not all fiber, she adds, but the vitamins and minerals hit your bloodstream faster because juice is easier to digest. It also can pack more than a half-dozen healthy foods into one meal.

5. Think local: The growing season is a great time to start juicing because of all the fresh produce options. Lloyd and Green both find produce at local farms and farmers’ markets whenever possible, as well as health food stores. Lloyd plans to use produce later this summer from part of a community garden on Northampton Street she helped plant. “If I’m juicing,” she adds, “I’m not going to the store to buy juice” loaded with sugar. “I’m juicing myself.”

6. Blend with exercise: Garlow highly recommends a juicing “lifestyle” that includes plenty of exercise. His new diet – coupled with racquetball, biking, swimming and splitting wood – has added up to his lower weight and vastly improved health.

“Pick up an exercise routine that matches you,” he advises. “You’ll never, ever find me on a treadmill at 4 o’clock in the morning. I’ll stay fat. But I’ll get up at 4:20 in the morning to make sure that racquetball doesn’t bounce twice.”

Give juicing some time, he adds.

“At first, it was drink and urrrgghhh. I’d drink as fast as I could, throw in some sugar-free gum and get the taste out of my mouth. I’d rather slam my fingers in the door than drink the dark juices. But honestly, now, come 9 o’clock at night, these juices with kale and spinach, I get a craving for them …

“The fruit ones are around workouts and taste the best by anyone’s standards.”

email: refresh@buffnews.com

On the Web: Find out more about the Code Blu Juice Bar at the Buffalo Refresh blog at BuffaloNews.com