THE benefits of vegetable consumption is a hot topic, with the Government recently telling people five portions a day of fruit and veg is not enough.
Now we are all being told seven is the magic number, yet not many people are getting near it consistently.
This is something Burton Albion player Shane Cansdell-Sherriff is hoping to change, with a little inspiration from Burton’s greatest Olympian, Tony Ford.
Shane has launched a range of raw vegetable juices which he hopes can one day stand on the shelves next to the likes of Innocent Fruit Smoothies.
It is a lofty ambition, but from a small seed a mighty trunk may grow, as the saying goes.
For now, the 31-year-old – who has been a big hit since joining the Brewers on loan from Preston North End – is running a mail order service for his range of three juices, and it has had a promising start.
“When I first started taking it I saw the benefits straight away,” said the Sydney-born defender.
“I’ve got three young lads and I used to get coughs and colds at Christmas time.
“But since taking vegetable juice I just don’t get them any more.
“I noticed those changes straight away and I was only taking small amounts.
“I then started playing around with it a bit more.”
And from there has come Superjuice, three different 250ml shots of vegetable goodness.
There is beetroot, broccoli and carrot; broccoli, celery and green bean; and carrot, tomato and ginger.
All, importantly, are made up of raw vegetable juices –with all the natural health-boosting enzymes fully intact after state-of-the-art processing.
It is these enzymes, along with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, which make raw vegetable juice so vital. Not cooking the veg – and not pasteurising it – means all the goodness remains and does not disappear down the drain with a few pints of boiling water.
The recipes are Shane’s, and he has been using them for several years since he crossed paths with Tony.
The 74-year-old was the strength and conditioning coach at Shrewsbury Town when Shane signed from Tranmere Rovers in 2008, and the two hit it off straight away.
Burton’s Commonwealth gold medal winner had always been a big eater of vegetables, but later discovered the value of vegetable juice.
He has been having it every day for years – but he knows how difficult it is to get people to try it.
But once they do, the value of it is immediately apparent.
“You’re breaking down a few barriers to get people to do it,” said the veteran of the 1972 Olympics and 1974 Commonwealth Games.
“I’ve not been around since last week when it became trendy.
“I’ve been doing it for half a century – and it’s got results.
“I started eating raw vegetables without knowing the benefits of it, but I knew it was having a positive effect on me.
“I remember the first time I tried to give it to the footballers on a cold, frosty morning.
“I told Graham Turner I wanted to try it with the boys and he laughed and said there was no way they would.
“But I gave them a wine glass full three times a week and some of them soon saw the benefits.
“Even Graham started asking me for it!”
Tony is convinced that consuming raw vegetable juice has kept him healthy and able to do things at 74 that men 20 years younger would struggle with.
“I can do things at the age of 74 I couldn’t do 15 years ago,” he said. “And I was a professional athlete all my life – it speaks for itself.
“Shane’s trying to make the juices acceptable to people.
“I used to get there in the morning at Shrewsbury and start the job.
“I was then waiting for them with it when they arrived for training.
“I’m not saying everyone took it, but three-quarters did.
“If you’ve got three-quarters of a football team believing in what you’re doing and taking the juice, that’s an improvement straight away.
“It’s a mental improvement – in themselves they feel stronger because they’re doing it.
“You can’t buy that in football. The sport is full of money, but this in comparison costs nothing.”
Shane is also convinced of the benefits of juicing and is keen to help people join him consuming it, as well as starting a business which could give him a new career when he retires from playing in a few years’ time.
“For me it’s something I feel passionate about,” said Shane, who is producing the juice himself at his Cheshire home and having it bottled by a company in London.
“I want to help people when I can in general life.
“I’ve got a doctor taking it and it’s helped her pretty much clear up her IBS, and a dentist I know has seen it clear up his skin.
“Another client has found the juice has helped with her migraines. It really is that potent if you keep taking it.”
Shane’s father was a heavy drinker for much of his life, but after a pancreatic illness he gave it up for juice.
“My dad was really ill last year,” he said. “He drank for years, like a lot of men of his generation, and there he was at 70 – he was on a drip.
“The doctors said he needed to start again and I put the hard word on him about juicing.
“Maybe he took me a bit more seriously because I’d started the company up, but he started doing it.
“He’s put some healthy weight back on and is looking great. I’m hoping it could add years to his life.”
The health benefits are something Tony agrees with and has seen himself.
“There’s a massive, massive benefit,” he said. “It’s helped me and I’m just delighted Shane’s doing this.”
So, how do you get hold of Superjuice? It isn’t on the shelves – yet – but can be mail ordered from the man himself by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him on 07841 997917. His Facebook page is also public at www.facebook.com/SuperJuiceLtd
The juices, which contain no artificial flavours or additives, come in 14-bottle packs at £35, with an introductory pack available for £30.
At £2.50 a bottle, it is a similar price to Innocent and all the evidence points towards it being money very well spent indeed.
As Shane says, if you’re feeling run down, need to detox or lose weight, your immune system is low or you’re never reaching your five – or seven – a day, his juices can fill the gap.