The summer is a perfect time to indulge in getting the creative juices flowing, so to speak, as we are naturally drawn to lighter and more cooling foods. So, as the weather got hotter and hotter in July, I put my juicer to work and have been making some immensely healthy and light juices for breakfast or mid-afternoon snack in lieu of a trip to Peet’s Coffee. Since I’m having so much fun juicing this summer I wanted to share some of the benefits of juicing as well as some helpful tips. Plus, I have an awesome recipe at the end of the blog.
For me, juicing is not only about having a lighter breakfast, it’s also about the abundant energy and concentrated nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and phytochemicals I get when I drink a fresh, mostly green juice. Not to mention that my homemade juices give me hydrated and glowing skin, keeping me looking young(ish) and healthy!
In fact, lots of folks see the same benefits and agree that juicing is a nutritional powerhouse. Although there is no scientific evidence that juicing veggies and fruit is better than eating their whole counterparts there is great agreement that juicing is beneficial. For one thing, it’s a quick and CLEAN way to get your servings of fruit and veggies in without feeling like you’re chewing like a cow all day. Besides that, it’s a good way to eat veggies and fruit that are not your besties in whole food form (e.g., Carrots on a plate? Yuck! In a juice? Delightful and sweet.) More importantly, fresh juices provide lots of antioxidants that can protect against free radical damage, which is linked to aging, cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.Fresh juice also contains phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) like enzymes and pigments such as chlorophyll and carotene, which may protect against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Michael Murray, in The Complete Book of Juicing, explains that “[f]resh juice and other live foods contain digestive enzymes that help break down the foods in the digestive tract, thereby sparing the body’s valuable digestive enzymes.” (p. 42). This means that energy in the body can be “shifted from digestion to other bodily functions , such as REPAIR and REJUVENATION.” Id. (emphasis added). PLUS, fresh juices can keep the body’s pH balanced by helping to create an alkaline environment and balancing out the acidic and inflammation foods that are often a part of the Standard American Diet (SAD), including dairy, meat, and refined sugar. (See what Dr. Oz has to say about acid forming foods here: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/25-acid-promoting-foods).
Also, have I mentioned how wonderful it is to know exactly what I’m eating and how much sugar I’m getting in my juice? This is not always the case with store-bought, pasteurized juice which might have a lot of sugar and additives.With all of this goodness, I’m sure you can understand why I love juicing. Here are 7 Juicing Tips if you want to also experience a juice adventure.
1. Pick a Good Juicer: There are several types of juicers on the market, some less than or close to $100. I’ll focus on the primary types of juicers here.
a. Centrifugal: Basically, the unit contains a disc that grinds produce at high speeds.
Upsides: Inexpensive; Juices Quickly; Quick Cleanup (can place parts in the dishwasher after you eliminate pulp).
Downsides: Some say the high speed is a downer because it causes oxidation and therefore juice can’t be stored long – you pretty much have to drink the juice immediately after making it or store it in an air tight container in the fridge to drink later in the afternoon; Not great for juicing leafy greens (you may have to re-run the pulp through the machine if you want a little more juice, which can be laborious); Single purpose is juicing.
A centrifugal juicer is great for beginner juice enthusiasts. I have a Breville Juice Fountain Compact, which I got for a little over a $100 at Crate & Barrel. I love it.
b. Masticating (Single Gear): A single gear crunches fiber slowly and then squeezes juice through a stainless steel screen.
Upsides: The slower speed allows less oxidation and more nutrients; You can store juices longer (1-2 days); Versatile – you can make baby food and nut butter too.
Downsides: More expensive and slower than a centrifugal juicer.
c. Twin Gear: The unit presses produce between two gears, slowly squeezing out juice.
Upsides: Juices can be stored up to 72 hours and are very nutrient rich; Multi-purpose – Similar to a masticating juicer, nut butters can be made with this juicer as well.
Downsides: Expensive; More time juicing than with a centrifugal juicer.
To learn more about types of juicers, visit http://www.all-about-juicing.com/review-juicers.html.
No juicer? No problem. Try using your blender, a fine mesh strainer, a spatula and a bowl to create a juice. Here are some links to “blended” juice recipes: http://theweek.com/article/index/258188/how-to-juice-without-a-juicer; http://thechalkboardmag.com/how-to-juice-without-a-juicer.
2. Pick Good Veggies and Fruit: Go organic if possible (try your local supermarket, farmer’s market, or your local community supported agriculture (CSA)). If you can’t get organic produce or the price of organic produce is too high, no worries. Simply WASH and peel the non-organic produce thoroughly (use a veggie brush) to get rid of all the pesky germs and pesticides. Organic produce needs to be washed, but you don’t have to peel it.
3. More Veggies than Fruit: Too much fruit in your juices can lead to too much sugar in your delightful beverage, which can result in weight gain and sugar-related health issues. Kris Carr, wellness expert and successful author, recommends a 3:1 ratio of veggies to fruit. You can check out her delicious recipes and e-Juice Book here: http://kriscarr.com/.
4. Check with Your Physician: Juicing can be wonderful and full of lots of nutrition, but different bodies need different things depending on where they are health-wise. So even though you might want to rejuvenate your body, detox, or spur weight loss with 1-3 day or long term cleanses like Joe Cross in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/), check with your physician first. Even if you are considering juicing to add variety in your diet, check with your physician to see if just having a juice for breakfast or a snack meets your dietary needs. I tend to be protein deficient and sometimes need to eat protein after I drink my juice.
5. Still Eat your Whole Veggies and Fruit: Although fresh juice has some fiber, more fiber comes in whole veggies and fruit. Since fiber is important for digestive function, be sure to get your chew on too!
6. Be Creative: You don’t always have to follow recipes. Use them as ideas to jump start your own creativity and look in your fridge to see what produce looks like it’s on the verge of being less than fresh and pair up what seems like it would be tasty and nutritious. Try adding coconut water or aloe juice for some variety. Also, if it’s a little too much green, tone it down with a zesty fruit like lemon and green apple adds sweetness without too much sugar.
7. Remember, You can Buy Fresh Juice Too: Sometimes there is no time in the morning to make your fresh juice. No worries. If there are local places in your area that sell fresh juices head there for a quick pick me up and to get some ideas too. In the Washington, DC area, there are plenty of establishments selling fresh juices. Here are a few I enjoy:
· Juice Joint Café; 1025 Vermont Avenue NW; http://juicejointcafe.com/· Purée, 4903 Elm Street, Bethesda; http://www.pureejuicebar.com/
· Press; 1630 14th St., NW; http://www.press14.com/;
· Whole Foods
· Sweet Green
· Hawthorne Homemade, 3706 Macomb Street, NW;
o Hawthorne Homemade has great cleansing options that you can try (once you check with your physician!). I’m doing a 1-day cleanse right now, drinking delicious juices like Abundant Energy (with Greens, Kale, Celery, Apple and Lemon) and Glowing Skin (with Carrot, Ginger, Apple, Kale, and Parsley) as well as a filling Almond Delight smoothie (with almond milk, almond butter, agave, cinnamon and banana – yes, it’s dessert in a glass!). I love the juices and the owner Jo Anna Hawthorne is knowledgeable and ready to help.
I have also heard that Khepra’s Raw Food Juice Bar is good as well and look forward to checking it out soon. (http://kheprasrawfoodjuicebar.com/; 402 H Street NE)
Hydrating Juice (perfect for a day after a night of festivities):
(Makes about 16 oz.)
½ of a Grapefruit (I like Ruby Red)
2 small carrots (grated if not organic)
2-3 long Celery Stalks
½ a large Cucumber
4-6 kale leaves
Coconut Water (to taste)
This hydrating delight has quercetin, Vitamins A, C and K, Potassium, Calcium, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Chlorophyll, and antioxidants. Not only is it hydrating, its nutrients promote anti-inflammation, may protect against cancer, help to regulate metabolism, and promote bone density and healthy connective tissue. A real nutritional powerhouse!
**Extra Tip: Drink juice on an empty stomach and alone to absorb nutrients more easily.
Disclaimer: Krystal Jordan is not a nutritionist, dietician, or physician or health care provider. This blog represents Ms. Jordan’s opinion and research. It should not be relied upon as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Contact your physician or other health care provider before making any medical decisions and for any medical questions, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Ms. Jordan expressly disclaims responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in the Thriven Life blog.