Friday, February 22, 2013

The Skinny on Juicing

Juicing; It's not just for feisty men in blue jumpsuits. So what's the hype?  I've been juicing for years, and there is rarely a day that goes by where I'm not drinking some sort of green concoction first thing in the morning.  I juice simply because it is super nutritious, gives me energy, and is a great start to my day. Some say juicing allows your body to digest the enzymes and minerals found in our fruits and vegetables more easily. It's also an easy way to benefit from consuming a wide variety of fruits and veggies in a relatively short period of time.

So why not just buy the bottled stuff available at your grocery store and call it a day? Although these drinks are fine in moderation, they are also pasteurized which means they are heated to kill bacteria which also kills the natural enzymes and healthy elements of the juice itself.  Many of the store-bought juices also contain unwanted ingredients such as added sugars and preservatives. Juicing eliminates these processes and unnecessary ingredients while giving you the freshest juice possible, right in your own home.

  I am often asked about juicing, and the conversations initially start with prospective juicers asking if I have any "good recipes."  For me, the fun part of juicing is running a bunch of fruits and vegetables through my juicer and coming up with new blends, but for those of you who are not quite ready to be so daring, here are a few tips and a couple recipes to get you started.

"Hot Toddy"

1). Buy organic. (I list this as number one because it's the most important.) First of all, any fruit or vegetable that you don't peel should be organic.  And don't kid yourself, washing and rinsing non-organic fruit (although helpful), doesn't get rid of the pesticides or herbicides that have been sprayed on the fruit or vegetable.

2). Choosing your juicer: There are a few different types of juicers.  The first, and least expensive is a centrifugal juicer.  This type of juicer grinds and strains the fruit at high speeds-Some say this type of juicer is less efficient because the heat generated from the high speed can essentially decrease the amount of enzymes in the finished juice. I had a centrifugal juicer that I used for nearly 3 years until I upgraded to a slow juicer.  I gave it to my sister and it still works great.
The second, is a masticating juicer which "chews" the food...You most often see masticating juicers used for things like wheat grass.
And last, but certainly not cheap least, is a triturating or "slow" juicer.  This type of juicer is generally more expensive, but it is also more efficient as it presses the produce for maximum juice that allegedly contains more nutrients because of the process.
Bottom line, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg on your first juicer. Buy what you can afford and know you made a good decision as they all essentially do the same thing.

3). Experiment! As I mentioned before, creating new juice concoctions is half the fun, so experiment with your juicer! I usually add more vegetables than fruit because for me, the whole point is to incorporate as many green veggies as possible.  But the good thing is, it's totally up to you...The sky's the limit!

Eat Healthy, Stay Happy!

The Green Ginger:
Serves 2
4-6 large kale leaves
1 large handful of spinach
1 cucumber
2 inch piece of ginger
1 apple

Run ingredients through your juicer, mix well and divide between two glasses.

The Virgin Mary
Serves 2
2 ripe tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach
2 ribs celery
2 large carrots
2 limes
1 cucumber

Line the rim of your glass with celery salt, garnish with a celery stalk and add a few drops of Tabasco or cayenne for an extra kick!

Hot Toddy
Serves 1
2 lemons
2 inch piece of ginger

Juice the lemons and ginger.  Add the juice to a large mug and fill the reminder with hot water, a tsp of honey and a dash of cayenne pepper-It'll clear your sinuses and warm you up on a cool day.

*On a side note, if you're in to documentaries, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead is a documentary about a man named Joe Cross who was unhealthy, overweight, and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease. Like me, Joe decided to take his health into his own hands and researched diet as a viable treatment option to achieve a balanced, more healthy well-being. The documentary is an inspiring tale of healing and how he was able to help others become more healthy through his own journey.

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