Sunday, July 1, 2012

Yeah, I juice.

I think it's ironic how the term "juicing" can be taken 2 different ways (1 - steroid use, and 2 - extracting the juice from vegetables and fruits), and yet both are used to describe a way of becoming "powerful".  Have you ever thought about vegetables and fruits making you powerful? Well, you should! There are soooo many benefits from these food groups....from general support for your immune system,  to weight loss, to cleansing, to increased energy and many more! Oh, and will start to notice a beautiful glow to your skin!

Using a juicer (imagine that!) to extract the juice from fruits and vegetables, you can enjoy a nice glass of premium vitamins and minerals. There are 3 types of juicers. Here is just one site to learn about the differences: Joyful Juicer. Basically, there is one that just extracts the juice - leaving the pulp behind, one will grind up every part of the fruit/vegetable, and the last is one that is best for smaller leafy greens, such as wheatgrass. Read the link for more info...

*Side note: If you use the extractor-type, you can use the leftover pulp in sauces, lasagnas, etc!

So, one of my first questions in learning about juicing, was WHY?? Why not just eat the fruit/vegetable? Well, although eating them whole is a wonderful way to get your nutrients, a benefit of juicing, is that those nutrients will be absorbed by your body much more quickly, since it doesn't have to breakdown the food. 

A few things to also remember when it comes to juicing....

Jack LaLanne Power Juicer
- Although it would make life easier to make up a big batch of the juice and refrigerate it to drink throughout the week, this is not a good idea. When the juice is exposed to oxygen and light, the nutrients start being broken down, and so the effects of them decrease.  Therefore, after juicing, you should drink it immediately. (This is also why eating fresh vegetables are the best - as soon as they are picked from the garden. The longer they sit, the less effective they are. But, then again, please don't stress about this. Eat your vegetables!!! This is MUCH better than NOT eating them.) 
- Try different combinations!! I have found, personally, that as long as I include a red delicious apple (I prefer these over granny smith, etc.) that the end result juice, for the most part, tastes like apple juice. Also, beware of using too many fruits in 1 juicing. Fruits have a lot of natural sugars, and for those who need to watch their sugar consumption, (really, everyone should be aware of this), it's best not to have too many fruits at once. 

I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to shopping for vegetables to juice! I have tried almost everything!! Here is a list of a few ingredients I have tried:

- Spinach leaves (make sure they are the fresh ones, NOT the packaged kind. The ones packaged don't seem to have enough water to create juice from)
- Green and Red leaf lettuce
(before stirring)
- Kale (again, the fresh bundles)
- Apple (red delicious)
- Kiwi
- Blueberries
- Strawberries
- Carrots (carrots have a lot of sugar as be careful with how many you use!)
- Cucumber (one of my fav to include!! It makes the juice taste light and fresh!!)
- Bell peppers (green, red, orange, and yellow - just a small piece, since it is pretty strong-tasting!)
- Broccoli
- Celery
- Tomato (I like using Roma Tomatoes)
- Asparagus
- Sweet potato (yes, I juiced it!)
- Beet (not one of my favorite flavors, but I like using the leaves!)
- Ginger root (use only a SMALL amount...believe me! lol)
- Garlic clove (again, only 1 little piece! Believe me, I tried a little more one day, and I think I was sweating out garlic all day long! ha!)
- Orange (this seems to only work well with a fruit juice recipe - NOT with the vegetables, in my opinion)

*Another side note: Since I don't have the type of juicer for wheatgrass, and other grasses, I went to Whole Foods and bought bottled wheatgrass juice, and just added it to my homemade juice. I have also tried adding some aloe vera juice (great for your digestive system!) and a little flax seed oil (contains Omega-3 fatty acid). I have also tried including some protein powder (french vanilla flavor) for times when I want a meal replacement - this way, you have something other than just the veggies. It, actually, didn't taste too bad!

Juicing does take some time, and can be messy. One thing I have tried in my time management of juicing is that once I get home from the grocery store with the many bags of veggies and fruits, I separate the ingredients for each "juice session" in to ziploc bags. This way, when I'm ready to juice, I just grab one of the bags and get to work! 

Another fun thing I have recently tried, due to our summer heat wave, is to FREEZE the juice!! I made popsicles!!! I look forward to these when I get home from a work after driving in the 106 degree weather! Now from what I have read, it seems that freezing the juice immediately, will help it hold on to the nutrients, so they're not broken down. You may want to google for more info.....

(after freezing...the juice seemed to separate)

There is a TON of juicing info out there on the benefits, the best juicer, recipes, etc. It can be a little overwhelming. I would suggest just starting, and then play around with ingredients, types of juicers, etc. But most importantly, have FUN!!!

Here are a few sites you can check out for more juicing info: 
(by the way, there are also Juicing apps for your phone!)

Good luck, enjoy, and remember to SMILE - you are doing something healthy for your body and soul! 

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