"Socialize with compassion, kindness and grace." - Yogi Tea
Vegetable juice has always been an important tenet for alternative health types. It's integral to the Raw Foods diet, and alternative health gurus like Dr. Mercola insist that it is important for "radiant health". Now it's breaking out of the hippie granola store and into the mainstream with the spread of Jamba Juice and trendy juice bars. There's even a juice bar at my company cafeteria. Why is juicing so hip?
- It's a fast, easy and super-efficient way to get in many servings of fruits and vegetables. The Recommended Daily Allowance for fruits and vegetables is 5-9 servings a day. There's another a ratio floating around that recommends 1 pound of vegetables a day for every 50 pounds of body weight, but we're not sure where that came from.
- Raw foods still have "live enzymes" and phytochemicals in them. This is what alternative health practitioners believe is the key to "radiant health."
- It's easier for your body to assimilate the nutrients from juice since it doesn't contain fiber.
- Vegetable juice doesn't raise insulin levels the way that fruit juice does.
MindfulEats can't vouch for all the benefits, but the first reason (it's an efficient way to ingest fruits and veggies) alone is a good reason to juice, and if the other benefits turn out to be true, then it's an added bonus. Common-sense wise, there is no downside to vegetable juicing! In addition to the above, people swear it gives them more energy and clearer skin. We can't attribute that to juicing alone vs. being healthier and more mindful, but it's all heading to the same place.
What to do - Juice Vegetables
- Start off by buying fresh vegetable juice at health food stores or juice bars. Try different varieties, but make sure there is no added sugar or dairy. Just vegetables and maybe a little fruit. The easiest juices for people to start off with are cucumber and celery. However, the dark green vegetables like kale and collard greens have the most benefits.
- Invest in a juicer. To get the maximum benefits of juice, it has to be fresh (not stored). It can save you money to buy a juicer and juice yourself, and you can juice whatever you feel like. We bought a plastic Breville Juice Fountain for ~$100 three years ago, and it is still going strong. There are lots of different types, so visit stores and ask questions or do your research online to find one that will work for you.
- Stock up on your juicing vegetables once a week. The darker greens like kale, mustard greens and collard greens have the most nutrients. You can juice anything though. We save the vegetable parts we don't cook like broccolli skin and asparagus stems to juice. Garlic is good for you. If you want to cut the "green" taste, add 1/2 lemon (you can throw the whole thing in, skin and all). To make it sweeter, add an apple, carrots or grapes. If you can't be bothered to shop, you can use a delivery service like Urban Ogranic (in NYC.) Oh, one thing NOT to juice is the top of leeks. We found out the hard way that they're poisonous.
- Juice often. You can juice several times a week to several times a day. But don't juice a lot and save it since it starts to degrade immediately. If you are going to save it for a couple hours, fill it up to the rim and put a lid on it so it doesn't oxidize.
- Clean your juicer meticulously. Clean it as soon as you're done, and make sure the filter is scrubbed. Soak the filter in white vinegar every month or two to dissolve some of the food debris. If it gets really bad, soak the filter in bleach and then clean carefully.
- Recycle the fiber. Some people add it to meals and eat it. It also makes great compost.
- You don't need to juice organic vegetables, though you may head that way after a while.
MindfulEats Green Juice Recipe
- 7-8 leaves of kale
- 1 apple
- 1 stalk celery or 1/2 cucumber during the summer (the cucumber is much better!)
- 1-2 carrots
- Chung of ginger
- Veggie scraps from yesterday's meals
- 1/2 lemon if this is too green
What I ate: 14 oz. green juice, 1 large latte, 1c. Barbara's multigrain cereal, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 c. yogurt, 2T flaxseeds, 1T wheat germ, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1.5 oz macadamia nuts, 2 c. cheddar popcorn, 2/3 c. brown rice, seaweed, 3 oz. tempeh, 2T sauteed vegetables, 2 Twizzlers (gross!), 1 c. hot chocolate
Exercise: 90 minutes yoga, 20 min. weight-lifting