Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Ades

Here are some things people think about juicing: it's expensive; it's messy; it's not as good for you as eating the whole vegetable or fruit that you are juicing; and above all else, even if it's "good for you" it tastes gross. 

While I can't say that I have held any of those opinions myself, I do understand why people are more drawn to smoothies than juices. Smoothies are creamy, sweet, filling, and for the most part do not involve things like parsely and kale. They are easier to philosophically stomach. Plus, you only have to clean a blender. But once you buy a juicer, and adapt to scrubbing pulp out of all its parts with a toothbrush, you may find your blender collecting dust in the corner and smoothies falling to the wayside.

Here are some things that I like about making fresh, organic juices at home: it's a great way to use oversized or overabundant produce (like carrots, cucumbers, apples, herbs); it's way cheaper than buying fresh squeezed or pressed juices at grocery stores or juice bars; you get several servings of fruits and vegetables in a single glass; you get to experiment and play with ingredients until you find the perfect combinations of flavors that you love so nothing is ever too sweet, too bitter, or gross. Plus my juicer has never popped its top while running at high speed, covering me and my kitchen in a pulpy mess. It's just not built that way.

Lastly, and perhaps best of all, it is an amazing way of essentially bathing your digestive system from the inside with minerals and vitamins. When you make a fresh pressed juice you remove nearly all of the fiber allowing your body to almost immediately absorb the nutrients and minerals from the ingredients you juiced and put them to use. This removal of fiber is one reason not to replace ALL of your vegetable and fruit intake each day with juices. You need fiber too. But adding a fresh pressed juice to your day will majorly bump up your vitamin and mineral consumption without adding tons of calories overall. 

I am an advocate for a green juice first thing in the morning so that no matter what else happens, you know you got some good stuff into your body. But I also love a quick, hydrating, sweet treat of a juice, especially in the summer months. I like to think of these juices (and spritzer) as gateway juices. They are simple to make, delicious to drink, taste sweet without being high in sugar, and don't even require a juicer. You can make them in the blender and strain them through a fine mesh sieve or drink them as a thick juice/thin smoothie to get the fiber content as well. I particularly love them after a sweaty workout or as an afternoon pick-me-up in place of coffee. Who knows, after a few weeks you may find yourself chucking a handful of kale in there too. 

p.s. check out some cool nutritional info on these ingredients below

*Note: It is always important to choose organic vegetables and fruits whenever possible and I think even more so when juicing. Think of it this way: do you want to bathe your organs from the inside with pesticides? Enough said.

Pineapple, Ginger, Cucumber Juice
about 2-4 cups pineapple, cubed
1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
If using a juicer, start with the pineapple, then the cucumber and finish with the ginger. You always want to start with the softest ingredient and end with the hardest or most fibrous. There shouldn't be much pulp left over but if you really want a thin juice then pour it through a sieve into a glass. 

If using a blender, pour all the ingredients in at once, blend at high speed until liquified and strain (or not).

Watermelon, Lime, Mint Juice
1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
1 lime, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup fresh mint
If using a juicer, start with the watermelon, follow with the lime and end with the mint. Strain or enjoy as is. This one is also really good over ice.

If using a blender, place watermelon and mint in the blender and instead of peeling the lime just cut it in half and squeeze both halves over the melon and mint. Blend at high speed until liquified. Strain (or not) and enjoy as is or over ice.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spritz
2 T Raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar
8-12oz sparkling water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
No blender or juicer needed for this one. Just place ice in a large glass, add the vinegar, squeeze in the lemon juice, and top with sparkling water. 

What These Foods Do

Pineapple: Detoxifier, diuretic, helps cool the body when overheated, helps expel mucous, full of acids which closely mimic human gastric juices and which greatly aid in digestion.

Cucumber: Alkaline, cooling, diuretic, rich in minerals that neutralize acidosis in the blood, help dissolve uric acid accumulations (kidney & bladder stones), contains the digestive enzyme erepsin which helps digest proteins, very high in potassium which helps regulate blood pressure, aids in calcium absorption, high in vitamin A.

Ginger: Virtues extolled here

Watermelon: Some info here

Apple Cider Vinegar: When unfiltered and unpasteurized, contains up to 50 different nutrients, amino acids and trace elements. Helps counteract lactic acid buildup in the blood, is rich in potassium, helps alleviate joint pain, fluid retention, and sodium retention. Contains malic acid (from apples) which is a digestive stimulant. So basically, drink it daily. 

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