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{Weekly Feature: Be Well}

Be Juicy

green-juice

(via anavocadoaday.com)

As the long winter turns into bright spring, I have been feeling lighter and more brilliant. Finally, I can walk outside and feel the sun tanning my skin. The air smells of flowering trees (trees that miraculously spend a week smelling exactly like vaginas, some people say “fish,” we know what they mean) and loose pollen makes my nose itchy and alive again.

Just as my spirit begins to feel like a floating balloon, so my body wants to follow. This urged me to search for ways to make my spring diet match my springy mental state. So, I decided to start exploring the benefits and drawbacks of juicing, a nutritional approach that has become very popular in the last few years, particularly in warmer climates.

After reading several articles, blogs, and product promotions on juicing (see bottom of article for some resources), I marched off to the grocery to collect a variety of organic veggies and fruits to begin the adventure.

If you are looking to juice, here are the tips I have found most helpful and important:

Preparation:

Get a juicer: the whole point of juicing is to NOT have the veggie fibers in the juice so you can’t just blend the foods together and drink. However, if you only have a blender, just use cheese-cloth post blend to strain the juice out of your smoothie mix.

Buy organic fruits and veggies: it is said that one of the main benefits of juicing is that it flushes your body of built up toxins. If you don’t buy organic, you are most likely just juicing a bunch of pesticide-logged fibers that go right back into your system.

Wash food thoroughly before use: this gets rid of any toxins on the food surface. Make sure you only wash the veggies right when you plan to use them or else they will go rotten faster in the fridge.

Actual Juicing:

Veggie to Fruit Ratio: It’s tempting to make the juice out of mostly yummy, sugary fruits like berries, apples, and pears, but make sure your juice is at least 2/3 vegetable and only 1/3 fruit. Eat your veggies!

Drink it within 40 Minutes: Some juices can be bought in a pack for a day. Though this is definitely optimal if you are on the go, don’t have time to juice, or don’t have juicing machines, the nutrients in a juice are highest right when you juice the fruits and veggies. To get the most nutritional benefit out of your juice make sure you drink it within 30-40 minutes of making it. The juice comes out a little warm from the juicer so make sure you have ice on hand if you like it chilled!

Juice Ex A

            Some people like to try a full on juice fast or juice detox in which you drink only juice for 1, 3, 5, or 7 days. Since I am new to juicing I have simply been replacing my usual breakfast foods with a fresh juice. It has been so satisfying to wake up and grab fistfuls of kale, carrots, cucumber, strawberries, apples, etc. and feed them through the juicer. The fresh produce goes in and out streams beautiful, vibrant colors—bright orange, lush greens, bubbly reds—mirroring the blooming flowers of spring. Following are some recipes I have tried and what I have thought of them:

Morning Pump-Up

2 cups Kale

3 full Carrots

1 Gala Apple

1 in. of fresh Ginger

This came out a satisfying orange-brown and was sort of warm from the juicer. The ginger was super sharp- I’ll probably use less next time. And I think I am on a sugar high right now.

Strawberry Noon-Boost

1 cup Kale

3 carrots

1/2 in. Ginger

4 fatty Strawberries!!

This one was better than the last. It was filling and had a sweeter more berry-ful taste. I was a big fan.

Juice-C

1 cup Spinach

3 Carrots

1/2 large Orange

3 large Strawberries

1/2 in Ginger

The spinach did not juice as much as the kale did so I will have to add more next time. But this one was definitely the yummiest so far. But perhaps also the most sugary. I feel vaguely drunk every time I down a juice. I am not sure if this means it is working some powerful cleansing effect or rocketing my blood sugar.

Blue Morning Berry

1 cup Kale

3 carrots

½ in. Ginger

½ cup blueberries

3 strawberries

I am not sure I would choose blueberries to compose the 1/3 of my fruit portion again. They are not as flavorful (or as sugary) as the other fruits making the juice taste way more “green.” This can be a good or a bad thing depending on how well you have trained your palette to crave the taste of the earth.

Juice 2 actual

I have to say, after almost a week of juice supplements I do feel lighter. I have felt more energetic and also had more regular bowel movements. So far, I am loving it. I am not sure I could subsist solely on juice for days at this point, but they are certainly giving me what I had hoped for—that extra boost of energy in a refreshing, light way!

Resources:Bottoms Up – A 5 Day Juice Detox | The Naked Kitchen. 3 Day Juice Fast Plan with Guides and shopping lists at JustOnJuice.3 Day Juice Cleanse | freutcake.Juice Fast HQ — Learn How To Do A Juice Fast The Right Way!.

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