It's warm. It's sunny. Hope everyone is enjoying the last stretch of summer. With the higher temperatures comes the need to stay cool and well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is the best place to start but if you're feeling festive, you might also want to have a healthy juice or even start juicing for yourself.
Juicing is often a topic of interest for the health conscious and for good reason. Some turn to juicing as a tool used in short-term weight loss or detox programs. These may be welcome side effects of juicing but it is, most importantly, a simple and effective way to increase your intake of nutrients in an easily digestible form. This means that juicing is a great option for those with digestive difficulties as well as many other health conditions since it provides high quantities of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and various healing phytonutrients.
3 WAYS TO HEALTHY JUICING
Here are 3 ways to make sure that juicing is a healthy option for you:
1. Keep blood sugar levels balanced: When fruits and vegetables are juiced, their liquid content is separated from their fiber content. The juice may have a high nutritional content but without the fiber, is made up mostly of carbohydrates or sugar. The fiber within a fruit helps to slow down the body's absorption of this sugar. Fruit juices can cause spikes in blood sugar followed by episodes of low blood sugar (called reactive hypoglycemia) that leave one craving more sugar to regain balance. Episodes of low blood sugar may involve fatigue, foggy thinking or confusion, mood swings and dizziness. The best way to avoid this is to:
Stay otherwise well hydrated with pure filtered water. You can add some electrolytes to your water by adding a small amount of sea salt, coconut water or juice. Electrolytes are basically soluble salts, acids and bases that replenish the body's loss through sweating and thereby contribute to better hydration. Here is one recipe that might work well for you.
Consider making smoothies in a blender so that the fiber content of your ingredients is retained and you have the option to add other sources of protein, fiber and healthy fats (greens, yogurt, nut butters, flax meal and chia seeds), for example and make it a quick meal that helps to keep you feeling full.
Drink juice with well balanced meals (complex carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats) to help slow down your sugar absorption rate.
2. Boost your juice with greens: Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals so adding them to your juice makes it even healthier and helps increase the number of those much-needed servings of a wide variety vegetables to your daily diet.
3. Try making Super-juices: I call them Super-juices because they taste great and are packed with healing ingredients. Consider dark berries and beets which are high in antioxidants, dark leafy greens for their vitamin and mineral content and ginger to aid digestion and circulation. Fruits like cucumber and oranges are particularly juicy and refreshing while providing plenty of essential nutrients. Check out the EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list to help you choose which ingredients you might want to buy organic to limit the pesticide content in your juices.
CHART: FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WITH RELATIVELY HIGH AMOUNTS OF ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
TIPS FOR PREPARING RAW VEGETABLE AND FRUIT JUICES & SMOOTHIES
Use freshly squeezed or extracted juices as and drink them right away for the best taste and maximum nutrient content
When drinking fruit or sweeter vegetable juices (like carrot or beet juice), be sure to dilute them 1:1 with filtered water to prevent blood sugar spikes
Choose fresh, organic vegetables and fruits whenever possible
Clean and wash the produce thoroughly
Use a juicer for juices and a blender for smoothies
Remove inedible or waxed peels, seeds and pits before juicing/blending
The pulp left over from juicing is full of fiber and can be used in soups, stews, and baking or make excellent garden compost
As a beginner, keep it simple. Juicing 2-4 vegetables and fruits at a time will keep your juicing routine easy enough to continue on a regular basis
Here are some great juice and smoothie recipes that you can enjoy for all seasons!
Easy Breezy Cucumber Cooler Recipe: 4 carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, 1/2 lemon, peeled
Beet-le Juice: 1 apple, cored and sliced; 1 lemon, peeled, 2 tall celery stalks, 1 beet, with the leaves, 1 handful of spinach (optional) *For added sweetness, include more lemon and apple
Veggie Ginger Juice: 3 large carrots, 1 beet, 1 green apple, 4 large stalks celery, 1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green, 1 small cucumber, 1 inch knob ginger. Feel free to omit the ginger if you do not prefer or tolerate spice.
Blueberry Flaxseed Shake: 4 each ice cubes, ½ cup blueberries, fresh, 2 teaspoons organic Agave, 1 tablespoon flax seed powder, 8 ounces cold water, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ banana, 1 tablespoon Omega 3 oil
Raspberry-Avocado Smoothie: 1 avocado, peeled and pitted, 3/4 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup raspberry juice, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, (not thawed)
OTHER RESOURCES ON HEALTHY JUICING
McIntyre, Anne. Drink To Your Health. 2000. Gaia Books Ltd.
Note: Be sure to consult your doctor or health care provider before making any dietary changes.