As we learn more about the functioning of the human body, we constantly strive to find better ways to keep it healthy and make it more efficient. Naturally, we want to be free of pain and disease in order to live our lives to the fullest. We also want to look good while we do this, and as we approach health from a more holistic point of view, we’re learning that how we look and feel and how we perform are all intertwined. We’re also learning that we get out of our bodies what we put into them. In other words, we really are what we eat.
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Now that we understand that we have much more control over disease and aging than we once believed, we are significantly more selective about what we put into our bodies. We’re decreasing our intake of bad fats and simple sugars and increasing our consumption of nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits. We’re also becoming aware that not all cooking methods yield the same nutritional-value.
DIY Health Drinks
Cooking often kills healthy enzymes and damages nutrients found in raw foods, so the search is on for better ways to eat raw. After all, sitting down and eating three apples, five leaves of kale, four carrots, and a raw beet takes time that most of us don’t have. This is how we ended up eating fast food (gasp!) to begin with, so what’s the answer? Juicing! In just ten or fifteen minutes, you can toss your choice of fruits and vegetables into your juicer or blender and have an entire meal’s worth of nutrients in a to-go glass. The only question is where to start. Juicing can seem like a daunting task, but throughout the following pages, you’ll find all you need to know about the process, plus a collection of delicious recipes to put it into practice.
Why Go Green?
There are about a thousand varieties of vegetables and fruits that you could potentially add to your juice or smoothie, so what’s the big deal about the green ones? In Chapter 1, we’re going to discuss what it is about these emerald-colored bits of healthful deliciousness that make them the cream of the crop. We’ll also touch on the technical and nutritional differences between juices and smoothies.
We’ll answer some of the top questions that beginning juicers and smoothie makers have about the process, ranging from technical questions about the physical method of juicing, to issues regarding nutrition and health, so stick around. Chances are pretty good you’ll find all the answers you need. We’ll also give you thirteen helpful tips to get started, including how to choose the right produce and how to store your juice in order to preserve the most nutrients.
TO GREEN OR NOT TO GREEN
In today’s health-conscious world, people are constantly looking for simple ways to eat a little healthier. Green juices and shakes are a great way to do that without sacrificing flavor or committing yourself to a restrictive diet. As a matter of fact, once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start juicing.
Structurally, chlorophyll is nearly identical to hemoglobin, the molecule in your blood responsible for transporting oxygen. The only difference is that the central atom of hemoglobin is iron, while that of chlorophyll is magnesium. Many people believe that chlorophyll performs the same function as hemoglobin and count this as one of its health benefits. Though not scientifically proven, it’s a viable theory. Chlorophyll also helps to replenish our red blood cells, which in turn increases oxygen levels in our blood. Other benefits often attributed to this amazing green pigment include how it:
• Promotes weight loss
• Protects DNA from damage by many carcinogens
• Enhances wound healing and tissue regeneration
• Increases energy
• Decreases inflammation in certain conditions, such as pancreatitis
• Decreases appetite because it contains the compound thylakoid
• Keeps carcinogens from attaching to DNA in many of your organs, and thus
prevents development of cancer
• Helps break up calcium oxalate stones in your kidneys
• Extracts heavy metals, such as mercury, from your blood
• Stabilizes blood sugar
• Improves skin problems
• Improves mental clarity
• Maintains an alkaline environment in which diseases are unable to thrive
- 1 red apple
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- honeydew melon
- 1 big kale leaf (remove stem)
- 1 handful baby greens
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 1 banana (optional)
Fill blender with water/ice, add kale, greens, and apple. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse-blend until desired consistency. The sweetness of the red apple and the sour tang of the fresh raspberries and lemon balance out the bold flavor of the calcium-rich kale. Baby greens add a boost of vitamins and really makes this a well-rounded green drink. A great way to kick off your morning!
- 4 whole peaches
- 1–2 cups spinach
Fill blender with as much water/ice as you like and add ingredients. Blend until smooth. Here’s a simple one. Great for kids and those having trouble incorporating greens into their diets. Spinach really packs a punch. It’s a common green; you can get it just about anywhere, it’s affordable, and the taste is mild enough that anyone can enjoy it. It’s a great source of iron and beta-carotene and protects from a multitude of maladies. And who doesn’t like peaches?
- 1 cup mango
- 2 cups lettuce greens
- 5 large mint leaves
- ½ lemon (juice)
- ½ lime (juice)
- 1 banana (optional)
Fill blender with as much water/ice as you like, adding mint and greens. Blend until smooth. Add fruit. Pulse-blend until desired consistency. For the lush in all of us. Except, you know… without all the stumbling and liver damage. In fact, with the amount of fiber and enzymes in mangoes, you can lower LDL cholesterol and improve digestion. A fresher, healthier approach to its boozier counterpart, the Mango Mint-jitos’ sweet tropical flavors will leave you hungry for a day by the pool instead of a night hugging the toilet.
- 3 strawberries
- 1 mango
- 1 kiwi
- 3 big basil leaves
- 2 large collard leaves (remove stems)
Fill blender with as much water as you like, adding collard greens and basil. Blend until smooth. Add fruit. Pulse-blend until desired consistency. A sweet treat and an easy way to introduce dark greens like collards into your diet. Collards have a strong, distinct flavor especially when cooked, but when blended raw among earthy-sweet and tropical flavors like kiwi and strawberry, you’ll find collards are great at adding a spicy zing to an otherwise typical fruit smoothie. Mangoes add a list of health benefits to the smoothie with enzymes that aid healthy digestion, glutamine for memory power, and heart-healthy antioxidants.
- 6 strawberries
- A of cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 red apple
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 peach
- 1 handful red grapes
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- 1 banana (optional)
Fill blender with as much water as you like. And ingredients. Blend until smooth. Big, bold strawberry flavor with a tarty pomegranate kick. This antioxidant-rich smoothie may decrease the risk of heart disease and guard against free-radical damage. Blending pomegranate seeds can be tough for some blenders, so if you’re not rocking a Vitamix or Blendtec, try replacing them with some fresh-squeezed juice or a cup of store-bought pomegranate juice.