These days it seems juicing is all the rage. Cool celebs and many of us regular folk are tossing the java juice for some real honest-to-goodness fruit and veggie juice. As it turns out those free-spirit hippies and raw foodies knew a thing or two about nutrition. They’ve even got some highly visible docs on board “drinking the green.”
So what’s all the hoopla about?
Why don’t you join me on this healthy journey to Juiceville, and you decide for yourself.
Benefits of Juicing and Blending
- Helps to slow the aging process
- Cleanses the body
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps move the bowels
- Aids in weight loss
Mr. S always tells me he’s not a mind-reader…but, I believe I am. I’ve anticipated a few of your questions and thought we should take care of business before we go on to the recipes.
Q. What’s the difference between juicing and blending, and which is better for my health?
A. Juicing is the process of extracting and drinking the nutritional liquids from the fruit and vegetable, leaving behind the plant fiber (or pulp).
Blending (as in smoothies) is the process of pulverizing the fruit and vegetable while retaining all of the fiber in the drink.
Now this is no cowboy shootin’ match…this town, or rather our bodies are big enough for both juicing and blending.
Q. Specifically what are the benefits of each process; juicing and blending?
A. Benefits of Juicing
1. Within minutes of swallowing this liquid nutrition, your body will begin to use the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen.
2. Our digestive system gets a break from working non-stop. It doesn’t have to work as hard to digest the juice as it does the plant fiber.
Q. But isn’t fiber good for me? Don’t I need fiber in my diet?
A. Absolutely, that’s why it’s great if you can blend as well as juice. Here are the:
Benefits of Blending
1. It’s easy, quick and less to clean up because everything just gets tossed into a blender.
2. Your nourishing, blended cocktail will contain all of the fabulous fiber cut-up in little pieces (sort of pre-chewed), so your body digests it easier than a piece of fruit, yet it still has the fiber.
3. These drinks are more filling than juices and can provide more energy because you can load them up with all kinds of healthy extras like almond milk, coconut milk yogurt, ground flax and chia seeds, nutritional yeast and protein powders.
Q. I want to do both juicing and blending, but I don’t want to invest in a juicer until I see if I’ll continue juicing. What should I do?
A. No problem, my wise and frugal friend. As long as you have a blender, you can have your smoothie and your juice, too. Simply blend the fruits and veggies that you’d like and then strain the mixture to make juice. You can use a fine-mesh sieve or for about $1.50 you can buy a paint strainer bag from the hardware store or your local paint store. Just pour your drink into the bag, squeeze out the juice into a bowl, pour into a glass and voila, you have juice. These bags can be rinsed and reused.
Are you still with me?
So the other day, I enlisted the help of my friend, Missy, owner and chef extraordinaire of Thyme Personal Chef and Catering (215-439-6869). She is a genius when it comes to pairing flavors, and you, my fellow foodies, get the benefit of her expertise. We spent the better part of a day alternating between juicing and blending and sampling in order to bring you these healthy and quite tasty (if I do say so myself) beverages.
Drink 1 – “Don’t Mess With Me” smoothie
This is the perfect drink for either before or after a workout.
5 frozen strawberries
1-6 ounce container plain coconut milk yogurt (dairy-free) or yogurt of your choice
1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Drink 2 – “Let’s Go Flyers” cocktail
This is a great drink either as a smoothie or strained as a juice. Who says you need a beer to watch a hockey game when you can healthfully enjoy this beta-carotene infused libation?
4 medium carrots, ends removed
2 oranges, peeled
1 cup chopped papaya
½ inch ginger (optional)
4-5 ice cubes
Blend. If you need more liquid you can add a bit of water or squeeze the juice of another orange into the mix.
Drink 3 – “I Found My Thrill” blueberry smoothie
Blueberries are filled with a ton of antioxidants. Use unsweetened frozen blueberries when fresh are not available.
1 ½ cups blueberries
1 pear, core and seeds removed
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Drink 4 – GaGa for Green Juice
I bet Lady GaGa drinks green juice. That’s why she’s so talented plus it’s the ultimate in mind and body cleansing.
We made this in a juicer, but again feel free to use a blender and strain.
2 stalks celery
1 small bulb fennel
3 trimmed broccoli stems
2 cups kale
1 cup romaine lettuce
Juice all of the veggies, alternating between leafy greens and sturdy stems.
If you’d like a bit more sweetness, add a red or yellow pepper or a pear or apple.
If you want to try green juice, but this flavor is too intense, start slowly with cucumbers only. This is a very refreshing cocktail. Then next time try cucumber and celery. Eventually you’ll create your own green juice, adding the veggies that you like.
Drink 5 – Who Is That Person With the Gorgeous Glow? “Beets Me” juice.
This drink can be made in a juicer or blender. Just a word of warning; don’t be alarmed if your pee is red. You’re not bleeding…it’s the beets.
¼ of a medium beet, scrubbed and trimmed
1 ½ oranges, peeled
¼ of a medium fennel
¼ inch piece of ginger
Juice or blend.
Drink 6 – “Tropical Paradise in a Glass” smoothie
All you need now is a warm breeze and a great imagination.
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 whole mango, peeled and pitted
1 whole banana
6 ounce container coconut milk yogurt (non-dairy)
So what do you think? Is anyone going to give juicing or blending a try? Just remember, don’t stress over the ingredients. There’s no right or wrong here. Have fun, be creative and adventurous and please let me know how it’s going and if you have any questions. I’d love to hear and post some of your favorite combos to share with other like-minded juicers and blenders. Hmm, you thought you were a mover and shaker, now you’re also a juicer and blender. Add that to your profile my fabulous healthy-food loving friend.
Until next time,