Thursday, March 15, 2012

Green Juicing

I've been playing around with green juicing. Why? Because you can get more dense nutrients in one glass than five salads.  And the process of breaking down the veggies makes you absorb more than if you were chewing! But rather than invest in a juicer the size of a wingback chair (Kidding, but most do take up a lot of real estate on the counter and are a mess to clean) i use a Vitamixer and usually make juice by straining the smoothie through a nut milk bag (easy to find online, here is one example )

I turn the nut bag inside out so the seam is easier to clean. Some people use a regular blender for this stuff so in that case, cut up all your veggies into smaller pieces like in the video.  Please note, many smoothie/juice recipes have way too much fruit in them and can mess with your blood sugar. I keep mine mainly all greens and maybe throw in a banana to make it smell more fruity and less like strong chlorophyll.

My recipe is not an exact science but I usually use half a head of romaine lettuce, a couple or three cups of packed spinach,  a few carrots (cut up) and a banana.  Some people throw in cilantro or parsley.  If you use carrots for smoothies, you have to make sure you get the mixture super fine or it can be difficult to digest, thus I strain my 'smoothies' in a nut bag or cheese cloth might work but would be messy.

Oh, I also sometimes add a teaspoon or so of Chia gel which is made by mixing 1 spoonful of chia seeds, to 5 spoonfuls or water. Let sit 10 minutes, let stir & sit another 5 minutes.  The chia seed swells and absorbs the liquid.  Plain chia seeds have a gritty texture like sand that I'm not fond of. Here is a link for info on Chia seeds.

True you don't get the fiber in juices but I get my fiber in other places.

I've done smoothies and I've done juicing but due to some chronic health issues, am sticking with juicing for now to give my body a break.  Takes less energy to digest juice but you get a lot of nutrients.

You must store left over juice in a small jar and fill COMPLETELY level with the jar so when you put the lid on tightly, the juice touches the lid.  Always fill and open jars over the sink to prevent a mess on the countery.  This seal of not allowing air in helps to keep the juice from oxidizing and losing it's nutritional value. I use small 8 oz mason jars. Juice should be drunk immediately or within 24 hrs or 48 hours, max!

Raw food sites have some tips on smoothies and how to make them not so foamy.  Though the example here on youtube is too sweet for me, it is a good recipe to show beginners.  Like I said, this recipe is for a smoothie but can easily be strained.  I tie the nutmilk bag on a cupboard door and let it drip for 15-30 minutes in to a large mixing bowl, and then gently press the remaining juice out.  There will be lots of pulp left and do not put this down your drain.  I throw it out in the compost pile or you can put in the garbage (or add to some plants if you have any around your home.)

This link is from the RawFoodFamily site that has some great info.

Once you've added all the ingredients, let it blend 3 or 4 minutes  in a blender. My sister has lent me a powerful Vitamix so I only spin mine about 2 minutes. But you don't want your blender to get warm so add just a few items at a time if it's crowded.

Even if you change nothing else in your diet, this is an easy quick way to get  vital, dense nutrients for low calories.

One word about Spinach, it has oxalic acid in it which is not good to over use, especially raw, so always rotate your greens!  Some people use a few kale leaves but that's a little strong for my system at the moment, but tastes good when added to my ingredients above.  I've also used a small piece of fresh beet for color.

Just read about online for raw foods/juicing and play around with fresh greens.  This is my sister's recipe that she uses in her huge juicer but you can easily cut it in half and make in Vitamix/a strong blender the strain in a nut bag.

I also strongly recommend a food scale for figuring some weights.

Green Juice

2 lbs carrots

6 ounces of  greens (Spinach, Kale, Romaine lettuce example)

1 beet

2 stalks celery

one apple

1/3 to 1/2 English Cucumber because you can use the skins or peel regular cukes first

1/4 bunch parsley if you like it (good for liver)

and or

1/4 - 1/3 bunch cilantro if you really love cilantro

This recipe is pretty forgiving so use your own food choices.
By the way, if you want to do smoothies (which should be easily drinkable ) add a cup or two (or MORE) of water before mixing. When straining for juice, I only use 1 cup cup of water or so. Depends on how big the batch. I make smaller one's than this. I also have made straight carrot juice which is delicious. But I eat some raw nuts with it as carrot juice is high in natural sugar & can mess with blood sugar. Stick with mostly GREENS to start with. Less calories too.

I also suggest peaking around Dr. Joel Furhman's site for juicing and healthy eating in general. He has some youtube videos on juicing but I can't them find at the moment.

**Photo at top is free online stock photo. My photos did not turn out that well. Next time!

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