Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Juicing for Health

We love our juicer, and we make a lot of interesting juice recipes that, like most things I make, aren't recipes at all. We just grab some stuff, think about it a little, and put it through the machine. Sometimes the stuff we make is awful, but almost always, it's quite good. I'm not entirely positive, but I'm pretty sure that juicing your own fruits and vegetables has got to be hands-down one of the best ways to get a massive amount of nutrition into your body right now. In fact, my brother and I used to talk about the feeling that we'd get from drinking juice as "juice weird," which isn't a far cry from the feeling you get from a couple of cups of coffee on an empty stomach (meaning really alert) only without the caffeine jitters. Subsequent research on my part has revealed that a huge part of the reason for that is the high fructose content, particularly in apples, that the fruits and veggies running through our machine happen to have. The rest of the reason, I think, is the unbridled nutrition coursing through our veins like a raging tide of goodness.

There are lots and lots of things that can be juiced and only a few that cannot (e.g. bananas, which blend into the juice in a blender perfectly well if you really, really feel bummed out about the lack of ability to juice a banana that most juicers will present to you). Many things, when juiced, taste almost exactly like the way they taste when they're not juiced except somewhat more concentrated. For instance, it's a tremendous surprise to people that juice apples or grapes for the first time that the liquid that comes out tastes like apples or grapes, not like the crap juice they're used to buying at the store. The same goes for veggies, so you kind of have to be careful with those (read: spinach is spicier than it looks, and mustard greens are surprisingly very hot). In particular, herbs put way more flavor into your juice than you may be ready for (read: don't juice a bunch of mint unless you really want to struggle to get it down).

Here's kind of our staple recipe that we build off of:

  • Two or three decent-sized carrots per person, or the equivalent (children need less);
  • About one small to medium apple per person, sometimes with an extra one tossed in, seeded.
Carrot juice is crazy good for you. I've read and heard a growing body of evidence that people are even using it to try to help cure cancer. It really makes you feel better and rounds out your daily nutrition if you have a couple or three juiced carrots (which are actually pretty sweet on their own). Apple juice is not particularly crazy good for you except that it has a fair amount of natural fructose in it for energy. They're mostly included because they are sweet. Veggies tend not to be sweet, and apples counterbalance that and make the juice more palatable. If you're not into sugar or need to watch your intake of it, leave out the apples. More apples, by the way, make for more sweet.

Usually, we add some or all of the following as well:
  • About a quarter of a medium-sized beet (with greens when possible) per person;
  • About a quarter of an inch of fresh ginger per person;
  • About a quarter or half of a lemon per person, peel on;
  • About half an orange per person, peel on;
  • Maybe a stalk of celery per person;
  • About half a cucumber per person.
  • A small bunch of parsley, spinach, or kale.
This list isn't exhaustive, and it's rare that all of that goes into any particular juice. Today, for instance, for two people I juiced three small apples, five meaty carrots, one small beet, one stalk of celery, about a half an inch of ginger, half a lemon, a cucumber, and a little watermelon rind. It was quite good (a bit sweet) and chocked full of awesome nutrition. It also (because of the beet) happened to be quite beautiful in the glass, see:
carrot apple beet fresh juice from a juicerUsually we try to juice daily, but more realistically, it goes in spells where we juice a lot (once or twice a day) and then where we don't juice any for a month. I think it's the prep time and cleanup efforts that are the main reasons for the periods when we stop juicing... that and the enormous amount of produce that has to be purchased to keep it up unless it's something very straightforward like just carrot juice or carrot with apple. I know we feel better when we juice a lot, and juicing regularly definitely makes our hair and nails grow quite a bit faster (so it must be very good for us!). It's an added bonus to be able to juice things that come freshly out of our garden.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: