How to Juice Without Losing Your Mind
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends 3-5 servings of vegetables per day and 2-4 servings of fruit. Contained in fruits and vegetables are vitamins, minerals, and chemicals that our bodies need to function properly. And with so much talk about reducing processed sugars in our diets, fruits and vegetables and their natural sugars have been shown to be healthy, as they digest slowly due to the fiber contained in them. Juicing is an easy way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Whether you are using a cleanse (where you consume only juices for a set period of time) or just adding a few glasses to your menu each day, juicing can be as delicious as it is nutritious-- but it takes a little work. Here are some tips to make your juicing life easier.
The first step to juicing is selecting produce that achieves your juicing goals. If you truly want to take on a juice cleanse, you want to incorporate some of the following fruits and vegetables. They are known to create a truly cleansing juice.
- Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and parsley. Based on my own experiences with greens, kale tends to be more fibrous, while spinach and parsley blend a little better.
Add to these a bunch of your favorite fruits, and you've got a cleansing combination.
My rule for juice combinations is this: 1 sweet thing + 1 complementary thing + 1 green thing. I try to go easy on the sweet and equally heavy on the others. My favorites include:
- Banana + Blueberry + Spinach
- Cantaloupe + Cucumber + Kale
- Strawberry + Pineapple + Parsley
Have you attempted a juice "cleanse" or added juicing to your life?
If you're like me, there is barely enough time to pour cereal into bowls on busy mornings, to say nothing of chopping fruits and vegetables and figuring out appealing combinations. Here is my number one tip:
Prepare in advance. Truth be told, if I didn't prepare in advance, there's no way I could put up with juicing of any kind. My two-year-old would be under my feet or next to my elbow the entire time, and I just don't have that kind of patience (or want her to be that close to a sharp knife).
When I bring home my groceries on Sunday morning (Mom's Morning Out, if you will), I spend about twenty minutes cleaning and preparing my juicing for the next few days. On Wednesday or Thursday, I prepare the end of the week's produce. I use storage bowls and mix my combinations separately. I try to chop all the produce the same size because when I ladle it into my glass to puree it, I need it all to fit.
The most efficient blend requires:
- A glass wide enough for the insertion of an emulsion or immersion blender
- An emulsion or immersion blender (see below for a suggestion)
A more common blend uses:
- A blender
- A spatula to scrape down the sides
- A glass
For pulp free juicing use:
- A juicer (see below for a suggestion)
- A glass
Mix It Up!
The actual blending process is simple. Add the fruits and vegetables combination of your choice to a glass (or to a blender/juicer). Add a liquid to get everything moving. Liquids may include:
- Bottled or Canned Juices
- Kefir, a sort-of liquid yogurt
- Milk (dairy, soy, or almond)
Process everything until you achieve the desired consistency. Keep in mind that some combinations render your juice a color that is, perhaps, less than appetizing. For example, strawberries and spinach tend to be a bit brown. If the appearance of the juice is unappealing to you, try putting it in an opaque glass with a lid.
Drinking a juice isn't the only way to incorporate juicing. A favorite in our household is juice frozen in a popsicle tray. During the summer months, this is a refreshing and healthy homemade ice pop-- perfect for kids!
Try eating your pureed fruits and vegetables as a soup. Cantaloupe makes a beautiful base for a dessert soup, and eggplant can be a delicious soup (or sauce atop pasta or rice, if you're eating solids in addition to juicing).