Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eww - How Can You Drink That?

What does this picture do to you?  To someone not accustomed to "green juice drinks", it may look and even smell unappetizing and disgusting, potentially bringing on a gag reflex.  That may simply be a matter of perspective , however, because, to someone who knows what real vegetables smell like, and appreciates the value in fresh, nutritious, whole ingredients, these green juice drinks might make you salivate with anticipation. 

First, let's look at what goes into a green juice drink. 

Cucumber and celery make for a great juice. Both are refreshing, minimal in calories (as are most green veggies), and produce a lot of juice because of their high water content.  This tends to make them more palatable. Green peas and beans can also be juiced providing a certain "earthiness", if desired. Broccoli and zucchini are nutritious, juice well and provide a flavor - broccoli more so than zucchini. 

Leafy vegetables like Swiss chard also make for a great drink and are also high in water content so juice well. Swiss chard is higher in nutrients than cucumber and celery and is mostly mellow in flavor. Lettuce can be juiced as well. Just remember that darker is typically better (more nutritious). Most lettuces juice well and are mild with some exceptions such as arugula which has a peppery taste when juiced. Cabbage, being in the brassica family, provides powerful disease fighting nutrients. It has a distinct taste, like broccoli.  One of the best  leafy vegetables is Kale, a super nutrient food, rated as one of the healthiest foods on the planet.  It produces a dark green concentrated juice. It can be bitter, so it is best paired with something slightly sweet, like green apples, pears or honeydew melon (sticking with green fruits and veggies).

Finally, don't forget your herbs. Dill is exceptional in many drinks, as is mint. Parsley is a super-food, but may have too sharp a taste for many, so use sparingly. Cilantro can also be used; beware, as it definitely has a distinct flavor reminiscent of good Mexican salsa. 

And, in a category all it's own stands stevia, an herb that is 100% natural and is sweet!  Processed stevia can be found on your grocers shelf, but real stevia makes an attractive garden plant and can be juiced quite effectively!  Just a few leaves can make the difference when it comes to juicing green veggies. 

Finally, as mentioned earlier, apples, pears, and honeydew top the list of "green fruits" (I omitted kiwi, which does juice, albeit sometimes mushy. 

HINT: add one or two lemons to perk up your juice!  You'll love it!  

Now, here's a recipe:

12 large leaves Swiss chard
12 leaves kale
2 small sprigs dill
2 small sprigs mint
2 small sprigs stevia
1 Granny Smith apple
1 pear
1/4 honeydew melon
2 lemons

You should get one quart of juice from this which (according to My Fitness Pal) yields approximately 525 calories. I use an Omega 8600 juicer that I bought off Amazon refurbished for about $230 and love it!  It takes about as much time to cut up your fruits and vegetables as it does to prepare any other meal. Enjoy!

Thoughts?  Please share!

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