Be the change you wish to see in the world...

- Gandhi

Monday, November 12, 2012

Juicing The Most Important Meal of the Day



Daily green juice drink
Green juice


I start my day (and my family's) with the same beverage everyday: Green juice.  It is liquid gold...my very own nectar of the gods, and I swear it makes me feel like a goddess while I am drinking it.

If you really want to kick things up a notch, you have to try juicing.  Green, alkaline juices are the best and quickest ways to reduce inflammation, while keeping your body hydrated.  Your skin will sparkle like nobody's business.  Your energy level will jump to overdrive.  You will feel amazing.  In other words, you will be a glowing, super force that will be unstoppable.  Are you ready to try it?  Good.  Here's what you need to know.

Kris Carr is my goddess heroine.  Her motto is "Make juice, not war."  Don't you love her already?!!  She turned me onto juicing in her book Crazy Sexy Diet.  About a year ago, she got super generous and came out with her e-book Crazy Sexy Juices and Succulent Smoothies.  These are my go to references on juicing.

Fruits and Veggies:
Choose organic fruits and veggies as much as possible.  If you don't have access to organics, Kris has a list of "The Dirty Dozen" and "The Clean Fifteen" in her Crazy Sexy Juices book that can help you decide where you can skimp on organic (and where you absolutely must not.)

Cucumbers make a great base for juices with all of the vitamin C and cleansing properties it possesses.  Let's hear it for the cucumber!  This is a great veggie to start with.  Add in some celery stalks and broccoli stems for sweetness.  Work your way up to stronger tasting plants like kale, chard, fennel, cabbage or spinach.  You can also add in ginger, garlic and parsley for added zing, (just remember a little goes a long way those guys.)

As for fruit, I like to keep it all green and use a green apple.  I have tried pear too.  It's not my thing, but could be yours, so have fun experimenting.  This is your super fuel.  Play around and try out different veggie/fruit combos until you find the one that takes you over the edge.  That's the only fruit I use in my green juice.  They say to keep your ratio of fruits to veggies at 1:3 (for every one piece of fruit, add 3 veggies).  For my kids, I use oranges, red apples and strawberries to sweeten things up and give it a citrus zing.

Equipment:
Finding your perfect juicer can be a bit overwhelming, as there is a lot at stake...this big, bad boy is going to become your juicing mate.  You'll be making juice love daily, sometimes twice or more!  So, choose wisely - these guys are not cheap.  I did a lot of research on the various juicers and blenders before I tied the knot with my Breville Ikon.  There are lots of different juicer brands to choose from.  Check out kriscarr.com, discountjuicers.com, bestjuicers.com, harvestessentials.com and amazon.com for thrifty buys.


Prep:
In order to make juicing time efficient with the morning hustle and bustle of getting my three kids ready for school, I buy all my fruits and veggies once during the week and wash and prep everything when I get home from the store.  When I go into the kitchen in the morning, all I have to do is grab the veggies and fruits out of the fridge, lay them on the cutting board, and get juicing.  (Note: I don't wash my berries until right before I use them to avoid them becoming mushy.  And I cut and peel my apples and oranges that morning as well.)

As for cleaning, I wash my juicer immediately after using it and let it air dry on the counter until I put it away later in the day so it is all ready to go for the next round of juicing the following morning.


When to drink it:
It is best to drink your juice on an empty stomach to get the most out of your digestive system.  It is a great way to break your fast (aka breakfast).  It's all I have for breakfast in the morning and it more than fills my tummy.  I serve it up to my kids with their solid morning favorites to ensure they get their veggies and greens in them.

Recipes:
Kris has tons of recipes in both of her books that I mention above.  There are also tons of other recipes and cookbooks out there.  I have had the most fun experimenting on my own with different flavors and veggies that get me grooving.  Below are my go-to recipes that I use every day.

Steph's Green Juice
This makes one serving all for me!

1 organic cucumber
1 organic broccoli stalk (some times I use the head too, depending on the size of the stalk)
1 organic celery stalk and leaves (if my stalk is lucky enough to be sprouting any)
2 fistfuls of organic kale (I also mix in chard and spinach from time to time)
1-2 slices of fresh ginger root
1 organic Granny Smith green apple

Steph's "Red" Juice for the kiddos
I started calling this "red" juice because the green color of the one I make for me scared off my kids.  I started adding strawberries and told them it was red juice!  This recipe makes enough for all three of my kids and hubby in the morning.

2 oranges
1 large broccoli stalk with head
2-3 carrots
2-3 fistfuls of kale
2 red apples
10-12 strawberries

Now, go get juicing my friends!  And share the juice love - I would love to hear your favorite concoctions.