Yes, I was a reluctant juicer.
I had a myriad of excuses but it boiled down to this…my first experience with juicing was miserable. Well, let me correct myself, it was blending. There is a difference between juicing and blending but we will get to that. Unfortunately my bad experience left me with a bad taste in my mouth about juicing, both figuratively and literally.
The key to becoming a consistent juicer is making it a pleasant experience! Start slow and add fruit to your smoothies and juices to cut the taste of the greens. As you develop a taste for greens you can cut back on the fruit, adding more vegetables and eventually, herbs, spices, nut butters etc….
What is the difference between “Juicing” and “Blending”?
A juicer extracts the pulp, skin and fiber of the vegetables and fruits and leaves you with a thin juice that still has all the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals of the original foods, but very little fiber. A blender on the other hand blends all the food you put into it retaining all the nutrients and fiber and has the consistency of a thick smoothie or shake. So whether you juice or blend can be decided by what you want to accomplish. Juicing gives your liver and digestive system that important ‘time off’ from digesting food while still supplying your body a fabulous array of nutrients. Blending doesn’t give your digestive system the same ‘break’ BUT if your digestive system is sluggish, blending might be a better choice for you because all that roughage helps things move along, so to speak. Just keep in mind that too much fiber has exactly the same side effects as too little! I juice and blend depending on my mood and what my body is telling me it needs.
This is my juicer…it’s a Breville. I love it.
And this is my blender. A high powered blender like this Blendtec that has a strong enough motor to chop up fibrous veggies can set your wallet back a bit. You may wish to consider buying a reconditioned Blendtec at a fraction of the cost of new! See the Factory Re-certified Blendtec Total Blender Classic Series.
So as I mentioned I was a reluctant juicer, a bit of a wuss to be honest. I bought a Breville juicer, a BlendTec Blender and a couple of juicing recipe books and began my journey without much success. I didn’t always like the recipes in the books and found I was wasting money and time. So I started going to Whole Foods Market fresh juice bar and began by ordering what sounded good to me and good for me and once I figured out what I liked I started coming up with my own recipes! What seems to work best for the beginning juicer is a combination of fruits and vegetables. I still buy my juice or blended drinks from WF’s occasionally, it’s really convenient and if your budget doesn’t allow for one of the ‘beasts’ pictured above or you just aren’t sure you are committed enough to spend the money, it’s a good way to begin. But once you decide to stick with it, nothing beats making your own juice at home.
Here are some tips…
Consistency can be an issue with blended drinks.
Sometimes they are too thin, sometimes they are too thick. Know going in that even if you use the same recipe every time your smoothie will never turn out the same way twice. Because fruits and veggies vary in size so much, your drink will vary in consistency. Add more or less liquid as needed.
Keeping it cool…
Freezing bananas and berries gives your blended drinks a smoothie like consistency and of course makes them cold which is more palatable. Dates add sweetness and fiber. Every blended drink needs a liquid base such as almond milk, coconut water, yogurt, fresh orange juice, water, etc. In this one we use almond milk. The ‘vanilla’ almond milk is sweeter than the original so if you are a newbie you may want to start with that. BUT if you want the best option, make your own! My recipe here.
Now on to the recipes!
I call this one the “Get Your Greens”
Look at all these antioxidant rich fruits and veggies!
Get Your Greens Recipe
I can’t overemphasize the importance of making your own almond milk. The difference in the taste of your smoothie is astounding! Click to learn to make your own.
Get Your Greens Smoothie
Yield 1 serving
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk (homemade is best, my recipe above)
- 1 small frozen banana
- ⅓ cup frozen blueberries
- 3 stalks dino kale, (if using a bigger variety use less)
- 1 handful spinach
- 3 pitted dates
- Blend all ingredients till smooth and creamy. If it's too thick add a little more almond milk.
The “Red and Ridiculously Good Juice”
This is favorite of my family. I was afraid of beets for a long time, but if you use a small one it’s easy to swallow, literally! And since they are high in Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium and manganese they are a great veggie to add to your diet. (Click here to see my roasted beet salad) Parsley is a fabulous detoxifier and adds flavor. When juicing citrus or other soft fruits or veggies I add them in between the harder fruits and veggies instead of changing the blade in the juicer.
I don’t know about you but I never eat this many vegetables and fruits first thing in the morning, but drinking them is easy and because they are raw I get a huge amount of nutrients in my first meal of the day!
The Red and Ridiculously Good Recipe
The Red and Ridiculously Good Juice
Yield 2 servings
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 peeled oranges
- 3 carrots
- handful parsley
- 2 green apples
- 1 small beet (really well washed)
- ½-1" ginger (optional, I love it, my husband, not do much)
- Place in juicer in order and drink!
“The Light and Lemony”
A really refreshing juice with just a touch of ginger.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and also aids digestion. To peel ginger simply scrape with the edge of a spoon!
When juicing sometimes there is a layer of bubbly froth on the top. Most juicers come with a special pitcher that has a lid that keeps the foam out of your drink. Like so….
The Light and Lemony Recipe:
The Light and Lemony Green Juice
Yield 2 servings
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 lemons (peeled)
- 2 green apples
- 1 inch peeled ginger
- 6 stalks kale, handful spinach
- 6 stalks celery
- Juice in order and serve immediately.
Remember when it comes to creating a healthy habit, consistency is key. Start slow, use foods you know you will like (starting with a garlic and onion smoothie probably isn’t the best way to go) and as you gain more confidence you will naturally start to experiment. Use juices and smoothies a s a supplement to a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and good quality protein. Most importantly avoid sugars and processed foods…leave the treats for special occasions…you know how I roll. For more juicing and blending recipes click here and here. Please check out my website and my cookbooks here! There are 80 pages of amazingly delicious food in these babies and they are available in hardcover and eBook!
Post tags: vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, breakfast, snack, healthy