This year my birthday present came in the form of a juicer. Long have I thought about it, thought about if I would really want another kitchen tool, if I would really use it often to justify the spending and the space it would take up in my rather tiny kitchen. And finally I just wanted to give it a try.
As you may remember, I am on a journey to the best diet I can give my family and myself. Living in Switzerland provides many great opportunities for good, healthy and sustainable eating. It is not hard to find great organic produce, there are local farmers everywhere, many of them farming organically or raising free-range cattle or poultry. So it would be quite simple to live on organic, regional products. The only disadvantage lies in the four seasons, with winter being the dormant season, when almost nothing gets harvested. If I relied only on local produce, we would eat apples, potatoes and other root vegetables only for about 4-5 months. Even with my love for apples and potatoes, this idea is far from appealing. So, we add imported products to our diet.
Every year in January when it seems like everyone is talking about cleansing or even fasting, improving their diet and eating healthier and lighter, it is still so cold and dark here that comfort food like hearty vegetables soups or whole grain pasta-dishes often sound best when thinking about dinner choices. Not really what you would call a lighter start into the New Year. So, I figured with the help of a juicer at least I could provide one healthy, raw element to my daily diet. What better gift can you get for your birthday? And with the advent of spring (and the start of the Persian New Year) it feels even better to add healthy juices and smoothes to our table.
Much has been written about the health benefits of juicing, about providing your body with easily absorbable nutrients and vitamins of raw and fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even nuts and grains. A great source of information comes from knowledgeable Julie at her amazing blog Alkaline sisters. Her article on juicing has all convincing details for starting to incorporate juices into your diet. Also, for reading up more on the benefits of detoxing with the help of juicing read her article on detoxing or the book “Hungry for change”.
Here you find one of the most compelling reasons for juicing:
“When it comes to juicing though, the question is ‘Why don’t we just eat our veggies instead of juicing them? The answer is simply that…. Most of us just don’t eat our veggies. Period. The volume of veggies that equates a glass of green juice for breakfast just won’t get consumed: a. not for breakfast that’s for sure and b. most likely not thru the day. But get this, drinking a glass of green juice is like an express train full of nutrients to our cells because it only takes 15 minutes to assimilate and absorb giving us a burst of energy and fueling our cells with the ability to detox and release the nasties that are hanging about in our bodies.”
Some more practical information about juicing comes from Heidi of 101cookbooks.
There are so many recipes out there; I’ve just started to try them all. And I also just played with whatever I had in my fridge. Part of the fun is to experiment and mix and match. In general, you’ll benefit a lot from adding leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard or spinach), herbs (cilantro or parsley work really well and are great for cleansing), and roots (garlic or ginger) to your juices. Add a fruit for sweetness.
Here are just three of my favorite concoctions so far (recipes always for one big glass of juice, double if you want to serve two):
Simple Carrot Orange Juice
3 carrots, 2 oranges, 1 drop of high-quality oil (ideally one rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed oil)
If you can get purple carrots and/or blood oranges, they will make for a fancier version of this simple juice with its ruby-red color! Also, purple carrots not only have the vitamin A and beta-carotene of ordinary carrots, they are also rich in anthocyanins who act as powerful antioxidants.
Pineapple, Spinach & Apple Juice
1/4 pineapple, 2-3 handful baby spinach, 1 apple
Green Detox Juice
2-3 celery stalks, leaves removed, 1/2 cucumber, 2 handful baby spinach (or kale leaves), 1 lime (peeled), 1 apple
What are your favorite juices?
I’d love to hear about your juicing experience and your favorite juice or smoothie recipes!