Drink your veggies – they’re like a glass of liquid sunshine!
I know sunshine is typically depicted by artists as being yellow or orange but to me, a glassful of bright green veggie juice is just like liquid sunshine. It tastes delicious and just makes me feel so full and happy. It’s almost like I can feel all the vitamins and nutrients from the fresh vegetables coursing through my system. Green juice makes a fantastic mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack; it’s easy to pack some in a spillproof container and take it with you for a burst of energy while you’re on the go. If you want to learn more about the joys of juicing, check out the information below the recipe. I’ve also got an awesome beet, pear and ginger juice recipe that might tickle your tastebuds.
It’s been a bit of a tough sell, however, to get others in my household to embrace these green-hued beverages. I asked my friend and juicing guru Alexa Spas for some tips. Her advice? “It’s always difficult to turn a non veggie-eater into a green eating juicing machine! Try starting off by juicing sweeter greens like spinach and collards and always juice at least 1 sweeter fruit, like apple or pear, for every 1 cup of juice. Once their palate has adapted you can start adding more greens and less fruits.”
The recipe she provided (see below) is a great ‘starter’ green juice. I like mine with a little more zip so would include arugula and more parsley, plus maybe some ginger, to give it a flavour boost.
Alexa says she has tried juicing pretty much everything under the sun, and has enjoyed most of it. “Things like sweet potato, green beans, rhubarb, and garlic – produce you wouldn’t necessarily think about juicing – are actually very delicious in the right combinations. Once I juiced a whole bunch of dandelion greens which was not very pleasant! Way too bitter. If you are juicing those, do not juice more than 3 leaves.”
I normally put carrots in all my fruit juices and many of my veggie juices because they are so nutritious, relatively inexpensive and I love their sweet flavour. I have learned, however, that they can make some vegetable juices a little less appealing, giving them a bit of a sludgy green hue (the image on the left, below) versus mixtures that are all based on pale or green ingredients (the image on the right).
Flexi Lexi’s Green Goodness Juice
- 3 leaves of kale, stems included
- 2 apples (or 1 apple, 1 pear)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 lemon or two limes
- 1/4 cucumber
- handful spinach
- handful parsley
- Wash all ingredients.
- With a sharp knife, remove peel and pith (the white layer under the skin) of the lemon (or limes) and cut in half.
- Cut apples (and pear, if using) in half. Remove blossom end, core and stem. Cut into quarters.
- Cut celery stalks into 1 inch pieces.
- Quarter cucumber lengthwise.
- Put all the ingredients through the juicer, alternating hard and soft ingredients.
- Pour juice into a glass jar with a tight lid.
- Refrigerate and consume within 72 hours. Note that the juice may separate a little (this is normal), so you’ll need to give it a shake before serving.
Some thoughts about the joy of juicing
When I got my hands on the fabulous Omega VERT juicer a few years ago, I instantly became a juice-a-holic! I can easily drink double the amount – or more – of fresh, raw produce each day than I could possibly eat and it leaves me feeling happy, clean and super-energized. Had I known how fantastic having fresh juice every day would be, I would have jumped into the world of juicing a long time ago.
My first couple of batches of juice were made in haste because I just couldn’t wait to get started. I used whatever produce I had on hand without much thought about combining nutrients or flavours, so they were a little odd in colour but I loved their fresh, wholesome taste. The best thing I discovered was that having fresh veggie and fruit juices in the fridge kept me from wanting to snack on other items – one cheerful glass of juice and I was satisfied for hours.
While I am really loving my fresh green and red veggie juices (I make a kale-cucumber-spinach-pear-lemon blend and a beet-carrot-apple-ginger blend every other day), the rest of the family seems to prefer the fruit combos. We’ve gone through a lot of oranges, apples, lemons, cantaloupes, watermelon, strawberries and pineapples in the last few weeks! The great thing is, they have no idea I’m sneaking a bunch of carrots and a little kale into their fruit juices.
Pros of home juicing: I find my Omega VERT juicer really easy to operate and the machine is surprisingly quiet (so I can run it very early in the morning without waking my household). When I have a lot of produce to use up, I can make bigger batches, since freshly made juice keeps its nutritional strength and flavour for up to 72 hours (I store it in the fridge in canning jars). A special bonus for us is that I can accommodate all of our family’s fruit allergies, something that can be tricky with purchased juice blends.
Cons of home juicing: If you are juicing for several people, it takes a LOT of produce, and hence a fair bit of chopping. Plus, the machine takes about 10 minutes to clean after you’re done juicing. I did figure out one time-saving tip which is to reassemble the machine right away after I’ve cleaned and dried the components – it’s one less thing to do the next morning when getting ready to make the next batch.
A few words about juicers: If it’s within your price range, I highly recommend a masticating juicer. Also known as single gear or single auger juicers, they literally grind and chew fruit and vegetable fibres to break up plant cells, resulting in juices that contain more enzymes, vitamins, fibre and trace minerals. While they take a little longer than centrifugal juicers to do their thing, they are actually better at extracting juice so the yield is higher. As an added bonus, most masticating juicers can handle almost any fruit or vegetable, as well as leaves (spinach, kale, parsley, etc.), grasses (wheatgrass, anyone?) and nuts (I am so excited to try making almond mylk soon). Another important benefit of masticating juicers is that they run at lower RPMs (slower speeds) than centrifugal juicers, which means your produce doesn’t get nearly as oxidized so you get juice which is more nutritious and has a longer fridge storage life.
Disclaimer: While the nice folks at Omega were kind enough to supply the juicer, I have purchased, washed and chopped the mountains of produce all by myself.