By Lori Okami
Friends have been raving about juicing so I finally decided to give it a shot. I am sold on a better way to make sure I get my daily share of raw fruits and vegetables. After all, I've always been one to tout the benefits of nutrient-rich fresh produce.
The first order of business in juicing is selecting a juicer. Navigating the variety of juicers and blenders on the market can leave you feeling like just sticking with your carton of OJ, but don't fret.
Juicers can run anywhere from $50 to $450. Many true juicers will extract the fibrous parts of the fruit and vegetables, but that doesn't mean it's lost. Friends of ours invited us to a delicious lasagna dinner where they layered the extracted, fiber-filled pulp with the pasta, cheese and sauce. It was one of the best lasagnas ever--so yummy! It can also be added to other foods too--like soups, muffins, and meatloaf to name a few. What a smart and tasty way to add the separated nutrients and fiber back in!
You can have your juice and fiber too. I ended up purchasing a Nutri-Bullet and absolutely love it. This machine pulverizes the skins and flesh of the produce, rather than extracting the juice. Fortunately, I prefer pulp anyway. It is so easy to make 1-2 servings at a time and clean up is a breeze. Even my children have joined in and have probably been consuming more fruit and vegetables than ever--totally on their own! The manufacturer recommends roughly a 50/50 fruit to veggie ratio, and you can also add in a little wheat germ, flaxseed, mint, ginger, garlic, or even nuts or yogurt for added good fat and protein.
Remember to wash your fruit and veggies thoroughly. There are also natural fruit and vegetable washes available that are convenient and effective.
You can find many juicing recipes online or enjoy mixing up your own combinations. We like spinach, kale, carrots, celery, pineapple, banana, blueberries, apples, strawberries, grapes, mint and ginger. Pineapple works especially well to cut through sharp tasting veggies. I think balancing the fruit and veggies are best, but my son prefers all fruit drinks. Particularly with all fruit drinks, watch your calorie-count because the sugar calories do add up. I.e. a medium piece of fruit has about 60 calories; a cup of vegetables has about 25 calories.
Our family has found juicing to be a fun way to get our fruits and vegetables for any meal or snack. We've been consistent for weeks already and still going strong!
Eat well. Feel well. Be well.
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