Green Juice

I love green juice. Like, for real. Green juice is life…. 

This has not always been the case for me.

 A few years ago I had accidentally purchased a bottled green juice from Starbucks. I chose it not realizing that it was void of any kind of fruit juice…I was quite surprised, not because it tasted bad, but because it was completely unexpected and I had not prepared myself for what I was about to drink. Fast forward to now and I drink a homemade version of that same juice daily. It’s what I look forward to, almost as much as my coffee, and honestly sometimes I skip my coffee altogether and go straight to the juice.  

I love the way I feel, even after just one sip. It’s refreshing, energizing, tasty and rehydrating. I’m telling you, it’s something you need in your life daily. 

Most of don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Green juices are a great way to get in your daily dose of fresh produce, especially if you have a hard time fitting in loads of spinach, kale, greens, or cucumbers in your everyday diet. Most store-bought green juices pack two servings of fruits and veggies into each bottle, so they’re a healthy way to sneak in nutrition if you’ve been slacking on your veggies, or if you just have a hard time eating salads all the time.  However, purchasing them can get VERY expensive, like $6-9 a bottle. Multiply that by 7 days a week and you are spending a fortune on something that you can make for a fraction of the cost and in my opinion tastes better than pre-bottled versions.  

So what benefit are we truly getting from all this green stuff? Here is what I put into my green juice and why…

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Kale 

  • Calcium – Not only does kale pack as much calcium per cup as milk, it is a source that is better absorbed so you get to keep more of that calcium. 
  • Antioxidants – Keeps oxidation to cells in check (oxidation can cause cancer).  Antioxidants also help in the repair process of free radical damage to our cells. Kale is a powerhouse full of antioxidants. 
  • Anti-Inflammatory  – 100 calories of kale provides over 350 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acid. Kale is also a spectacular source of vitamin K. Research shows that vitamin K is a key nutrient for helping regulate our body’s inflammatory process. 
  • Anti-Cancer – Kale contains at least 4 glucosinolates. When kale is eaten these glucosinolates are converted into cancer preventing compounds. Cancer-related research shows that colon, breast, bladder, prostate, and ovarian cancer have all been found to decrease with routine consumption of kale. Kale Yeah!

Celery

  • Low in calories but full of fiber helping you stay fuller longer. Celery is also a great source of folic acid, Vitamin A, C, K, and Riboflavin. Aids in digestion and lowers cholesterol. Has anti-inflammatory properties and aids detoxification of the body. Contains phytochemicals known as phthalides, which research has shown can help reduce the levels of hormones that cause stress. These chemicals also help to relax the muscle walls in arteries and stimulate circulation. In Chinese medicine celery has been used to help combat high cholesterol. 

Cucumber

  • Keeps you hydrated, aids in digestion, packed full of vitamins and minerals, keeps uric acids levels low which is great for keeping your kidneys happy, makes skin, hair and nails look fabulous, and some studies are even suggesting cucumbers have cancer fighting properties.

Lemons

  • Purification from the inside out, full of vitamins and minerals, aids in keeping blood pressure low, detoxifying properties, and they taste amazing!

Bananas

  • Potassium! Did you know that potassium keeps electricity flowing throughout your body, which is required to keep your heart beating? Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure. They add just the right amount of sweetness, and lets not forget that bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which your body makes into serotonin (they happy stuff) Plus, the vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles making it a great addition to your post workout smoothie. 

Frozen Pineapple

-Pineapple contains a wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene,  thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber, and bromelain. Studies have shown pineapple can benefit everything from arthritis to the common cold. I like to purchase it frozen because it helps chill the juice and frozen pineapple is always in season 🙂

Ginger & Turmeric

  • Ginger is known to suppress inflammation, reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory disorders, and protect the brain from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Ginger may also have anti-cancer properties, possibly suppressing growth of cancer cells by stopping them from dividing. It’s also know to help aid in keeping your immune system strong and helping to keep colds at bay. 
  • Turmeric benefits your digestive system by stimulating your gall bladder to make bile, speeding the breakdown of dietary fats. Studies also show that the curcumin in turmeric might also interfere with the growth of several types of cancer cells, including those of the prostate, breast, skin and colon. 

E3Live (Blue Algae)

  • E3Live is a wild-harvested, organic afa blue-green algae from Klamath Lake in Oregon. It contains more than 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and is a complete source of essential fatty acids. It’s literally one of the healthiest things you can put into your body. It comes frozen and I just thaw it in the sink for a few minutes and add a tablespoon into my juice. This stuff is legit. I won’t go without it now. 

So if you have arthritis, inflammation, predisposition to certain cancers, digestive issues, GI issues, want clearer skin or simply need more energy or an overall health boost drink a green juice daily! 

When I refer to my green juice it’s actually more like a green smoothie. I have a really nice juicer that we purchased last year from a friend. I loved having fresh juice, for about a month. It’s a ton of work to juice, and really expensive. You have to have a boatload of fresh produce to put thru that thing and honestly cleaning it afterward sucks. It ended up on my kitchen counter collecting dust after just a few weeks. 

Then, in December we bought a Vitamix from Costco. You wouldn’t think that a blender could change your life…I’m here to tell you it can. I started adding all the stuff that I would normally juice right into my Vitamax, but only about 1/4 of the amount. The result is a fiber rich smoothie that tastes amazing and has awesome texture. I like mine super cold. I couldn’t get that result with my juicer unless I put ice into my juice (which just watered it down). I’m literally in LOVE with my blender. I use it at least twice a day. 

There are a lot of differing opinions on whether juicing is healthier than smoothies. Here is my take on it…

Juicing requires an enormous amount of produce to yield a substantial serving. You lose all the fiber when you juice, all that pulp that you are throwing out is what is going to keep you full because that is where the fiber is! Not to mention many of the nutrients are contained within the skins of the fruits and veggies you are using. 

Smoothies allow you to blend the fruits and veggies with the skin, you get to keep all the fiber and nutrients. It’s all about eating whole foods. You get all of the good stuff! Plus you can add things like wheat grass shots (I buy mine pre-frozen at Whole Foods), E3Live, and other superfood powders that get blended in nicely. 

So for me, green juice smoothies are where it’s at. If you try making it and don’t love it, that’s ok. Try it again. It’s not something you are probably going to fall in love with right away, but if you drink it a few days in row you will start to notice how you feel, then it’s east to drink and you start to crave it! Here is my recipe for my favorite Green “Juice”. Enjoy!!

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Green “Juice” Smoothie

Serves 2-4

Appx 5 minutes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of de-stemmed kale

1/2 english cucumber

1 lemon (peeled)

2 celery stalks

2 bananas

1 cup frozen pineapple

1 thumb size knob ginger/tumeric

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup water

handful of ice

*optional items – E3Live, wheatgrass, flax, chia seeds, unflavored pea protein

Directions

Combine all items into high speed blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. pour into mason jars of desired size. Can be stored up to 3 days in refrigerator.

 

 

NOTE: IF YOU DON’T LIKE GINGER, LEAVE IT OUT. OR IF YOU DESPISE BANANAS USE MAPLE SYRUP TO SWEETEN IT OR TRY A COUPLE OF FUJI APPLES INSTEAD. MAKE IT YOUR OWN WITH WHAT YOU LIKE!

ALSO BECAUSE YOU ARE CONSUMING THE WHOLE FRUITS AND VEGGIES I WOULD RECOMMEND PURCHASING ORGANIC IF YOU CAN. IF THAT IS NOT AN OPTION USE A PRODUCE WASH LIKE THIS ONE BEFORE MAKING YOUR JUICE.

Let me know what you think in the comments below or find me on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM for more smoothie and juice inspiration!

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