“Juicing” has become a widespread wellness trend. Juice bars are popping up on every corner and at-home juicers are available in almost every store. There is no shortage of new ways to get your nutrient boost through fresh-squeezed power liquids, from daily green juices to multi-step juice cleanses and detox juice shots, If you are a devoted juicer or have only just heard about the benefits of juicing, there is always room to make your juices healthier for you. After all, if you are not juicing correctly, you may end up doing more harm to your body than good. Here are my tips for cleaning up your green drink in 2015.
DO SEEK OUT ORGANIC FRUITS + VEGETABLES
When you consider how many pounds of fruit and vegetables it takes to make a single 8oz. fresh juice (often you are using whole vegetables like an entire cucumber, 6 or 7 leafs of spinach, whole apples and lemons, etc.) it is crucial to ensure that your produce is “organic”. Otherwise, you are simply concentrating and exponentially increasing your daily intake of potential hazardous pesticides and sprays applied to non-organic produce. Make sure you ask your juice bar if their produce is organic — or, when shopping for produce for your juices hit the organic aisle.
DO ROTATE YOUR GREENS
Spinach and kale make an excellent green juice base. They are filled with rich vitamins and minerals like iron. However, ensure that you change up your greens if you are a daily juicer. Rotate to other delicious leafy greens such as chard, mustard greens, microgreens, arugula, dandelion and collards to maintain a balance of wellness and avoid hormonal issues.
DON’T OVERDO THE SWEET FACTOR
If the color green makes your taste buds a bit apprehensive, don’t make the mistake of “masking” the flavor with too many fruits. Apples, pears, watermelons and carrots are all quite nutritious but when you are throwing multiple whole fruits into your juice blend, you are majorly upping your natural sugar intake — which, in the end, could be undoing all the good you think you are doing to your body. After all, any sugar (good or refined) is still sugar and you could be adversely affecting your insulin levels. Adding lemons and limes to your green juice have both a sweetening and detoxifying quality — as do beets. But, if you just can’t go fruit-free, just be mindful of the sugar in your green juice.
DON’T WAIT TOO LONG TO DRINK YOUR GREEN JUICE
To maximize the wellness boost of your green drink, you want to drink it within 15 minutes of making it as its live enzymes begin to degrade over time. Store your juice in an airtight container and remember to keep it refrigerated before each time you drink it (so, no carrying your green juice in room temperature with you to sip on throughout the day! If you must, put it in a refrigerator pack inside your bag). If stored properly, a green juice can last in the fridge for 24-72 hours.
DO JUICE FRESH BUT IF YOU CAN’T, DON’T DRINK HEAT-PASTEURIZED JUICES
You are always best off juicing “fresh” green juices to maximize the benefit of naturally-occurring prebiotic and probiotics that can benefit your gut. Truly fresh green juices have all the rich enzymes and minerals of raw produce you would expect from a green juice. However, juice bars are not always conveniently located and it does take time to make a green drink at home. If you are buying juices from the retail store shelf, do not drink juices that are pasteurized using heat. Heating up the vegetables and fruits through thermal pasteurization degrades the enzymes and minerals. Seek out cold-pressed juices, read the labels and follow the expiration date and refrigeration instructions. And, whenever you can, juice fresh and organic.