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Raw Organic Juices and Smoothies

- 20 July 2009, 03:07

One way to help attain and maintain optimal health is by supplementing your dietary intake with fresh juice extracted from raw fruits and vegetables. There are two ways of doing this:  Juicing and Blending. While both of these techniques use whole raw fruits and vegetables, there is also a big difference between the two. When you’re juicing, the liquid from the fruits and vegetables is being squeezed out and separated from the pulp or the fiber, leaving only the liquid to consume. The remaining pulp then can be used to create some amazing dishes. (There is little to no waste with raw food. Almost everything can be reused to create something new and amazing!) By separating the juice from the fiber we are able to get more of the nutrients of the food. Our bodies are able to assimilate those nutrients far faster, thus allowing our digestive systems to have a much needed rest! When we eat food, as opposed to juicing, it takes an enormous amount of resources and energy from our bodies to digest that food. 

When we juice, we’re allowing our bodies to work less and use that reserved energy to heal and maintain our body’s health. Raw juices, unlike bottled juices, are entirely whole-food based. They are loaded with high amounts of oxygen, enzymes, minerals and vitamins – not to mention the medicinal effects of the antioxidants, chlorophyll and phytochemicals they contain. Fresh juice is like a liquid vitamin supplement.  It hits the body fast! It provides the body with greater energy and faster recovery from illness and juicing actually slows the aging process!  Forget botox, just juice! All of these substances found in raw organic whole juices work synergistically in our bodies to create some amazing healing miracles, even some that science has yet to understand.  When juicing, always drink your juice right away. Because juices are live foods, they will oxidate quickly and lose their enzymatic effect if not digested within the first 20 to 30 minutes of the juicing process. So, if you have juices left over and refrigerate it, know that it may still taste pleasant but it no longer has the same healing benefits that in did when it was originally made. When preparing your green juices a good rule of thumb is to use only 1 part green vegetables to 3 parts carrot, apple or beet. This sweeter base makes the drink far more palatable.

One painless way to get started juicing or blending is to replace one meal a day with a delicious whole food juice or smoothie.  Some people find that they get a greater cleansing effect by choosing one day a week when they only drink juices or smoothies.  I personally juice every morning and also pick one day per week when I drink nothing but fresh juices.

When juicing keep in mind some the therapeutic and cleansing effects of the following fruits and vegetables.

  • Apples help to detoxify the blood. They are a fantastic digestive aid and they also act as a laxative.
  • Beets are amazingly cleansing to the liver. They also stimulate bowel movements and are very high in iron content.
  • Carrots are very alkalinizing to our bodies. They are a great source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K.
  • Celery is very high in organic sodium. This makes them a great thirst quencher. Celery is also known for it calming effects; it’s great for our nerves.
  • Kale is cleansing to our kidneys, super high in chlorophyll and is loaded with protein and calcium.

When blending or making smoothies, as opposed to juicing, the pulp or fiber still remains a part of the final product.  In that way, smoothies truly are a meal and have some amazing health benefits. A big plus for smoothies is that any food can be blended into a creamy texture. Anything! This makes it perfect for someone with dental or digestive problems and ideal for babies. Smoothies are a phenomenal way to transition into a healthier lifestyle. Whether you are completely raw, vegan, vegetarian, or even carnivore, you will be amazed at the immediate health benefits of smoothies. I highly recommend smoothies to those who are just learning how to incorporate raw foods into their lifestyle. They should be a part of your daily routine. Blended drinks are also a fantastic way for kids and adults to get an amazing amount of vitamins and nutrients all while having something that appeals to their sense of fun. There are some incredible recipes for smoothies that will have your kids and YOU thinking they’re chugging down a dessert rather then something that is actually amazingly healthy for them! I can see it now – they’ll be rolling their eyes in pure delight thinking that, somehow, mommy or daddy has lost their mind to be serving this for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!

However, not all smoothies are created equal.

So what’s the difference between smoothies available for purchase in some of those popular local chains and those that I’m referring to here?  Plenty! Unfortunately most of those smoothie chains serve their smoothies with protein powders, dairy, sweet syrups and who knows what else!

Take out all of those crazy and unnecessary additives, and add a few frozen fruits like blueberries and bananas, some fresh kale leaves (or other leafy greens), a little coconut oil, water or almond milk and you’ve got yourself a smoothie or blended drink! It’s really that simple and they’re absolutely delicious!

The downside to drinking a blended mixture is that the body still has to work or expend more energy to digest this drink because of the fiber content.  However, if you’re blending and want to remove the pulp, this can be done very simply. Place your blended contents into a milk bag or sprouting bag and squeeze the juice from the fiber.

So, if you’re wanting to give your body a rest, juice. If you’re trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your lifestyle, both juicing and blending are perfect options!  They both also help our bodies to eliminate waste in a more healthy and timely manner. One important element to both juicing and blending is to CHEW! This may sound crazy, but chewing (or making the chewing action) actually helps get the digestive juices in the mouth working. This way, when the liquid hits your stomach it doesn’t cause any belly discomfort.

Because many fruit smoothies are high in acid, it’s best to use a straw positioned at the back of the mouth so that the liquid avoids the teeth. Then, rinse your mouth with water after you’re done drinking – this prevents enamel erosion.

To get the most out of your juices and smoothies always use organic produce. When shopping look for organics that are on sale and create and organize your menus around those products. Always wash all your produce in a bath of cool water in your sink, dry gently, and then place in green bags.  Be sure to place the day’s date on the bag and then refrigerate. You’ll now be ready to grab anything from the fridge at a moment’s notice and prepare juices and smoothies in an effortless manor.  When fruits are on sale or during the summertime and when farmer’s markets are everywhere, purchase your fruits by the case and freeze them. This makes them a perfect addition to your smoothies any time of year! One thing that I have learned over the years is when freezing my fruits, zipper sandwich bags work like a charm. They allow for easy stacking and access. The fruits don’t freeze into on solid ball when laid flat. This makes it so much easier to open and remove the desired amount, without having to resort to using a hammer to break the frozen fruit apart. When you’re preparing your juices and smoothies remember to cut your fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces. This not only saves on the wear and tear of your appliances, but helps prevent your food from being overheated because your blender or juicer won’t have to work as hard. This will help keep all the enzymes and nutrients intact.

OK, now that you know a bit more about juicing and blending, you’re ready to get started!  So, download some recipes from SplendorInTheRaw.com and start choosing your favorites!

To Your Health!
Chef Tina Jo

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