April 15, 2015
I recently read an article in the NY Times about the importance of cardiovascular health for women, and that the hearts of young women are especially at risk. And while many women fear cancer, more women in the United States die from heart attacks or strokes, than all cancers combined. I couldn’t help but think of my own grandma Mildred, who had an excessive fear of cancer, referring to it only as “the big C” but in the end, it was a heart attack that killed her. My what a morbid way to start off such a pretty post!
I bring up that article, because all day yesterday after reading it, I kept going back to how simple the basic tenants of health really are, if we have just a bit of knowledge and of course the right resources. The major takeaways from that article was to 1. eat plenty of fruit and vegetables 2. stay active 3. get plenty of sleep and 4. stress less and laugh more. Pretty simple and basic principles, right? I always appreciate articles like this not for their doom and gloom, but for this simple reminder of the basics. While in the food & wellness world, debates may go back and forth between the benefits of a vegan versus Paleo diet or yoga versus Pilates, in the real world, many still struggle to just eat enough fruits & veggies and find time to exercise.
Things have gotten weird in the food & wellness world the last few months, and now more than ever it seems people are skeptical of some of the over the top health claims key players are making. I don’t blame them, not only because some of the claims are suspect, but also because it’s near impossible to eat a saintly diet day in and day out, especially if you have a family and you don’t live in a bubble. So what is one to do? My groundbreaking advice is to just do the best you can.
Fruit and vegetable juices like this one here won’t cure all that ails you; it won’t eliminate cancer and I’m not sure it can even really “detox” you, whatever that truly means. But it can help you get your daily dose of recommended fruits and veggies in one sitting, bringing with it all those wonderful vitamins, minerals and antioxidant power. It can help with digestion, and if you’ve ever enjoyed yourself a few servings of beets, you’ll know that all on your own, without the benefit of a peer reviewed scientific study. Although if you do like scientific evidence, I’ll have you know that several studies, including one conducted at a fancy place like Harvard, has confirmed that the biggest payoff from eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is for the heart. That’s right friends, fruits and veggies can help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. While there may not be concrete scientific evidence that juicing your veggies are inherently better than just eating them straight away, there’s no doubt that juicing (and blending) help the average person increase their normal daily intake of fruits and veggies, since the average person isn’t sitting around eating several beets and carrots, handfuls of spinach and sticks upon endless sticks of cucumbers and celery.
Now, if you asked me to decide between juicing and blending, I couldn’t do it. Both have their own individual great tastes and health benefits, and on different days I crave different things. On days where I’m rushed and also feeling hungry, I go for a smoothie as a quick way to get nutrients and proteins, since I can add in wonderful things like hemp seeds, a complete protein, hydrating coconut water, and maybe even protein powder if I’m heading into a workout. Because smoothies include the pulp and therefore fiber, you’re bound to feel more full drinking a smoothie than a juice. Clean up is also much easier
However, on days where I have a bit more time and I need a little zing, I’ll go for a juice because nothing beats the refreshing taste of fresh pressed apples, spinach and any other wonderful things I have hanging around my produce drawer. Because the pulp, and therefore fiber, is extracted, some claim it allows for 100% nutrient absorption. Science is iffy on that statement, so I’ll withhold judgement on that topic, but without a doubt you’re still getting all the wonderful benefits of consuming all those fruits and veggies in its most raw form.
So speaking of raw fruits and veggies, here’s the point in the post where I’d be remiss to not mention that too much of a good thing can be true when it comes to consuming fresh pressed juices and even smoothies. Consuming too many raw dark leafy greens can pose a risk for those with a history of kidney stones, and even those with thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism should be careful, all thanks to the oxalates found in cruciferous veggies. My friend Linda over at The Organic Kitchen had a recent bout with kidney stones thanks to too many oxalate rich foods. Take note that for most, the benefits of consuming all these wonderfully oxalate rich foods far outweigh the negatives, but for some you may want to be careful as to not consume raw juices and/or smoothies on a daily basis. If you’re not used to consuming a lot of fruits and veggies, especially raw, you may also notice a bit of digestive trouble, so scale back. But I’ve been juicing consistently now for almost two years, and it has done wonders for my bowels, and even my endocrinologist didn’t think I need be worried about scaling back on my dark leafy greens. So I guess that’s enough blabbering from me. This juice is awesome, tastes fantastic, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and is just plain gorgeous. I ended up shaking mine all up after I took these pictures, but if you’d like to create the same rainbow effect at home, make sure you leave some pulp in your orange juice so it’s “heavier” and then strain your beet juice if need be to make it “lighter.” Pour in your orange juice first, then slowly add in your beet, and watch the two magically float on top of each other. Then add in your green juice on top, and grow sad that you can’t create the same cool layering effect with the green juice, and then get over it. Shake or stir, drink and enjoy! This here is one of my favorite flavor combinations of all time, a great blend of sweet and earthy, the starch from the beets also helps it to seem a bit more filling than a straight green juice made up of lots of water.
Toasting you in good health and balanced living! Enjoy.
- 2 small beets or 1 large beet
- 2 small oranges or 1 medium sized orange, any variety
- 2 stalks of celery
- ½ English cucumber
- 1 small apple
- 2 large handfuls of spinach
- Wash and prep all fruits and vegetables, making sure to peel the beets and orange, and core the apple. No need to peel the apple or cucumber. Cut up to fit in your juicer, and prepare each juice separately if you'd like to achieve the rainbow effect, or combine all ingredients together to create a single juice. Strain if necessary, and serve chilled.