Jesse…. aka “The Wizard” posted a terrific article over on his blog about juicing. I’ve been doing an elementary form of juicing with the magic bullet for over a year now….. I would actually call it smoothie making. My smoothies consist mostly of fruit and water and I tend to pop things in there that I wouldn’t normally eat on my own. Breathe, where I teach yoga makes organic juices that are absolutely to die for, so anytime I really need to get something in I just head over there. But Jesse’s post got me thinking…. I wonder if I could do 30 juices in 30 days? (note: that did not say drink only juice for 30 days).
One of my wonderful friends hooked me up with her juicer, which is a hugely amazing gesture (thank you MANDY), and we got right down to learning how to juice.
First, let’s steal it right from Jesse’s blog…… the benefits of juicing:
For athletes, the benefits of juicing run pretty deep. Juicing fruits and vegetables provides a huge dose of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) in a very concentrated, easily absorbed form. This quality, alone, makes juicing whole, fresh, ripe, and raw fruits and vegetables one of the most powerful vehicles for achieving optimal health; upon which speed is built. Here are some of the most commonly touted benefits of juicing:
- Many of the common juicing ingredients contain chlorophyll, a substance found exclusively in plants. It has a structure similar to hemoglobin which is the substance in blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen. Some research has found that consuming chlorophyll enhances the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin, thus improving the efficiency of oxygen transport.
- Fresh juices have the ability to deliver a group of nutrients know as enzymes. Enzymes are your body’s work force. In addition, fruit and vegetable juices are good sources of the traditional nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
- Since juicing removes the indigestible fiber of fruits and vegetables, nutrients are available to the body in much larger quantities than if the fruit or vegetable were eaten whole. Because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed, the body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from the juices than it can from solid foods.
- Finally, fruits and vegetables provide one more substance that is absolutely essential for good health in the athlete – water!
I don’t know about you…… but the benefits sounded good enough to me to give it a shot. Besides nutrition has become a passion of mine and I am constantly trying to learn as much as I can….. nutrition and health are one in the same to be honest…..you only need to lose your health once to realize that. Check!
My first juice was simple…. apples and ginger. It was quite good! The type of juicer that I have is the Breville (I ahve been told to get the Vitamix, I just wanted to be sure I would actually use a juicer before I bought anything extravagant!). The Breville eliminates all pulp (I hate pulp), is very easy to use and easy to clean.
Day two we got a little more daring. Curt is much more food adventurous than I am, so we made slightly different juices.
Day two: Apple, Kale, blueberries and ginger!
So far I find juicing to be fun. It allows you to be creative and really design to fit your taste. Once we get a few more juices under our belt, we will be doing “juice night” here, making a particular juice for the week. Curt actually made much more than I did and has two jugs of his concoction. I hate celery…. so that’s one way to keep my hands off the goods!
There are lots of ways you can juice….. most economical would be the good old-fashioned blender or magic bullet (the bullet is my favorite and would make someone a great Christmas gift), although these two devices seem to be best for fruit based juices and smoothies. I have been doing the smoothie thing for a while now, here are some tips for that adventure:
1. Use either water, greek yogurt or even skim milk as your base
2. Frozen veggies such as dark cherries, blueberries, and mango give you a sweet drink plus loads of vitamins and antioxidants.
3. Toss in some baby spinach for a serving of vegetables, and you won’t even taste it (I promise!). You can freeze that baby spinach too!
4. Freeze your smoothie for a wonderful frozen treat!
These days there are so many ways to get in those fruits and vegetables. As Jesse outlines in his blog, the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables reach far beyond them being good for you. The vitamins and antioxidants and properties can help enhance recovery and performance. I know a lot of athletes who send $100+ month on supplements and various products that are delivered right to their door. Instead, save some money, eat food in its natural form…. and gain even more from it.
Stay tuned, we will share more of our recipies over the coming weeks! Juice on!