When you add superfoods to juices you have a drink brimming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. In Superfood Juices (Sterling Publishing, 2014), author Julie Morris gives you more than 100 recipes for quick and easy and nutrient-dense juice recipes. In this excerpt from part one “Juicing Fundamentals,” learn the basics of juicing before you get started.
You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Superfood Juices.
Recipes for Juicing
Before going any further into the exciting world of superfood juicing, there are a few ground rules to keep in mind, setting the stage for the most nutritionally beneficial alchemy possible:
1. Buy Organic
In general, buying organic produce is a smart move for many reasons: It saves you from consuming pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and various chemicals, many of which can be dangerous to your health. Choosing organic is also an environmentally friendly move, supporting farming practices that use natural growing methods as opposed to ones that contribute to the industrial, chemical soup that is poured into the world every day. In juicing, choosing organic produce is more important than ever, as not only is the entire fruit or vegetable (including the skin) often used, but these foods are consumed in relatively large quantities. Don’t undermine the health and cleansing benefits of juicing by ingesting a concentrated sludge of pesticides. Remember: Keep it organic, and keep your body (and the earth!) clean.
2. Save Sugar for Dessert
Nobody wants to be a tyrant about sugar (let alone listen to one), and even if you’re eating a clean, whole food, plant-based diet rich in fresh produce, there is certainly a time and place to enjoy a little decadence now and then—it’s called dessert. (Of course desserts, too, can be made using minimal amounts of sugar and far healthier sweeteners.) However, the only way to really justify having dessert is to eliminate unnecessary additives (including sugar in its multiple forms) from the food you eat during the rest of the day. Where most people get into trouble with sugar is usually not the one cupcake they enjoyed at a friend’s house or the cookie they had at work. Rather, the real problem lies in the accrual of sugars found in drinks, sauces, salad dressings, soups, snacks, nutrition bars, you name it, that deviously add up over the course of the day.
Cutting out sugar is even more important in juices because of the inherent nature of this kind of food. Through the pressing process of the produce, the “bulk” is stripped away, meaning that the fiber, fat, and protein, which is concentrated in the pulp, is lost. So while all the plant-based vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals are beneficially saturated in juices, natural sugars will be higher too. Additionally, since there are no other macronutrients outside of carbohydrates (and fiber-free carbohydrates at that) to slow down digestion, everything encapsulated within the juice is released into the bloodstream at a faster rate. Therefore, the body can digest apple juice like a turbo-boost version of eating a few whole apples.
For most people, this digestive amplification is not a problem in moderation. However, if we add sugar to the natural sugars that are already in fresh-pressed juice, it’s easy to understand why this sets the stage for elevating blood sugar far too high, creating a true (and undesirable) “sugar rush.” If you want a sweeter juice than your fresh ingredients create, I recommend taking a more nature-made approach by simply using more fruit before reaching for the sugar (or agave nectar, or, even healthier, coconut sugar). While you’re still adding “sugar,” it’s a far superior and much more beneficial choice than any form of refined sugar. Even better? Try using a healthy, natural, sugar-free option like stevia.
3. Buy from Farmers Markets
This isn’t necessarily a steadfast rule, since many conventional markets offer superb produce, rather more of a helpful tip. Farmers’ markets offer some of the freshest produce available. It’s sourced locally and sometimes even sold at discounted prices. You can also find different varieties of common produce, such as heirloom purple carrots and golden beets, or less-common leafy greens like mizuna. On my last trip to my local farmers’ market, I found kumquats that were the length of my thumb and tasted like a sweet, zesty marmalade—a rare edible gem with such immense, playful flavor! Rotating your produce with some of these “specialty” items not only keeps your homemade juices continually evolving and interesting, it also offers a rainbow of nutrient nuances that are available only by mixing things up.
4. Lean on Vegetables (and Low-Sugar Fruits)
There are many fruit-juice recipes in this book that are a true pleasure to savor and supply a treasure trove of nutrients as well. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to consume large quantities of juice throughout the day, be sure to incorporate a healthy mix of green juices and root vegetable juices as well. Consuming some fruit juice is beneficial, but more than a couple servings can be too high in (natural) sugars for some people. From a health perspective, vegetables and low-sugar fruits are always the best choice.
5. Include Superfoods
Yes! The golden rule of this book is: Increase the nutritional potential of juice through the use of superfoods. Look to juice as a supplier of incredible nutrient-dense foods. Even if you’re just having orange juice, “spike it” with a little camu berry powder for extra vitamin C, or mix in a small spoonful of wheatgrass powder to boost the detoxification properties and incorporate a little undetectable “green.” Look at every juice as an opportunity, a call to action to benefit a little more with the easy addition of superfoods. The recipes in this book will show you how.
Reprinted with permission from Superfood Juices © 2014 by Julie Morris, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Oliver Barth. Buy this book from our store: Superfood Juices.