Friday, January 8, 2010

Boost Health and Vitality with Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices

With fresh fruit and vegetable juices, you are able to start the new year rejuvenated and full of energy. Making juices yourself at home enables you to concentrate vitamins and minerals from heaps of produce into a refreshing drink.

While fiber is excellent for your health in general,juicing actually removes the fiber, allowing the vitamins and minerals to enter your bloodstream fast. The sugars enter quickly, too. I like to water down all my juices (which are usually a combination of fruits and vegetables) so they are not too sweet.

The Center for Disease Control recently updated it's recommendation of "Five Fruits and Vegetable Servings a Day" in recognition that we all have different body types and needs. However, fresh fruits and vegetables are vital in all of our diets, and the CDC now often recommends more than five, based on age, gender, and level of activity. Juicing is a great addition to any diet, allowing you to easily get your servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Some people even embark on juice fasts (or juice feasts), in which they drink only fresh fruit and vegetable juice for a given time: I've completed one for 42 days! When only drinking juices for a long period of time, it's important to drink a lot of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, which contain a lot of minerals and protein. Having celery in juice is important, too, as it contains natural sodium which allows your nervous system and brain to continue to function at it's best.

Juices can be made at home in a variety of ways. First, you can purchase a juicer such as a Jack Lelane or the more expensive Champion or Green Star. Or you can use a blender and then strain it to remove the pulp (fiber). The ingredients should be very well blended, I usually add a bit of water to help things blend better. Then strain through a jelly bag, cheese cloth, or even a paint straining bag, which can be picked up at a hardware store for just a couple dollars.

Here are a few of my favorite juice recipes which have come from my juice feast and beyond:

Winter Warmer

  • 3 Apples
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 1 inch knob of Ginger

Wild Earthy Juice

I love to harvest wild edible plants, and the following juice contains burdock root, which can be harvested anytime the ground isn't frozen, as long as the plant leaves are green and hasn't shot up a flower stalk (or is dead and brown with burrs.) But it's also sold at health food stores
and Asian markets (where it is sometimes known by it's Japanese name, Gobo)

  • 3 inch piece of burdock root
  • 3 apples
  • half lemon, (with peel if organic)
  • 1 inch ginger

Tabouli Juice

When I was on my long term juice feast, I craved savory juices, and so made juices based on my favorite dishes, which is how I came up with this one:

  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 4 stalks Celery
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • handful fresh mint leaves
  • handful Parsley
  • 1/2 Lemon (with peel if organic)

Melissa and David Sokulski
Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

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