Uggh – the thought of munching my way through a portion of Brussel sprouts really does not appeal to me at all and never has…..not even the marmite coated ones. I’ve never been one for eating my green vegetables. Salads…yes, fruit…yes(ish) but proper green veg…NO. My Mum is absolutely ace and while we were all growing up (hi Mum…I know you’re the only one that’s probably reading this!!) she made sure that we had a really healthy balanced diet, but no matter how much I tried, I just could not manage those greens!
The nutritional benefits of eating greens didn’t really dawn on me until a little bit later in my life. You’re always told ‘eat your greens, they are good for you,’ but I never really took that seriously. That’s until I decided to adjust my diet and go green with a difference!
I still find it ridiculously difficult to physically eat greens, unless they are raw and chewing through the amount I wanted to make a difference to my health was time consuming so I juice everything green and drink it instead. That way, I know I am getting ALL of the amazing nutrients in abundance including chlorophyll, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C and E. I drink a green juice daily on an empty stomach.
The juicing process takes away all the fibre (so don’t meal replace!) but creates a liquid from the contents of the cells of the leaf or fruit of the plant you are juicing. This means that all of those fantastic phytonutrients are going straight into your bloodstream which gives you an instant hit of energy and keeps all those marvellous enzymes from the vegetable intact and very active.
The juicing process is different to blending or smoothie making. To make an effective juice, you really need to invest in a juicer. I’ve had mine for years now and it’s still going strong. It cost me about £35 (Von Shef) – they really don’t need to be fancy, but you have to keep them really clean.
The benefits of juicing are noticeable from the first week of juicing. I don’t drink it to lose weight or to follow any trends but simply for a healthier lifestyle. You can go on juicing diets to lose weight, but this is just about being healthier. The most noticeable effect was more energy. This was brilliant for me as I love my walking and hiking but also going back to work after chemo and radiotherapy was really hard as I could tire easily but with my green juice I no longer got an afternoon lull and I found I could power right through with energy to spare. I sometimes take some juice to work with me if I know I’m going to be late. It helped massively with my skin and my eyes. It lifted my mood and I felt healthier and in a better place. I was able to exercise for longer periods, probably because of the effects of the chlorophyll which regenerates our bodies at the cellular and molecular level. I could probably write a separate blog about chlorophyll as its effects are magic. It helps to fight infection, helps heal wounds and promotes the health of the body systems.
I buy all of my greens from Aldi because it’s cheaper and you do need a lot of greens! I buy organic when I can, especially with the vegetables that are on the Dirty Dozen list but whatever you buy, make sure you wash everything carefully to get rid of any pesticide residues. There is only really one rule to green juicing….it has to be green! I love doing a green shop because everyone at the check-out always comments on how healthy my diet must be!
Please be aware – fruit juices are actually full of sugar! The only fruits I ever use are hard green apples for their pectin content, lemon, lime and very rarely some pineapple. Some manufactured green juices may look very fancy in their bottles and taste lovely but they are very expensive and often pasteurised which means they have been heated to high temperatures, which deactivates the important enzymes. They are also often bulked out with sugar filled fruit juices. This is why I prepare my own juice to ensure that I am in control of what goes in. When I first started juicing, I added more pineapple so I could get accustomed to the taste, then gradually reduced it as time went on. Some people add things like spirulina and chia seeds to their mix….whatever floats your boat.
The pulp left from juicing can be quite surprising to those who are just starting out juicing, as it has a large volume. I compost mine – it makes fantastic nutritious soil for my flowers and fruit trees. I make my juice in bulk and store it in the fridge – it can keep for two days but it must be in an air-tight jar. I use the glass mason jars which clip tightly down to avoid excess oxidation. You can freeze the juice, but I don’t as I don’t want to lose any efficacy of the nutrients. The fresher the better. You will notice a difference in juice that has just been done, to juice that has been in the fridge for a day!
I juice all of the following for four/five portions of juice:
- 1 bag of spinach
- 1 bag of cavolo kale
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 courgettes
- 1 head of celery
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 4 hard green apples (granny smiths perfect)
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- Fresh (not tinned) pineapple to sweeten if you want
You can of course jazz this up – I once added fresh ginger but I put too much in so be careful and you can also add coriander (or cilantro as Americans call it). There are actually millions of juice recipes out there, so have fun and be creative if this is something you decide to do! Perhaps post your creations to me on twitter or insta!
I hope you enjoyed reading about Green juice and its benefits. If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch! ENJOY!
‘HEALTH IS NOT ABOUT THE WEIGHT YOU LOSE, BUT ABOUT THE LIFE YOU GAIN’
Dr Josh Axe