Juicing: What and When to Drink

Juicing: What and When to Drink

If the idea of drinking green juice makes you make “that face” (which some of my clients make when I first suggest it), you might want to start out with a smoothie. I’m not talking about smoothies from Baskin Robbins or Dunkin’ Donuts, with ice cream and coffee. Today’s smoothies are made with healthier ingredients including almond or coconut milk, vegan options for protein, cacao (chocolate beans), Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, bananas, cinnamon, dates, raw honey, spinach, or kale. Trust me, it is delicious! But keep in mind this nutrient-dense delight is a meal replacement -- not a “drink” with your usual lunch nor should it be consumed as a snack. The key here is more protein and green leafy veggies and less fruit.

Fresh juices (not juice cocktails!) and smoothies are an efficient way to get an energy book. “I see juicing as an easy, delicious way to get a big bowl of vegetables, fast,” says Seattle-based nutritionist Cherie Calbom, MS, author of The Juice Lady’s Turbo Diet. “There’s a lot of controversy about supplements, but there’s no controversy about eating a lot of vegetables.”

As soon as drinking your “gateway” juice or smoothie becomes part of your new morning ritual and you are feeling energized, you can begin to experiment with green juice. The purpose of green juice is to consume more green leafy veggies and get the nutrient benefits they offer. The fruit is really just to make it more palatable, especially for newbies. I recommend starting out with a green juice made of spinach or romaine that adds fruit like apples, pear, or pineapple and moving toward a juice that has one fruit or less and more veggies. Carrots and beets are a great way to sweeten up the greens while contributing less sugar, but go easy on them. Lemon, cucumber, and a splash of coconut water also help to balance out the taste.

Are you looking to increase your fiber? Go for a smoothie of the same ingredients as above. You can also use a blender like a Nutribullet to pulverize the produce into thicker juice.

Are you interested in trying juices or smoothies, but are reluctant to buy the kitchen tools to make them at home? No biggie! There are juice bars and smoothie shops in most locales, and there are plenty of fresh bottled juices out there at stores like Whole Foods and Wegmans. You can even order them online and get them sent right to your door from companies like Blueprint Cleanse and Suja.

A note: I do not recommend juice cleanses as a diet or "refresh" method. Stick with juices as a healthy part of your normal diet.

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