Green juicing seems to be all the rage these days. I’ve heard people talking about it, been reading about it everywhere, and quite a few people have been asking me about the best way to ensure they are getting enough nutrients. Well, this is one sure fire way. I’ve been writing for Fighter 411 magazine and this happened to be my latest topic… Green juicing is great for athletes, especially those who are not getting their nutrients. Hell, it’s great for everyone! Seems lately that everyone is so nutrient deprived that we can all use a little help. We are a society of processed foods, quick meals, and fortified everything! Most Americans are not getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis and vitamin supplements ARE NOT the way to go. They are a waste of money and ineffective.
Green juice and green smoothies are enzyme and nutrient rich, easily absorbable, and a great way to ensure you are getting the nutrition your body requires. Take vitamins? Scrap them. I dare you. Try juicing for 2 weeks in place of ALL your vitamins and multivitamins and see how you feel. Then decide which way you think is better for your body.
Whether juicing (extracting the liquid from the pulp) or creating smoothies (breaking down the pulp in a blender) you are giving your body a chance to “clean house” without the added burden of digestion which can take a lot of time and energy. This allows your body to absorb nutrients faster and place its efforts into things like recovery and detoxing the liver and kidneys.
A traditional western diet is made up of too many acidic foods, which cause negative health effects. And fortified foods (which is when food manufactures try to add vitamins and minerals back into food to replace all the nutrients that were depleted when the food was processed). Fortified food… good idea, POOR execution and substitution. Our bodies don’t know how to consume and use fortified nutrients or what to do with them at all. So most of these so called “nutrients” simply pass right through our system or in worse case scenarios, wreak havoc on our digestion.
All veggies are high in nutrients and alkalizing. Organic green vegetable juicing can help neutralize the effects of an acidic diet. There are many benefits to Green Juicing:
- Faster post-workout recovery
- Improved focus and mental clarity
- Improved heart and cardiovascular function
- Improved bone & joint function
- Stronger Immune System
- Better digestion
- Better overall mood
- Healthier hair, skin and nails
- More stabilized blood sugar
- Increased energy
I don’t consume green juice as a replacement to meals. No way! I use it to supplement what I’m already consuming. You are not going to get a lot of calories from juicing and if you try to juice instead of eating a regular meal, you will be starving about an hour later.
Choose organic vegetables. They are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals, and always thoroughly wash vegetables before juicing or making smoothies. Juicing takes out all of the pulp and leaves you with a liquid for easy and quick absorption. Smoothies are created through a high-powered blending process which breaks down most of the fibers but leaves some of the fiber behind to create a slower absorption and more full feeling.
Most Common Ingredients in Green Juice & Smoothies:
- Swiss Chard
- Celery (stalks & leaves)
FRUIT (for taste – use sparingly):
- Berries (low in sugar – best choice)
- Coconut Milk
- Almond Milk
- Almond Butter
- Green Beans
Use fruits and vegetables high in sugar sparingly as the sugar is absorbed quickly and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. All greens provide nutrients and support our health but the following are a few that really go above and beyond:
CELERY – Known to equalize the body’s pH and help it maintain its health systems. Its high levels of magnesium and iron work well for rebuilding blood cells and maintain the body as well. The leaves are high in vitamin A and the stems are good for vitamin B-1, B-2, B6 and C. Celery juice also has a high amount of calcium, folic acid, phosphorus and amino acids.
KALE – A rich source of Lutein, an antioxidant that works to maintain vision and prevent damage to the skin as well as wrinkles. Contains calcium, which works to help muscles recover after a workout or strenuous activity. By drinking a glass of kale juice after a workout you could find your muscles recovering faster and that you’re able to work out with shorter recovery times and less muscle fatigue. It has vitamin K, which is beneficial to helping regulate the blood, aids in clotting, and ensures a healthy composition of your blood.
PARSLEY – Rich in many vital vitamins, including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A. Helps flush out excess fluid from the body, thus supporting kidney function. Controls blood pressure and can relax stiff muscles as well as encourage digestion.
GINGER – Reduces nausea, eliminates gas, and relaxes the intestinal tract. Helpful in alleviating the symptoms of colds and flues. Improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients and is an anti-inflammatory.
CINNAMON – Regulates blood sugar, which in turn causes fewer sugar cravings. Has anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties.
BERRIES – Lower in sugar than other fruit. High in antioxidants that help fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals that can lead to illness. Improves health, protects skin and hair, and prevents certain diseases.
FATS – Fats such as avocado, coconut milk or almond milk provide energy for our bodies and our brains. They also help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and provide structural components for our brain.
There are unlimited variations of juice and smoothies. Try various ingredients and switch it up. Here are some popular recipes.
- Kale, Celery, Romaine, Mustard Greens, Beet, Carrots, Lemon, Ginger
- Cucumber, Celery, and Apple
- Carrot, Celery, Chard
- Spinach, Cucumber, Celery, Parsley
- Spinach, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Ginger, Apple, Lemon
- Tomatoes, Romaine, Cucumber, Celery, Beets, Carrots, Garlic
- Blueberries, Strawberries, Spinach
- Cucumber, Avocado, Spinach, Coconut, Grapefruit
- Spinach, Kale, Apple, Parsley, Cucumber, Romaine, Celery, Lemon
- Wheatgrass, Carrot, Spinach, Beet, Celery, Cucumber
Note: Although there are many grocery store juice options, juice in containers, by law, has to be pasteurized. The pasteurization process kills vitamins and enzymes along with biophotons. Store-bought juice offers very little nutrition compared to its fresh counterpart.
Recipe: Green Berry Smoothie
This is my favorite go to smoothie. I always keep berries in the freezer so that I can use them in place of ice. It’s packed full of vitamins, calcium, antioxidants and healthy fats.
The Good Stuff:
- 1 – 2 large handfuls of Spinach
- 5-6 Parsley stems with leaves
- 1/3 cup frozen mixed Berries
- 1 – 1.5 cups Almond Milk
Throw all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.