Imagine injecting yourself with a liquid so abundant in vitality that it goes to work immediately, nourishing every single cell, tissue, gland and organ of your body. Brimming with live enzymes, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll and deep organic hydration, green juice is a refreshing way to begin your day.
In order to obtain all these wonderful benefits, the juice must be fresh (not store-bought) with raw veggies and a little fruit (if desired), including a nice helping of alkalinizing leafy greens. Virtually all store-bought juices are heated through pasteurization rendering it lifeless. This is why food manufacturers have to add back in a handful of synthetic vitamins and minerals to make their label claims. Heating and processing also destroys the enzymes, so fresh juices are a great way to ensure you are taking in lots of live enzymes needed for digestion and other metabolic functions. Our bodies do produce enzymes naturally, but with age our enzyme stores become depleted, and the more cooked and processed food we eat, the more enzymes our bodies need to produce to breakdown the devitalized food. When you drink fresh juices (and eat raw, unprocessed food) essentially you are making a deposit into your body’s enzyme bank for future use!
The Gold is in the Green
All fresh fruits and veggies carry the sun’s energy, but it’s the leafy greens that are most abundant in this synthesized sunlight, otherwise known as chlorophyll. Imagine guzzling down a glass of liquid sunshine! Chlorophyll is considered the “life blood” of the plant, and it’s no surprise that it also happens to be a powerful blood builder, delivering oxygen to all our cells and tissues.
Greens are also highly alkalinizing, a welcoming change to the acidic nature of the modern western diet. The pH of our body is slightly alkaline, the natural state our bodies fight to maintain, even if it means leaching alkaline minerals from our own bones to neutralize the acidity of the food taken in. This is one of the many reasons why diets that are primarily plant-based are so healing. However, you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to incorporate more of the good stuff into your daily mix!
What about the Fibre? (Juicing vs. Blending)
During the juicing process, the vital liquid of the plant is extracted from the indigestible fibre. Without any fibre to break-down, the juice is absorbed and assimilated by your body in a matter of minutes. This means that the juice can go straight to work nourishing and revitalizing every cell in your body, bypassing the digestive process. This is the difference between juicing and blending because blended juices and smoothies still contain the fibre so are unable to revitalize our cells in the same way as fresh juices can. Now before you go dumping your kale smoothie down the drain, I’m not by any means saying you don’t need fibre. Fibre is a vital intestinal broom and very much needed by our bodies. This is why in addition to fresh-pressed juices, whole veggies and fruits should still be an integral part of your daily food-intake. Think fresh salads, blended smoothies and soups, green wraps, and sautéd, steamed and baked veggies. The sky’s the limit!
The best time to drink your fresh juice is on an empty stomach, ideally before you have your first meal of the day. This allows for optimal absorption and assimilation because once you throw food into the mix your digestive system has to work harder. You can enjoy your green juice anytime of the day though as long as it’s on an empty stomach. It’s also great as a late afternoon snack about 3 hours or so after your last meal or an hour or so before dinner. Try swapping your 3pm coffee for an emerald-green juice!
Optimally, juice is best taken in immediately after it’s prepared because once it’s exposed to oxygen and light the enzymatic integrity is compromised. With that said though, you’ll still benefit greatly from drinking the juice even hours after it’s made just as long as you store it in an airtight container and keep it cold in the refrigerator. A day old green juice is WAY better than no green juice at all. For some people, making the juice the night before works better with their schedule. I say whatever makes it easier for you to incorporate these elixirs into your daily routine is the best way to go!
Tips on juicing
1. Frequenting juice bars can weigh heavy on the wallet so I wholeheartedly recommend buying a juicer. It’s a small price to pay when you think of it as an investment in your health. Breville has a great line of juicers that range from lower end prices to higher end. I payed in the $150-$180 range for my Breville and I really do love it. I actually just saw the same model on sale a few weeks ago for $135 (at the Bay) – a steal!
2. Use organic produce (and in-season) as often as possible. If you must use non-organic, make sure to peel the skin from your lemons, cucumbers and apples to avoid pesticides and waxes.
3. You want your juices to be green but not overly green. Dark greens can taste quite medicinal and that’s definitely not the goal. Lighter greens such as cucumber and celery have a high water content so you get a lot of bang for your buck. Make these lighter greens the bulk of your juice with the addition of a big handful of leafy greens.
4. If you desire a little added sweetness throw in 1-2 apples. I especially recommend this for beginners because it will truly make the green juice delicious. The kiddos will love it too! Keep in mind though that citrus fruits such as lemons and limes cut the taste of bitter greens really nicely without the added sugars (in case you’re avoiding fruit sugars for any reason). Carrots and beets will also sweeten things up nicely as well.
5. Herbs such as parsley, mint, and cilantro are great additions for a little additional zip.
6. For a touch of heat try a small slice of jalapeño pepper or ginger but remember a little goes a long way!
7. If you’re still enjoying your cup of coffee in the morning just be sure to drink your green juice at least 30 minutes on either side of it because coffee is acidic in the body.
Here are two of my favorite detoxifying green juice recipes:
Green Citrus Elixir
5-6 leave of kale, swiss chard or collard greens
½ head of celery
Slice of ginger (optional)
A few sprigs of mint
1 apple (optional)
On a final note, I’d just like to say that my daily green juice has become a sacred part of my morning routine, and on the days when I’m rushed and don’t make time for it, my body truly misses it. If you’re at all interested in deep tissue cleansing, fresh-pressed green juices are a mandatory.
Here’s to green juicing it all the way to the bank – the enzyme bank that is!