(From the Soul Fuel Series)
It’s been almost 7 months since I swapped my morning cup of joe for a mason jar of fresh green juice and have never looked back! I’ve noticed brighter eyes, glowing skin, an increase in energy, and even sent some of my grey hairs packing. How cool is that?! And, as I’ve shared some of my journey with friends, family, and on social media, I’ve gotten tons of questions about juicing. So, here’s my story and my A’s to your Q’s.
But first, why in the world would I quit drinking coffee? I had been wanting do so for a while, actually. Now, before all the coffee lovers go ape on me, I totally get that coffee tastes wonderfully delicious! Aside from that, the smell of coffee beans brewing in the morning is utterly divine. And, there is nothing quite like that first sip of warm nectar to help lift you out of your fog. That being said, for me, I just didn’t like relying on that coffee jolt to get my body started every morning. It felt unnatural. It was a vice, and I’m not digging those these days!
Further, it is widely accepted that keeping your body alkaline is the best way to keep it functioning at its optimum level, fighting off disease and keeping your energy levels high. Green vegetables just so happen to be very alkaline. Coffee, on the other hand, is very acidic. While coffee in moderation is not necessarily the root of all evil (it is actually pretty high in antioxidants), when you start your day with a fresh cup of acidic coffee first thing in the morning, you are not exactly starting off on the best foot. Your body works hard all night cleansing and purifying itself while you sleep. Breaking the fast (which is, go figure, where the name breakfast comes from!) with something alkaline and super-healthy for you, on the other hand, is an incredible way to start the day. The green juice gives me the same energy boost in the morning that my coffee used to – minus the jitters, dehydration, and coffee breath. Plus, the green goodness has a host of health benefits. So, it’s a total win.
As for jumping on the green juice band wagon, I was no stranger to juicing at the time. Well-versed on its many health benefits, I was buying the green nectar whenever possible. However, there are not a ton of local juice places where I live, so I needed to commit to making my own in order to make it a daily habit. I already owned a juicer, but it was like 10 years old and covered in dust. I had used it a lot back in the day, but to be honest, it was very labor intensive. The old school model required cutting the veggies and fruits into small pieces and the yield of juice was relatively low. And, cleaning it was a huge pain. It was time to get serious, so that meant a new juicer.
Juicers have come a long way! After doing some research, I decided on the Breville Compact Juice Fountain. It’s compact, easy to use, can juice entire fruits & veggies (no need to cut them up first) and clean-up is a cinch. And, it’s under $100! The pulp is fairly dry (the dryer the pulp, the more juice being extracted) and you can’t beat it for the price. This is a great starter juicer that I would highly recommend. (Then, if you become serious about juicing, you can take a look at investing in a mac-daddy model down the road).
Now for all the questions! I’ve compiled a list of the ones that I’m most commonly asked. I firmly believe that there is a very strong connection between mind, body, and spirit. For an overall healthy and happy life, taking care of the temple known as your body is extremely important. So, I hope to answer your questions and hopefully inspire you to take some steps to love on that body of yours from the inside out!!
Q. What are these health benefits you mentioned?
A glass of green juice in the morning is a wonderful jump-start on getting all of your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables for the day (average of 2-3 servings per glass). And, it’s a heck of a lot more convenient to sip up these amazing nutrients than to sit and chew the same amount of food. Green vegetables are chock full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and other wonderful nutrients and they help you detoxify and cleanse your body as your digestive system eliminates waste. And, in its liquid form, the amazing plant enzymes and nutrients go straight to your bloodstream. I literally feel amazing after drinking it and I want to eat healthy for the rest of the day.
Q. Isn’t it really expensive buying all that produce, especially organic?
Have you priced cancer lately?? Or any other major disease for that matter. Seriously, you can’t put a price tag on your health! All that aside, it actually only costs me about $2 per green juice per day and that is mostly organic. (My organic rule is buy organic for any of the dirty dozen. I buy conventional and peel and/or wash any of the clean fifteen) That’s 8 quarters a day. If you ask me, that’s a small price to pay for good health! And, less than you will throw down for a Starbucks. Sure, it’s an extra $14 a week on your weekly grocery bill. I know that money is tight for a lot of people. So, if that’s the case, the question is: Where can you cut back on $14 a week? That’s the cost of a top-shelf cocktail plus tip that you could skip. Or, the price of going out for lunch when you can just bring it to the office instead (and the packed version will likely be much healthier too!) What about money spent on clothes and designer handbags. While there is nothing wrong with getting your shop on, just remember that the body you spend every day of your life in is going to last a lot longer than any fashion fad or purse. Just a little perspective for you. If you are serious about your health, money should not be an issue for most. It’s affordable enough. (Although, I will warn you – you will get asked a lot at the grocery store: What are you going to do with all those cucumbers? You can come up with a creative reply of your own, if you like, but I always just tell them about juicing.)
Q. Why not smoothies instead? Isn’t juicing wasteful?
It is true that juicing will extract the fiber into a waste pile, whereas making a smoothie in the blender will utilize the entire fruit or vegetable. The pulp doesn’t necessarily have to go to waste, though. It makes an excellent compost for your garden. I’ve also heard the enzymes are great for a face mask (although I haven’t tried that one yet). I’ve also seen recipes that use up the pulp (although, again, I haven’t actually tried it — but there are options)! So, what is wrong with fiber, you might ask? Absolutely nothing! As a matter of fact, your body needs fiber to help keep you feeling full and also act as sort of a scrub brush to clean out your system on the regular. That is why I make sure to get plenty of fruits and veggies in my diet throughout the rest of the day. But, the beauty of juicing is that without the fiber (which your body has to work hard to digest), all of the phytonutrients, enzymes, and other goodness in your jar of magical juice are going to go straight to your bloodstream! This is where the magic happens. Smoothies are great (I love them too!), but you are only getting a fraction of the nutrients because much of them are lost in the digestion process.
Great question! You definitely want to get your juice on first thing, before you have breakfast. The reason why is because on an empty stomach, your body isn’t working on digesting anything yet. It can get to work on delivering all the amazing juice goodness to your cells, straight away.
Q. What if I don’t have a lot of time?
Okay, I’m not going to lie to you here. It takes a bit of time to get everything prepped, run it through your juicer, and then clean it all up. But, it is totally worth every second of that time! With some practice, I’ve got it down to 5-10 minutes in the morning (depending on how many kids I have hanging on me, while I make it!) I get it that many morning routines are absolute madness: snooze bars to hit, kids to get off to school, lunches to make, adults to get ready — who has time to make juice? You do! If I can do it, you can do it!! As most everything in life, it all boils down to: How bad do you want it? You can make the time, or you can make excuses. There is nothing more important than our good health. Unfortunately, this is something that is often not realized until it is too late. Invest in your future and take the time for preventive measures. You are worth it!! (PS – What’s 10 minutes a day??)
My favorite: 1 cucumber, half a lemon, half an apple, a big handful of greens (kale/spinach/romaine), 1/2 thumb size nub of ginger, 2 carrots. Juice & enjoy!! (Be creative with your own concoctions, but just keep in mind that you want to use way more veggies than fruits, which have a lot of sugar and can cause a blood sugar spike when not used in moderation. Also, switch up your greens! Raw kale & spinach contain something called goitrogens which, if built up in your body in large amounts, can cause thyroid issues. It’s the “too much of a good thing” theory. The good news is you can rotate your greens and still have green juice and smoothies on the daily. (Good alternates are romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, swiss chard, arugla and parsley). Of course, if thyroid issues or any other health issues are a concern, consult your doctor!
This green goodness is something I crave every single morning and I’ve got my whole family drinking it! I look at it as an investment in our health and our future. It’s a supreme practice of self-love to take the best care of this one and only body that you have. I hope you will consider joining us on the juice crusade!
I tried to answer all of the most common questions, but if I left anything out, let me know in the comments and I will answer them! So, who are my fellow green juice junkies? Anything else to share? Or, are you just thinking about getting started? We want to know where you are at in your journey. Share with us in the comments below!
Here’s to your health!!