Living More Naturally

Life is good! The sun is shining and local farmers are hard at work growing fresh fruits and veggies to make living naturally easy for us. With a juicer and a blender at our disposal there is no end to the combinations of juices and smoothies that we can make.

Juices and smoothies are an excellent way to increase our intake of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants. But what’s the difference between the two?

Juices have had their fibre removed. They are assimilated very quickly and the nutrients are absorbed directly into the blood stream. Juices are an easy and delicious way to increase our intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Because the fibre has been removed we get the nutrients from more produce than we could reasonably eat at one time. Imagine how long it would take you to eat 5 carrots, 2 apples, a bunch of spinach, a beet and a chunk of ginger…now imagine having it all in a glass.

There are two different types of juicers on the market. The masticating juicer squeezes food through gears that crush it and force it through a fine mesh screen and the pulp is continuously extracted. The Champion and Greenstar both fall into this category. The second choice is the centrifugal. Produce is pushed through a chute into a spinning basket that shreds the food and forces the juice through a fine strainer by centrifugal force.

Smoothies are a whole food beverage that have been blended instead of juiced and still contain their fibre. Fibre slows down the absorption of sugars and helps maintain our blood sugar levels, but some of the nutrients remain locked in the fibre and are not absorbed. Smoothies are thicker than juices and require a liquid, such as water, to help them blend.

In my experience there are only two kinds of blenders, those that make smooth smoothies and those that make lumpy smoothies.

I like to use a combination of juicing and blending to create what I call a juicy. By combining frozen fruits, banana, greens, and using fresh apple juice for liquid we get the best of both worlds. The only downside is that we have to clean the blender and the juicer! Fruits and veggies with a high water content like apples, oranges and cucumbers can be juiced or blended. Produce with a lower water content, like bananas or avocados, are better off blended.

Another fabulous addition to any ones healthy lifestyle is wheatgrass juice. Renowned for its therapeutic effects on cancer, anemia and malnutrition, wheatgrass can be used internally or topically. Juicing wheatgrass requires a special juicer available in manual or electric varieties.

When consuming juices and smoothies it is important to chew them. The chewing action releases saliva and mixes digestive enzymes into your drink, helping to prevent bloating and gas. To get the most benefits from our fresh drinks we should consume them as soon after preparation as we can; however, it is important to drink them slowly to allow our bodies to absorb them, and not to gulp them too quickly.

Whichever method you choose you can feel good about including more servings of fruits and veggies in your diet.


Juicy Recipe:

3 apples (juiced), 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/4 cup blackberries, 1/4 inch chunk of ginger, 1 oz wheatgrass juice. Blend until smooth.