Have you tried a juice cleanse yet? Unless you are living under a rock, you already know these mini detoxes are all the rage. I’ve done a few days of juice here and there with my own, homemade fresh pressed juice and I’ve also bought pre-pressed juices from here and here. But are they a good idea? I don’t really know for sure. I feel energetic and light after a few days of juice. It’s a great way to hit the “reset button” when my habits – too little sleep and too much sugar/caffeine/alcohol/stress – have gotten the better of me. Fresh juices deliver a hefty dose of concentrated nutrients, but they also pack a ton of sugar. Even the natural kind isn’t great for you in large quantities. I’ve been looking for a way to include the benefits of fresh juice on a daily basis, but I’ve been stuck on the fact that the peel and pulp eliminated in the juicing process remove the beneficial fiber. To get the most out of your fruits and veggies, you need the fiber, which acts like a scrub brush to remove all the gunk from your innards. Nice visual, right? Fiber also provides much needed staying power so you aren’t hitting up the vending machine at 10 a.m.
Meet my new friend, the whole fruit smoothie. I’ve been playing around with the recipe over the last few weeks and I’ve settled on a keeper. The greener it is, the more I like it. Sip it slowly first thing in the morning and come alive. Sometimes, I even enjoy the rest of the smoothie later in the afternoon for a pick-me-up instead of a latte. If you drink the entire batch in one day, you’ve just knocked out five (yes, 5) whole servings of fruits and veggies.
To make it, you need a high-powered blender that isn’t going to smell like burnt rubber after 10 seconds on high. I swear the Vitamix people are not paying me, but I have to sing the praises of this thing yet again. I am not exaggerating when I say it has changed my life. I use it at least once daily and often twice. I would grab it and run if my house were on fire.
Even my kids drink my new morning cocktail if I take it easy on the fresh ginger. They like to be in charge of turning on the blender and cranking the speed up to the max. I also let them add the greens at the end. It’s sort of fun to see the whole thing go from a drab yellow color to bright, electric green. As is always the case in kitchen matters, they’re more likely to taste it if they’ve helped make it. I like to use coconut water for the potassium and the subtle hint-of-tropical-vacation flavor (no paper umbrella, sorry). I am also experimenting with using homemade almond milk (recipe to be posted soon) for added healthy fat. Speaking of which, you may be wondering…
What about protein and fat? No breakfast counts in my book without these elements. I like to chase this smoothie a bit later in the morning with a generous fistful (not really, I use a scoop) of toasted millet muesli. This granola-esque dry cereal, which can be enjoyed alone or over a little plain yogurt, has just the right mix of healthy fats and protein from the nuts and coconut. The oats and millet give it whole grain fiber and all around goodness. I prefer mine less sweet, but you can drizzle a little honey or maple syrup over it if you like.
The juicer still has it’s place in my kitchen. It’s ideal for carrots, beets, broccoli and other vegetables that don’t lend themselves well to whole juicing because of their tougher texture. Of course, I like to eat these foods whole, too. If you bought a juicer recently, don’t fret. You can also use fresh pressed juice to punch up whole fruit juices by replacing some of the water or coconut water.
Do you have a favorite breakfast that incorporates fruits, vegetables, protein and fat? Tell me about it here…