So this is some of the fruit and vegetables that I am going to be juicing for the next 3 days on my Valentine’s Day Little Black Dress Juice Challenge.
So Why Juice?
Juicing is a way of fast-tracking essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes straight into the body. It cuts out the process of mechanical digestion and delivers an incredible number of phytonutrients to boost health, vitality, immunity and energy. It’s a way of taking in the all important anti-oxidants that help fight off disease and premature ageing. By drinking a daily juice, you are flooding yourself with life-giving energy, supporting the body’s natural health processes and making sure you reach your 5-a-day target in the easiest and tastiest way possible!
Juice of Smoothie?
What’s the difference?
When we make juices, we extract the fibre and pulp from the vegetables and fruits, leaving an easily digestible drink that provides nutrients at top speed. The body doesn’t have to digest anything difficult and the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other phytonutrients can all be assimilated in a matter of minutes.
Smoothies are when we blend up the whole fruit and vegetable, keeping hold of all the fibre and pulp. Fibre is an important nutrient in itself, and one which most people in the western world do not get enough of. Fibre keeps our digestive system moving, helping to avoid constipation, and also provides the foods for the all important bacteria and microorganisms living in our gut to feed on. Also, blending up nuts or yoghurt into the drink can also add proteins and other important nutrients into the mix.
So there is an argument for keeping both in your diet. There are some fruits and vegetables that pretty much make the choice for you. For instance, there is no point in juicing an avocado. And some people find the pulp from blended kale or celery just too ‘mealy’ of fibrous for them. I often make a mix – start by juicing some vegetables, pour it into the blender and add some more fruits or vegetables that are better blended.
There’s no need to be too strict about sticking to one method or another – by including either juices or smoothies in your daily diet you are giving your body an incredible healthy gift so just relax and make what you enjoy!
What Equipment do I need?
This is only a 3 day challenge, so I don’t want people to rush out and buy any expensive equipment. Most of us have a blender or Nutribullet in the cupboard somewhere. I have designed all the recipes to be fine either juiced or blended, so whatever you have, you can use. Even if you don’t have a citrus press for the lemons, oranges and limes, you can always juice them by hand over a sieve to catch the pips. Or just skin the fruits, remove any pips and put all the pulp into the blender. If you don’t have any equipment at all and are keen to have a go, first of all ask your friends and family if they have something you can borrow! If that draws a blank, I would recommend either a Nutribullet or NutriNinja to get you started.
Storing Juices and Smoothies
We all know that drinking a juice or smoothie the minute it is made is the best. But that’s obviously not possible if you want to take them to work or out with you. Find yourself some thermos flasks or empty. clean bottles. The best way to store is to mix a squeeze of lemon to the juice. This acts as an antioxidant and will prevent the juice from turning brown. Also, watch out for some fruits that become thicker during the day. Blueberries are notorious for this. They thicken up due to the high content of protein in the fruit and may need loosening with some water or coconut water later in the day when you want to drink the smoothie. Or just find a tea spoon and eat it as a smoothie bowl!
And if you are storing for a couple of days at the time, don’t forget you can freeze juices and smoothies easily. Just make sure you leave some room at the top of the container for the juice to expand in the freezer…’cos maybe some of us have made that mistake before and ended up with a very sticky freezer drawer….not me obviously….
Choosing the Best Ingredients
In an ideal world, we’d all skip around the hedgerow to our local, organic supplier and buy produce that is seasonal, plentiful and cheap while the birds sing around us and we help an old hedgehog cross the road. Hhmmm. Let’s get real. Do what you can. Organic, local and seasonal is best. But outside from that, frozen fruits and veg are great – mostly harvested and frozen unbelievably quickly, they can make things a lot easier. Just make sure you are organised and buy everything on the weekend so you have everything ready to hand when you start. It’s only 3 days, so there’s no problem with buying all the produce ahead. And if you can find organic.. so much the better.
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