As the season of rebirth blooms into full fruition, I can’t help but feel a need for new beginnings. There is no denying this urge is physiologically derived, an echo of our innate, biological call to awaken the hibernating and bundled spirit from the winter’s cold into the newness of Spring. This past snowy New Hampshire winter was strenuous on my physical and mental balance, so spring has entered with an especially strong resonation, encouraging me to intentionally heal myself. And what better way than to reexamine the diet, through nutritiously fueling the physical body and consuming more fresh produce. The return of warming sunshine also means the appreciated entrance of local vegetables and fruits. Breaking out my favorite summer festival rage onesie inevitably means it’s time to dust off of my juicer and blender!
I first started at-home juicing two years ago, when I moved in with a friend who had recently gotten a used juicer online. With gig at a local farm for the summer, I couldn’t believe the benefits. I went home with armfuls of beautiful dinosaur kale, leathery malachite-shaded cucumbers, and vibrantly dyed beets; the earth’s way of offering a much-appreciated gratuity tip for my daily labor. Struggling to find creativity within the monotony of salads and stir-fry, juices and smoothies became avenues for me to make use of the bountiful harvest.
Taste might seem like a deterring factor for those who can’t imagine stomaching liquefied kale. I can personally validate that sentiment; I still despise vegetable juices- everything from V8 to bloody marys. However, I encourage skeptical individuals to try juicing before they write off the beneficial habit, especially meditating on the potential change of physical and mental clarity after consumption. This is the largest testimony to the importance of the practice for me. A fresh juice is more awakening than a coffee or energy drink ever was, not only physically, but mentally as well.
So the never-ending debate of smoothie versus juice? As with any spectrum, there is a yin and yang. Along with solely personal preference, different variables alter the consumer’s decision. Smoothies use a blender, a more common and less expensive kitchen appliance. Adding an additional source of nutrients such as yogurt (greek yogurt is especially excellent at thickening), milk, flax seeds, or wheat grass can wholesomely support a more adequately balanced sustenance. Some pulpy fruits, such as banana or mango, are difficult to juice due to their consistency. Instead, freeze these varieties and include them in the next smoothie- making an analogous but healthy slurpee!
Juicing involves the removal of fibrous material in the produce, basically all of the pulp. This results as disadvantage towards achieving the suggested daily value of fiber, requiring the consumer to be conscientious during following meals. However it allows for several supportive benefits, including the claim many experts make stating a more effective absorption of nutrients because of fiber removal. This is directly correlated to the widespread suggestion to drink juice directly after it has been extracted, on an empty stomach. And with less actual material in the drink, there is more potential for including more items in the same total quantity volume. Sometimes it’s a struggle to reach FDA’s suggested daily servings of vegetables and fruits, but a juice can help reach that total in a single glass. Juicers or juice extractors can be pricey, although among the hidden allies of the internet, companies offer affordable alternatives if the shopper is motivated and patient.
As my senior year of college wraps up, I can confidently say my preferred Sunday morning hangover cure is a juice jam-packed with ginger and lemon, restoring my digestion and energy. Early morning exams are a breeze when I make time for a smoothie full of spinach and blueberry. Music festivals across the country have started to vend freshly made juices to attendees. Smoothie shops have become popular and culturally desired, popping up in airports and shopping malls. The mainstream media labels the recent popularity as no more than a nutritional fad. And as this increase continues, a drop in the trend is inevitable. Fortunately for me, I anticipate this craze to stick to my daily craves due it its incomparable capacity to fuel my mental and physical being. So next time you have to pick between a fresh juice or smoothie and a bottled beverage, try reaching for the magic of the juice.
This article and author offer no medically-backed nutritional knowledge, only the simple potential to share a personal experience from which one positively benefits. This article was lovingly submitted by Amaryth Rose. If you have a healthy habit or advice you’d like to share with our readers, contact SparkleberryLane@gmail.com.
An Incomplete List of Possible Ingredients:
Smoothie Specific Ingredients:
Aloe vera juice or chunks
Milk (cow, almond, rice, soy)
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Fresh Oats (for additional fiber)
Flaxseed (omega-3 powerhouses!)
Peanut, almond, cashew butter
-For Juices: Liquefy the least juicy item first (kale, leafy greens), allowing the most juicy (apple, cucumber) to run through the machine last and catch any remaining material of the preceding
-For Smoothies: the suggested order of ingredients is any liquid material, frozen fruit, powder/add-ins, ice (or coconut water cubes, adding potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes), and finally fresh fruit (minimizing the taste-deteriorating blending process)
-Experiment with taste and quantity of ingredients (for more sweetness, add fruit or specifically lemon for veggie-based smoothies)
-Experiment with variety and combination of different ingredients (granny smith versus gala apples)
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