Organic Avenue (my favorite juice vendor) calls me the "Juice Fairy" and in a lot of ways I am, but I'm more of a juice zealot. For over 25 years I've been juicing veggies and preachin' the benefits of drinking greens to anyone who will listen and I'm still tweakin' recipes and discoverin' new stuff every day about the best ways to get my greens. Two green juices or smoothies are an essential part of my daily routine and my Optimal Mind Body food plan. They give me energy, loads of essential nutrients I might not otherwise get from my salads, help curb my cravings for processed food, enhance my digestion and I actually think they make me a better person or at least a nicer person to be around. My saying is "two juices a day keep the doctor, the need to diet and the depression away."
Thanks to friends and juice pioneers like Doug Evans, Jill Pettijohn and Joe Cross, this country's in the midst of a juice revolution. Now we can find (or have delivered to our door) fresh green organic juices in more places than imaginable-even at Starbucks.
Unfortunately most (more than half) of the juices or smoothies you'll find in stores or that we make are surprisingly high in sugar. While the sugar found in fruit is not bad, too much sugar, even fructose, the sugar found in fruit, raises your insulin levels and leave us wanting and needing more sugar to feel better and more energized. Ultimately too much sugar also leads to insulin resistance which can lead to a whole host of health problems, including diabetes.
To keep calories, body fat, sugar cravings and inflammation at bay, as a standard recommendation, just as some of my fave functional medicine doctors like Dr. Mercola, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. A small apple has 15 grams of sugar, a big apple, 23 grams and there are a whopping 47.8 grams in one cup of blueberries. See below for more info on highest and lowest glycemic fruits.
This is why when it comes to drinking green juices, I suggest 80% green veggies: kale, chard, cucumber, celery, cilantro, parsley, etc. and only 20% low glycemic fruit: 1/2 avocado, as much ginger & lemon as you like and only 1/2 an apple or pear. And if you buy a juice, 12 grams of sugar or less per bottle, not per serving.
To help you decide whether to make or buy your green juices and smoothies, I've answered some of the FAQ's about the benefits of drinking your greens, the differences between pressed and other juices, the pros and cons of juicing versus blending, blender recos, etc. in a previous blog post.
HERE ARE MY FAVE WAYS TO GET THE HEALTHIEST LIQUID GREENS IN YOUR LIFE:
1. BUY THEM:
Mellow Love : 6 grams of sugar
Stand and Deliver: 4 grams of sugar.
Simple Green: 8 grams of sugar.
Essential Green: 12 grams of sugar.
Unfortunately, I could not find a low in sugar green juice at Whole Foods. I tried Suja, it was great but it had 20 grams of sugar. For juices higher than 8 grams of sugar (per juice), my suggestion is to drink 1/2 in AM & 1/2 in afternoon, to avoid a sugar rush or pour half in a water bottle and fill both with water OR get a Multigreen Kombucha which is delicious, low in sugar AND good for your digestion/gut health. Swap one green juice out for one Kombucha and do 1 of each per day if you get bored with just green juices.
The Whole Foods and Starbucks juices are bottled with a special process that allows for a longer shelf life-up to two weeks! So if spoilage is your concern, choose these:
Reach for the juice furthest back on the shelf. Those are usually the freshest. Look at the expiration date. Organic Avenue says that you can wait 1-2 days after the expiration max although to maintain the best quality, consume by the expiration before or on the expiration date.
For a great NYC Juice Roadmap check out this awesome blog by Well and Good.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN JUICES OR SMOOTHIES
It really doesn't take more than five minutes to make a delicious juice or smoothie, if you have everything you need. I'm partial to my MB Green Smoothie because all you need is a blender, it's yummy, it has avocado and fills me up.
TIPS: Keep organic frozen veggies stocked in your freezer for your juices. All Whole Foods have organic frozen kale, spinach and lots of other frozen yums, you can keep on hand to reduce the amount of waste that comes from unused fresh veggies.
3. STIR THEM INTO YOUR WATER:
I use Innate Green Powder from Mountain Health Products for when I'm traveling to a 3rd world country or other places, where it's hard to find organic green veggies. I also use it to supplement my juices back home.
IF YOU WANT TO DO YOUR OWN JUICE CLEANSE CLICK HERE FOR MY FAVE MB CLEANSE SCHEDULE. You can use an combination of store bought or homemade green juices or smoothies. But I recommend you add a vegan protein shake and a salad or soup as well.
Need more guidance, want someone to customize and guide you through your own juice cleanse or just don't want to go it alone? Schedule an appointment for a consultation.
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