The beginning of each year often sparks a “time to get healthy” flame in many. After indulging during the holidays, it is not uncommon for people to want to make healthier choices, increase energy levels and even shed a few pounds. One easy way to help with this is by increasing your vegetable intake. One healthy and enjoyable way to do this is by juicing or blending your vegetables of choice. Juicing takes the juice from fruits or vegetables but leaves out fibrous material, while blending uses the entire food so the fiber is still present. Which is better? You may have to decide that on your own. Each way provides an opportunity to incorporate more vegetables into your diet that could be lacking.
For example, beets, kale or any leafy green, carrots and cucumbers may be used, and depending on your palate, can be quite delicious if added to a juice or smoothie. You get the added nutrients that each vegetable provides, as well as a different way to increase daily vegetable servings. Coconut oil, ground flaxseed, fresh herbs or ginger root add flavor and healthy fats to a smoothie too. You might experiment by substituting different kinds of milk such as coconut, almond and hemp, then add a scoop of nut butter or a large spoonful of full fat plain Greek yogurt for additional protein.
It is recommended that smoothies are made with a 3:1 vegetable-to-fruit ratio to make sure the sugar content is not over the top. Remember, although fruit sugar is natural, it can still increase blood glucose and insulin release.
Vegetable intake increases your fiber consumption, which can significantly lower your risk for developing chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Give the juice and smoothie recipes a try!
“Mean Green” Juice
Using a juicer, add ½-1 cucumber, 2 celery stalks, 6-8 kale leaves, ½ lemon, 1 green apple, 1-inch ginger root. Serve over ice if desired.
Basic Green Smoothie
Using a high speed blender, add 2 cups greens (spinach or kale), 1 cup unsweetened coconut water or milk, ½ cup frozen berries, 1 T ground flaxseed, ½ c. full fat plain Greek yogurt. Blend and enjoy!