I am one of those unfortunate people who cannot do a thing without filling my stomach adequately. It is not that I become hungry, my brain seems to dry up and ideas cease to flow. But there are times I just cannot help it - times when I am rushed for a meeting, or a looming deadline, and I just cannot be bothered to cook up a meal and sit down and eat it. For me (and most of us busy folks, always on the go), breakfast thus often becomes one of the most sacrificed meals. But it needn't be so. A very simple solution suggests itself – juices.
I do not mean the juices that one buys in a tetrapak from the big companies. Nor am I advocating fruit juices, which plenty of research claims is mostly sugar. Instead, I have been reading plenty on the vegetable juices that are the new hip thing. I am no scientist, but from what I have read, juicing vegetables is much healthier than juicing fruits. But there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, do not discard the pulp; make sure to run everything through the juicer. Second, have it as fresh as you can, do not keep the juice standing or it may lose vitamins and gain inessential bacteria. A vegetable juice can be an extremely invigorating way to begin your morning.
A word of caution via Mayoclinic. "Some juicing proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on more fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight. However, there's no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself."
Veggies or Fruits – Juice Up!
Of course, fresh vegetables and fruits are the healthiest, but perhaps second best are the fresh, home-made juices. This is especially useful if you do not like certain vegetables, say spinach, which you wouldn't eat otherwise, but in a juice, disguised with other flavours, you can! Juice responsibly, supplemented by a full and healthy diet, and your digestive system will thank you.
I am still a juice neophyte (and not much of a spinach fan), so I mix up my juices with a little fruit. Here are a few of my favourites. You can use any combination of vegetables and fruits, but make sure to have a larger percentage of vegetables than fruit. Naturally, you can use fruits such as blueberries and blackberries, and greens such as wheatgrass, but they are harder to find and more expensive.
1. Spinach, Carrot and Apple Juice
This is a marvellous way to hide the assertive flavours of spinach. What I get is a slightly pulpy drink, but you may wish to strain the juice and separate it from the pulp. This is of course more time consuming and less healthy, as the pulp contains all the fiber.
5 spinach leaves
Cinnamon, for flavouring
1. Roughly chop the spinach, carrot and apple, and toss into the juicer. You may add a little water to thin down the consistency.
2. Strain or have as is. Add the cinnamon as required.
2. Celery, Sweet Lime and Spinach Juice
Here is another way of getting your daily dose of dark greens.
5 spinach leaves
1 sweet lime
2 celery stalks
Lime, for flavouring
1. Roughly chop the sweet lime, spinach and celery. You may wish to remove the fibrous bits of the sweet lime, but again, I think that is where the fibre is.
2. Toss it all into the juicer and squeeze a bit of lime for the vitamin C boost and extra hit of flavour.
3. Kale and Celery Juice
Very determined to include greens in my diet, I made a healthy juice using celery, kale, cucumber and parsley. It was all a bit too healthy for me so I added in a few slices of chopped up pineapple, to sweeten the flavours. Also, I substitute kale for spinach, when I do not find it in the market (which is often).
1 celery stalk
5 kale leaves
2 Tbsp parsley
Few pieces of pineapple (optional)
1. Roughly chop the ingredients and toss them into the juicer. Strain or have as it.
4. Beetroot and Kiwi Juice
Beetroot is another hard-sell for me. What to do? I simply mix it with some fruit and juice it.
1//4 beetroot, large (you can add more, this is only a personal preference) with its leaves, if possible
2 celery stalks
1 kiwi fruit
Lemon, for flavour
1. Peel the kiwifruit and chop up, together with the celery and beetroot, then juice. The reason I like the kiwifruit in this juice is because its tartness effectively undercuts the natural sugariness of the beetroot. Do not choose an overly sweet fruit to juice with the beetroot, like mango or papaya - that would make it too sugary.
2. Squeeze a dash of lemon and down.
5. Tomato and Orange Juice
If you like, add a little pepper or chilli powder, for a Bloody Mary-esque taste.
2 ripe tomatoes
1 orange, skinned and deseeded
A sprig of coriander
1. Roughly chop the ingredients, and push through the juicer. Done!
6. Cabbage, Cucumber and Mango Juice
This is a juice with some serious health benefits. All the green stuff is super healthy and (in my opinion) inedible all together, without the edifying taste of my beloved mango.
3 sprigs of parsley
2 spinach leaves
1. Chop up all the ingredients, and toss into the juicer. Done!
About the author:
Meher Mirza is an independent writer and editor, with a focus on food and travel. Formerly with BBC Good Food India, she loves anime, animals and artsy things but also comics, technology and death metal.
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