PRODUCE PICKS: JUICING THE NEW YEAR

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By Greg Dunne

December 26, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — The first of the year is almost here.  Some New Year’s resolutions maybe? Hopefully eating healthy is one of them. I’m going to talk a little bit about juicing, how fun it can be, and of course how good it is for you as well.

I don’t “diet” but I am conscious of what I eat and have been juicing for at least 10 years. Juicing a few times a week adds to my healthy eating habits. I usually make enough juice to last me two days. Although it loses some of its nutritional value the second day, it’s still better than store bought juice. The effort I put into the juicing ensures that I use it.

I’ve been very conscious of what I eat for about 10 years. I still indulge in snacks and occasionally a burger and fries, but if I indulge with a burger and milkshake with the boys one evening, I’m real strict with myself for at least a week following. I’ve always thought you have to “live” when eating and the occasional birthday cake is going to come up now and then. But for me I always stay “clean” for a good week after an indulgence.

I have two different juicers. The two juicers I have are the Nutri-Bullet and a Bella Juice Extractor. The first I mainly use for smoothies and the second for juice. The quickest to prepare and easiest to clean is my Nutri-bullet, which makes great smoothies. I principally use it for fruits and berries, with some greens, non-fat yogurt and almond milk. From start to finish the Nutri-bullet takes me about 15 minutes and I’ve got enough “smoothie” juice for the day. My Bella juice extractor is a little old school – it extracts the pulp from the juice leaving refreshing pure juice.

For me, juicing has always been like vegetable gardening. It’s a lot of fun and it can be different every time. You create your own mix and it varies with what is available. Sometimes I feel a bit adventuresome and add a bit of spice to my juicing with some mild chili peppers or ginger. And, like gardening, when I try to plant a few odd things to grow, sometimes without much luck, but the main veggies are usually always there. And there are times you can use something out of the refrigerator that’s been in there a while and would otherwise get thrown out.

I have my “staple” ingredients for juicing with my Bella juicer: Carrots, Lacinato Kale, Collard Greens, Red Chard, Parsley, Watercress, Cucumbers, Red or Yellow Bell Peppers, Celery and I like to include Tumeric.  The recipe varies each time and I don’t always use all these ingredients.  This mix might taste a bit powerful.  Adding some apples is a good way to cut that “greens taste” and sweetens it a bit. Fuji Apples are a good choice to add as they are very juicy and one of the sweeter apples. I generally use carrots as my base – they are sweet and you get plenty of juice from them. From there you can experiment with the greens you like and change it around now and then. Keep it fun and interesting.

Finally, my favorite ingredient to add is Tumeric!  Tumeric is a powerhouse nutrient root – it is an anti-inflammatory, good for fighting away certain types of cancer, good for the eyes and (my favorite and why I use it), it’s good for the brain. Calorie for calorie, dark green leafy vegetables are one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats.

Juice up this year. It’s easy, fun and good for you. Maybe get a friend involved and swap ideas. Happy New Juicing Year!