Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Healthy Juicing

There was a time when I was a juicer, always making juice fresh from vegetables and fruits. Somehow I got out of the habit and I've been meaning to get back to it. At least now and then it would be nice to have freshly made juice with no additives or preservatives.

I reconstructed this after I made my drink, lol. So the tomatos, the carrot and the apple are a bit bigger than what I actually used. But you can see how small the beets are.

Wednesday I made up my own concoction consisting of:

- 2 small to medium tomatoes
- 2 small beets (or a medium one)
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 small carrot
- 1 small apple
- 2 stalks/leaves of kale

After I drank this I was very full as that is a lot of veggies to eat and an apple on top of it!  Even though the beet was very small the juice was a beautiful, deep red colour and tasted delicious.

Sorry I didn't think to take a photo before I drank it!

Beets are very good for you. They have:
  • Vitamins: Beetroots are a good source of folic acid and vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene.
  • Minerals: Rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Also, smaller amounts of iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.
  • Amino Acids: While raw beets are mostly water and carbohydrate, they also contain small amounts of all the amino acids (protein).
  • Calories: One 2" (5cm) beetroot contains 35 calories.
  • Antioxidants: Its carotenoids and flavanoids can help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which could lead to damaged artery walls and ultimately heart attacks and strokes. 
Kale is also a nutrition packed vegetable. Kale contains beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin (a carotenoid similar to lutein), calcium and fiber. A sulfur-containing phytonutrient in kale called sulforaphane is believed to have powerful anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-microbial properties and is released when the leaves are chopped or chewed, or blended. 

Kale also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect against certain cancers such as ovarian cancer. Kale is an excellent green to use for detox smoothies as it has cleansing properties. The nutrients in kale help protect against cataracts while promoting healthy lungs, cardiovascular health and boosts the immune system. Kale has anti-inflammatory properties making it an excellent food for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Since I have a few health issues, I look for ways to eat kale and beets and more veggies in general.  For about a year now I've been doing well eating kale in soups and stir frys. I've been wanting to use it in juicing too.  As for beets, I really don't eat them that often as they take too much time to cook and they stain the pots. Even the smaller ones need a lot of cooking and I try to conserve the electrical energy due to the high cost of electricity.  This is why juicing is a good alternative. The beets don't  need to be cooked in advance. They just go into my juicer after washing.

All the other produce is good for you too. Next time I'm going to make kale, apple and fennel juice. I'm not a big fan of fennel but I try to eat it now and then.  I'm especially heartened to learn that fennel has so many wonderful benefits.

I used fennel late last week in a dish with pork and other veggies. This left over fennel needs to be used soon so into the juicer it will go.

Fennel contains many minerals and vitamins: vitamin C, fibers, manganese, potasium, magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin B3 etc. The vitamin C from the bulb of the plant is antibacterian and very useful to the immune system. The fennel bulb is an important source of fibers which help reduce the cholesterol level. Also, the fibers from this herb can prevent intestinal cancer owing to the fact that they can eliminate toxins and cancerous substances from intestines. The herb is rich in potassium - an essential mineral which helps decrease the high blood pressure that can cause a heart attack.
All these benefits certainly make it much more enticing to eat and juicing will make it even easier.

I will say that my blood sugar levels are still more elevated than they should be despite all  my efforts at reducing sugars in the food. I guess I am one of those people that needs more drastic interventions. My doctor will likely put me on another medication when I see her in a few weeks.In the meantime, I will continue to make more changes in the diet, eat more veggies and now that my leg has improved a bit, I can exercise again. Even a bit of exercise will help a lot. I'm just reintroducing juicing and I will need to be careful there too because of the diabetes.  But I think getting more vegetables into the diet will be a good thing. I remember when I juiced before, I felt much healthier then.

Post Script:  I read afterwards that diabetics need to be careful of their sugar levels when juicing (I knew that ;-).  I also read that vegetables that grow above ground (tomatoes, kale, celery) have fewer sugars than vegetables that grow below the ground (beets, carrots) (I didn't know that).  So if you are diabetic like me, don't use too much carrot in your juice or make too many fruit juices.  Next time I will add only a small portion of carrot to my fennel, beet and kale juice and probably skip the apple. I do want to get the benefits of the carrot too but not the high sugar levels.


Barbara Rosenzweig said...

This looks delicious!!

Thanks so much for enjoying my pears.

clairz said...

I'm so glad you wrote about juicing, as I've been wondering about trying it. We get a harvest box full of fresh, organic, and locally grown fruits and vegetables every week, and sometimes they start to stack up in the fridge. I do know that we feel a lot better with all these good foods taking the place of not-so-good ones in our diets--plus, we are losing weight, as well.

I wish I liked kale. I try and try, then I feed it to our chickens. I wonder if that counts, since they eat up the kale and give us eggs in return!

Joyful said...

You're welcome Barb. Those make a nice juice too!

Joyful said...

Clair, I do recommend you try the kale in a juice. It really tastes much better. I also chop it fine for stir fry with lots of other vegetables and light soy sauce. It takes good that way too. I can eat it both of these ways. I think kale would also make a wonderful smoothie ingredient. I will try it that way when I get the right ingredients together.

Kay L. Davies said...

Yes, kale is only good if cooked with mashed potato and lots of butter, which is a bit self-defeating.
I never thought of juicing it. Excellent idea.
I did know root vegetables contain more sugar than veggies grown above-ground.
Does anybody juice squashes or pumpkins (after removing the seeds)?
I think maybe I'll get rid of a few things to make room for a juicer.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Joyful said...

Kay, I've read on a few sites that you can indeed make juice from a pumpkin. You wash it well and cut off the stems and you cut up the pumpkin. You can juice it skin and all. I haven't seen other squashes yet on juicing sites except for zucchini squash. I have a hunch you're asking about butternut squash and things like that. I would experiment the same as with the pumpkin and see what you think.

I would say however that you need to invest in a heavy duty juicer in order to juice the skins of these harder vegetables. I have invested in one that also has a big chute for putting the vegetables and fruit into. I used to have a smaller opening and that led to too much work as all the fruits and veggies have to be cut up to fit the chute. Happy juicing!

Kilauea Poetry said...

Hey there. I didn't know that about the vegies grown above and below in regard to the surgar content- thanks for putting that together! I've grown Kale and many greens but not carrots. I'm sort of frustrated and like you must have to tweek my plan. I've got an older Champion and have only been using it for passion fruit in season. It's been quite a long time that I used it for vegetable juice, so thanks for the inspiration this evening.
It's getting late so I'll come back in the morn so I can take my time with your previous post- glad your leg is better and you can get some exercise in:)

Kilauea Poetry said...

Hey thanks for the comment on the juicer and for the recipe too. We plan to take a run to Costco hopefully this weekend so should be able to pick up a few items. I share your sentiments about the leftover fiber. If it goes in the garden I have to make sure to bury it good cause of the bugs or animals. My brother-law brings over a little lobster or fish off an on, so that ends up under a tree- deep with rocks on top (lol)..well hope you get a good nights rest:)

Sarah said...

Oh that looks yummy!! I do think ill have to try this!!

Joyful said...

Hi Regina, I'm so glad you're inspired to broaden your juicing experience. You have a wonderful juicer so it would be great to put it to good use! I'm glad to know too that I'm not the only one who mulls over what to do with the fibres left after juicing, lol.

Joyful said...

Sarah, so nice to see you. I hope you enjoy the juice!

wiolwaker said...
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