Fruit and vegetable juices are cooling and cleansing. They are easy to digest, moistening, and refreshing. They can be a remedy for those who are stressed, overheated from mental stimulation, do excessive physical activity, or live in a hot climate. They can provide a natural laxative effect. Including the pulp, seeds, and rinds, and flesh in smoothies are less cooling and can provide more energy. For best results fruit and juices are best drunk at least four hours after and one hour before a meal.
They are considered very concentrated, and the sugars go straight to the blood stream. When overeaten, it can promote yeast overgrowth and other forms of dampness. This is best off-set by periods of abstaining from fruit juicing. Eating or drinking fruit juices all day may cause weakness of the digestive system as they are cold and damp forming according to Paul Pitchford in his book, Healing with Whole Foods, Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. He states that excessive consumption of juices impairs the metabolic rate and digestive strength of our spleen-pancreas digestive fire. Those people with heavy meat and processed food backgrounds tend to do well with modicum amounts of fresh raw fruits and vegetables, and blended drinks. Remember, that while there are more nutrients in raw whole veggies and fruits, fewer of these nutrients will be absorbed compared to when they are lightly cooked or blended.
Fruits offer plenty of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, but they are best eaten whole with their fiber. I don’t recommend regular juicing with fruit, especially if you are on a weight loss plan. Its like injecting sugar right into your veins. Thus, if you’re wanting to watch your blood sugar, don’t add fruit or fruit juice to your green drink smoothies.
Be especially cautious with tropical fruits like mango and pineapple, which are very high in sugar. That will send your blood sugar and insulin levels soaring, increasing fat storage. The exception is using the occasional green apple or kiwi to sweeten some of the more bitter green drinks. Green apples are relatively low in sugar.
The focus should be not on fruit, but on dark leafy greens and vegetables. However, this should not be a substitution for eating your vegetables as you need the fiber from the whole vegetable that a juice or blended drink just can’t provide.
All cruciferous veggies are said to be goitrogenic, meaning they contain substances that suppress thyroid function when consumed raw. They may also cause gas, bloating and stomach upset in some people. Therefore, juice raw cabbage, collards, bok choy, kale and broccoli in moderation. Cruciferous vegetables have wonderful health benefits when cooked or lightly steamed, which deactivates the goitrogens. The goitrogenic activity of these raw vegetables is debatable. Other research indicates consuming these foods actually supports the thyroid. Dr. K. News writes in his blog, Goiter, Goitrogens, And Thyroid Enlargement, “The single most common cause of goiter in the United States is from chronically undiagnosed autoimmune Hashimoto’s completely unrelated to iodine deficiency.” “Normal consumption of goitrogenic foods do NOT cause goiter.” He also states, “…it only takes a pinhead of iodine a day and a teaspoon of iodine over a lifetime to avoid thyroid goiter.”
You may decide to eat raw spinach, beet greens and chard sparingly. They contain oxalic acid, which can irritate the mouth and intestinal tract and block iron absorption and calcium metabolism. Oxalic acid has also been linked to the formation of kidney stones. However, there is some controversy here. As Victoria Boutenko explains in her article, Oxalic Acid and Green Smoothies, A Common Misunderstanding, “the relation between dietary oxalate and stone risk is unclear”. She goes on to cite several studies that do report substantial evidence indicating a diet high in animal protein, and low in fruits and vegetables that increases the risk for stone formation.
The best veggies to blend into a green-drink are
- Cucumbers, which are very cleansing and good for skin health.
- Celery, anti-inflammatory and alkalizing; also said to lower blood pressure.
- Beets (occasionally), a super liver cleanser and great vegetarian source of iron.
- Carrots, rich in beta-carotene, beneficial for eyesight, and also a great liver/gall bladder cleanser. Use caution with carrot juice, as it’s also high in sugar.
- Spinach (occasionally), high in iron, very alkalizing, and great for skin health.
- Wheatgrass (if no allergy to grasses), overall great detoxifier and also alkalizing.
- Fennel, excellent for digestion, reduces bloating. Great licorice-like flavor.
- romaine lettuce or red bell peppers (very high in vitamin C)
- Herbs are great, too; use parsley, cilantro (helps to chelate heavy metals), basil, and ginger (good for digestion and cleansing). Raw unpasteurized honey, green cored apple. Add 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp spriulina/chlorella blend if you can stand the taste and the forest green color!
- Be cognizant of added calories and sugars when you add your own ingredients to a powered meal replacement plan.
Here are a few recipes for you to try out.
- Apple Ginger Fizz
1-inch ginger or 2 drops ginger essential oil 2 or 3 carrots 1 apple, cored shot of seltzer water
Place first 3 ingredients in juicer. Pour in a glass and mix with seltzer.
- Alkalinizing Punch
3 kale leaves 2 or 3 carrots 1 apple, cored wedge of lime or lemon, or 2-4 drops of lemon or lime essential oil.
Place first 3 ingredients in juicer. Pour in a glass, add a squeeze of lime or lemon, and stir.
- Cleansing cocktail
2 or 3 carrots 1 apple, cored ½ C cranberry juice 3 kale leaves 1-inch ginger or 2 drops of ginger essential oil.
Place all ingredients in blender. Mix with crushed ice if desired.
- Cucumber Refresher
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green apple
- 1 carrot
- Handful spinach
Optional: 1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro or add 1 drop of cilantro essential oil
5. Spicy Greens
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 red pepper
- 1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro or 1 drop cilantro essential oil
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1/2 fennel bulb
- Handful spinach
- squeeze lime (into finished juice) or 2-4 drops lime essential oil
Optional: garlic cloves to taste