If you're wondering how on earth you're ever going to eat your "Minimum Daily Requirement" of fruits and vegetables each day, here's a quick and easy solution. Juicing!
The "MDR" varies according to your age, but to simplify it's about 2-3 cups each of fruits and vegetables for adult men and a half cup less of each for women. But remember that the "M" in MDR stands for the minimum amount needed to maintain a healthy body as determined by the US Department of Agriculture nutritional research, not the optimum amount that makes you feel your best!
Whether your goal is minimum or optimum, juicing is the fastest way to ingest and absorb all the nutrients in fruits and vegetables. One pound of produce makes just one cup of fresh juice, so a glass or two a day will do it! And because juicing separates the juice from the fiber, your body absorbs more nutrients faster than if you had eaten the fruit or vegetable whole. And keep in mind that store-bought juice must be pasteurized. This process destroys many good nutrients such as enzymes. And commercially made juice is not fresh or chemical-free.
Juicing is also the best way to ingest green vegetables. These are considered "superfoods" because they are packed with minerals, protein, and alkalizing nutrients, but they are not very tasty. You can simply eliminate their bitter taste by juicing them with other more flavorful foods such as carrots, apples, berries, and bananas.
You can use your creative juices and experiment with fruit and vegetable combinations that suit your taste. If you're worried about wasting time and expensive produce on combos that might taste terrible, just pick up a juicing recipe book to guide you. It will also provide combinations that prevent and even fight a wide variety of illnesses.
Here are my absolute favorite vegetable juice recipes - one for the sweet tooth and one that's spicy:
Sweet Veggie Juice
6 carrots - only peel half the surface!
2 stalks celery - with the greens!
2 sprigs mint or 1"ginger
Spicy Veggie Juice
2 tomatoes - skin and all!
1 stalk celery
1 leaf spinach
½ handful fresh parsley
4 sprigs watercress
sea salt and pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Horseradish to taste
Remember to wash your produce to reduce pesticides. Better yet use your own garden grown or farmers' market organic produce to eliminate chemicals altogether. Even large grocery stores now have organic lines of fruits and vegetables - they cost a bit more, but your health is well worth it!
Most juicing appliances are made to be durable so you can juice stems and seeds without harming the appliance. Pits and large seeds should be removed as well as hard husks and skins. Most juicers will clog if you throw in a banana or avocado, so place these in a blender and then combine it with your juiced produce. If you don't want to buy a juicer, you can use a blender but you have to strain the juice or it tastes sandy!
Some people juice entire citrus fruits, rind and all, such as lemons, limes, oranges, and even grapefruit! I'm not one of them. I discard the peel, but I do juice that white pith which is packed with nutrients. Melons also can be juiced in their entire, just beware that the skin adds bitterness to the flavor.
And one more quick tip, don't bother to store your juice by refrigerating or freezing - most of the nutrients value is lost after 24 hours. Some foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, and melon, start losing their nutrients right after you juice them. So it's best to drink your fresh juice right away. If you must store something, freeze the produce, not the juice.
Absolutely nothing is more thirst quenching and good for you - and your children! - than a quick glass of home-made juice. And with juicing, there's no cooking and no pans to clean. So start juicing today!
Jan Gilbert is dedicated to promoting the amazing benefits of freshly juiced, organic fruits and vegetables. Click here for more juicing tips, recipes, and recipe books.