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JUICING FOR HEALTH



 

November 28, 2010 on 12:48 am
Fragaria × ananassa 'Chandler,' a short-day co...
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Parents have a difficult job. Fear is everywhere, and if we responded to all the adverts around us, making us afraid of the air we breathe and the water we drink, we’d live a sad, drab life. Most of us struggle to find the right food for our children. They need liquid, they need vitamins, they need fiber and they need protein.

Sadly many of the popular drinks contain only carbohydrates, and rather too much of that, they are also expensive. I found that my kids would drink cans, but they had learned so much about pollution at school that when I suggested water as a substitute they thought I was mad.

The problem with cola/soda is that it’s sweet and kids get used to that. It can also contain caffeine which has more effect on small bodies than it does on adults. In fact when you get right down to it, you wonder why we let them drink it all. There are many alternatives. Sparkling water is one, smoothies are another.

Most of us think of smoothies as creamy drinks, and this is great initially when you are persuading your kids to try them out. Imagine if you could persuade your children to drink something which supplied them with the water they needed AND lots of minerals and vitamins, without the caffeine and excessive sweetness? Guess what? That ideal drink’s a smoothie, so you’ll need a blender. I like the Blendtec Blender HP3A.

Take a look at any smoothie recipe and one thing that will jump right out at you is the sugar content. Although smoothies are made with real fruit, modern tastes seem to prefer food which is far sweeter.

The good things about this is that the sweet tooth is learned, so it can be unlearned. Ask anyone from outside the USA and they’ll tell you that everything here tastes sweet to them, often too sweet, in comparison to the food in other countries.

Here are three smoothie recipes to help with the process.

1. The original ice cream drink. It’s important to use strawberries and bananas here because they are nice familiar fruits – don’t try to introduce anything weird or wonderful. If you can’t get strawberries because of the time of year, frozen ones taste great.

Strawberry and Banana Ice Cream Drink

1 large banana

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

3-4 fresh strawberries

Blend them all to make a refreshing drink that’s great for the summer.

2. Staying with nice, familiar strawberries, blend them with fruit juice and start to introduce some other fruit.

Pineapple and Strawberry Smoothie

8 large strawberries

1/2 banana

3 pineapple slices

1 cup of apple juice (no added sweetener)

If this isn’t sweet enough, try adding just a little honey.

Blend it all together until smooth and then add 1 cup of crushed ice as the final touch.

3. This last recipe introduces melon. I love the taste of melon, especially water melon, but I’ve never been able to persuade my kids to eat it. This recipe had the opposite effect. They liked the drink and so were curious about the fruit. The happy result is a house full of melon eaters.

Strawberry Fair

2 cups fresh strawberries hulled and chopped

1 cup apple juice

1/2 melon peeled and chopped into chunks.

As always, add honey if required.

I like to add ice cubes once the fruit is all smushed (technical term) together, the kids seem to enjoy the destruction involved!

Weaning your kids off cola is no easy job, but it’s very worthwhile, especially if you can do it by introducing smoothies. You might just succeed in teaching them that not everything that’s good for you tastes bad.

September 22, 2010 on 5:43 pm

While blenders are relatively commonplace, juicers are relatively new kitchen appliances. Both provide healthy drinks and as a result are sometimes confused, but they are not the same. To understand the differences, read on…

Do you like to blend? My Blendtec blender is in constant use, whether it’s whipping cream, mixing pancakes, or making sauces and dressings. I use it every day and am constantly grateful for the fact that I have two blender cups, other wise I would be lost! My favorite use of the blender is as a smoothie maker; I can throw in any fruit we have, add some fruit juice or yogurt, and know the result will be something that’s good for me as well as tasting delicious.

But blenders aren’t the last word when it comes to healthy drinks from fruit and vegetables. That position belongs to a completely different kitchen appliance, the juicer. Despite the fact that they are very different, many people seem to get these helpful kitchen gadgets confused, so when should you use one and when the other?

The big difference is in the mechanism. A blender depends on spinning blades to reduce the fruit to pulp and release some juice in the process. The basic laws of physics apply, what goes in, comes out, just in a different form. Nothing is separated, the fruit is just turned into pulp.

If you put fruit into your blender with it’s skin on and seeds still inside, the result will still contain that skin and seeds, just chopped up very small. Many people mention that this is one thing they don’t like about smoothies, that the fiber of the fruit is retained in the drink, something which is especially obvious with berries. These are very often used as the basis for smoothies, yet many children don’t like the texture of the result.

There are many types of juicers like the Omega Juicers and many different mechanisms, but all work to separate the juice from the fiber leaving no pith, peel seeds or skin. The result is a smooth juice and contains no lumps.

Nutritionists believe that as the juice is separated from the fiber, the nutrients in the juice are easier to absorb and more readily available to the body, so while smoothies may set you on a healthy path, use a juicer, and you’ve arrived.

Sadly for the household budget, the ideal kitchen would contain both of these devices. The juicer to provide pure juice with no contaminants, preservatives, colorings or extra sweeteners, the blender to create a delicious mixture of fruit juices or juice and other items, such as ice cream, yogurt or milk.

While a juicer can’t get juice out of a banana (they have none) it can extract juice from some apparently unlikely sources including carrots, spinach, cucumber, apples and celery as well as wheat grass, but what happens to the pulp that’s left over? There’s no need for that to go to waste.

Plan a glass of carrot (or carrot and zucchini) juice for breakfast, and as well as the juice you’ll have pulp which can added to bread mix to make muffins, or vegetable soup later in the day. Almost every type of fruit pulp makes a really tasty addition to cookies or muffins.

Juicers and blenders each have a job to do. To maximize your options for healthy living, try to find a place for both items in your kitchen.

September 9, 2010 on 11:56 pm

Okay, so you’ve decide to change your eating habits and add juicing to your diet. So what are some things you should know to help you started?

Following are 10 great tips that will help you get started successfully and stick with it long term:

1: Not all fruits are the same.

Fruits will give your juice the tangy, sweet flavors that most vegetables lack but you should be aware of citrus fruits and melon. Not all juicers will work well with citrus fruits so you may want to purchase a separate citrus juicer for those. They are usually inexpensive and easy to use.

Also, melon tends not to mix well with other fruit juices. Other fruits can easily be juiced together in any combination you like!

2: Apple is the best sweetener for vegetable juices

Not all fruits will work well with a heavy vegetable juice. If you are juicing with a nice blend of veggies you should use apple to sweeten and save your other fruits for a nice fruity blend.

3: Keep it simple.

You don’t have to stuff five different vegetables and a few fruits into a single juice blend to get maximum benefits from juicing. Just pick 2-3 vegetables and perhaps toss in some apple for sweetness into anyone of the Green Star Juicers and you will have delicious and nutritious juice.

It’s the same with fruits. Picking just a couple to combine together will allow you to taste each fruit and enjoy the concoction more.

4: Drinking your juice prior to a meal is best.

Fresh homemade juices are great choices for snacks when you don’t have a lot of food in your stomach and are excellent just an hour or two prior to eating a large meal. Your body will absorb more of the nutrients and enzymes since the juice is sitting on an empty stomach and you will feel more full when you sit down to eat, which will help you control your portions so you eat less.

5: There are more fruits and vegetables out there than you know of.

Make it a point every time you go to the grocery store to explore new options in the fresh produce department. Scour local farmers markets and stop at those roadside stands where farmers direct sell their goods. You may find some delicious, nutritious fruits and vegetables that you don’t already know about!

6: Don’t juice up the same thing every day.

Your body needs a wide variety of nutrients, so make it a point to juice different fruits and vegetables on a daily or weekly basis. You can purchase in bulk for a week to save money, but make sure to change an ingredient or two every week. This will also keep you from getting bored with your juices.

7: Some fruits and vegetables do not turn into juice.

The consistency of different fruits and vegetables varies and some will turn into a puree rather than a juice. For instance, adding banana into a fruit smoothie gives it a thicker, creamier consistency. Fruits and vegetables with this consistency should be blended in a Blendtec Blender rather than juiced.

You can always make fresh juice and then pour some into a blender with these fruits and vegetables for a nice smoothie.

8: Leafy greens will work best if you squish them together prior to juicing.

Rather than just tossing a handful of spinach leaves into the juicer, ball them up together so they are more like a well formed piece of fruit. The vegetable juicer will work best with them this way.

9: Coffee filters eliminate pulp.

If you don’t want pulp in your juice you can use a coffee filter to keep the juice clear.

10: Lemon juice eliminates color changes in fresh juice.

Toss in a teaspoon or two of fresh lemon juice and your juice will not change colors while in the fridge!

Juicing for maximum health benefits doesn’t have to be a radical change in your life. It can be a delicious addition to your current diet that you enjoy and look forward to!

Happy Juicing!


January 11, 2010 on 1:31 am
happy kid from Iran
Image via Wikipedia
A lot of problems come up when you decide to start eating healthier. You can’t afford to buy special food for yourself and you definitely don’t have the time to cook separate meals, yet your husband and children will turn their noses up when they suspect it may be the least bit healthy. What’s a busy mom supposed to do?
You could go the hard route by putting your foot down and insisting everyone in the family eat what you cook or go hungry. That would result in a lot of bitter looks, empty bellies, and wasted food going into the trash.

There has got to be a better way? And yes of course there is!

You Change Their Favorite Meals By Tweaking It

Look at the meals your family loves right now and make simple substitutions to make them as healthy as possible. You can change white refined pasta and bread to whole grain pasta and bread. Ground beef can be changed to extra lean ground turkey. You can use fresh fruit for flavoring and honey to sweeten instead of refined sugar.

Look at each individual recipe and make simple healthy substitutions. Chances are they will never even notice that you have made the changes!

Invite Kids into the Kitchen

Start including your children in the cooking process and never let on that what they are doing is healthy. Just tell them you want to start teaching them to cook and let them participate in every step of the process. Start by letting them roam the fresh produce section at the store and pick out fruits and vegetables that appeal to them on a visual level. If they picked it out they are more likely to at least try it come dinnertime.

When you get home, invite them into the kitchen and let them help you cook. Even if you have to go behind them and stir again, at least they are taking part in the cooking and will be more excited to eat what they have prepared.

Finally, find a cookbook with healthy recipes and allow older children to read through and pick out dishes they may want to try. If some of their choices aren’t very healthy make some changes and substitutions when you prepare it for the first time. Instead of presenting it as a really healthy dish, you can tell them with excitement “I made that dish you wanted to try!” Kids old enough to read will enjoy picking out their own meals.

Offer a Healthy Sip

Finally, introduce a juicer or smoothie maker into your home. Kids of all ages love juice and you can hide a lot of powerful vegetables into a good fruit blend without them ever suspecting. This is a great way to use up those strange fruits and vegetables that your kids pick out at the grocery store but which you don’t know how to cook up!

Juice made from fresh fruits and vegetables is so nutritious it can be used to make smoothies for breakfast. Try using the Blendtec blender and include your kid’s favorite flavor combination’s or let them get creative and dictate their own combination’s. This makes breakfast fast, tasty, and healthier than any bowl of cereal could ever be!

Fruit & Vegetable Juicers