How to Choose a Juice
Disclaimer: This is not medical or personalized nutrition advice, but general education. Discuss your own nutrition needs with your healthcare provider or qualified nutritionist.
Juice is one of the more controversial nutrition topics, and everyone seems to have an opinion on them. They’re have too much sugar. They don’t have any fiber. Why drink juice when you can just eat a salad or a piece of fruit? If you have juice, only cold-pressed juices made from organic ingredients are good enough.
Well, if you’d like some levity on the subject, you’ve come to the right place.
When I was a kid, anything that came in a pouch, juice box, or was orange-colored was considered “juice.” Most people have a more refined understanding of juice now, and many companies proudly label their products as 100% juice in order to stand out from the crowd.
Here’s the deal: the juice that you can buy at the store is basically a shot of fructose.
Most of the nutrition in the original fruits and veggies is lost during processing, and some juices have off-label added flavors. Unless you’re making punch or mimosas, store-bought juice is a waste of money.
Juices also shouldn’t take the place of eating fruits and vegetables, because you need the fiber that those foods provide. Instead, think of juice as a vitamin and phytonutrient supplement.
What about a juice cleanse?
You’ve likely heard of juice cleanses or juice fasts, which are pretty popular this time of year and also in the summer months. I could write a whole book on juice fasts but I won’t elaborate here. Instead, I recommend that you be wary of any kind of meal substitutes (even juice) that are marketed for weight loss or detox. You should always discuss this subject with a qualified nutritionist who knows your health history before pursuing something drastically different than your usual eating style. Fasts and cleanses are dangerous if they are done incorrectly.
If you want juice that is both nutritious and delicious, the best thing you can do is make it yourself.
However, that requires a juicer and a whole lot of cleanup time. So I get it if you want to opt for something a little easier. That’s where your local juicery can be a big help: they make delicious fresh juices from scratch every day!
Some local juice shops that I like:
You can also get fresh-pressed juices in the produce section of Central Market!
But hey, remember what I said about juices being a shot of fructose? Fresh-pressed juice can be high in sugar too…it just has more vitamins. So, if you’re looking for a juice recipe that won’t make you jittery, here’s what to order (or make at home!):
Balanced Juice Recipe:
Spinach, romaine, kale, and celery are excellent foundations for your juice. These vibrant greens have tons of chlorophyl, which helps oxygenate your blood and energize your day. Leafy greens also have the nutrients you need for detoxification in the liver, and celery is rich in electrolytes that support hydration.
A piece of fruit
Lots of fruit juice will spike your blood sugar, but an apple, orange, or pear makes an otherwise bitter veggie juice slightly sweet. Fruit provides extra vitamin C and antioxidants, and often gives a tart flavor.
Red or Orange Veggie
Carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and beets all contain beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant and vitamin A precursor. These are especially supportive of immune health and energy production.
Herbs and Spices
These add extra zing to your juice without adding much volume, and have a ton of phytonutrients. I love to use ginger and lemon, but I’ve seen juices with basil, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, oregano, clove, and cinnamon. Herbs and spices set your juice apart and can give you a kick in the pants.
I’ve had some amazing flavor combinations with this recipe template, and I look forward to trying more. What’s your favorite juice recipe?