Hold the Caffeine…

So, last week Starbucks announced the opening of their first juice bar, ushering in the promotion of a healthier type of food “on-the-go”.

Vegetarian food - starbucks evolution fresh 2

The juice bar is part of the Evolution Fresh chain and will be offering fresh fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, wraps, salads and soups to customers who prefer to steer clear of the caffeine and calories contained in some of the Starbucks’ menu staples.

There’s plenty of choice for vegetarians, vegans and the health conscious, with lots of “superfoods” such as quinoa, kale, spinach, flax meal, wild rice, buckwheat and blueberries featuring on the ingredient list.

While some news reports found it more fun to focus on the huge typo found in one of the juice bars’ promotional signs, I have to say I’m delighted to hear about any move towards healthier fast food. If delicious, healthy, low calorie juices and superfoods can become a part of the mainstream diet, perhaps we’re taking gradual steps towards improving the health of the nation?

I, for one, am a big fan of juicing. Once you have experienced how amazing fruits and vegetables taste when juiced, you never look back. What’s more, drinking fresh juices gives you the kind of energy that helps you to live life to the full.

I know some people find juicing a hassle, but the pay-offs are immense.

Clarity of mind, more energy and a potent shot of nutrients to boost bodily health are just some of rewards you can reap from a glass of freshly squeezed juice. I also like the fact that I‘m getting my energy shot without creating a dependency on a drug-like substance such as caffeine.

If you’ve never tried juicing, or you’re looking for tips to make the juicing process easier, I’ve shared, below, some of the things I’ve discovered on my own juicing journey.

Vegetarian food - vegetarian juice

Juicing made easy

1. Choose the best equipment you can afford

One of the biggest problems people seem to have with juicing is the cleaning of the juice extractor. If you’re serious about juicing, then you need to use a centrifugal juicer – a piece of equipment that isn’t cheap.

When choosing a juice extractor it’s, unfortunately, true that you get what you pay for, cheaper models simply do not yield enough nutritious juice to make them cost effective and, as I have discovered, they can be a nightmare to clean.

A decent juicer will also help you when it comes to juicing tougher, fibrous fruits like pineapple, or if you like to include fresh ginger in your juices.

2. You’re going to need a blender too

Some fruits, namely mangoes, strawberries and avocados don’t juice so well in a juice extractor and need to be blended; if you want to make juices containing these fruits, using a blender is advisable. It’s also better to use a blender if you’re preparing a recipe that includes ice.

3. A golden rule

Believe me, I understand only too well the irksome feeling that cleaning out a used juicer induces! I’ve made it my golden rule to wash the equipment immediately after preparing my juice. I put my glass of juice to one side, and then wash the juicer before drinking it. This means that the juicer is clean and ready for me to use again after I’ve finished my drink and not sitting starring at me reminding me of another chore I have to do.

4. Boost your intake of super superfoods

One of the things I love so much about juicing is the ability to get really creative with recipes. Once you know something of the nutrient quality of fruits and vegetables, you can start creating juices that are literally bursting with taste and health-giving nutrients.

I also create juice recipes to up my intake of super greens such as spirulina and wheatgrass. These foods can be hard on the palate if you’re not used to them, but blending them into juices can improve their taste. I particularly like to add a chunk of fresh ginger to my green superfood juices, as this really helps to improve the taste quality.

5. Additional side effects

Regular juicing can help your body to achieve greater levels of health than you may have experienced before. There are also some other pleasant side effects that juicing can have on your body. If you need to lose weight, a healthy juice can act as a breakfast or lunchtime meal replacement. Juices are low in calories and high in nutrients, so it’s safe to replace one meal per day with a juice if you need to lose a few pounds.

Other regular juicers report a vast improvement to their skin, and it may be possible to improve conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis by including fresh juices in the diet. Juices really do help you to cleanse your body and, therefore, your skin, from within.

What are you waiting for? Get juicing!

There is, of course, so much more to juicing, so many benefits and many juicing books and recipes out there to explore. I cannot emphasize enough how delicious fresh juice tastes to me, nor how amazing a glass can make me feel. Hopefully you’ve picked up on my enthusiasm for the subject and feel inspired to start creating your own delicious, nutrient-rich, energy-giving fresh juices.

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One Response to Hold the Caffeine…

  1. Jenny Sangler March 30, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    What do YOU think about Starbucks move towards a healthier fast food? Would YOU visit their juice bar if given a chance? Post your comments or thoughts below. We’d love to hear from you!

    – Jenny Sangler

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Jenny Sangler