While I was writing Juice It!, I remember having a conversation with another green juice aficionado. Comparing our usual green juice configurations, our favorite little touches. Of course, citrus, ginger, perhaps an herb like mint. But she said something that stuck with me.
“I used to put two apples in my green juice.” She said. “And then I just put one, and then I just stopped putting it in at all. I don’t need it now.”
Well, it was a comment that I continued to mull over, as I designed the juice recipes for my book, and later, as I did interviews about the book. It seems very grown up, to my mind, to shift away from needing your juices to be sweet. Of course, apples in juice are perfectly healthy, in fact, juicing a whole apple, skin and all, with a slow juicer, puts tons of heart healthy and protective nutrients in your drink.
But the one thing that people seem to have heard out there in the amorphous world of nutrition lore is that juices are all “just sugar.”
Like all the attacks on foods that bounce around the internet, or that you hear from your cross-fit trainer, this is an overly simplified soundbite.
Yes, many pasteurized, filtered juices that you buy in bottles on the shelf are probably just a step better than soda. Just a step, in that they aren’t concocted in a lab, but simply extracted and cooked. When you take a fruit whose main health benefits come from fiber and vitamin C, and filter out the fiber and cook away the C, well, you have something left that’s not as good for you as the original plant, but still sweet.
But a fresh green juice is hardly “just sugar.”
I use a slow juicer that crushes the plants, pressing out the liquids and even allowing a noticeable amount of fiber into the juice. And as a grown-up, I can make a juice that is hardly sweet at all.
So, like my wise friend, you might want to try cutting back on the sweeter fruits in your juices, and add just enough to make it palatable for you. For the everyday juice, lean toward veggies.
Of course, this is assuming that you are not drinking sugary sodas. Even the sweetest fresh pressed juice is a far cry better than a soda, or a sweet coffee concoction at the coffee shop.
It’s silly to eat bags of Halloween candy, then point the finger at a juice made with a bunch of vegetables as being empty sugar.
This juice is carrying the juice of fresh turmeric and ginger along with the veggies, giving you a dose of brain-protective, anti-inflammatory plant chemicals. All the peels of the cucumber and apple are hiding anti-cancer compounds, so juice them along with everything else. Kale is one of the most nutritious foods we eat, so juicing some to add to your healthy, fiber-filled diet just pumps up the calcium and green goodness in your diet.
So give my grown-up green juice a try. Start by juicing all the ingredients up to the apples, and then taste. Do you need the sweet? It’s perfectly ok if you do. Add two apples, one apple, half an apple. Maybe next time, you’ll need less.
Don’t worry about perfection. Just the fact that you are making yourself a fresh juice is putting you in a small group of health-seekers, people who want to take care of their bodies for the long haul.
I still like an apple in mine.
Grown Up Green Juice
Makes about 2 cups if you add the apples
1 bunch kale
2 inches fresh turmeric
2 inches fresh ginger
1 large cucumber
1 large lemon, peels removed
2 apples, to taste
Juice it all, adding apples at the end and stirring it up to taste. Drink within 24 hours.