nutritious november

To Juice Or To Blend – That Is The Question

The other day I was involved in a discussion comparing juicing to blending (aka smoothies) and which was best. I carefully considered both points of view and for me personally, I felt that blending was better. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion and what thoughts I’ve had since that are maybe challenging my opinions.

I used to juice A LOT ! And I mean every day. I was a fruit-juice-aholic for a good couple of years about 7 or 8 years ago. My favourite juice involved apples & oranges with various other inclusions such as strawberries, melon or blueberries. I loved the creaminess that the pith of the oranges gave to the juice, and the juice was always a taste sensation, no matter what went into it. At the time I was struggling with irritable bowel issues and thought that juicing would help ease the symptoms by cleansing my colon. I think I would’ve juiced even more, had I not found the whole thing quite expensive, as you pack a helluvalot of fruit/veg into a single juice drink.

So the discussion the other day got me to thinking why I prefer blending my fruits & vegetables these days, and I argued that it was firstly so I didn’t lose all the fibre that is contained in the peel and the internals of the fruits & veggies, but secondly I argued that a lot of the nutrients were contained in or just beneath the skin of fruits, so I didn’t want to waste that. After having done some more reading into this, I still believe both these points to be true, but maybe juicing does actually extract the nutrients more than I thought, as it literally pushes all the goodness out of the produce, just leaving the fibrous pulp behind.

Since then I’ve been thinking about juicing more, and how lovely it is, the smooth, fresh juice, not a lump or bit of stringy pith in sight, so so pure. So what’s a girl to do when she longs after those juicing days again? JUICE! That’s what!

So today, I thought I’d make the most simple juice of all out of 2 small apples, 2 large carrots, an orange and half a lemon. Only the orange and lemon were half-peeled before being added to the juicer (I like some of the bitterness of the citrus peel to come through in the juice), and what I got was a sumptuous, deeply coloured juice, that tasted out of this world. Here it is.

But then I saw all the leftovers sat there, looking so colourful and perfectly finely shredded. I put them on the scales and weighed them. Guess how much? An unbelievable 300g (11 oz) of ‘waste’ to produce one 300ml drink!!! I felt uncomfortable at the thought of disposing of all this amazing fibre and vitamins. I pondered over them then thought, wait a minute, I can use these. So I modified one of my clean cake recipes and produced a lovely carrot and orange cake, using up almost all the ‘waste’ from the juicing. So I still get all my vitamins AND my fibre! Win win!

So maybe my opinion of juicing has shifted from being a somewhat wasteful process that loses lots of valuable fibre and nutrients, to one that embraces the whole of the foods and tries to use them in a way that gains the very most out of them. Maybe juicing offers the best of both worlds. I think if you can use all parts of the fruits & vegetables that you juice then you truly are getting one hell of a nutritious deal. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos of juicing recipes and juicer reviews, and the great thing is that you can literally put the whole fruit or vegetable in the juicer. No need for peeling. Even the seemingly tough outer of a pineapple can be just put straight through the juicer (after washing well!), so you really are getting the WHOLE fruit and all its nutrients. That can’t be a bad thing at all.

I think juicing may become more of a permanent fixture and maybe my beloved thick, green smoothies will have to make way for some more delicate but oh so delicious juices instead. I just have one dilemma now, which fruits & vegetables to buy next that will work well in the juicer… what are your favourites??? I do want to incorporate more vegetables so as to avoid a sugar overload, so I will be experimenting with a few in the near future. I might even post a recipe or two if I find a particularly amazing combo.

One last thing, apparently you get the most nutrients out of your juice if you drink it within 15 minutes of juicing, but I found a secret weapon to extend the life of my juices today, it’s a set of vacuum-seal containers, specially made for this purpose, that will keep the juice in it’s original condition for 2-3 days. This is perfect for me as I like to juice every couple of days and take one out of the fridge first thing in the morning to wake my system up. Here are those very containers. Click the picture to find out more on the seller’s website (UK site).

On a last note, keeping with the theme of fruits & vegetables… how’s everyone doing with Nutritious November? Are we all still hitting 10-a-day? I certainly am, and the juicing will only help me to achieve this further!

Enjoy a great, healthy week!



Nutritious November – Who Is Up For The Challenge?

With only a couple of days left in October and only 9 weeks until 2013 (yikes!), I thought it was time for a challenge to take me through November and on to the holiday season.

So… say hello to Nutritious November!

More and more I find myself concentrating not on the ‘looking good’ part of healthy eating (as most people tend to), but on the nutrition and long term health benefits of it. With my mum’s health in decline, my reading has gone into overdrive, trying to find ways to help her through nutrition. Also, I’m still studying the final few modules of my diploma in nutrition, so I can tell you, I’m learning a LOT recently. One of the main points that keeps coming up is the fact that most diseases and health issues can be overcome or prevented from happening later in life by eating a diet rich in nutrients earlier on. I have read extensively around this topic, with one of my favourite authors on the subject being Patrick Holford.

Patrick, in his book ‘The Optimum Nutrition Bible’, outlines what we can all do to not only improve our current health situation but also assist in long term disease prevention. Most of his ideas are not radical, but he has always been ahead of his time, so some might find it hard to believe that simply changing what you eat can totally transform your life and future prospects. I encourage anyone to take a look at his book, it’s a very interesting read. Or if you don’t want to splash out on a book, you can access his online resources with a wealth of information, including his A-Z of Nutrition, which can be found here. Just look up something you’re suffering from, whether it be poor concentration, acne, sleepless nights, you’ll soon find that his recommended treatments often include vitamins & minerals, found in fruits & vegetables.

So anyway, with all this in mind, I have becoming increasingly conscious of trying to get as many fruits & vegetables into my diet as possible recently. They say make sure you get your 5-a-day, but I say, well what about if we up the anti and say let’s try to get 10-a-day! Imagine the possibilities for your body if you feed it and nourish it constantly. How much more energy could we have? How much clearer would our skin be? How much more immunity from infections would we have? And very importantly, how much more protected would we be from illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and so on? 10-a-day is not so unachievable is it? Let me demonstrate.

For a few weeks now I have been starting the day with a green smoothie (average 3-4 fruit/veg) before my morning porridge, which has given me so much energy right throughout the day. The green smoothie, combined with the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flax seed and blueberries (another 1 fruit) mixed into my oats has sent my daytime energy levels soaring and has meant that the morning dropsies and drowsy afternoons are a thing of the past. For lunch I try to add a few more vegetables to my daily intake, with either a large salad (3-4 more vegetables) with chicken or fish, or some leftovers from the night before. And for my evening meal it’s usually a quickly stir-fried set of different coloured vegetables (3 or 4 more vegetables) with either oven baked salmon or chicken. Ok, sometimes I’m  not always so great at this, or I’ve simply run out of vegetables, so I resort to something else such as cous cous or some homemade soup out of the freezer. But on a typical ‘good’ day, I have probably clocked up around 10-12 different fruits & vegetables. This is usually balanced towards around 2-3 fruits and 8-9 vegetables, which is the right proportion if you don’t want to take on board  too much sugar.

So my challenge to anyone who wants to take it up is this… see if you can consistently eat yourself through a rainbow of 10 fruits and vegetables every day throughout November. If you’re up for the challenge, please post the “I’m taking part in Nutritious November” poster (left) onto your Facebook and tell the world, encourage friends to join in too, who knows, it might just catch on 😉  And ok, if you can’t manage 10, then how about 8 or even 6? Just one small, conscious effort to eat those extra one or two of vitamin-rich fruits or vegetables could make the difference you’ve been looking for.

If you think about it, this is the perfect challenge – not only do you get to feel great by the time the holiday season is in full swing, the chances are you may have lost a couple of pounds too, but by doing this for a whole month you’re far more likely to stick to it throughout December and get a head start on all those annual January dieters too. What better motivation though than your health. It’s the one thing that you don’t realise how precious it is until it’s failing you (or your family around you).

So who is with me? Who will at least TRY to get their 10-a-day?

To help you decide WHICH 10-a-day (or 6) you might want to concentrate on eating, have a look at Patrick Holford’s A-Z of symptoms, or to learn more about which fruits & vegetables contain which vitamins, check out this site.

I will be updating you with my challenge efforts and I encourage you all to make a tick on a small piece of paper or in your diary every day, each time you eat a different fruit or vegetable. See how many you can clock up! I want to know your numbers and more importantly I want to know how you FEEL!!!

In health,