There is really nothing like a fresh & sunny, bright & yummy juice to get you going in the morning, especially when it’s homemade…
Yes, a bit of prep & pesky clean up is involved, but the end result is worth it. The juice craze has hit San Diego hard, especially in recent months, as new juice bars are popping up like Starbucks. While they are so welcoming & enticing with their delicious samples, a juice will set you back at least $8-$10 bucks. I don’t know about you, but $50 weekly juice habit certainly is not within my budget, however tempting it may be. While I am not a huge fan of long term juice “fasting,” especially in winter, I do love a fresh made juice either with breakfast, or as an afternoon energizer. I stopped making homemade juices, really out of laziness more than anything, but that was a healthy habit I wanted to pick back up in the new year. So rather than indulging my craving by subsequently emptying my pocketbook at the fancy new juice bar, I decided to pull ye olde breville juice fountain from the back of the cupboard & make it for myself!
I really wanted to get back into juicing & clean eating in the new year. I cancelled my CSA in the fall & was really missing it. I don’t really have a lot of time to hit up the farmers’ markets, but I feel lost when going to the grocery store, so I would leave uninspired & with a handful of odds & ends. My typically healthy diet took a big dive, & I got lazy with my meal prep. I really missed opening up a box of seasonal produce & planning my meals & recipes from there, so when a co-worker organized a “Farmer’s Market Box” group delivery from Specialty Produce (where all the chefs shop for local, organic ingredients!) at the school where I work, I signed right up! I ordered the “farmers market box” & the “farmers juicing bag” which only set me back $35 & I got A LOT of stuff. I was so excited to see the juice bag option at such an affordable price ($15). What a perfect way to get me back into the fresh juice habit! In the juicing bag there were oranges, 2 bundles of celery, limes, white carrots, & a few bunches of dandelion greens – definitely enough to for a week’s worth of juice – along with some recipes. I took the recipe for the “Everything’s Alright” juice, bulked up the greens & veggies a bit & added some ginger & turmeric to it.
So let’s talk about all of the goodness that is in this juice & all of its many benefits!
DANDELION GREENS. Many people find dandelion greens too bitter, but I really don’t mind them mixed with other greens in a fresh salad, or chopped up & added to warm quinoa with fresh herbs & a squeeze of lemon. They are amazingly good for you & excellent for cleansing for the liver & kidneys – in fact they are known as the ultimate detox green! They are super high in calcium & iron & loaded with antioxidants & minerals. Dandelion greens are a natural diuretic, promote bile production, & support gallbladder health, & also proven to reduce swelling, bloating & stimulate the digestive system to release toxins. Bottom line, they pack a nutritious punch! I’d never tried juicing them, & due to their bitterness, I was wasn’t sure what to expect. I followed the recommended recipe & was pleasantly surprised. Yes, bitter than my typical go-to green juice, but the sweetness of the orange, & the tangy lime, were are nice compliment. And we really shouldn’t shy away from the bitterness. In Ayurveda, whose principals & am adopting more & more into my diet & lifestyle, bitter & astringent tastes are very important. Bitter foods can decrease water retention & are used as a tonic for a congested liver. Internally, the bitter taste helps to balance Pitta & Kapha, which is important as we move into late winter, considered the “Kapha Season.” If you are interested in learning more about ayurveda & your personal “constitution” click here. The Chopra Center has a great article about Healthy Habits for Kapha Season & Banyan Botanicals offers great advice for Staying Balanced During Kapha Season.
CARROTS. I’ve seen a few different colors of heirloom carrots, but never white. At first I thought they were parsnips! According to the “Carrot Museum” (yep, it’s a thing!) white carrots simply lack pigmentation, but they tend to have a smoother flavour than orange carrots. They still contain naturally occurring, health-promoting phytochemicals, yet white carrots are not a significant source of bioavailable carotenoids, as orange carrots are. Bottom line, use whatever color carrots you have available to you. I happened to have white from the CSA box, but it’s not essential to the recipe.
CELERY. Celery boasts numerous health benefits, & has a high water content, making it great for bulking up your juice. Celery provides an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 & C with rich supplies of potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium & essential amino acids. Nutrients in the fiber are released during juicing, a which aids in keeping everything moving “smoothly” through the system, if you know what I mean! The natural organic sodium in celery is very safe for consumption, & essential for the body. Celery juice is cooling, alkalizing, & cleansing. It can also help curb your cravings for sweets & rich foods!
ORANGE & LIME JUICE. Fresh OJ is a good source of magnesium, potassium folate, B-6, thiamin, choline, vitamins A & C, as well as lots of beneficial enzymes, vitamin C & bioflavanoids, making it a powerful antioxidant source. It’s also an anti-aging collagen booster! It supports the adrenals & thyroid. I know what you are thinking, what about all of that sugar? Well, the magnesium in a glass of OJ is actually essential for blood sugar regulation & keeps blood glucose levels normalized. Potassium is also involved in regulating both blood sugar & insulin levels. In fact the glucose found in OJ is considered a “beneficial sugar” & can lower stress & boost metabolism. So drink up! Limes rock too providing more vitamin C, calcium & folate. They help prevent kidney stones & are anti-carcinogenic.
GINGER & TURMERIC. I’m officially in love with fresh ginger. I’ve always loved a mug of yogi ginger tea, but I recently began making a fresh ginger & lemon tea & OMG, the difference. No more bagged ginger tea for me. And in a juice, for me, ginger is essential. I love that spicy bite! More than just a flavor burst, fresh grated or juiced ginger is a powerful healer. It boosts immunity, fights cancer, protects the liver, lowers cholesterol, & is anti-inflammatory. And then, our colorful friend, turmeric. Turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-aging & antioxidant spice. It also neutralizes free radicals, & promotes liver detoxification, so that toxins, pesticides & other environmental chemicals are safely removed from the body. Studies also how that the curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, has incredible benefits against depression. I prefer to use fresh turmeric root, but I’ve been having trouble finding it, so I’ve been stirring in the powder. I guess should probably find a higher quality organic brand, but you can’t beat the Trader Joe’s price point!
So, as you can see, this juice is a pretty powerful, immune boosting & detoxifying tonic with tons of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, & more. This bright green juice has a sweet, bitter & sour taste, which is important for digestion. It’s definitely “strong” in taste, so it might not be palatable to those who are new to cleansing, or juicing. But if you are a pro, you’re gonna love this dandy juice!
- 1 orange
- 3 carrots
- 4 ribs celery
- 1 large fistful of dandelion greens
- 1 lime
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, or ½ tsp. turmeric powder
- Peel the orange, lime, turmeric & ginger. Scrub the carrots & celery. Pass all the ingredients up through juicer.
- Stir in turmeric if using the powdered form.
- Serve immediately.
Another thing I will often add to my juice is 30 drops of Ashwagandha Liquid Extract. Ashwagandha is one of the most highly regarded & commonly used adaptogens in the Ayurveda. Taking ashwagandha daily increases energy & vitality, combats stress, assists in calming the mind & promotes restful sleep, & supports proper function of the adrenals. It has a mild medicinal taste that takes some getting used to, but it’s undetectable in juice. Learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha here.
I’ve been loving this for breakfast, either on its own if I’m not particularly hungry, alongside a warm bowl of oatmeal, or like this morning, with a piece of avocado toast. So, drink up, my friends.
To your health. Cheers!