The Benefits of Juicing and Blending
When you think of juicing, you may think of buying tons of expensive produce, washing, cutting, and cleaning out a machine. It may all just seem totally overwhelming (not to mention wondering how drinking spinach can actually taste good?!). The truth is, once you get the hang of it (read, a few days) drinking your breakfast can actually reduce overall stress as it becomes an easy and healthy go-to meal or snack, and because there are so many creative ways to make a juice or a smoothie, it really is possible to find one that you think tastes great.
Never mind that you know you’re doing something good for your body when you get in 3-4 servings (at least) of fruits and veggies by 10am (the CDC reports that only about 27% of people are getting the recommended dose of vegetables a day-- http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2009/r090929.htm), but now research is showing that Vitamin C may be helping people to manage their stress more effectively as well. It turns out that Vitamin C rich-foods like oranges, grapefruits, strawberries and even red peppers can not only help to boost your immune system, but they can also lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/487642-vitamin-c-dosage-to-reduce-cortisol/). Throwing some of these Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies into your juicer or blender not just gives you an easy, healthy go-to breakfast, but it may even help you to stay more grounded and productive by warding off stress at work as well!
And there are ways to cut costs, too. While most of the produce to juice *should* be organic, you can get away with buying say, non-organic cucumbers, and then just peeling them before you juice (don’t forget to peel them the night before to make for an easier morning routine). Shop for in-season fruits and veggies, and don’t be afraid to hit up local farmer’s markets and co-ops for the best prices and buy in bulk. It’s also important to think about what kind of a juicer will set you up for the most success. Do your research before purchasing and think about getting a centrifugal juicer, as they are pretty easy to clean with just some warm and soapy water. (If you want to look more into the pros and cons of juicing, Reboot with Joe has some great tips on his website: http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/juicing/juicer-buying-guide/). Most of the centrifugal juicers also have a large feed tube so that most things fit easily without you having to cut or chop them! Time saver!
If you don’t want to commit to the time or money to juice, no problem. Blending is another great option for healthy and quick breakfasts (or snacks), and can be quite filling. If you want to start with something sweet, try “Blender Girl’s” app on your smart phone which recommends smoothies based on how you feel (“wired and stressed” for instance), what you need (“a burst of energy”) and what you crave (something “light and fruity”). Try the “avo-nana bread” smoothie to get you going: Unsweetened almond milk, avocado, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon (said to be great for metabolizing blood sugar), frozen bananas, and ice cubes. Or, if you want something a little bit greener, opt for the Tropical Keen and Green with coconut water, baby spinach, bananas, mangos, and creamed coconut. The great thing about a smoothie (or juice) is that you can throw in whatever you have in the house. So no creamed coconut? No worries. Sprinkle some shredded unsweetened coconut on top or just leave it out altogether. I’ve even been known to do spinach, almond milk, bananas and chia seeds because that’s all I had in my fridge or pantry! Just add more ice or almond milk to get the consistency that you like. You can also make smoothies ahead of time and freeze them; just store them in freezer-safe mason jars with the lid on tightly and put a serving size in the fridge the night before you want to drink it!