Monday, October 3, 2011

Blending VS Juicing

The question that was posed to me is: "Can I make juice in my Vita-mix?" (or other turbo charged emulsifier) 

You can make smoothies, soups (cold or hot), and blends in a blender or emulsifier. But you can only get juice by using a juicer. I have both a vita-mix and a juicer. I use them for different purposes and love them both...I would not want to give up either.

Putting carrots in your vita-mix will give you a thick, sludgy carrot soup type blend. Putting carrots through your juicer will give you a nice sweet carrot juice with little pulp. Pour it through a strainer for an even clearer juice.

A juicer gives you the nutritional and antioxidant value of the fruit and veggies without the pulp that requires chewing. It allows you to get the nutrients of 2-3 lbs of veggies in one juice, where it would be next to impossible to eat that amount in a meal.

A commercial strength blender gives you the opportunity to make smoothies, blends and soups from raw ingredients. This allows you to enjoy the foods you love while getting the full nutritional value available because you are eating them in raw form. Even hot soup in the vita-mix has not been cooked, thereby retaining full unaltered nutritional content.

If you don't have either, and want to purchase one piece of equipment to help you move to a healthier lifestyle, I would recommend getting a juicer first. (Next post we'll discuss types of juicers and recipes).

If you have both, then you have the opportunity to enjoy a diet of intense nutritional therapy prepared in a variety of ways.

But since the questions posed to me today was about the Vita-mix, here are a few raw blender recipes:

1 Cup Fresh Tomatoes
1/2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 Extra Lg Vegetable Bouillon Cube
1/2 Cup Boiling Water 
Dash Dry Mustard
Optional: Dash Salt

Note: For a cold version, use 3/4 cup ice in place of boiling water, and run for 1 minute or until smooth.

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and gradually increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 2-3 minutes, until smooth. Serve immediately.

2 Medium Oranges, peeled and quartered
1/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Ice Cubes
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract (may use a little more, to taste)

Variation: Add 1/2 cup fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple if canned without sugar)

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 1 minute or until smooth. Serve immediately.

20 oz Water
1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
1/2 Tbsp Hemp Seed
4 Tbsp Protein Powder (should be 1 scoop or 1/2 scoop depending on your brand of protein)
1 Cup fresh Kale (1 large kale leaf)
4 Cups fresh Spinach (roughly 4 good handfuls)
3 large frozen Strawberries (see below tip)
1/2 frozen ripe Banana (see below tip)
1 Lg spear frozen Pineapple (roughly 1/2 cup, see below tip)

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and slowly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 1 minute or until smooth. 

Makes approximately 40 oz of smoothie. Definitely a full meal or enough to share or to carry with you through out the morning or afternoon.

I keep sandwich baggies in the freezer containing 3 strawberries, 1/2 banana and cut up pineapple. When I make this smoothie I can grab a bag that is ready to go (saving time) and it makes the smoothie ice cold like a smoothie should be.

Do you own a juicer or a commercial strength blender, or both? Do you have a favorite blender recipe? Please share it so I can try something new.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Is there fiber in juicing?

As friends become interested in juicing, they often ask "will I lose all the fiber in the vegetables by juicing?" The short answer is "No".
Did you ever wonder what fiber is and what it does; why it is important to eat fiber?

Fiber is the portion of the plant that moves food through the digestive system. It is generally categorized as either 'soluble' or 'insoluble'. Both types of fiber help to increase bulk, soften stools, and shorten the transit time of food moving through the intestinal tract. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are present in whole plan foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains. There is generally only soluble fiber in juice.

Soluble fiber (like pectins and gums) partially dissolves in water and forms a type of gel, but it is not digested. It absorbs digestive bile, which is made from cholesterol. When it's eliminated, it causes more cholesterol to be converted to digestive bile, thereby lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. Soluble fiber also helps sugar be more slowly absorbed, which helps regulate blood sugar and control diabetes.

The best vegetable sources of soluble fiber are broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, squash, and pumpkin. All of these can be juiced and the taste 'hidden' by other ingredients. So, if you don't care for the flavor of any of these veggies there is a way to get the nutrition from them while not tasting them.

Insoluble fiber is also indigestible, but does not dissolve in water. It absorbs water and serves as a bulking agent as it passes through the digestive system. Insoluble fiber promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also helps to maintain a balanced pH in the intestines. It is important in cleansing because it removes toxic substances that tend to accumulate in the colon. There is lots of insoluble fiber in vegetables like dark, leafy vegetables, green beans, and root vegetable skins, as well as fruit skins.

In simple terms, fiber doesn't stay in your system. It moves through the intestines, scraping away toxins and residue that line the intestines as a result of the 'not so healthy' things we eat.

In the past it was thought when juicing fruits and vegetables, a significant amount of nutrients remained in the fiber of fruits and vegetables, but that theory has been disproved. The Department of Agriculture analyzed twelve fruits and found that 90% of the antioxidant activity was in the juice rather than the fiber.

In other words, drinking a glass of fresh juice gives you the same amount of antioxidants as eating 2-3 lbs of fruit.

It was also thought that the juice had no fiber. Juicing got a bad rap in the early nineties because it was thought that the juice lacked fiber. But that assertion was simply not true; only the insoluble fiber is removed in the juicing process, and it's loaded with soluble fiber, which is excellent for the intestinal tract.

A 2006 study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, found that "Cancer and cardiovascular benefits may be more attributable to antioxidants rather than fibre." The researchers concluded that " the theory that pure fruit and vegetable juices are nutritionally inferior to whole fruit and vegetables, in relation to chronic disease risk reduction, is not justified."

In other words, the high antioxidant content and intense nutritional therapy provided by fresh juice is an excellent and proven way to fight and prevent cancer as well as other chronic diseases.

The recommended fiber intake for adults is between 20 and 35 grams per day, but the average American's daily intake of dietary fiber is only around 14 to 15 grams. It is easy to double that by juicing once each day. You can drink 2-3 lbs of veggies in one juicing, where it would be next to impossible to eat that amount in a meal.

So, the bottom line is that most people get more fiber from juicing each day than they would from eating regular meals, unless they are already eating a diet very high in raw vegetables including a very large salad every day.

Go ahead, try it! You may be surprised at how much better you feel after juicing for just a few days.

Are you thinking of juicing? Do you already juice and would like to do it more frequently? Are you a regular juicer and won't give it up?

Reference Material: 'Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life', Cherie Calbom, MS (all references to studies and research found in chapter 2 references).