I love a juice, it’s such a good way to get nutrients into your system fast and get hydrated at the same time. Imagine having to eat and fully digest all those vegetables, that would take quite some time. Green juices are known to be rejuvenating, they are packed with essential minerals, especially calcium, vitamins and oxygen enriching chlorophyll . Chlorophyll gives vegetables its green color, the darker the green, the higher the chlorophyll content. This magic stuff has a cleansing effect and is a strong antioxidant.
Please make sure you always add a dash/drop of olive or any other high quality, cold pressed omega rich oil to your juice, so your body can take up the fat soluble vitamins present in many fruit and vegetables.
Juicing is known to provide a very good mineral absorption because the juicing process liberates the minerals from the fiber making them more available for the body to take up. Please try and use organic produce as a lot of the goodness is in the skin, which usually is exposed to pesticides and herbicides in non organic fruit and vegetables. If you cannot get hold of organic produce, please make sure you wash it with a vegetable wash beforehand. The combination of cucumber, celery , brussels sprouts, apple, kale & ginger is a nice green juice to start with. Here is what you need:
Cucumber, Celery, Brussels Sprout & Ginger Juice- serves 2
1 small apple
2 sticks of celery
A hand full of Brussels sprouts
A hand full of kale leaves & left over stems ( if you have any)
3 cm of ginger
A dash of lemon juice
Cinnamon powder (optional)
Wash ingredients well and peel the ginger , cut into smaller pieces and feed into your juicer. Add the juice of half a lemon, give the juice a stir before poring it into glasses, adding a sprinkle of cinnamon gives it a nice smooth finish.
Here are some facts about the goodness of the ingredients. Mainly composed of water, cucumbers are rich in folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A. They contain a number of minerals and the skin is an excellent source of fiber. Celery is also a fantastic source of vitamin C and fiber, as well as vitamin B6, B1 and folic acid, its high levels of potassium and sodium make it an excellent part of a juice to have after a workout in order to replace electrolytes.
Brussels Sprouts are rich in folic acid, vitamin C, K and beta-carotene. These mini cabbages are also a great source of fiber, vitamin B6 , B1, and potassium. A few leaves of kale and kale stems add some more richness in minerals and vitamins .
To give the juice a bit of sweetness, apples are great to use as they are also packed with vitamin C and fiber and the skin contains many important protective phytonutrients. Ginger is excellent for digestion and gives the juice a bit of a kick. Always add a squeeze of lemon juice as this will take away the slight bitterness. A sprinkle of cinnamon does give it a nice twist.
Beetroot, Carrot & Ginger Juice – serves 2
My morning booster and cold fighting friend, beetroot juice is super refreshing and revitalizing as well as a great way to give the immune system a boost. Freshly available from July until October, beetroots are a rich source of folic acid , potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, B6, C and fiber. Despite their high sugar content they are still relatively low in calories, 100g of raw beetroot contain just 27 calories.
Beetroot has got high levels of the powerful antioxidant betacyanin, which stimulates the detoxification process in the liver and the fiber content it is especially beneficial for the colon, that’s why I tend to use the pulp to make crackers, cakes and bakes or I add them to soups or stews.
During the winter months beetroot is available from storage, so this juice can be enjoyed almost all year round. This little red root is quite potent so it is best mixed with other vegetables and fruit, apples and carrots work a treat. Ginger gives it an extra kick and its vitalizing effect makes this juice a great kick start into the day!!
Beetroot, Carrot & ginger juice- serves 2
3 medium size beets
4 medium size carrots
3 cm of ginger
dash of lemon juice
Peel beetroot ( wearing rubber gloves or remove stains with lemon juice afterwards), carrots & ginger; cut into smaller pieces to fit the feeding whole of your juicer and start juicing. Once all the pieces are juiced add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy.
Sweet potato smoothie- 250ml
I almost love smoothies as much as I love juices, although it is really not fair to compare the two as they are so different !! Unlike juices, smoothies are made of the whole fruit and or vegetables, so they not only contain all the rich nutrients of their ingredients, they also contain all the soluble fibre along with its antioxidants. The fiber content keeps us fuller for longer and is very good for our digestive system, helping things to keep regular and smooth.
What I find best about smoothies is that they take next to no time to make and you can prepare the ingredients in advance. There are a huge variety of smoothie recipes, using fruit or vegetables with added milk or yogurt, nut butters are also a popular ingredient. I always have a great variety of berries and other fruit in the freezer, ready to add to my smoothies. The thing to do is to buy fruit when they are in season, so at the height of their nutritional value, and freeze a big batch to keep for the winter months.
With added chia or psyllium husks a smoothie in the morning may keep you going until lunch time, you can have it at home or take it to work. For post work out you can add some protein powder.
My perfect skin glowing and morning freshness smoothie is a sweet potato smoothie, it sounds strange to used sweet potato but it just tastes too good to not give it a try!!
Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man, they are an excellent source of carotenes which gives them their fabulous deep orange colour, the deeper the orange the better. They are also a good source of vitamin C, B2, B6 and minerals including manganese, copper and biotin, which, together with the carotene, makes them the perfect skin glowing smoothie ingredient. Next in line, strawberries, when in season, add a couple of ice cubes or freeze a bunch that way your smoothie gets a nice cooling temperature. These deep red berries are rich in antioxidant flavonoids and vitamin C as well as folic acid and biotin, so more goodness for our skin. Cooling and hydrating cucumber can be found locally grown shops during early spring and summer, you can also freeze them. Finally almond butter, it doesn’t only give a delicious flavour it also adds protein, good oils, vitamin E and minerals. So good!!
Sweet potato smoothie – 250ml
1 cup of baked or steamed sweet potato (organic if possible)
1 cup of organic rice or almond milk
1/3 cup of frozen strawberries ( if you have fresh strawberries add 1-2 ice cube to keep the smoothie cool)
1/2 cup of cucumber ( sliced – if organic keep the skin on)
1 tbsp of organic almond butter
fresh mint to garnish- optional
To prepare the sweet potato, peel, cut into cubes and bake on a baking tray lined with baking paper at 180C for around 25minutes, give a shake now and again, so they bake evenly. Leave to cool completely before use or freezing. Once all ingredients are ready, just place into the blender and blend until a nice and smooth – either drink straight away or fill into a bottle and consume on the day of preparation.
Irma’s Green Smoothie for beginners- 250ml
Irma’s beginner friendly Green Smoothie is made with bananas & almond butter – such a lovely combination, super nice as a breakfast or afternoon ‘pick me up’ option. The high mineral, vitamin and carbohydrate content of bananas, together with the good oils, proteins and more minerals from the almond butter also make this a great post workout smoothie. Adding the greens top up this drink with even more goodness – what not to like about that ?
250 ml organic rice, almond or cashew milk
1 small organic banana – sliced and ideally frozen for a lovely creamy texture
2 cups of organic lettuce or spinach
1 tbsp of almond butter
1-2 tsp of wheat grass powder (optional-start with one tsp and see how you go )
1 cm vanilla of vanilla pod ( optional)
1 tsp of hulled hemp seeds to garnish ( optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy, drink straight away or fill into bottle, close tight and refrigerate- consume within 24hours. A little tip : Keep your smoothie cool by simply using a thermos flask – put the empty thermos flask in the freezer for 1/2 an hour before filling it with your smoothie. Enjoy!
I am constantly trying out new smoothie combinations, my latest favourite is a papaya, turmeric and honey smoothie. Its silky and creamy texture with soft and subtle flavours is rather delicious and makes a super good start into the day. Add some oats for breakfast or just by itself as a mid morning snack.
Originally from Central America, papaya are in season during the summer months, but can be found in stores throughout the year. They are super rich in vitamin C and are a good source of folic acid, vitamin E & A, potassium and dietary fiber. Turmeric adds and extra portion of antioxidants making this smoothie a great combination to keep our skins radiant- all in preparation for that summer glow we are finally about to get, so it seems at least.
Here is what you need for Irma’s Papaya Turmeric & Honey Smoothie- serves 1
1 cup of fresh papaya with some of the seeds ( you can freeze any excess and use it your smoothie the next morning)
1 cup of organic nut or rice milk
1 cup of filtered water
1/2 of avocado
1/2 of banana- frozen or fresh plus one ice cube
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of raw honey
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth before filling in glasses or bottles and ready to go !! Enjoy !!