The fresh squeeze
Looking to add extra nutrients and vital vitamins into your everyday life? Look no further than freshly squeezed (or blended) vegetable juices!
Don’t stress, we aren’t encouraging you to ditch all the solid food and start a juice cleanse, but we are here to explain how incorporating vegetable juices into your diet can really help your hair, skin, body, mind, all of the good things!
Words by Sjaan van der Ploeg
Images courtesy of Pexels
Before we get into the wonders of juicing, here’s what you need to know
- Juicing shouldn’t replace proper meals – it’s important to get as much of a variety everyday, keep those carbs, fats and proteins in there! Enjoy a juice paired with your normal breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Juicing isn’t automatically better than eating the actual vegetable – using a proper juicer removes all the pulp and fibre from the drink in the end – however; if you’re on the go, being able to drink a ready to go juice is much easier than chomping on a celery stick!
- It is NB to properly wash your vegetables before juicing them to ensure no harmful chemicals are still there.
- Making juices requires a fair amount of vegetables, so this is perfect if you’re looking to use up your leftover kale, celery, cucumber or beetroot – but make sure to remove any bad or off bits before adding your veggies to your juicer as those could contain harmful bacteria.
- Some things that don’t juice well: Avocado and bananas (save these for creamy smoothies), broccoli, rhubarb, whole citrus (remove the skin and pith first before blending the segments).
- Lastly, do not bulk juice! Over time, juices can ferment and allow bad bacteria to grow. Always make a juice and have it as soon as possible.
There are many different types of juicers and extractors on the market – all with varying features and prices, but you can also use a blender as it will work the same. Juices and extractors remove the pulp and skins from veggies and fruits, leaving behind the liquid only. With a blender, it will break all the pulp up whilst also squeezing the juice from the vegetable. Once you’re done blending, you will be left with the fibre in your juice. At this step, you can either strain the bits out using a sieve (for best results use a fine mesh sieve or muslin wrapped over one), or simply drink the juice with the pulp still in it – this way you still take in all the goodness that fibre brings with it. If you’re left with a bunch of pulp, it can either be composted (hello earthworm happiness!) or you can actually use it in your cooking – add it to bakes, soups or stocks.
The good stuff
Vegetable juices contain lots of healthy veggies (of course!), and so the health benefits that come from those vegetables will go into the juices. Carrots, spinach, beetroot, ginger, celery, kale, lemons, all of these have their own important roles in healing, nourishing and filling the body with healthy nutrients. With juicing you will introduce:
- Increased nutrients into your diet, thus giving you more energy and keeping you hydrated.
- Anti-inflammatory agents, which help calm the skin, as well as keep it hydrated.
- Vitamins A and C to help promote growth and strengthen your hair.
- Boosted immunity – ginger and spinach both pack a health punch of nutrients that strengthen your body’s immune system.
Creating colourful juices can be a fun experiment. We’ve added two recipes for you to try when you’re feeling like a veggie kick!
PREP TIME 10 min | SERVES 3-6
- 1 cup water (if using a blender)
- ½ bunch kale, roughly chopped
- ½ bunch spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, segmented
- 2cm ginger, peeled
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup mint leaves
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 3 whole celery stalks
ADD the water to your juicer, juice the remaining ingredients slowly one at a time.
IF USING A BLENDER you may need to add the veggies one at a time and blend, as opposed to all at once. Once blended, remove the pulp by pouring the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, or leave it all in if you like.
SEVRE immediately or within 6-12 hours. The juice will separate upon standing so give it a shake to mix it up again.
PREP TIME 5 min | SERVES 2-4
- 10 Carrots
- 5 Oranges, peeled and segmented
- 2cm Ginger, peeled
- 2 celery sticks
ADD all of the ingredients to your juicer. Throw away the pulp and enjoy.
IF USING A BLENDER, roughly chop up all of the ingredients before adding them to your blender in batches. Strain once blended to remove the pulp if you like.