The Green Juice Craze – What’s it all about?

You don’t have to look very far to notice the green juice craze that has swept the nation in the past year or so. It’s everywhere. “The Green Juice Generation” – ages 18-40 take green juicing very serious and it has become a normal part of many lives, along with healthy eating and exercising.   All good stuff!

And I know you’ve noticed the surge of healthy cafes and organic markets that have also sprouted up everywhere. You can even find green juice popsicles and believe it or not, cocktails that include their version of green juice.   Starbuck’s has gotten into the trend and offer their opinion on the benefits of drinking cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices.

There are some important things you should consider if you are thinking about starting a juicing regiment.  Be sure and consult with your doctor before starting a juicing regiment if you have any medical issues.

Vegetable Juice is Not a Complete Meal

It is important to note that vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat, so by itself, it is not really a complete food. It really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it.  You will get the vitamins and minerals your body needs by juicing, but you won’t get the fiber that you also need.  And the soluble fiber in vegetables is really good for your cholesterol and blood pressure.

So unless you are undergoing some special fasting or detoxification program, it is probably unwise to use juicing as a meal replacement. Ideally, it can be consumed with your meal or as a between meal snack.

Listen to Your Body

This is partly because you should only start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant — not make you feel nauseous.

It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Cabbage, for example may be one of the vegetables you might want to use in small amounts until you are sure it doesn’t upset your stomach

Here are a few simple lessons to get you up and help you enjoy the benefits of juicing quickly:

Use Pesticide Free Vegetables

It is wise to choose organic whenever possible. However, some vegetables are worse than others. Below are the vegetables that are the most pesticide-loaded ones according to the Environmental Working Group.

So it would be wise to only purchase these vegetables if they are organically grown. The worst ones are listed first.

1.     Celery

2.     Spinach

3.     Kale

4.     Collard Greens

5.     Lettuce

6.     Carrots

7.     Cucumber (not as bad if you peel the skin)

Get ready to juice!

Please note that the order listed below is only intended for those that are new to juicing so you do have a pleasant experience with it. However, if you use ¼ to ½ lemon or lime, you can start experimenting with the more bitter greens early on as the lemon and lime effectively counter their bitterness.

Please note that it would be FAR better to use lemon or limes than carrots, beets or apples, which have far more fructose than lemons or limes.

Here are a few simple lessons to get you up and help you enjoy the benefits of juicing quickly:

If you are new to juicing, I recommend starting out with vegetables like these as they are the easiest to digest and tolerate.  One of our favorite combinations in my home is actually celery and pineapple!  Both have amazing health benefits.

·       Celery

·       Cucumbers

These three aren’t as nutrient dense as the dark green leafy vegetables In the few days to weeks it takes you to adjust to the 3 vegetables listed above, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable but less palatable vegetables into your juice.

When you’ve adjusted yourself to juicing, start adding other vegetables.  We juice a lot of dark green vegetables like kale and collards but these vegetables are bitter so start with smaller leaves at a time and be sure to balance it out with lime or lemon.  And we also like adding ginger and an apple for balance.

When you’re ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and parsley and cilantro work exceptionally well.  I would start with a small amount of herbs as some people just don’t tolerate herbs like cilantro.  We also add lemons, ginger, apple.  Get creative.  All of these below are good for starters.

·       Red leaf lettuce

·       Green leaf lettuce

·       Romaine lettuce

·       Endive

·       Escarole

·       Spinach

The greens below are bitter so you really need to balance these greens listed below are bitter, so start with smaller leaves at a time and be sure and balance it out with lime or lemon.

·       Kale

·       Collard Greens

·       Dandelion Greens

·       Mustard Greens (bitter)

When purchasing collard greens, find a store that sells the leaves still attached to the main stalk. If they are cut off, the vegetable rapidly loses many of its valuable nutrients.

Make your juice taste great.

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:

  • Lemons and Limes: You can also add one half to a whole lime or lemon for every quart of juice. You can actually juice the skin if you want to avoid the hassle of peeling them
  • Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are chock-full of phytonutrients, and can help women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  • Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you enjoy the taste. It gives your juice a little “kick”! And, as an added boon, researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).

Drink your vegetable juice right away, or store it very carefully.

Juicing is a time-consuming process, so you’ll probably be thinking to yourself, “I wonder if I can juice first thing in the morning, and then drink it later?” This is not a good idea. Vegetable juice is HIGHLY perishable so it’s best to drink all of your juice immediately. However, if you’re careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. This is really helpful if you are bringing your juice to work with you so you can consume it during the day. How to store your juice:

  1. Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen in air (air is about 20 percent oxygen) will “oxidize” and damage the juice.
  2. Purchase a food vacuum pump like Food Saver with a Ball jar attachment. You can pour your juice into a pint jar and put the lid on and use the Food Saver to suck out the air in the jar to vacuum pack it. This will remove most of the oxygen that will damage the juice.
  3. Immediately store it in the fridge and consume it when you are ready. It is best to drink it as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours of juicing.

Most people juice in the morning, but if that does not work out well for your schedule, please feel free to choose whatever meal works best for your lifestyle.

Clean your juicer properly

We all know that if a juicer takes longer than a few minutes to clean, we’ll find excuses not to juice at all. Most juicers come with a brush to clean the metal grater, but an old toothbrush works well to clean any metal grater. If you buy a high-quality juicer, the whole process should only take about 5 minutes.  Whatever you do, you need to clean your juicer immediately after you juice to prevent any remnants from contaminating the juicer with mold growth.

Blender vs. Juicer – Does it matter?

There are different ways to prepare your juice, which typically includes vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables such as celery, spinach, cucumber, lemon, ginger, parsley and sprouts. The version favored by Dr. Oz, host of the Dr. Oz show, is prepared in a blender. Others utilize a juicer to make the drink.

I personally use a juicer for making my green juice and that is primarily because of some health issues that my daughter Adrienne has experienced.  She is not able to consume a great deal of fiber so we can control the amount of fiber by using a blender.You should consult with your doctor if you have any digestive concerns.

Benefits of Juicing

There are many reasons why you should consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your optimal health program. Here are a few.

1.     Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.

2.     Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. If you are a carb type, you should eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.

3.     You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.


The blended green juice recipe favored by Dr. Oz, is chock full of fiber. Fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation, and helps you control your weight because it adds bulk to your diet to make you feel full. Oz’s drink blends the juices of lemon, lime, apple, parsley, ginger root, cucumber, celery and spinach. Drinks made in a juicer do not have the benefit of fiber.

If you do not have any known digestive or other health issues, you should consume 38 grams of fiber if you are a man aged 19 to 50 and 25 grams of fiber if you are a woman of the same age. After age 50, men need 30 grams of fiber and women need 21 grams according to U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines.  Your doctor can confirm what is best for you.


Green juice is rich in chlorophyll, which gives greens their color. Chlorophyll helps your body detoxify. For example, it may inhibit absorption of environmental pollutants like dioxin and also help your body excrete them quicker, says K. Morita, lead author for a study published in “Environmental Health Perspectives.”

Chlorophyll also enhances oxygen transport in your body and is a top nutrient for balancing your body’s pH by helping to reduce acidity. Low-grade acidosis may contribute to fatigue as well as other health concerns, including kidney stones and lower growth hormone levels, which lead to more body fat and loss of lean muscle mass. Author Gillian McKeith includes carrot, celery, cucumber, spinach, fennel, ginger root, parsley and alfalfa sprouts in her version of the drink. Both McKeith’s and Oz’s versions of the green juice have the benefit of chlorophyll.

What about juicing Fruit?

Virtually every health authority recommends that we get 6-8 servings of vegetables and fruits per day and very few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables.

While you can certainly juice fruits, if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, it is best to limit using fruits until you normalize these conditions.

The exception would be lemons and limes which have virtually none of the offending sugar, fructose, that causes most of the metabolic complications. Additionally lemons or limes are amazing at eliminating the bitter taste of the dark, deep green leafy vegetables that provide most of the benefits of juicing.

What type of juicier should you purchase?

Do your research before investing a lot of money in a juicer.  If you are new to juicing, I recommend a mid-priced juicer.

The two links below take into consideration many factors to consider when purchasing a juicer.  One is a consumer comparison and the other one offers some great considerations as well like:

  •        Ease of use
  •       Price
  •        Noise Level
  •        Size
  •        Warranty
  •        Power

As you can see, there are many things to consider before starting a juicing regiment.

Some juicing proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion and help you lose weight.

However, there’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.

On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. You can find many juicing recipes online or mix up your own combinations of fruits and vegetables to suit your taste.

If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria.

If you buy commercially produced fresh juice from a juicing stand or store, select a pasteurized product. Also keep in mind that juices may contain more sugar than you realize, and if you aren’t careful, these extra calories can lead to weight gain.

The Bottom Line

Freshly-prepared juice can certainly be incorporated into a healthy diet, but it’s not a miracle food that’s going to make you instantly skinny or cure whatever ails you.

Additionally, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting juicing in order to prevent potential drug and nutrient interactions. This is because a lot of people use dark, leafy greens such as kale and spinach in their juice concoctions, and these greens are high in vitamin K, which could interfere with how certain blood thinners work.

Juicing Recipes

Note: Try to use organic produce when possible. If not possible, simply clean produce well. Remove rind, core and peel. Juice produce, pour over ice and enjoy.

Happy Green Juice

·       1 cucumber

·       2 celery stalks

·       2 pears

·       1/3 cantaloupe

·       6-8 kale leaves

·       1/2 lemon

·       1 inch of ginger

Drink Your Produce Green Juice

·       4 carrots

·       1 cucumber

·       1-2 cups of spinach

·       1 lemon

·       1 gala or pink lady apple

·       1 pear

Green Lemonade

·       3 cups of spinach

·       1 lemon

·       1 cucumber

·       1 pear

·       1 gala apple

Once you get acclimated to the taste, I highly encourage an 80/20 ratio for green juice (80% vegetables, 20% fruit).

Tip: Never juice bananas or avocado, and follow your juicer’s manual, especially as it pertains to leafy greens.

Simply Green Juice

– 1 cup of spinach
– 2 cups of kale
– 2 cups of parsley
– 1 cucumber
– 3 celery stalks

Add a little garlic and/or ginger if you like. Wash thoroughly and juice.

Apple and Cucumber Zipper

-2 1/2 apples
– 1/2 cucumber
– 1″ of ginger

Remove apple stems and juice everything together. A favorite of ours!

Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help some people reduce arthritis based joint pain. Evidence points to one of the antioxidants in ginger called gingerol. It helps to combat oxidative damage to joint cells.

Alkaline Juicer Recipes Heaven

– 1 cup of spinach
– 1/2 cucumber
– 2 stalks of celery including leaves
– 3 carrots
– 1/2 apple

Wash all vegetables thoroughly, top the carrots, remove apple stem but don’t peel apple (the peel is full of flavonoid antioxidants), enjoy.

Victoria Boutenko reintroduces long neglected fruits, vegetables, and greens in the most persuasive style for our busy lives: with fast prep and delicious results. Featuring 200 recipes, Green Smoothie Revolution offers both simplicity and enough variety to keep taste buds happy and nutrients coming from a wealth of options.

“In more than thirty-five years of practice as a psychiatrist affiliated with the Harvard Medical School, I have learned one thing very well: Human behavior is very hard to change. Now Victoria Boutenko is persuading me otherwise.… Thirty days of green smoothies will change how you feel, and how you feel about yourself. That’s no small achievement for one small book.”
—A. William Menzin, MD, Harvard Medical School



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