Juicing vs. Smoothies

On the previous juicing post, questions were raised about removing the fiber when juicing. We all know that fiber is a good thing and stripping it all away seems to negate some of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. I am no expert . . I only know what I read and if researching the topic, you will find everything from A – Z and you just have to decide what’s right for you. One seemingly reliable source that I read indicated that some soluble fiber is left in when juicing, while insoluble fiber is removed. I don’t know that I believe it but I do know that when we juice, and I know all juicers are different, but there’s plenty of “substance” in the glass. It isn’t just clear liquid .. there is some amount of pulp getting through. 

Healthy eating, whatever path you take, is all about balance. We’re cutting out dinner and substituting juice. We’re still eating a healthy breakfast and lunch. Would I ever recommend giving up three meals a day and juicing only? NO! For dinner . . it seems to make since since we’re not eating a heavy meal at the end of the day.

This was my breakfast:

Breakfast

Breakfast

An apple bran muffin and a smoothie made with homemade kefir, a banana, freshly rolled oats, chia seeds, 5 strawberries and a bit of almond milk. For lunch, we’re having a big salad, along with leftover Cincinnati Chili.

A woman needs about 25 grams of fiber per day. And yes, I do keep up with it. There are plenty of charts available online. One of the my go to sites is Mayo Clinic. If you’ve not paid attention to how much fiber you’re consuming (or how much anything for that matter), it might be interesting to track it for a day or so.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, as well as other vitamins and  minerals. My morning smoothie has 15 grams of chia seeds and 1/3 cup of raw rolled oats. Between those two, I’m getting about 15 grams of fiber, or half of my daily needed amount. Add in 2 grams for the strawberries, 3 grams for the banana and the smoothie alone had 20 grams of fiber. The muffin had 3 grams of fiber so my breakfast alone provided almost the full recommended daily requirement for fiber. We’re having a salad for lunch so that will add more. The chili has pinto beans and one cup of cooked pinto beans has 15 grams of dietary fiber. I’ll probably eat 1/2 cup or let’s just say .. 7 grams. Along with breakfast, just adding the pinto beans and no salad and zero fiber from the juice and I’ve had the 30 grams of fiber I try to consume each day. 

I am not the least bit concerned about not getting enough fiber because I know that with the other foods I’m eating, I’m getting plenty. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the residue from the fruit/veggies that are juiced either goes back into something I’m cooking, goes to the worms or goes to the chickens. No part of it is wasted.

It’s all about balance and finding what’s right for you. We may not do this forever . . we may do it for a few weeks or months and then stop. But, I do not feel that we’re missing out on anything nutritionally speaking by juicing.

The main drawback for me is that I don’t go out very often. My preference is to go to the grocery store every 2 – 3 weeks but when juicing, I have to go about every 5 days because fruits and veggies just don’t keep that long. Once the garden is producing, I’ll have plenty of veggies for juicing and hopefully we’ll have a bit more fruit this year from the orchard.

The best part for me is that the juicer is easy to clean. Most nights, I just dip the parts in hot soapy water and rinse. There’s one little part that I can usually clean with the spray from the faucet but if it needs a bit of scrubbing, there’s a brush that came with it and that brushes away any debris. 

I can’t stress enough that it’s all about balance. 

Juicing

Last week, while looking for something to watch on TV, Vince came across Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2. While Joe’s eating habits/diet plans are somewhat controversial, I think after watching this, folks could not disagree that as Americans, for the most part really could use improvement in our diets. Since we eat almost all our meals at home, eat lots of veggies from our garden and wild game from the woods and game that a hunter friend shares, I feel like we’re eating better than we once were. But, we eat too much. I drink too much soda and though I’ve cut back by drinking Kombucha, soda needs to be eliminated completely.

After watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2, I got the juicer out again. I use a Breville Juice Fountain that I bought 3 years ago .. probably when we watched the first Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead documentary. There are TONS of juicers out there if you’re in the market for one. We’ve had several lower end ones in the past, as well as attachments for various blenders/food processors. Before making the purchase in 2012, I did a lot of research and decided on the juice fountain but if you’re looking for one, you may want to do your own research, simply because so much changes in 3 years. But, the juice fountain we have is still amazing.

A word of caution . . if you’re not used to eating LOTS of fresh fruit and veggies, start slow .. very slowly . . and give it a few days to see how your digestive system is going to react. Sometimes there’s a massive movement . . and it can come on quite suddenly and without warning!  :)  We didn’t have any problems but we’re only having the juice for one meal a day and we’re used to having lots of veggies and fruits in our daily diet.

What we’ve decided to do for now is have our normal breakfast. Weekends aren’t healthy . . they’re just our typical weekend breakfasts – grits or hash browns, toast or biscuits, eggs, bacon or sausage. Weekdays, it’s almost always oatmeal with bacon or sausage or sometimes . . cereal with almond milk and fruit.

We’ll have a regular home cooked meal at lunch – meat, veggies and salad . . maybe a bread. For dinner, we’ll have juice and lots of water! Hopefully, we can do this for at least a month and see how it goes . . see if we have more energy and lose weight.

This was our “dinner” last night.

Dinner

Dinner

In the bowls in the back are kale (storebought already chopped and it didn’t yield nearly as much juice as does fresh kale from the garden), and honey dew melon. On the towel are:

  • 1 beet
  • 1 apple
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 stalk of celery 
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cucumber

When you think of all that fruit and veggies in one meal, you can see why your system can suffer a bit of shock if that’s not something you eat on a daily basis.

I have never added a sweet potato to juice before but was reading that any of the veggies high in beta carotene are great for juicing. Not knowing what it would taste like, or how much juice it will yield, I only used one sweet potato.

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

It was more juice than I expected and it wasn’t overpowering. Beet juice and cranberry juice are overpowering. I also think celery is strong but it’s good for you so I almost always add one stalk of celery. Cucumbers produce lots of juice and I think they add such a fresh flavor to the juice. Carrots are always good because they are so full of tasty, surprisingly sweet juice. Most any fruit adds a lot of liquid and a good bit of sweetness.

Night before last I made a concoction that contained cranberries, one apple, 3 oranges and kale. I have a sore throat (how did that happen?) and that juice burned like crazy when it hit my throat so til my throat is better, I’m laying off the oranges. The cranberries were probably the main culprit and that was the end of my cranberry stash so I won’t be using those til they’re in our stores again . . probably next Thanksgiving.

The End!

The End!

These were our glasses of juice and the leftovers. You can see that the kale looks like it didn’t do much but everything else is almost powdered. This could be dehydrated and then run through the blender to make a powder and use a bit to thicken gravies and soups. If I were using only sweet fruit in the dehydrator, I would keep that separate from things like beet, kale, celery pulp but when I have a good mix, like shown above, I wouldn’t hesitate to add a few teaspoons of the dried powder to gravies or sauces.

At least once a week, the worms will get a big helping and the rest will go to the chickens. Soon I will begin mixing this with a little water and freezing it in zipper bags. In the summer, when it’s hotter than “you know what” out there, I’ll grab a bag, tear away the plastic and toss the contents in for the chickens and it will be a nice, refreshing treat for them.

Saturday Recipe Review – January 10, 2015

This week, I repeated several recipes that we had already tried. The teriyaki chicken wings seem to be something we’re going to have at least once a week. Those are so good and so easy to fix and great for serving at lunch.

The new things I tried are . . first, Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice. It was delicious but it definitely needed more seasonings for our taste. I added about 2 teaspoons of Slap Ya Mama cajun spice. Also, I needed to add a bit more liquid and cook the dish another 4 minutes because when I first opened the cooker, I had rice on top that wasn’t quite done. It was also very good reheated.

I used frozen broccoli as mentioned in the recipe but when I make it again, I will use fresh broccoli. The recipe I’ve made for years, the broccoli is cooked more . . almost to nothing . . and I like it that way.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice

The second new recipe I tried was Pressure Cooker Cincinnati Chili. Vince loves Cincinnati Chili and I’m not so crazy about it. The pressure cooker recipe I used was so much easier and from what I could tell, tasted about the same as the recipe that takes much longer to make.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

This recipe makes enough to feed at least 8 people so it gave us lots of leftovers.

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