There’s something about drinking a green juice that makes my body vibrate on a higher level and the whole world seems to glow a little bit brighter after each sip. Why is this? It’s because when you drink a freshly-made, unpasteurized juice you’re infusing every cell of your body with high-alkaline, enzyme-rich, bio-available nutrients.
Maintaining a balanced, slightly alkaline pH is essential to good health. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables provide a quick alkaline boost to your system, particularly juicing dark leafy greens and water-dense vegetables. If you check out the acid/alkaline chart of foods, you can see that leafy greens and certain citrus, like lemons and limes, are on the most alkaline part of the scale. Most fruits are in the alkaline columns as well, with the exception of blueberries, cranberries and rhubarb which are acidic. Keep in mind, acidic does not mean “bad”, it simply means you want to avoid eating only acidic foods all day. For example, when you’re battling a cold or healing from a deeper physical issue, you want to maintain a low-sugar diet consisting of 80% alkaline/20% acid (to learn more about the science behind pH and body alkalinity, read this post here).
With juicing, it’s easy to get carried away with all the sweet stuff, forgetting about your greens and overdoing it on the sugar. But when you’re making juicing a part of your daily lifestyle, you want to make it sustainable by keeping it low in sugar and rich in chlorophyll. In fact, did you know that chlorophyll—the “blood of plants”—is very similar to the molecular structure of our own blood. So by eating and drinking more green veggies, we are detoxifying our blood, increasing red blood cell production, easing inflammation, and removing heavy metals.
So how do you make a juice taste good and keep it low in sugar?
I like to use herbs, citrus, and essential oils as sugar-free, chemical-free sweeteners. Some of my favorite herbs to pair with leafy greens include mint, basil, fennel, and even dill for a more savory juice. Cilantro and parsley are also powerful detoxifying herbs that act as a natural chelating agent, pulling heavy metal toxins out of the body. I also love to work with citrus when juicing really earthy leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables like kale, chard, collards and broccoli. You’ll find lemon and lime works wonders to mellow out the harsh taste of certain greens. Be careful though, a little bit goes a long way! Start with a half then taste your way to a whole lemon or lime if needed. The rind of citrus can be very bitter, so I typically remove it before juicing. Also, non-organic lemons contains waxes and dyes in the skins to give it a brighter yellow appeal – make sure to buy organic or scrub well if using the rind.
I’ve recently started using essential oils in my juices and smoothies for added cleansing and building effect. My favorites are orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, peppermint, cinnamon and ginger. When using oils, it’s important to use high-quality food grade oils and to use a glass container instead of plastic when mixing oils into your juices, as oils tend to pull out toxins from anything they come into contact with. The recipe below is a nice and light, balanced green juice using leafy greens, cucumber, fennel and lime for a sweet effect. I used essential oils, but know that if you don’t have access to oils yet, you can always use the real thing instead!
CELERY + CUCUMBER + GREEN CHARD + SPINACH + FENNEL +LIME
4 stalks celery
5 leaves green chard
1 bunch spinach (about 2 cups)
¼ bulb of fennel
½ lime, skin removed (or 2 drops Young Living Lime Essential Oil)
Rinse your greens well and remove the rind from the lime if using a fresh lime. Process all ingredients through your juicer. Pour into a glass and stir in lime essential oil here if using. Drink up, feel radiant!
Makes 1-2 servings
Increases Vata (+)
Decreases Pitta (-)
Increases Kapha (+)
Note: All juices by their very nature are cold and wet, increasing vata and kapha. To balance these qualities, add a digestive aid like ginger and be sure to sip your juices closer to room temp to avoid icy cold beverages dousing out your agni.