Exploring Raw Food: Juices and Smoothies
This year, one of my new year’s resolutions was to eat more raw and living foods. I recently started attending a monthly raw food potluck and have been inspired by all the delicious recipes and information. I have learned that eating uncooked plant foods is healthy for several reasons: raw fruits and veggies contain lots of fiber, are packed with nutrients, and also retain many useful enzymes that cooking destroys. Having a plot in my local community garden has definitely helped me eat more raw fresh produce as well as eat more sustainably.
As I try to add more living foods to my diet, I’ve tried eating salad with just about every meal, eating raw snacks like trail mixes and fresh fruit, and making more food from scratch. One way of incorporating raw foods into my diet that has been really easy is making fresh juices and smoothies. With the help of gadgets like my Green Star juicer and Vitamix blender, I’ve made many a healthy and scrumptious snack.
One word of juicing wisdom that I’ve learned is that you don’t want to overdo it with fruit juices. Because of their high sugar content, fruit juices can raise blood sugar levels. It’s healthier to drink vegetable juices, or a blend of fruit and vegetable juices. Juices are best in moderation because they deliver many nutrients but since the pulp is removed, they don’t have much fiber. Smoothies, on the other hand, use the entire fruit or vegetable, so the fiber is included. Both juices and smoothies are a great way to get digestible nutrients and add more raw fruits and vegetables to your diet.
I usually make up my juices and smoothies as I go along, but here are a few of the basic recipes I use when making healthy drinks. They serve as an excellent energy boost, and it’s fairly easy to save extra portions for later. Make sure you use organic ingredients for optimum nutrition.
Mixed Fruit & Veggie Juice
- 1 beet, peeled and cut into small enough pieces for your juicer
- 2 to 3 large carrots, peeled
- 2 to 3 apples, cut
- 1 to 2 tsp. ginger root
- 1 pear
Run everything through your juicer, alternating between different fruits and veggies. The juice will be bright pink, and the apples and pear help disguise the taste of the beet to make it more palatable. Beets are highly nutritious, so this is a great way to eat your beets! Using my juicer, this made about enough for a pint of juice.
The Everything Smoothie
- 1 or 2 bananas, fresh or frozen (smoothies are a great way to use overripe bananas)
- 1/2 cup frozen berries
- 1/2 cup or more of fresh berries
- 1/2 cup of fresh juice and/or rice milk
- Additives to suit your liking: spirulina powder, Vitamineral Green powder, frozen acai berry concentrate, and/or hemp seeds.
- A small handful of greens such as kale or spinach.
- A few ice cubes, if you like it frosty.
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy. This recipe usually makes 2 to 3 large servings. These nutritious smoothies make a great breakfast, and are easy to adapt to whatever you have on hand.
Juice and smoothies are two easy, delicious, and very nutritious ways to add more raw fruits and vegetables to your diet. Please comment with your favorite juice and smoothie blends, and be sure to check back regularly for more raw recipes!