Stay Stacked: Juice It
I’ve spoken before about healthy and convenient snack options while on the grind, but one of the absolute easiest ways to infuse your body with a huge amount of nutrients is in liquid form. In a world where processed “fast foods” are rampant, it’s too easy to go an entire day without putting a single fresh fruit or vegetable in your body.
The widespread burst of juice bars popping up around the world is testament to the popularity of juices. The disappointing part is, very few people actually take the time to prepare freshly squeezed vegetable juices at home. By making your own, they are a lot cheaper and more accessible, allowing you to up your daily intake of vitamins and antioxidants, for which your body, and your game, will thank you later.
How long would it take you to chew two carrots, a couple of celery sticks and an entire head of greens? You would probably fill up before you finished them. By juicing to capture all the goodness, you can take all the benefits in a great-tasting drink on the go.
Claims have been made that drinking vegetable juices is better for your body than eating the whole vegetable because your body can absorb the nutrients easier, giving your digestive system a rest. However, while juicing provides the body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in an amount that you wouldn’t usually intake, it does eliminate the fiber that’s found in the bulk of the fruit or vegetable. Fiber is important for your digestive system and controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels. While many suggest using juicing as a detox, don’t replace all of your meals with juices, at least not in the long term. Instead, turn to a juice as a healthier replacement for your can of soda, cup of coffee or afternoon snack.
Before you start, you need to have the right equipment. The Best of Raw Food offers an excellent breakdown of the various types of raw food juicers and other kitchen appliances available.
Start with a Base
An important consideration is to not overload your juices with fruits because they come with a high sugar content. Carrots are one of the sweetest vegetables and are high in vitamin A, so they work as a great base for your juice and will help deter you from using too many fruits.
Green is Good
The good rule of thumb is, any vegetable that is green, is amazing for you.
Spinach is rich in calcium and iron, containing a large amount of Lutein, an antioxidant that helps prevent the breakdown of tissues relating to age-related macular degeneration. That is, vision impairment. With all those hours we spend staring at computer screens, we want to keep our eyes strong!
Broccoli is probably the last thing you would think about juicing, but one of the best to include. A few stems of broccoli will stimulate the production of enzymes, helping to detoxify the body and guard against toxic chemicals.
The best green ingredient for any juice would have to be wheatgrass. It’s a powerful “super food” that contains over 90 minerals. Wheatgrass is an alkaline food high in chlorophyll, which cleanses the body, neutralizes toxins, and is said to slow the aging process and prevent cancer. (Source: Health & Wellness Magazine) You can actually have a small shot of wheatgrass on its own, perhaps followed with a bite of orange, tequila style.
Another leafy green that is high in chlorophyll is kale, which is also a great source of calcium and iron.
Juicing Book provides an incredibly handy reference for almost any vegetable (64 to be exact) that you can think of juicing.
Give it a Kick
I love to add ginger to my juices to give them a bite. I’ve read that adding a spicy pepper can also give a unique kick to your juice, while adding some vitamin C. I’ll definitely be trying that next time.
Fill Up for Breakfast
In the mornings, combine your favorite fruit juice with milk or yogurt, and turn it into a filling smoothie. It's a much more nutritious start to the day than a bowl of sugar-loaded cereal.
The Internet is your oyster when it comes to recipes for vegetable juices, and so is your creativity and local market. The fun part is finding things out for yourself, so start off with some basic combinations, and once you get used to those, start to get experimental.
Fellow PokerNews hostess, Kristy Arnett, is the home-juicing queen. Arnett says, "It’s all about trial and error. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t taste good right away!"
My favorite combo:
1 red apple
4 medium sized carrots
2 celery stalks
1 chunk of Ginger
Kristy Arnett’s favorite combos:
1 sweet potato
3-4 handfuls of spinach
1 green apple
6-8 medium sized carrots
6 kale leafs
One vital point to remember is that you must drink your juice as quickly as possible after making it. Arnett explains, "Because it’s fresh, the juice oxidizes, loses nutrients and goes bad quickly just like a cut-open apple would when it turns brown.”
Juicing in Action
You may be wondering why Ryan D’Angelo is staring so proudly at you in the lead picture. That’s because he’s probably one of the most dedicated juicers in the poker world. So much so that he started a blog all about his juicing adventures. Check out this video of D’Angelo making a "Green Ginger Blast."
Check out more of the Stay Stacked series for a variety or articles on fitness and health.