Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Family's Favorite Green Juice

With a blog title like "Ashley's Green Life", you can bet we drink some green juice from time to time. But I always wondered if I could get my girls to love it just as much as I do. Would they be squeamish of the green color? Pinch their nose just to get it down? Or spit it back out because it's not sweet like candy? The truth...they love it, possibly more than me! Granted, they're one and three years old, so some days they love it and other days they don't care much. But overall, they have joined me in being green juice fanatics and I couldn't be more proud. 


Why do we drink green juice? 
I see green juice as a part of my vitamin and supplement routine. It's my greens in the freshest, truest form you can find. Unlike smoothies that take some work on your body to breakdown and digest, nutrients from juices are quickly and easily absorbed into the body since the hard part of digesting has already been done by the juicer. 

The best visual I can think of is when I look at all the ingredients I'm preparing to juice (you can see this below) and I think how long it would take me to eat and digest all of them, then I compare it to how quickly I can juice them and instantly absorb them into my body and I'm convinced.

Now I've gotten a lot of slack on my previous green juice video on YouTube in how people think juicing is a waste because I'm throwing out all the fiber and it would be much better to have a smoothie instead. I get it, I can see the logic of that. But I have one smoothie a day in the morning for my breakfast where I get my fiber, and then later in the day I have my green juice. I think there can be  room for both in a healthy diet. Here's a great infographic from one of my health idols, Kris Carr: "Juicing Vs. Blending".  

Other motivating factors that keep me drinking my green juice and encouraging it to be a part of my girl's diets as well:
  • helps make our bodies more alkaline
  • increases hydration
  • clearer skin
  • increased immune support with the vitamins and nutrients absorbed
  • gives digestive system a break 
I'll post more about my juicing routine in the future, but for the time being, make sure to follow these great juicing tips from the another health idol of mine,Vani Hari aka Food Babe: "Are You Making These Common Juicing Mistakes?"

Onto the recipe....
It took some perfecting to find a recipe that was sweet enough to appeal to them, but not go crazy overboard with the fruit. Our go-to in the past was the recipe you can see in this post, "My Daily Green Juice" which used all the ingredients below, but I added in pineapple to sweeten it.

"My Daily Green Juice"
But since I'm trying to reduce sugar and even excessive fruit in my life, I've narrowed the ingredients down to the ones you'll see below and the result is a balanced green juice that pleases all the green juice drinkers in my house...without raising my blood sugar too much.

The ingredients needed.

Ashley's Green Life "Family Green Juice"

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 1-2 cups of kale or spinach

Watch as Avery, my juicing assistant, helps me make our green juice:


No time for the video? Check out the pictures below to see how we make it...

First we wash all the produce (I use a solution of 1/2 cup vinegar + 1/2 cup water) and you can see I use a strainer when cleaning my greens.  Then I chop them so they are ready to be juiced.



Then it's juicing time. Lately both girls have gotten involved in the juicing process. I usually hold Mila as we pick up produce to drop down the chute...with some assistance from Avery of course. 



Here's my true green juice assistant, Avery. This girl would do all the juicing for me if I let her. One perk about slow/masticating juicers is that I feel much more comfortable having my kids around them, than I did the louder and faster centrifugal juicer I used to have.  I think that getting her involved with the cleaning and juicing process makes her more likely to drink the juice, as opposed to just handing it to her and expecting that she'll like it. As you can see in the video, she eats a bunch of my apples and celery while making the juice, so if anything it's a great way for her to have a healthy snack. 


Here comes the green goodness!

There's the finished green juice. I love to serve mine in this big glass
with a stainless steel straw.

Tips for getting kids to like the green juice:
  • Add another apple or a section of pineapple to sweeten this recipe
  • Take out the ginger, sometimes it's a bit spicy with this, so it can be left out to be more neutral in flavor
  • Add some ice cubes...for some reason my girls always drink more when I put ice cubes in it. Who knew, right?

As you can see it's a hit with Avery and she usually gets first dibs. 



*Then I finally get to drink some.*

Then Mila usually finishes it off.

By this point she's usually saying, "More, more"
or she's found the semi-melted ice cubes
at the bottom of the glass and wants me to
dig them out for her.
Now if only I could get teach them to clean the juicer for
me, then I'd really have it made!

So there you have it, my family's favorite green juice recipe. What's your family's favorite green juice? What tips have you tried to make juicing/green juice more appealing to kids? Share below!
Cheers to green juice and green kids!

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