Fresh (sodium free) vegetable juice is SO good for you
Because it can help you get so many nutrients into your body – and if the veggies are fresh and ripe1, you can get even more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (including antioxidants). Regardless of one’s stance on food, nutrition, or eating philosopies, just about everyone agrees that vegetables are among the healthiest foods. In fact the Canada Food Guide recommends 7-10 fruits and vegetables per adult per day (yes, every day!). And this is clearly more than any other food group – which I wholeheartedly agree with! I would even go further to recommend 7 servings of vegetables every day, with fruit being a ‘nice to have’ over and above this, possibly for dessert. Let’s also note here that juice is only a partial substitute for eating your fruits and veggies, and it can easily increase your sugar and calorie intake without making you feel very full (and I’m talking fresh sodium-free juice, not store-bought, salt-infused, extended shelf-life juice!). To get your veggie intake, you ideally should eat most of your 7-10 veggies as whole food.
Why? When you juice you intentionally remove the fiber from the vegetables and fruit. Fibre is one of those things that helps to slow the release of the sugar from your digestive system into your blood, so when you remove the fibre with the juicer, you should stick with a recipe of at least 70% veggies. You can also try drinking the juice with a meal that has plenty of fibre, protein and/or fat, all of which will help to regulate your blood sugar. We always drank our juice with dinner.
Throughout this spring and summer, I was doing a great job of juicing a whole lot of veggies for my husband and I (the kids usually had one or two sips, and were done with it – but note that introducing nutritious whole foods to kids may require 10 or more introductions before a child will choose to consume it, so be persistent!).
Honestly, cleaning and prepping so many veggies is a bit of a chore, but cleaning the juicer afterwards just plain sucks! I have to say, though, that I have a rather inexpensive juicer for newbies, and there are surely better models out there, but I wanted to first try out the whole juicing experience before I was willing to invest in an awesome juicer.
My juice recipe was quite good – perhaps a bit on the sweet side, and not too “earthy” either. My husband and I enjoyed it almost daily for the first month or so, then a few times per week for the last few months, and not at all in the past week or so.
So, here I was with two refrigerator vegetable crispers FULL of veggies (mostly for juicing), and little incentive to juice them. And of course, the most nutritious foods are ones that are at the peak of ripeness and soon to spoil, and I did NOT want two crispers of spoiled veggies (throwing all that nutrition out would be so, so sad). So, what the heck should I do with those veggies???
Here are the vegetables I usually juice, and here are a few ideas what to do with them.
|Vegetable||Quantity for 3 servings of my juice recipe||Some other ideas what to do with the veggies|
|Radishes||2 or 3||
|Kale, Beet Greens, Dandelion||Handful||
So there I was perusing the internet for a nutritious chocolatey beet… um, I mean “red velvet” baked dessert recipe (I did not want to negate the nutrition in the beets by drowning them in white flour and sugar). There are quite a few recipes out there, and I wanted something that was:
- yummy and looked and (at least sort of) tasted like a chocolate muffin or brownie;
- did not have too much sugar;
- had good fats and some extra protein and fibre; and
- is nut-free so my daughter can take it to school for a snack.
I tried the Naturally Red Velvet Cupcakes. The substitutions I made were:
- I only had 2 beets, so I went on Cook’s Thesaurus and saw that I could use carrots in place of the rest of the beets. So, I steamed 2 carrots, and pureed them to get a whole cup of beet/carrot puree.
- I didn’t have tapioca flour, so I used arrowroot flour.
- Instead of 3 tblsp cocoa powder, I used 2 tblsp cocoa powder and 1 tblsp carob powder.
- I didn’t have palm shortening or grassfed butter, so I used coconut oil.
- I used a bit less than 1/2 cup of sugar (I’m always pushing the limits on reducing sugar in baked goods… sometimes the hubby and kids notice, though)
I personally liked the muffins, the hubby and kids thought they were pretty good. I think next time I will increase the carob/cocoa powder to a total of 5 tblsp to make a darker cupcake. I’ll also continue to use less than 1/2 cup sugar, but next time I’ll add 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips (I know, I know… at least it’s dark chocolate!).
I think I had 3 of these cupcakes for breakfast yesterday… 🙂
Now tell me – what do you do with extra veggies?
2 – “Nutritious Salad Dressing” contains no high fructose corn syrup or processed oils (most store bought ones, even organic, are high in sugar). I make my own in about 4 minutes, and my current favourite is this Hemp Seed Salad Dressing.