New year. New you. Change your life. Starting now. That's the title of the 21-day detox plan in my Whole Living magazine this month (by Martha Stewart). I was intrigued by most of the recipes on the plan but the juices and smoothies definitely caught my eye first. Grapefruit + carrot and ginger juice, anyone? How about beet + apple + carrots and mint? And aren't we all wondering about those green machine smoothies that are all over the Internet? I like this magazine, but I like one of the recipe contributors for this article even better. Her name is Sarah Britton and she writes an incredibly healthy blog called My New Roots and I trust her recipes and health knowledge. I know you want to get healthy, fit and lose a couple pounds that inevitably came along with the holidays. I know I do. Whether it's your New years resolution or not, eating better, cleaner and healthier is always important and I have just the trick to help get you started on the right foot while you are still good and motivated. Incorporate these powerhouse drinks into a cleanse, detox, diet, and/or healthy eating regimen of your choice and get ready for healing, energy, better sleep, clearer skin, healthy hair and nails, and a couple pounds lost. Sound good?
Even if you are in no hurry to do a full out detox, just ditch the alcohol for a few weeks and break out your Vita-mix, blender or juicer and take the first step. Better decisions will follow. Who knows? You might make a few vegetarian meals throughout the week instead of your usual pizza or steak (I have a long list of choices under my recipes section). You might say no to ice cream and yes to sliced strawberries instead. Heck, maybe you'll get crazy with it and walk the neighborhood block in the evenings. Changing your life starts somewhere, and if for you, all that means is incorporating more fruits, vegetables and antioxidant rich foods into your diet, that's a fantastic start...and these elixirs will do more than your body good.
So, I made all three of the drinks on the 21-day detox plan (there are also more than 50 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, that will supercharge your health by clearing your body of impurities on the website) and will tell you exactly what I thought of them below. Two of these drinks are supposed to be made in a juicer, but alas, I gave mine away *boo*. I do have a Vita-Mix though, and so I set out to make them like a smoothie instead. I knew it would be thicker, but I also like the idea of getting the whole of the vegetables and fruit in my glass along with all the roughage and fiber, and I'll tell you how they turned out below as well.
Bottom line? Except for the green machine, definitely use a juicer as your first choice!
Grapefruit, Carrot, and Ginger Juice
2 chopped grapefruits (peel and pith removed)
5 chopped carrots (I used smaller organic carrots)
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Press all ingredients through a juice extractor. Stir and serve immediately. You can also blend on high in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth, just make sure to add 1 cup of water and 6 ice cubes to the mix. (see my note below). Add more fresh water if needed to thin.
PER SERVING: 321 calories, 1 g fat, (1 g sat fat); 7 g protein; 16 g fiber
The magazine says: Liquids in the morning are easier on your digestive system than solid foods. The carrots in this zesty tonic deliver a blast of immunity boosting vitamin C and enough fiber to sustain you until your first snack.
Taste test result: This was a little thick made in my Vita-Mix, though I didn't really mind. I'd make it again in my blender and not think much about it, but if you have a juice extractor, use that as a first choice. The drink is bright and vibrant, and reminds me of a true juice, making it a perfect choice either alongside, or for breakfast. The coral color isn't bad either.
Beet, Apple and Mint Juice
1 chopped, small raw beet (peeled)
5 chopped carrots
1 cored and chopped organic apple (I used Honeycrisp)
1/4 cup fresh mint sprigs, lightly packed
Press everything through a juice extractor. Stir and serve immediately. You can blend this in a Vita-Mix as well- but make sure to add 1 1/2 cups of water and 6 ice cubes to the mix, and blend on high until smooth. This particular drink is tastier done in the juice extractor rather than blending (see my note below).
PER SERVING: 249 cals; 1 g fat )0 g sat fat); 5 g protein; 15 g fiber
The magazine says: Antioxidant superstars, red beets contain betalains, compounds that fight inflammation and support your detox by neutralizing toxins and making them water soluble and easily flushed from the body. In one study, beet fiber increased the production of detoxifying enzymes in the liver.
Taste test result: I made this one two days in a row and it varied in taste depending on how big my beets were. This is really mild and sweet going in, and then at the finish you can detect the mint and your mouth feels incredibly clean afterwards. Raw beets are not as potent as cooked so it definitely passes as a drink friendly food in my book. Taste wise, this was actually my favorite drink and I will surely be making it again. However, I really recommend you make this one in a juice extractor. The solids want to separate something awful and unless you chug this down quickly straight from the blender, you'll end up chewing through some of it, which is not completely pleasant. Your call.
Green Machine Smoothie
6 chopped organic romaine leaves
4 chopped organic kale leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 cup chopped mango
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cups water
6 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender such as the Vita-Mix and blend until smooth. PER SERVING: 145 cals; 2 g fat; (0 g sat fat);7 g protein; 6 g fiber
The magazine says: Starting the day with this nutrient-dense elixir is a delicious way to charge your system with nutrients. Dark leafy greens are extremely alkalizing, meaning they foster a more neutral body environment for better functioning enzymes, compared with acid-forming foods like meats and dairy.
Taste test result: I only had pineapple on hand so I did a whole cup of that instead of 1/2 cup mango and 1/2 cup pineapple. This is a powerhouse green smoothie and it's not like you can't taste the greens...you can, but I don't know that you'll mind that much. The greens are balanced by the sweet fruits and both the spiciness of the fresh ginger and pop of parsley. It's really quite nice. I was originally going to suggest that this smoothie was for adult palates rather than kids, but this was actually my 9 year old daughter's favorite of the three drinks! Although, my 5 year old son hated it. :) If you like the idea of a green smoothie but are not wild about the flavor, check out this spinach-berry smoothie. You can't taste the greens at all. The taste of this one will depend on how much ginger you put in. The first time I made this, my inch of ginger was on the skinnier side and the drink was sweeter but earthier. The second time my ginger was fat, so much more went in, which covered the earthiness, but was not very sweet.
None of these drinks are incredibly delicious (maybe the beet, mint, apple - juiced, not blended) but considering how nutritionally good for you they are, it's a wonder they taste this good. I was really pleasantly surprised. The fact that I made them two days in a row says something. And I don't know about you, but when I know I'm putting wonderfully healthy foods into my body, each sip tastes better and better. Really.