This weekend I taught a smoothie workshop for an awesome group at the Pure Barre studios in Greenville, SC. The topic was definitely well received. I get questions about smoothies almost as often as questions about carbs, popular diets and the latest topic on Dr. Oz. The people are hungry for smoothies!
Whenever the topic of smoothies comes up, so does the topic of juicing. "What is juicing?" "Do I really need a juicer?" "Is it healthier than a smoothie?" "Why on earth does it cost $10 at Whole Foods?"
Here's my take:
Overall, I'm team smoothie. As a general rule of thumb, I like to feel full and satisfied when I eat. Weird, I know.
There are some downsides to juicing. Without the fiber in fruit, juices have more of a glycemic effect, especially if using mostly fruit. It's also expensive to do regularly, especially when you see how much produce goes into one little glass of juice.
However, juicing does have it's benefits. It's a great way to use up fruits and veggies that have been hanging around too long or an overabundance of summer produce. I often juice as a way to squeeze in extra nutrients to prevent myself from getting sick. For my clients with digestive illnesses like Crohns or Celiac, it's a source of easily digestible nutrients their body so desperately needs.
I like to think of juice as a supplement rather than a meal or snack. It's a way to strategically get the specific nutrients your body needs. Going for a long run? Beet juice would do your body good. Want to boost your iron intake? Throw in some greens with lemon to aid in absorption. Coming down with a cold? Throw a knob of immune enhancing fresh turmeric or ginger.
I created this juice as a supplement for my skin, to help calm breakouts, reduce redness and improve elasticity. There's actually a (kind of) funny story of how it came to be.
Early last year, my normally clear skin started breaking out, horribly. Like, worse than middle school. After reading this article, I put two and two together and traced it back to when I started putting pure lavender oil on my pillow at night. Apparently, my skin is sensitive to lavender, which is was my favorite scent. Probably why I had it in just about everything - laundry detergent, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner.
Needless to say, when I rid my house of lavender, my skin cleared up pretty quickly. But whenever I accidentally come in contact with it (pretty frequent since it's a common ingredient) I break out. To give my skin some TLC, I started whipping up a batch of this juice packed with beautifying produce. Here's a look at what's inside:
CUCUMBER // I'm sure you've heard of putting cucumber slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness, but eating/drinking cucumbers is beneficial for skin as well. Cucumber is a rich source of silica, a mineral needed for healthy connective tissue and skin elasticity.
CITRUS // As we all know, citrus is a rich source of vitamin C. The vitamin is needed to produce collagen, which gives skin it's elasticity. It also helps to reduce redness associated with breakouts.
CARROTS // Carrots contain vitamin A, a vitamin which plays many roles in maintaining skin health. It promotes cell turnover, decreases acne, and prevents wrinkles.
TURMERIC & GINGER // Both ginger and turmeric, which are related, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to calm a breakout. Both also improve blood circulation, giving your skin a healthy glow.
While drinking a glass of this doesn't immediately turn me into a Neutrogena model, I do notice my skin looks calmer, less inflamed and with better tone. Even more important for healthy skin is to stay well hydrated, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, incorporate fermented probiotic foods and to limit sugar and dairy, both of which are linked to acne.
Any tricks you use for healthy skin?
Healthy Skin Carrot Grapefruit Juice
2 large cucumbers
2 large carrots
2 grapefruits, peeled
2 navel oranges, peeled
1-inch nub of fresh ginger
1-inch nub of fresh turmeric
Juice all ingredients in a juicer. Pour into two glasses and serve or store in a sealed mason jar until later.