Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A very juicy post...

My mom gave me a juicer for my birthday this year. It was one of the best gifts I've ever received! Thank you mama :) Not only can I make all kinds of delicious drinks for myself and my husband with it, but also it's an irreplaceable source of vitamins and nutrients for Allie.
I know that juice is not the best thing to give to your child, since it can be loaded with sugar, but not the juices that I make for her! She mostly drinks vegetable juices and because she's never really had any pure fruit juice, she doesn't realize what she's missing out.   Of course, I don't want to overdo it and don't give much to her, it's really mostly a treat in our house, but what a healthy treat! She loves drinking juice and I am pretty sure this is the only word that she knows in both English and Russian and realizes that these 2 words are the same thing in different languages. Sometimes she'll start asking for "juice" and if she doesn't get it, she'll then ask for "сок" which is russian for juice. I make juices out of different combinations, and I'll share my favorite ones over the course of my blog.

The great benefit of juicing is that she is getting lots of vitamins because the juice comes from raw veggies. If let's say she eats a cooked vegetable, it lost a lot of "good stuff" during cooking.  Juice will not provide her with the good stuff that stays left out in the pulp, but  there is just a higher possibility that she'll drink vegetable juice instead of eating a bunch of raw veggies.
Here is the juice that I make for Allie for dessert or as a  part of her snack most frequently:

Carrot, celery, beet and apple juice.

Apple is something that just goes into almost all our juices automatically. Because this is what makes them taste great. If you skip an apple, the juice is not going to taste nearly that great (well, for me at least), and it will just taste "healthy" instead of "healthy and delicious". And while it can be quite sugary, it also adds great benefits to it, they say for a reason "an apple a day will keep the doctor away". Apples are a great source of energy  and vitamins A, C, K. It's also a good source of iron.
Carrot. You just see it everywhere now that "orange colored fruit and veggies" are great for you. Carrot is orange, so it already goes without saying that it is good for you. But just to add to that, carrots are loaded with vitamin A, which contributes to your vision and supports your bone growth. When I was growing up and was given raw carrots to eat, I was always told that I am eating them to make my vision good. There is actually this popular Russian joke about carrots. Mom is telling her son to eat a carrot because it's good for his eyesight and son is asking how does she know that it's good for his eyesight. The mother answers "Well, have you ever seen a rabbit with a glasses on?" (which all ties into the fact that rabbits love carrots...). That's pretty corny, but a good way to explain to a kid :).
Carrot is also a good source of vitamin E which plays a role in immune function and vitamin K which is needed for blood clotting. Our bleeding and bruising will increase without adequate intakes of vitamin K, and we all know how often all kinds of falling and hitting and bruising happen to our kids.  Also, carrots are also a good source of antioxidants!

Celery. Again we've got more  vitamin K and A and C, which is believed to be a cold fighter.

Finally beets. It seems as people either love or hate beets. Well, I happen to love them. How can you not? They are delicious! Roasted beets with some blue cheese on top of some arugula dressed with a little balsamic vinaigrette. How can you not love their sweet earthy taste! Anyway, even if you don't like to eat them, you don't really taste them in the juice, but get most of the benefits! Proportionally speaking, a beet would be the smallest amount out of everything that I use for the juice. Feel free to adjust it to your taste. If the juice tastes too earthy, try using less beets. Beets also gives the juice this nice rich purple color! Like I said, as a Russian of course love the beets :). While looking up their benefits, I actually came upon a reference that said that the Russians live long and healthy lives because of beets! I don't know if that's true, but it sounds comforting. Beets have powerful
nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers. Betalainsare the component that gives beets their distinct very bright purple color provide antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. What's not to love? One of these days I'll post a recipe of a classic borsch, a popular russian beet soup. It's delicious! Even people who don't like beets love the soup!

Having listed all these benefits of drinking freshly squeezed vegetable/apple juice, let me get to the actual juice. To make 3 medium servings of juice I use:

2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 small beet
3 apples (any sweet kind will do. I use Red Delicious)

And if you are feeling particularly adventurous, add a bit of fresh ginger, which is the best immune system booster (but really, just a little. It has a very strong taste for a child, especially).

Cheers! :)

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