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Power up—fast—with powerful-produce ingredients by giving some of my favorite juice and smoothie recipes a whirl.
Sometimes, it’s when I’ve been really busy traveling, filming, book-touring, or just being a wife and mom at home; other times, I just don’t feel like myself—whether it’s due to inflammation, bloating, or general sluggishness. Either way, I turn to juices and smoothies. They help me detox and get back on track, filling me with the essential nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables that are good for my body.
There’s no denying that juices and smoothies are delicious. They hit the sweet, cold, and (sometimes) slushy notes that help quench a craving. But they also have the good-for-you, whole-food ingredients that leave processed treats in the dust (I’m talking to you, Frappuccino and Slurpee). And then there’s the color factor. Deep, bright fruit and vegetable pigments not only give these drinks their tempting looks, but also a giant nutritional boost. In summer, you get a bumper crop of vitamins and minerals when you blitz up peak-of-season berries (free- radical-fighting vitamin C), fresh greens (meatless iron), or sunny peaches or oranges (heart-healthy beta-carotene). And a juice or smoothie is the ultimate quick delivery device for getting these nutritional goodies into your system.
The timing’s up to you. I like a juice in the morning, to get a delicious, healthy start to the day. But they’re also restorative and energizing after a workout, or as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Bonus: The ingredients’ water and fiber help fill you up and may help you ward off the temptation of other, less virtuous snacks.
If you’re a hard-core juice fanatic, you might kit out your kitchen with an electric juicer. Fortunately for the low-tech-types out there, these recipes don’t require much specialized equipment. The orange juice I’ve included here incorporates carrot juice, but you can pick some up at a grocery or health food store rather than extracting your own. A high-powered blender such as a Vitamix can liquefy almost anything and froth up fruits and vegetables with the addition of just ice to make smoothie-like treats that are dairy-free and delicious. A standard kitchen blender does the job perfectly well, though it will be just a bit chunkier.
A word about serving temperatures: I like my juices and smoothies served cold. I know many people recommend drinking straight juices warm or at room temperature, but I just can’t do it. Chilled, however, they are delicious.