I’ve been drinking green juice for years, and these are my very favorite tips for making the best green juice. Rather than jumping into the sweet stuff, like orange, pineapple, and carrot, these green juice tips will help you create vibrant drinks that are lower in sugar, high in vitmins and minerals, and super delicious.
1. Focus on green vegetables.
As mentioned above, removing the fiber means the sugar in fruits and veggies goes right into your bloodstream, so you want to keep the amount of veggies high and fruit low. Choose good green bases like cucumbers, celery and lettuce. Good green additions are parsley, kale, spinach, cilantro, dandelion greens, broccoli, red peppers. Garlic if you’re feeling insane. Tomatoes are a great base too.
2. A note about greens
Kale, spinach, parsley and cilantro are very good for you, but as you can imagine, they are not as juicy as a cucumber. So don’t try to make a whole juice with kale as the base; use one or two ounces of the dark greens and herbs with a watery base of about 4-6 ounces.
3. Use sweet fruits and vegetables moderately
Apples, pineapple, carrots, beets all taste amazing, but they taste amazing because they are loaded with sugar. The sugar content of fruits and sweet veggies can be very high, and thus should be drank in moderation. One cup of carrot juice provides more than 9 grams of sugar. It’s not as bad as soda, but since we’re trying to boost our health here, let’s try to avoid the super sweet stuff. Eating carrots/apples/etc is not bad for you because all the fiber slows the breakdown of sugar.
4. Include an array of veggies
Technically anything can be juiced, but vegetables with very strong flavors or weird textures (I’m looking at you, eggplant, potatoes, bittermelon, cabbage, radish) might not juice so well. But, give it a try to see what you like!
Oranges, grapefruits make excellent juice, but don’t juice the rind and remove as much pith (white stuff) as possible, which is insanely bitter. Citrus fruits can be high is sugar too, so always mix with greens or drink sparingly. Lemon and lime are not high in sugar but super good for you. I use a lot of citrus for the health benefits and big flavor boosts it gives to juices. Always remove the rind and pith.
My favorite juice ingredient, ginger makes all juices taste better. It’s spicy, warming and is great for digestion. Use about 1/2-inch piece per 4-6 ounce glass of juice.
7. Drink juice on an empty stomach.
I like it either first thing in the morning or as a late afternoon snack. Give your body time to digest before eating food. This helps with assimilation of the nutrients and makes digesting it easier.
I know, sounds silly. But chewing your juice (rolling it around in your mouth a few times) can help stimulate the digestive process in the mouth. Don’t roll your eyes, just do it a few times when you start drinking juice to maximize your digestive process.
9. Stick to 3 or 4 veggies/fruits maximum per juice:
This is not a rule, but it seems to work best. Once you start combining a ton of different foods in a juicer, I find that it ends up looking and tasting like dirt. Skip the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink juice and choose just a few items for a better flavor. You can always go back and add a few more pieces of produce if you think it needs something, but it’s really hard to undo a weird mixture.
10. Drink juice as soon as possible!
The longer it sits out, the more the juice oxidizes and loses its vitality. However, don’t let that stop you: a day-old juice is still better than no juice at all! If you need to store your juice, put it in an airtight container in the fridge as soon as it’s gone through the juicer. Shake before drinking.
11. Clean the juicer asap
Unless you want to scrub for hours, rinse and wash out all juice parts as soon as you finish. I usually just rinse the parts since the pulp comes right off when it’s fresh, and there’s no need to scrub. The centrifugal juicers have a mesh basket that is a huge pain to clean, which is one more reason I love our Omega juicer.
12. Give yourself time to adjust.
Green juice is going to taste really green and weird and maybe a bit gross until you get accustomed to it. In the first weeks, start with some Apple-Parsley juice or Carrot-Cucumber-Lime to begin to enjoy liquid greenery. Once you begin to like the taste more, try stronger flavors like Celery-Dandelion-Lemon, or Cucumber-Spinach-Ginger-Lemon. It’s really up to you to experiment and find what works and what doesn’t for your palate.
13. Know how to fix it
If you make a terrible juice (see #10, above), lemon, apple and/or ginger are good solutions. If you make a terrible juice, these ingredients will usually make it better. If it’s really bad, use in soup, as a broth, or as a base for pasta sauce.
14. Be prepared to see changes in your body
You might poop some red (beets) and witness some other changes to your digestive system because these veggies are going to change your body a lot. You might experience some flushing of your system. Perhaps start on the weekend when you’ll be home all day!
15. Choose organic
Not only is organic better for the environment, it’s better for your body. As you enjoy more juice, you are including even more fresh produce in your diet, and if it’s covered in pesticides it’s not going to be very good for you. This is especially true since you don’t need to peel any veggies for juices. Check out local CSA programs and even Costco; they have a great selection of organic veggies from what I hear! Also, organic vegetables are safer for the farmworkers that pick all those plants.
Click here for my favorite Green Juice Recipes