(If you're new to The Daily Dietribe, read here to find out how you can join my gluten free health challenge).
Since Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, I wanted to give you a couple of juice recipes that will cool you down and keep you feeling your best. The first is the juice I drink when I'm feeling a headache coming on, or my stomach feels particularly inflamed. The second contains a shot of glutamine from a hefty portion of cabbage. As I mentioned in my post on healing, glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and is used by the cells of the gastrointestinal tract to help repair your gut. Beef, chicken, fish, beans, and dairy products (i.e. high protein foods) are all good sources of amino acids, but I find that a vegetable juice serves the dual purpose of calming inflammation and repairing the gut at the same time. Beets are also a good source of glutamine, so you could replace one of the carrots in the cabbage recipe with a beet, but the sugar content of beets is pretty high, so you don't want to have beet juice all the time. In addition, both of these juice recipes are made with the newbie juicer in mind, and contain a good portion of sweetness from carrots or apples. If you've been juicing for a while, and can handle a more bitter juice from greens, feel free to reduce the amount of carrots and apples and add in a green vegetable of your choosing.
Why these ingredients?
Apples: You know the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" While that may be an exaggeration, apples are a miracle fruit in my mind. Studies have linked the consumption of apples to a reduced risk of a variety of cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Type II diabetes. They are strong antioxidants, and contain a number of phytochemicals, including quercetin, which I mentioned last week as being particularly anti-inflammatory.
Ginger: Ginger ale is historically the tonic of choice for stomach unrest. However, with all the high fructose corn syrup or sugar in ginger ale, your best bet is making your own tea or including a chunk of fresh ginger in your juice. In addition, ginger is known to alleviate migraine symptoms, and my own experience with ginger juice has proven that to be true. Whenever I feel a headache coming on, I make a ginger juice - the worse the headache, the more ginger I add. If you've never used ginger in your juice, it can taste pretty strong, so start with a 1-inch chunk and increase the amount over time.
Cucumber: Do you remember putting cucumber slices over your eyes to reduce morning puffiness (or seeing women do it in movies)? Well, imagine cucumber doing the same thing for your gut. It contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which may help reduce inflammation and swelling.
Fennel: Fennel is a carminative, and can aid in the prevention of gas. Its antispasmodic properties are also useful for calming your stomach down. As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vegetable, it contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, anethole and limonene (phytochemicals).
Carrots: Carrots are the dieter's best friend for a reason. They taste good raw or cooked, and are high in a number of nutrients, especially beta-carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. I like to use them in juice partially because they I love the taste, but also because they have antioxidant properties.
Cabbage: As I mentioned, cabbage is a good source of glutamine, which is my main reason for including it in my juices. However, it's also a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and various phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Different types of cabbage will contain unique amounts of micronutrients and phytochemicals, so I recommend using a variety of cabbages. Perhaps red cabbage one week, green the next, and savoy the third.
Parsley: The inclusion of fresh herbs in your diet can be especially beneficial, as many of them are strong antioxidants. Parsley contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. It also tastes great in carrot juice!
1-3 inch chunk fresh ginger
1 stalk fennel
Makes approx 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups).
Gut Repair Tonic
large handful of fresh parsley
1/2 head cabbage
Makes approximately 8 ounces (1 cup).
If possible, buy all your juicing vegetables organic. In general, I follow the dirty dozen list to pick which fruits and vegetables to buy organic, but if I'm planning on juicing it, I always buy organic. It's more expensive, of course, but it seems counterproductive to drink a juice for its health benefits if it's also full of pesticides.