Green Magic?

Neil Tran @ 2017-05-15 10:33:21 -0700

So you’ve probably noticed green juices becoming increasingly popular over the last few years.

No longer is it sufficient to eat vegetables in order to stay healthy - now you have to drink them too. 

Or at least that’s how green juices and other veggie-based drinks are marketed to us. Like most health-related media content, this is an exaggeration that is based on a grain of truth.

The underlying truth is that almost everybody isn’t getting enough nutrition from plants so any additional vegetables, like those in green juices, are a pretty welcome addition. But it’s not as if vegetables are like some minority among ingredients whose true nutritional power has been kept down through a conspiracy of cooking. Certain vitamins might be preserved in raw veggies but, equally, cooking makes other nutrients accessible. Plus, sometimes you just want (or need?) lasagna.

The exaggerated element here is that there’s nothing magical about juice. Green juices not are the Only Path to Perfect Health. The reality is way more complicated. Sorry.

Genuine 24 Carat Green Gold

But maybe I’m being a little too cynical here.

If consuming vegetables in juice form makes them accessible, convenient, and palatable, then more people will get the nutrition they need. And what’s not to love about that? I might take a leap and call it miraculous (but not magical). 

Even though I think you should be skeptical about the story told around green juice (blended veggies cure all ills and bestow eternal life etc.), I am still a pretty enthusiastic consumer of vegetable-based smoothies. There are three reasons for this: they’re super convenient, they’re refreshing, and they make it easy to consume a huge volume of vegetables.

Firstly, convenience. There’s not a lot to say here, but surely that emphasizes the point. Get your vegetables and fruit, chop them up, blend them around, and drink them down. Simple. It’s a process that involved drastically less washing, peeling, slicing, cooking and cleaning up. It’s probably the most convenient way to consume vegetables short of casually snacking on office plants (not recommended). And at Subi, we’re all about convenience.

And while a potent draft of liquid vegetables isn’t going to win anyone a Michelin Star, it definitely does satisfy a particular flavor niche. When you include some fresh and zingy ingredients like lemon, ginger or pink grapefruit in your green juice you get a lighter, more refreshing drink. If your blender can handle ice cubes, I’d recommend adding a couple for texture and a fresh flavor. If this sounds like your kind of thing, take a look at these recipes.

Finally, I’m never going to sit down and eat a whole bunch of celery or an entire cabbage. But I might drink them. Blending vegetables into green juice makes it way easier to consume larger portions of vegetables. If you’re struggling to eat enough vegetables, this is a serious advantage. And I can’t deny I get a chuckle out of the macho bragging rights from EATING ALL THE VEGETABLES

The Best Green Juice

Simply, the best green juice is the one you like and that you’ll enjoy enough to make frequently. There’s no ultimate recipe, so have a bit of fun playing around with combinations.

When I make green juices at home I usually follow this rough template:

  • Greens: The stars of the show, could be anything from the now classic kale to good ole spinach, or basil and cucumber.
  • Something sweet: usually an apple or pear for me, but other fruit like bananas and berries work too.
  • Something citrus: a peeled lemon or lime is my favorite but I’ll often use grapefruit.
  • Something fatty: Avocados, coconut oil or nut butter give a dreamy smooth texture and help you absorb those fat-soluble vitamins
  • Something Subi: One little scoop of Subi doesn’t affect the flavor and turns your green juice into a nutritional powerhouse.
  • Anything else: ginger and herbs often work well.

Green juices aren’t magical. They won’t fix everything and they aren’t better than a varied diet. But they can be a super useful way of increasing the amount of vegetables you consume as part of such a diet, especially if you’re short on prep time.