The number and variety of businesses in Thailand operating on a shoestring are astounding. Street markets have a tendency to pop up out of thin air. Venders in these markets sell everything from Hello Kitty steering wheel covers to …freshly pressed juices.
The Appeal of a Healthy Green Juice
I’m a semi-regular at a gym located on Sukhumvit, the famously long road that winds through many important and popular places in Bangkok. Upon exiting this gym, always thirsty, I often make a bee-line to my amiable juicer guy. His simple kiosk is wedged among others. It sits on a little piece of a concrete walkway, midway between the stairs leading up to the building housing the gym and the sidewalk. There, for a buck-fifty, he fires up his juicer and presses a mixed juice to my specs.
A similar simple kiosk exists at my local outdoor market in the suburbs. There, it is a grandmotherly women commanding a table stacked with fresh produce, a juicer and an electrical outlet, selling assorted veggie and fruit combos, some of which are already bottled for easy grab-and-go sales.
Apparently, many of us out here in The Kingdom are smitten with the idea of guzzling a freshly pressed juice. And with good reason. The concentration of vitamin, enzyme and mineral goodness one gets from a freshly pressed juice are, de facto, healthy, right?
The Problem With Most Green Juices
Well, yes, with a BUT… there is actually a big problem many people make when going the way of the green juice or smoothie.
They make their beverage waaaaaay too sweet.
And sweet means sugar. Too much fruit in our otherwise “healthy” green drinks turns to fat and adds to inflammation (ie, disease) in our bodies no differently than if we poured corn syrup into the glass.
When I decided for my last birthday to give myself the gift of endless juicing possibilities, and invest in my own fancy cold-press juicer, I also tried to figure out the best way to use it for my health.
How to Make a Healthy Green Juice
I learned that:
- to avoid enzyme death and vitamin shrinkage, the juice should be consumed at most within a few hours of preparation;
- it should be made from organic produce (obviously);
- this is key – it should consist primarily of veggies. This will keep the total sugar content low. Again, sugar = fat, if you are looking to lose weight, or are diabetic, then that’s a reason to reduce the fruit load in your green drinks. Sugar also = acid in your body; fruit with a high sugar content is acid forming. Acid in the body = inflammation = disease. The green veggies are alkaline forming, which we need to fight inflammation and therefore fight disease. (There are some alkaline-forming fruit, by the way, which include lemons, limes and grapefruit and avocados; and watermelon is neutral.) So we really need to keep those acid forming fruit to a minimum in our green drinks if we are thinking about our health; and
- For extra nutrients + alkaline-forming insurance, and especially if you are planning to consume only a juice for a meal, you get bonus points for adding of a green super food powder to your creation.
I have found that, for me, along with a lemon water concoction and boosted coffee, a fresh green juice is the perfect breakfast any day of the week.
Since incorporating these powerful liquids into my morning routine, I now get this amazing feeling of success every morning – like I am treating my body 100% right and that whatever extravagance happens after that is probably OK. It even allows me to walk right by another favorite street vendor – the fried bananas guy (always ordered with extra crispy caramelized bits) in the morning with my head held high. This is something I could never consistently pull off before. (To be fair, fried bananas in Thailand are a morning food marvel.)
Drink this for breakfast and no matter what else happens, you have earned yourself a gold star for the day.
More of a formula than a recipe, this is what enabled me to transition from juice fast – when I completed my first one this past year - to juice fest, as I have been juicing like a mad (happy-mad) woman ever since. I'm living proof you can drink it daily for breakfast.
- veggies – any combination with green being the dominant color. I often use some combo of cucumbers, celery, spinach, broccoli, kale and/or any of Thailand’s amazing array of dark green leafy things I can find from my organic produce vendors.
- fruit – I suggest passion fruit if available (2-3 passion fruit will contain more or less 20% of a 12 oz glass). Aside from being absolutely delicious, the flavor pop of passion fruit can take the edge off the bitterness of the greens. A little bit goes a long ways so it is the perfect add-in. Otherwise I tend to go with pineapple. Half a green apple would also work well.
- 1 tbsp your favorite green super food powder optional
Keep the ratio in whatever size glass you are using at no less than 70% veggies to 30% fruit (or go harder core with an 80/20 ratio). Then juice (or blend) it up. The 70/30 (or 80/20) ratio keeps the sugar low and all those green veggies will likely keep the juice alkaline. Just eyeball it by juicing the veggies first and the fruit second, or vice versa. No need to sweat the particulars.
Your body's gonna love you for this!