Juicing at home may be fast and easy, but it does require cleanup, leading many to cut out the work by purchasing juice from the store. One of my clients found me because she had made exactly this mistake: She bought a bottle of juice, drank it happily, and then looked at the label. That bottle of green juice contained more sugar than two regular sodas! To add insult to injury, that juice was part of a line of prepackaged cleanses. Don’t make the same mistake.
Here’s what you should know about less-than-fresh juice.
- 100% Juice doesn’t mean much. Food companies can legally print “100% Juice” on their labels while still including additives, flavorings and preservatives (not to mention a lot of added sugar and salt).
- Key minerals, vitamins and live enzymes are destroyed by the pasteurization process most juices go through – and if that doesn’t do it, keeping juice on the shelf for days will!
- “Not from Concentrate” juice often still uses “flavor packs” to add flavor back in after a lengthy storage process.
- Even in juices labeled “All Natural,” synthetic ingredients may be hidden, like Fibersol-2, Fructooligosaccharides, or Inulin. Naked Juice was sued for using “All Natural” in their label while containing all of these ingredients.
It’s okay, you don’t have to clean your juicer to reap the benefits of fresh juice (even if it does just take a few seconds to rinse after use!). We have all the fresh, low-sugar, super-food-power-packed, straight-from-the-organic-farm juice you want. We carefully compose each juice recipe to maximize health benefits and flavor – and, you’re invited to check out our labels any time. We know you’ll like what you see and love what you taste!
Did you know that “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”? If that doesn’t deserve its own workout drink, I don’t know what does. But don’t buy one from the store – they’re loaded with sugar! Here’s what you need to know about chia seeds, including a delicious healthy recipe for a refreshing juice!
5 Fun Facts About Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
- High fiber and protein content makes you feel full longer and slows the metabolism of sugars.
- Nicely balanced amino acids make the protein easy for our bodies to use.
- Contain 4 nutrients that work together to maintain good bone health: Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein.
- Lowers blood pressure and inflammation.
Chia seed drinks are quickly trending in high-end health food stores, but like most mass-produced bottled beverages, they’re high in sugar. I love adding chia seeds to my juices and smoothies for their healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium since the combination keeps your blood-sugar even for hours. Hello steady energy! While you can add chia seeds to anything, I love this refreshing, ultra-hydrating recipe.
Minty-Fresh Energy Boost Juice
- ½ lemon
- 1 cucumber
- Handful of romaine, arugula, or watercress
- Handful of mint
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut water
- ½ green apple
I once heard a yoga instructor say “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” Well, that woman was a grandmother and didn’t look a day past 40! I’d say she’s onto something. While yoga and exercise, or even chasing after grandchildren, can help your muscles stay in shape, flexibility needs more than exercise: Flexibility also relies on reducing inflammation. These four juices do just that, making your daily exercise routine feel easier, and helping you to touch your toes without pain.
Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which our bodies convert to nitrites, which dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. The result: More stamina! Your muscles need less oxygen to do the same amount of work, making exercise feel less difficult. This is definitely the juice to drink before CrossFit!
Can’t Beet the Staying Power Recipe
- 1 beet
- 4 stalks celery
- 1/2′ ginger
- 1 stalk kale
- 1 green apple
Green juice, using kale, spinach, chard, broccoli and celery, improves flexibility through its high water content and ability to cleanse acids from the body. It’s the perfect breakfast for that early morning pilates class.
Hydrating Green Juice
- 2 red chard leaves
- 3 kale stalks
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1 apple or pear
Barley grass juice or powder contains the stretchy trifecta of beta carotene, iron and calcium which work together to improve flexibility and total body health. It’s a wonderful addition to your favorite juice, but on its own, it tastes a lot like…well, grass.
Turmeric juice, or powder, as an additive to any of your favorite juices, is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories out there. Inflammation not only reduces flexibility, but has also been linked to a wide range of health problems, from arthritis to obesity. Bonus: Turmeric also acts as an anti-depressant, giving a mood boost to your day! I like to drink this for dessert to ensure sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.
Turmeric Milk Recipe
- 2 cups almond/hemp milk
- 2 dates pitted
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
And yes, you can combine these four ingredients together for one incredible pre-workout drink!
With the holidays looming around the corner, many of us are scheduling hair cuts (and colors), picking out our Hostess with the Mostest party dresses, getting our mani-pedis in, and perhaps a facial. But what we really need is stamina – holidays are hard work! – and that can only come from a healthy diet (no, not an IV drip of pumpkin spice lattes). At Intelligent Gourmet, it’s my mission to help us look better, feel better, and live better, all of which you can kickstart with a pre-Thanksgiving juice cleanse. But, don’t just drink any juice, because the wrong juice cleanse can send you into Thanksgiving craving the WHOLE PIE! Here are the do’s and don’ts of an energizing pre-holiday cleanse.
Drink juices that are high in sugar. Many of the store-bought, mass-produced juices we’ve found have more sugar than a can of Mountain Dew in every bottle. If you drink 6 of those per day, you’ll feel energized alright – it’s called a sugar high! – but will come crashing down. And, your body’s insulin levels will skyrocket, making you crave real food to soak it up. That is not how you want to sit down at the turkey (or tofurky) table.
Drink juices that are lower in sugar and balanced with protein. We balance each day’s juice plan with some veggie-heavy juices that are lower in sugar, and some nut milk juices that are filling and satisfying. That way, you avoid sugar-high spikes, crashes, and the cravings that come with them!
Jump in to a cleanse without proper preparation. While it may be tempting to start a cleanse the day after that Holiday Cookie Bake, shifting from unhealthy eating habits straight to a juice cleanse can result in some uncomfortable gastrointestinal moments. Ease in to your cleanse with a few days of a fruit, vegetable and lean protein diet – and ease out of it the same way.
Have you tried our latest seasonal juices? Come by to see what we have in store for the holidays!
No one really wants to talk about bloating – that horrible feeling of being filled with air, or retained water – but I bet you’d like to know how to stop it. Nothing is more maddening when you’ve achieved a beach-ready body than experiencing bloating, right ladies? So here’s the skinny on getting rid of bloating for good.
1. Find the source
Bloating happens when there is excess gas in your intestines, or when you’re retaining water. Sometimes these can result from hormonal shifts that are out of your control, but usually, the instigators are well within your power to stop. Diets high in salt and processed foods tend to cause water retention, since the salt dehydrates your body’s tissues (causing cells to soak up fluid like little sponges until the salt is flushed out). And, drinking too much alcohol or soft drinks can fill you up with air. Cut out processed foods and drink less, and you’ll not only beat the bloat, you’ll look and feel better too!
2. Juice it out
Lemon: When drinking water doesn’t work quite fast enough to flush out the bloating culprits, try adding lemon. It’s a natural laxative and diuretic that helps remove excess salt from your body.
Cucumber: Cucumber is another great juice for beating bloat since it already contains a lot of water and is a natural diuretic.
Dandelion greens: Dandelion is wonderful for detoxing your body and is an anti-inflammatory. So if toxins or inflammation are irritating your digestive tract, juice some greens along with your lemon and cucumber. Hey, this is starting to sound like a great recipe!
Stay moving throughout the day, and excess air won’t have a chance to sit in your stomach! It’s all part of a healthy lifestyle.
You know what else is part of a healthy lifestyle? Intelligent Gourmet! When was the last time you dropped by?
Most of us – at least most of us reading this blog – monitor our intake of refined sugars very carefully. We use stevia in our coffee and agave nectar in tea and lemonade, and sure, once in a while we’ll indulge in a sweet dessert. What we don’t want is our healthy diet infiltrated by sugar in sources we’d never suspect, like high-end fruit and vegetable juice cleanses.
Recently, we’ve been looking at the nutrition labels of high-end bottled juices, and we were shocked by what we found. While the calorie counts ranged between 100 to 200 per bottle (not unreasonable, depending on the ingredients), we realized that nearly all of those calories came straight from sugar!
The worst offender was one 12oz bottle of green juice which had 38 grams of sugar (that’s just under 10 teaspoons). The same amount of sugar content in 12oz of Coca-Cola. To put that in even more perspective, the World Health Organization recommends a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.
Your Juice Diet Could Destroy Your Teeth
Chewing whole fruit does amazing things for your teeth. An apple or carrot may contain quite a bit of sugar, but they also act as natural “toothbrushes,” scraping off plaque with each bite while stimulating saliva to wash away cavity-causing bacteria. But, when you wash your mouth in 38 grams of sugar without the saliva-inducing, plaque-scraping structure of the whole fruit, the sugar sticks to your teeth and feeds the bad bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
In most sugar-packed juice blends, apple juice – a very high-sugar fruit juice – is ingredient #1, with healthy additions like spinach, kale, carrots, ginger, and turmeric coming in near the bottom. The spoonfuls of sugar may “help the medicine go down,” but the health costs of drinking between 50 to 100 teaspoons of sugar for each of the three days of your average juice cleanse is … disturbing. You could eat chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have had less sugar by the end of the day than if you drank five of these juices.
Not All Juices Are Like That
A well-balanced vegetable and fruit juice can taste great without relying on sugary fruit juices as the primary ingredient! At Intelligent Gourmet, we rely on refreshing cucumber, nutrient-rich greens, alkalizing citrus, and protein-packed nut milk to create juices that are balanced and chock-full of natural vitamins, minerals, and medicinal herbs, without all that sugar.
Do you know what’s in your juice?
In 2012, Tampa’s air quality was graded “F” for ozone pollution – and “F” doesn’t stand for “Fun.” Some environmentalists say that Tampa has the worst air quality in all of Florida (don’t feel too bad – we’re still ahead of Los Angeles and Atlanta). But what can you do if the air you breathe is toxic?
I’m excited about a recent clinical trial that proves what I’ve been saying all along: Juice is a powerful way for your body to cure itself! In the study, 300 Chinese adults drank either broccoli sprout juice for three months, or pineapple and lime juice for three months. Researchers tested the urine of both groups for two harmful chemicals found in air pollution (China has one of the worst air pollution levels of any country in the world) and found that the broccoli-imbibing group excreted much more benzene and acrolein than their pineapple-sipping pals.
Yes, Broccoli Juice effectively detoxes your body of two of the most common air pollutants.
Although broccoli was the hero of this study, the same compounds responsible for detoxing are also found in kale and cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy). The magic ingredient is glucoraphanin, which when eaten, causes another compound, sulforaphane, to flush out pollutants from the body.
The Best Part
The longer participants drank broccoli sprout juice, the more they excreted those pollutants – the rate of excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and acrolein excretion increased 23 percent over the 12 week study. One of the researchers, Thomas Kensler, was quoted by NPR as saying:
“We thought the pathway might respond initially, and then the [compounds] would wear out their welcome and the body would tune out, but the effect was just as vigorous at the beginning as at the end, which suggests that over one’s lifetime, you could enhance this preventative activity in the body [with food].”
It’s official: The more green juice you drink, the more effective it is. Stock up today!
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Colds don’t just hit during the winter months – no, summer colds are equally likely. Maybe even more likely, if you sit in an air-conditioned office all day, alternating between dry cold and the humid heat of outdoors. If this summer finds you afflicted, then at the first sign of symptoms, give these natural cures for the common cold a try. They just might work to head it off, or at least encourage that virus to move along a little faster!
Juice it Out
We have a wide variety of immune system bolstering juices at Intelligent Gourmet, and not all of them include OJ. In fact, one of my favorites might surprise you: Spicy Lemonade. Your body chemistry is affected by everything you eat, and if you’ve been eating a diet a little too high in processed foods and sugar, you could create an acidic internal environment that is a breeding ground for viruses. Drinking lemon juice (minus the sugar of traditional lemonade) helps swing your chemistry back the other way, creating an alkaline environment that is not friendly to sickness. My Spicy Lemonade also has chili pepper which not only feels great on a sore throat and gets congestion moving, it also jump starts your metabolism.
Supplement Your Immune System
Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Zinc have all been lauded for their cold-soothing properties. The first two boost the immune system response, and Zinc is anti-viral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. The trick to taking Zinc is to look for supplements made with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate – studies have shown that these are more effective than zinc glycinate or zinc citrate.
Chicken Soup for the Body & Soul
Your mother brought you chicken soup when you were sick, and science backs up her home remedy. Chicken soup has cysteine, a natural amino acid released as the chicken cooks that thins out lung secretions so they don’t clog air passages, and helps you cough them up (ridding your body of infected fluid). Chicken soup also has carrots, which boost vitamin A, which helps prevent and fight infection by supporting white blood cell function. Not willing to sacrifice a chicken to the cause? Cysteine is similar to the prescription drug acetylcysteine, usually given to bronchitis patients. However, don’t just buy any chicken soup in a can – read the ingredients label! Chicken soup can be packed with too much salt, preservatives, modified starches, and even MSG. The good news is, chicken soup is easy to make at home. Cook a delicious chicken dinner the night before, and use the leftover carcass the next day to make your very own broth. You’ll need a big pot, 6-8 cups water, carrots, onions and celery, sea salt to taste, a dash of turmeric and about 3 hours minimum of boiling time. If the flavor isn’t rich enough, you can boost it with good quality organic store-bought chicken stock (but check the label!).
Good Old-Fashioned Sunshine
When you’re coming down with a cold, you’re probably tempted to curl up on your couch and marathon through the last season of Downton Abbey. But, recent studies of the effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections indicate that fresh air and sunshine are a better cure. One study reported that people with low vitamin D levels had significantly more cases of cold and flu. The most effective way to get vitamin D is to soak up the sun – without sunscreen – for about 30 minutes a day. You can’t overdose on sun, but you can on supplements.
For something that is essentially cold, juice is hotter than ever. Juice shops are springing up on every corner, like Starbucks in the ‘90s. A New York Times article, “The Juice-Bar Brawl” says it best:
“Half a decade ago, most people who were found guzzling and gushing about juice – not grocery store O.J., but the dense, cold-pressed stuff that is made by pulverizing mounds of ingredients like kale, beets, ginger, spinach and kohlrabi – were either zealots from the raw-food fringe or Hollywood celebrities who believed that a ‘juice cleanse’ would nudge their toned bodies even closer to radiant perfection. But along the way, more people started drinking it. And for consumers and entrepreneurs, a realization took hold: juice did not have to be part of a challenging, expensive cleanse. It could simply be lunch.”
Yes, the industry is booming. And for every boutique juice shop like ours, there are more and more conveyor-belt chains popping up like dandelions in a fresh bed of wheat-grass. We like dandelions (they’re delicious additions to salads), but we also like our ability to create a variety of juices that are high quality, constantly changing with the seasons, and customizable to what our clients need and want. We also don’t think there’s a mass-produced substitute for our years of expertise in the field of health, nutrition, and making healthy foods taste delicious.
What Sets Our Juices Apart
Our juices don’t just include fruit juice, they’re carefully balanced with natural nutrients like hemp protein, turmeric, or almond milk, to give you the foundation for mind and body balance. There are some things you can’t quite achieve with a conveyer belt.
But we are thrilled that more and more people are finding out about juices. We love them. Come in and try one of our 16oz fresh-made juices for just $12.50. Like the New York Times says, “it could simply be lunch.”