This has got to be one of my favourite topics: Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juice!

You will find in the Better Living section that I have put together some of my favourite juicing recipes. Some that I have experimented with and some that I have found through hours of searching for that specific recipe. Some are very simple and easy to make whereas some are a little more time-consuming and have a lot of different ingredients for the more adventurous juice-addict.
You can go straight to the Juice Recipe section here.
Juicing has been labeled by some as a fad-diet and I have come across some websites where people like to go on "Juicing Fasts' for weeks or months at a time to shed weight fast. Now, I am definitely not a doctor or any sort of health expert so I can't recommend any of these extreme methods but if you are wanting to add a bit more fresh fruit and vegies to your diet then juicing your own is definitely a good way to start. Not only is it easier to get your 5+ a day but it is also easier for your body to absorb the nutrients from the juice. Have you ever tried crunching your way through a raw carrot? Not only is it very time consuming but it can get a bit sore on the gums and teeth after a while, especially if you have teeth and gum problems already. It takes just a matter of minutes to juice 5 carrots and you can enjoy a glass of fresh carrot juice that still contains the same amount of nutrients and is a lot easier for your body to absorb. But, don't forget to take it easy at first. Going from a diet full of meat and carbs and little excercise to straight juice and more juice can cause you to lose weight (if that's your goal) but it is also a lot easier to pile the weight back on if you stop suddenly. Here, I am speaking from personal experience. 

A little over a year ago, after having two kids and suddenly realising I couldn't fit my old clothes anymore, I decided to go on a calorie counting diet. Here, I could keep track of everything I ate and how much excercise I did and the calorie counter would let me know how many calories I was consuming and burning off each day. I learnt alot about juicing during this time. Now, I didn't go on juicing fasts or go to extreme measures to lose weight. I made small changes at a time ie. cutting my sugar intake in half for a few weeks and then once I had learned about natural sugar alternatives, I cut sugar out completely. I also made sure to excercise at least 3 times a week. Following this routine along with juicing different combinations of fruits and vegies once every day or two (sometimes twice in a day if I found a recipe I really liked!) I successfuly managed to lose 8 kilo's in 6 months and was feeling the best I had felt in a long time.
But then we had to move as our lease was up and to cut a long story short we ended up moving into a large rural property with my partners sister and family. I had gone from being able to plan out my meals each day to having big family meals that everyone ate wether they wanted to or not. Talk about a shock to the system!
Don't get me wrong here, I actually did enjoy these meals in their own right as it gave everyone a chance to bond over family meals and it also meant I would get a break from cooking every now and then as I wasn't the only cook in the house for a change. I tried introducing juicing to the rest of the family but they weren't big fans so that was a bit of a fail. After a while I gave up trying to juice altogether and it wasn't long before all of that weight I lost started to creep back up on me again. Now that we are finally living on our own again my little family and I can have the freedom to juice away to our hearts content. Even if it does mean I have to do all of the cooking again.

If you are looking for a way to eat healthy and get fit and keep a record of your progress, Here is a link to the calorie counting website I used. You will also find a great group of people in the forums who I believe were a big help in my quest to lose a few of those hard-to-drop pounds that so many of us mummies struggle to lose.

If you have certain health conditions like Diabetes, High Cholesterol or High blood pressure then it is recommended to go easy on juicing until you have these conditions under control first and if in doubt, remember to speak to your doctor or medical practitioner first. Also when starting juicing for the first time, stick to the fruits & vegies that you know and that your body is used to. Once you feel comfortable with juicing then you can add a bit more variety but don't try and force yourself to drink something you don't like the taste of just for the sake of the health benefits that it contains. Remember, above all else, to listen to your body.
Another handy tip that I found out about the hard way is to juice what you need, as you need it. Don't juice more than you need with the intention of saving it for later unless you know how. Vegetable juice deteriorates at a fast rate after being juiced so it is best to consume it straight away to make the most of the nutrients and their health benefits. And, if possible, look for organic, pesticide free fruits and vegies. Or, even better, juice your own fruits and vegies straight from your garden. Just remember with all fruits and vegies to wash them first! Nothing worse than going to juice a large bunch of spinach only to find you added a caterpillar or some other unlucky bug into the mix. Also if buying from produce stores or supermarkets, washing first helps remove residues left over from any chemicals or pesticides. In regards to pesticide free vegies, I have to add this statement from the link below about the importance of juicing pesticide free vegetables:

"Lesson 1: Use pesticide free veggies.
 It is wise to choose organic whenever possible. However, some vegetables are worse than others. Below are the vegetables that are the most pesticide-loaded ones according to the Environmental Working Group.
So it would be wise to only purchase these vegetables if they are organically grown. The worst ones are listed first.
1.Celery
2.Spinach
3.Kale
4.Collard Greens
5.Lettuce
6.Carrots
7.Cucumber (not as bad if you peel the skin)"

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/13/benefits-of-juicing.aspx
This article is very helpful and informative for anyone wanting to start juicing for the first time.

There are many many juicing websites on the internet and sometimes I would find myself surfing through 5 different sites at a time comparing recipes and information and finding myself getting a sore head in the process. I don't try to compare my limited knowledge and expertise with the experts but I love the fact I can have all of the recipes I have tried and also the ones I want to try in one spot.

I hope you enjoy these juicing recipes as much as I have! And, as always, I look forward to hearing from you all :-)



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