MY 9 FAVORITE VEGETABLES TO DRINK
Welcome back to Vegan MoFo! So far we've had Tomato Tuesday and What-a-salad Wednesday, which brings us to THIRSTY THURSDAY! Thirsty Thursday is going to be themed around beverages, specifically juices and smoothies, and today I'd like to share my favorite vegetables to drink.
(Before you dig into this post you should head over to my new My Healthy Chef YouTube channel and watch my video on how to make my Vitamix Tortilla Soup! I want to start doing frequent videos so if you have ideas for topics, let me know!)
Everybody knows that vegetables are good for you. It doesn't matter what diet philosophy you subscribe to -- the Standard American Diet (SAD), Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Low Carb, Raw, 80/10/10 -- one thing that everyone agrees on is that vegetables are good for you.
Eating more vegetables helps to lower your risk of heart disease and lowers your blood pressure, reduces risk of stroke, helps fight some forms of cancer, and even helps combat intestinal disorders and digestive issues. I always tell people to try and eat the rainbow to ensure you get a broad range of vitamins and minerals.
It's not always easy to eat your veggies though, especially if you weren't raised doing so and/or you're just beginning your healthy eating journey. Ten years ago you couldn't get me to eat half of what's on the list below and now these are foods that I'm eating every week.
One easy way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet is to drink them! I've already written a blog post about how I feel about smoothies and juicing (spoiler: I think they're good for you) and I've even given you a formula for how to build your own smoothie at home. Now I want to talk a little bit more about some of my favorite vegetables to include in smoothies and juices and why. Let's begin.
I think this one is the most important to mention because dark leafy greens pack more nutritional punch than any other vegetable out there. They're high in lutein and chlorophyll, which boost immunity and support healthy tissues, skin, and blood, help build red blood cells, and boost energy.
Kale, specifically, helps strengthen bones, balance excess estrogen, and contains omega-3 fatty acids. It's calcium and iron are highly bioavailable (easily absorbed).
Did you know that lettuce has natural sedative properties which can relax nerves, reduce palpitations, and induce sleep? It also helps ease bloating and discomfort. Mustard greens contain beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K, which help remove toxins from the body.
I personally like to add leafy greens to my smoothies more than I like to juice them simply because they don't yield a lot juice when they're sent through the juicer. It's easy to toss in a handful or two (or three) of greens when adding ingredients to your blender and your taste buds aren't any wiser for it.
If you do want to juice greens, I recommend buying greens that are still attached to their thick stem as you'll get more juice out of them that way. I would also send them through the juicer first and very slowly, as this helps to get the most bang for your greens (dollar and vegetable).
If you're new to adding greens to your smoothie I would start with spinach or lettuce, as they have a milder flavor, then work your way up to kale, collard greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, beet greens, etc.
Carrots are great because the carotenes (alpha-, beta-, and delta-carotene) in carrots are excellent for eye health and have anti-cancer and cardiovascular benefits. They also go well in both juices and smoothies. I usually add 2-3 whole carrots to my blend every time I juice, and 1-2 whole carrots to my smoothie, because they've got a sweet, mild taste, they're full of juice, and they're low in calories. They're a win all around, no matter how you want to drink them.
Beets are good for cleansing the liver and purifying your blood, plus they're an anti-inflammatory and a good source of iron. A combination of iron and antioxidants help feed and purify the blood while improving its oxygen uptake. Their leaves are edible too and aid in digestion, so sometimes I add those to my juice blends.
It is no secret that I love beets! They've got a great earthy taste to them while still being really sweet. Plus, beets are just beautiful once they're peeled and sliced! Similar to carrots, they're really great in both juices and smoothies. Be careful though, they will turn your fingers, counter tops, and urine bright pink!