I have decided to become a tad healthier by indulging in a glass of freshly made juice from a variety of fruits and vegetables every morning. I make sure to mix them up everyday to get the broadest spectrum of benefits possible.
My current interest on the subject prompted me to touch base with Angelo Songco of Sugarleaf, who has spent years as a health and wellness advocate. Armed with his juicer, he showed me the many tastes, flavors and benefits of juicing.
On picking the right juicer:
“Pick one that is low-speed, so the juice from the produce is gently squeezed to retain even the most heat-sensitive nutrients. High-speed juicers emit heat that compromises the crop’s enzymes and phyto-nutrients.
“Also, choose juicers that have the ability to extract juice from leafy greens such as malunggay, spinach, etc.
“I personally use Matstone, as we do at Sugarleaf. It runs with 80 RPM, the advisable revolution per minute of a juicer to preserve the enzymes, nutrients and vitamins from fruits and vegetables. I also use it to make natural ice cream or sorbet from fresh fruits, nut butters, soy milk. It also grinds meat, slices vegetables and works as an ice shaver. It can even extract juice from sugar cane and can make homemade flour from soybeans, lentils, rice, etc. With its many functions, it’s worth the investment.”
Advice to those new to juicing
“When drinking all-natural juices, one takes in a large amount of nutrients in a small amount of liquid. Do not feel bad about the pulp and see it as waste. The pulp can be used for other things: to add to cookies, muffins, ground meat to make meat loaf. It makes a nice extender. You can even add it to soups.
“When juicing, it is important to use organic crops whenever possible, especially when juicing raw, green leafy vegetables, as harmful substances remain on the leaves. Now, if it is a root crop grown organically, wash and juice; if not, peel and juice. However, if it is difficult to find organic produce, juicing still remains beneficial but make sure all produce are washed well.
“Use a homemade vegetable wash from ¼ cup of vinegar and ¼-cup white baking soda. Mix in a nonmetallic bowl. Once the fizz subsides, add a liter of purified water and transfer to a clean spray bottle. Use the solution on conventionally grown produce. Spray and rinse well. This step will lessen the chemicals, but not necessarily eliminate them.
“People tend to juice more fruits than vegetables because fruits taste better. If diabetic, a good option to use as a base would be carrots, beetroot, celery, cucumber and sayote (tastes really good, and is inexpensive).
“To incorporate juicing into your lifestyle, it is recommended to come up with nice-tasting juices for sustainability. Use produce that are in season; not only do they taste better, but they are cheaper and are more nutritious since they are at their prime.
“Especially for beginners, use leafy greens sparingly.
“Consume your juice immediately, no more than 10 minutes after it’s been juiced, to maximize its benefits.
“Before going on a juice fast, detox or diet, consult your doctor.”
In my kitchen, we made so many combinations. The most refreshing concoction for me was made from half a pineapple (very ripe), two stems of malunggay and one lemongrass heart. I was told that the original recipe had half an ampalaya. Honestly, I wouldn’t have loved it as much with such.
Here are the other recipes we did. The instructions are simple: Wash fruits and vegetables well, slice and juice according to your juicer.
Recipes from the Sugarleaf Menu by Angelo:
A sprig or two of mint
Handful of spinach
A few sprigs of dill
2 small beetroots
Small piece of ginger
2 small pieces of beetroot
1 green bell pepper
Handful of spinach with stems
Here are the recipes demonstrated by the Matstone team.
For pregnant women
Pear fiber helps reduce constipation, a common complaint during pregnancy.
90 g broccoli
60 g fresh spinach
30 g watercress
Watercress is said to relax airway muscles. Ginger expels excess mucus. Carrots provide beta-carotene for mucous membrane care, while lime boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.
½ medium lime
30 g watercress
½-in piece of fresh ginger
3 medium carrots
Cardiovascular and heart tonic
Celery is high in potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure; apples contain pectin, which helps reduce cholesterol levels.
2 celery stalks with leaves
¾ -in piece of fresh ginger
Onion is a decongestant and mucus expeller. Carrots have beta-carotene, which helps in the repair and maintenance of mucous membranes. Ginger reduces inflammation and clears the sinuses.
½-in piece fresh ginger
1 thin wedge onion
Helps improve toxin removal in the body. Beets help to promote liver function, which improves the elimination ability of the digestive system. The carotene in beets also helps maintain good skin health. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce the itchiness of eczema, while apple and pear are gentle on the system and provide soluble fiber.
½ large beet (beetroot)
½-in piece of fresh ginger
Wound healer for cell growth and tissue repair
15 g fresh parsley springs
½ medium red bell pepper, seeded
1 small cucumber
½ tsp wheat-germ oil (optional)
¼ medium pineapple
1 medium carrot
125 g broccoli
If you haven’t found a gift for Father’s Day, consider a juicer. Angelo promises the best deal. Call him at 0917-8039055 or visit www.facebook.com/SugarleafPH for organic produce, recipes and information.