Green Smoothies and Juicing with Spinach with Lloyd Brown
Posted Aug 03 2013 4:38am
As some of you may know I have recently become very interested in green smoothies/ green juices, and even more so, have a new obsession with spinach (seeing that broccoli seems to bug my stomach). In my online research I came across a guy named Lloyd Brown who has been juicing for a little over three years; and is the co-founder of FacesOfJuicing and the editor of the book ‘Faces of Juicing, Visual Juicing Recipes’.
Image taken from faceofjuicing.com
I reached out to Lloyd and explained that I was looking into green smoothies and most particularly using spinach in my smoothies and he was more than happy to give me some feedback on this topic, which I wanted to share with you all.
So over to Lloyd and his answer to my question about green smoothies and spinach!
I am a big proponent of juicing but I am not one of those that would suggest much less recommend that you go on an all juice diet or juice fast. I feel that is very difficult and if anything will discourage the person new to juicing. When I look around the Internet and see infomercials on television it seems that everyone is pushing the idea of green smoothies; to me, I cannot think of anything more boring than a green smoothie. Our recipes have lots of different colors involved.
Anyway, when I was first approached about being a guest writer I asked what topic I should cover; juicing in general, juicers, shopping, maybe a recipe? I was told that I should discuss adding spinach into juices and my thoughts on utilizing frozen spinach in juices; or smoothies.
For the person considering juicing, you need to know that there are two forms of juicing; you have juicing and you have blending, blending gives you smoothies. There is a huge difference and as I do not blend I would not feel comfortable providing a smoothie recipe. However, we do use spinach several times a week in our juices, so I can provide some hints on that.
When you are blending, as opposed to juicing, using spinach is pretty easy because you can just add it to the rest of the ingredients, turn on your blender and everything is mixed together. When you are juicing you want to extract as much juice as possible from the leaf of spinach. This is a bit of a task for your average juicer, which is why we recommend one with a lot of horsepower (otherwise known as wattage in the kitchen). Note from Carla: Check out this awesome and powerful juicer from Breville . It may cost a little more, but you save money because you get more juice extracted from the pulp.
That is not to say that you cannot extract juice with a juicer that has less wattage, just use this little trick. After you wash your spinach leaves, roll them into a fairly compact ball; when pushing your plunger down, do it slow and easy. You should be able to get more juice out that way. When we juice we use lots of light leafy vegetables and soft fruits like blueberries and raspberries. To get the most juice from them, I will wrap them all into a big leaf of lettuce so that I no longer have a lot of little items, but one bigger one and I get a lot more juice that way.
As far as using frozen fruits or vegetables in juicing, I suppose that it is better than nothing, but as long as I live in Southern California and have the access to fresh fruits and vegetables I do not plan on ever resorting to pulling my produce from the freezer. I will preface my next comment by admitting I am not a scientist and I have not run and tests, but my opinion is based on common sense. Before foods are frozen they are cooked slightly; that is going to reduce nutrients. Time is one of the greatest foes to nutrition, so it only makes sense that if you cook a vegetable, then freeze it and store it for who knows how long, there are bound to be a lot of nutrients lost. I understand that not everyone lives somewhere that fresh produce is readily available and for them I would suggest possibly starting a small garden. We were able to grow quite a bit of spinach last month, and it took little to no effort. Granted, spinach is not exactly abundant in juices, so if you have limited space for a garden, I would probably try something like cucumbers or lettuce. But like I said, frozen produce is going to be better than no produce so do what you have to do.
When it comes to introducing people to juicing I think it is important that the juice tastes good as well as being good for you. If you want a “green juice” I would recommend:
kale (seems to add a smoky flavor)
Add a clove of garlic and a small portion of ginger root (about the size of your thumb).
I would add an apple as they are great flavor neutralizers and tend to mellow strong flavors and they produce a lot of juice. If you are blending, you might want to experiment with the amount of ginger you add.
Green Juice image taken from faceofjuicing.com
About Faces of Juicing
The book Faces of Juicing was compiled after the author, Tanya Martin, discovered that she found some relief from the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis by concentrating on creating artful designs with the produce that she prepared for her daily juices. Frequently asked to show her recipes, the photos of her designs were a fun way for her to show the recipes to others. You can see more at their Facebook page, FacesOfJuicing .