Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Juice & Smoothie Books & Giveaway

After the indulgences of the holiday season come the resolutions of the new year. And when it comes to food, there's a popular belief that you can atone for the sins of the past with repentance in the form of detoxing, cleanses and juicing. Juice is a delicious thing to drink, but relying on it instead of actual food can be downright dangerous to your health; this isn’t just my opinion, but what nutritionists say—you can read more in articles like Juice Cleanses: Not healthy, Not Virtuous, Just Expensive and Juice Cleanses: Health Hocus Pocus. Also you can't detox your body, it's a myth

I actually love making and drinking juices and smoothies, I just don’t recommend getting caught up in believing they are a cure all or will lead to weight loss. Because they can often be high in sugar and carbohydrates, I think of them more as a treat, to enjoy instead of something like ice cream or frozen yogurt. Juices and smoothies are very easy to make at home and are becoming more and more available on-the-go as well. If you want to incorporate juice in your diet in a short term but healthy way, you might consider Jamba Juice’s sensible 3 day juicing routine, which includes food and juice. 

While I’m not convinced you need a cookbook for making juices and smoothies, here are some recent ones to consider: 

Juice: Recipes for Juicing, Cleansing and Living Well was written by juice evangelists and juice business owners. While the authors say they aren’t doctors or nutritionists, they are proponents of cleansing, which they claim lets your digestive system rest by eliminating fiber. The also say that acidic foods “build up in your system and lead to symptoms of chronic disease" and offer a chart of alkaline and acidic foods.

The juices at their shops and recipes in the book are divided into three categories, greens, roots, citrus and also nut milks. The recipes don’t include calorie or nutritional information which is a shame.They recommend not disposing of the leftover pulp, but provide just two recipes for using it, carrot bread and almond meal cookies. There are healthy smoothies in addition to juices, which they suggest adding to your “cleanse” program. Savory and spicy juices, an odd mishmash of supposedly “cleansing” recipes including Big Green Detox Salad (Dijon mustard is cleansing? Who knew), Warm Coconut Millet Porridge and Halibut in Parchment with Zucchini, Fennel and Capers. Mostly ingredient photos. About 100 recipes. Who’s it for for? DIY cleanse fans. 

Raw Energy in a Glass focuses on super foods and the author is more of a proponent of blending than juicing, which she rightly points out lack fiber and can lead to serious carbohydrate and sugar intake. The recipes have information about which vitamins and minerals you’ll get, but no actual specifics. The recipes use raw, unprocessed ingredients and don’t rely on “protein powder” or other pre made ingredients. Recipes have evocative names like Everything’s Just Peachy Frappe, Go Go Shot, Garlicky Green Giant, Purple Antioxidant Cocktail. The book also has a recipe for vegan yogurt and it is used in some drinks and shakes.

Unlike some other books, the focus of a lot of the recipes seems to be taste. 126 recipes. Some illustrations, not a lot of finished recipe photos (though I’m not sure why you’d need them). Who’t it for? Someone with a blender and a curiosity about super foods, but not a juicing fanatic. 

100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks subtitled Easy Recipes For Natural Energy & Weight Control  was written by a popular raw and vegan blogger, this book divides recipes in to juices, smoothies, non-dairy "mylks" and mylkshakes as well as energy bars and healthy snacks.

Frankly I’m concerned when someone with no medical background starts giving advice on what’s healthy or promotes weight loss. There is no solid nutritional information with each recipe, just cheerleader speak like “Get energized, nourished and hydrated all in one glorious glass” and anecdotal tidbits like “Ginger has been proven to prevent diseases associated with the liver as well as cleanse the blood." Yikes! That sounds like a dubious health claim to me. Again because there is no real nutritional information or calorie counts, I am wary of the claim that these drinks, some of which are high in fat from coconut, can help you lose weight. The book comes across in a chatty cutesy way. It features very pretty photographs, though do you really need to know what a finished glass of juice looks like? 100 recipes. Who’s it for? Those who have both a juicer and a blender and believe in the benefits of a vegan diet.

Giveaway! I am giving away a copy of Raw Energy in a Glass  and a Jamba Juice gift card worth $50 to use on their bottled 100% cold pressed juices to enjoy on the go or at home including Orange Reviver, Tropical Greens, Citrus Kick and Veggie Harvest.

In order to be considered to win, please leave a comment telling me what your favorite juice or smoothie combination. You must have a US mailing address to win, and you must include your email in the appropriate field when you leave a comment (your email will only be visible to me). One entry per person. I will choose a winner at random, Friday, January 9, 2015.

Disclaimer: My thanks to Jamba Juice for providing the gift certificate and to the publishers who provided review copies of books. I was not monetarily compensated for this or any other post.