I make a darn good smoothie, and most of the time, that’s my breakfast. And while it’s not like whipping one up takes a huge amount of time or effort, some mornings I’m in enough of a hurry that those extra five minutes simply don’t exist. Or, if I’m up early and the rest of the house is sleeping peacefully, I hate to run the blender and disturb everyone, but I want a little more nutrition than just, say, a banana offers.
Enter juice. And I don’t mean your typical o.j. or apple juice. I mean cold-pressed juice with a bevy of fruits and veggies and loads of nutrients in a super-convenient, ready-to-hit-the-road bottle.
I’ve done a juice cleanse in the past, and really enjoyed it, but something like a multi-day cleanse takes commitment and planning, and it got me thinking about how well these types of juices would work as part of a more “normal” diet.
Garden of Flavor makes cold-pressed, organic juice from fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts (and, in some of the juices, even probiotics), creating flavors like Goji Pineapple, Turmeric Tonic, Mean Greens and more, and they offered to send me a variety to try out as breakfasts and snacks. And, in fact, Garden of Flavor offers suggestions for how to incorporate juice in a non-cleanse way on their website:
[W]e recommend at least one bottle of Garden of Flavor juice per day. In fact, because all of our juices have their own unique benefits, it is best to have a little variety during the week. We suggest a green drink, either Mean Green, Green Harmony or Cucumber Fresh every single day, a Twisted Roots juice twice or more per week and a few of your other favorite Garden of Flavor juices throughout the week. This allows you to benefit from the healthy goodness from all of our juices.
So, here’s what my non-cleanse juice adventure looked like for a week!
Monday: I started my day off with Mean Greens, which contains celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, romaine and lemon. While it definitely tasted green, it wasn’t bitter, and it went down really easily. I started to feel a little hungry a couple hours later, and it wasn’t quite time for lunch, so I grabbed a Turmeric Tonic (water, lemon, blue agave, turmeric root, ginger root, mint, cayenne pepper and probiotics) and discovered my favorite juice of the bunch. The ginger, turmeric and cayenne gave it a nice spice, but it was still super refreshing and surprisingly satisfying.
Tuesday: I grabbed a Green Harmony (cucumber, apples, romaine, kale, celery, lemon, spinach, parsley and probiotics) for breakfast on Day 2, and like the Mean Greens, it’s got a nice green flavor, although maybe a little sweeter because of the apples. Not sure if it was the juice or just me on that day, but I felt energized and satisfied right up until lunch.
Wednesday: This was one of those busy mornings where I had an appointment on the other side of town first thing, and man, was it awesome to just grab a bottle and go! I started out with Cucumber Fresh, which has cucumber, celery, parsley and lemon, and it was quite tasty (very cucumber-y, which I love), but I didn’t find it as filling as some of the others and was ready for a more substantial breakfast not long afterward.
Thursday: I decided to mix things up and, instead of beginning my day with a green juice, I opted for the Goji Pineapple (pineapple, goji berries, apple, ginger, mint and lemon), and oh, man, was that a delicious surprise — fruity and tropical, but that ginger and mint added a really nice bite. Later that day, before heading out for a group run, I sipped on an Appleade (apple, lemon, ginger and probiotics), and realized that juice is kind of awesome pre-run snack. I know, that seems obvious, but man, what a revelation! I had a great run and had plenty of energy right through the end.
Friday: I went back to the Mean Greens for breakfast — still yummy, still easy.
Saturday: I was feeling like I wanted something a little more decadent, so I slowly sipped on the White Night (water, cashew nuts, agave nectar, vanilla bean, cinnamon), and oh my delicious. With the cashew base, it’s not a light option, that’s for sure, but it was rich, creamy, flavorful and really filling.
Sunday: The weekends bring out a little more of a breakfast eater, I guess, and I was craving more texture, so I took a bottle of Green Harmony and blended it up with a banana, some ice, and a little vanilla protein powder to create a more substantial morning meal. It was definitely a hit! And, before hitting the road for a long run later in the day, I drank a Turmeric Tonic — once again, that pre-run juice seemed to do the trick. I might’ve found my new pre-race habit!
After a week of having juices for breakfast and the occasional snack, I have to say I’m a big fan. It was really nice to start off each day knowing I was getting tons of nutrients but having to do nothing but snag a bottle out of the fridge. Man, I love healthy, convenient foods. I don’t know that it would necessarily be my choice every day, forever — I do like having the thickness of a smoothie or some yogurt and fruits sometimes — but it’s certainly a morning habit I could adopt several days a week.
Are you a juice fan? Do you like doing full-on cleanses, or are you down with drinking a juice or two a day, like this? I think I might be in the process of becoming a convert. —Kristen