Green Juice – Is it time to rethink your drink?

Green juice – Is the benefit as great as the trend?

You see it on your morning commute, in the refrigerated section of your local specialty grocer and during your workout.  Green juice is the new “it” beverage being toted around town as a type of status symbol shouting, “Money is not an issue when it comes to my body’s health”.  If you haven’t looked at the cost recently, a single serving will run you between $6 and $12.

The idea behind these cold-pressed green juices is they provide a straight dose of super food nutrients to you.  When consumed, the human body does not have to breakdown the fiber to get to and absorb the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables.   The fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables is “pressed” out during the manufacturing process.  Sounds great.  Your body would have immediate access to a large amount of raw vitamins and minerals from these fruits and vegetables.  Makes sense why these juices are in high demand.

Problems arise when companies try to solve the puzzle of providing fresh cold-pressed juice to a public that demands convenience and great taste.  The solution has been fruit.  Add enough fruit juice and any green juice can taste terrific.  The juice’s color can still be green enough to promote health, while the majority of juice content is from apples or pineapples.  Much of the green juices on store shelves, including those in your local Starbucks, contain a hefty amount of sugars hidden within all the greenery.  Don’t look now, but that green juice you’re carrying around feeling so great about drinking may be doing you more harm than good.

The natural sugars in fruits and vegetables are typically consumed with the natural fiber in the whole food.  In order to have the nutrients more readily available, these cold-pressed juices have been made so that none of the fiber makes it into your green juice.  This can be beneficial with straight vegetables (think kale, dandelions, collards), but what about fruit?  All that fructose without any fiber is a sure way to cause a blood sugar spike.  Are we paying a premium to hook our bodies up to an IV full of fructose in the name of health?

To get some answers, I went to my local Whole Foods Market and found 9 cold-pressed green juices on the shelves.  Sugar content for each single serving container ranged from 8 grams to 52 grams.  Sizes of the containers ranged from 12oz to 16oz.  Some of these juices, all of which were green, contained more sugar than a can of Coke.  Snickers bar contains 27g.  Skittles contain 47g.  Ghirardelli chocolate squares contain 23g of sugar.  Below are a sample of some of the green juices and their sugar content.

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Total Sugar: 8 grams

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Total sugar: 28 grams

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Total Sugar: 24 grams

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Total Sugar: 12 grams

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Total Sugar: 20 grams

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Total Sugar: 52 grams

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Total Sugar: 9 grams

Consumers can also purchase cold-pressed juices at local juice bars.  I called a few local juice bars in the Chicago area to determine an estimate of the sugar content in their green juices.  All green juices contained apples and I was told each 12-16oz serving contains between 2-4 apples.  A medium apple contains 19g of sugar.  Would you have thought that fresh pressed juice you just paid $8 for has between 38 and 76 grams of sugar? I definitely do not consume this much sugar in an entire day!

I imagine the harm done is compounded, as people tend to rationalize their diet.  If they ate very well for a certain period of time, they will then allow themselves something unhealthy.  “I had that green juice today so I will allow myself a cookie after dinner”.   Would you ever think that green juice contained more sugar than the cookie?!

You can ensure your green juice is as healthy as possible by raising your awareness.  Read labels!  Pay attention to how many servings per container.  If the manufacturer makes the serving size so small, anything can seem healthy upon first glance.  Read the ingredients.  Ingredients are listed from most prevalent to least.

Here’s a tip – if you purchase fresh cold-pressed juice, ask them to substitute lemons or cucumbers for the apples to the reduce sugar load.

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Being a Balanced Babe: Interview with Balanced Babe – How to Live a Balanced Life

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Grab some healthy tips, take a peek into my personal life and there’s a delicious giveaway at the end of the interview!

Below is the beginning of the interview with Balanced Babe – click HERE to go to full interview 

You might remember my review of Mind Your Muffins from a couple weeks ago (link to post here), well now you get to meet the Balanced Babe behind the brand! Gina Lemke is one determined and healthful lady. Owner of Mind Your Muffin Co., she offers ridiculously delicious, moist, and mouth watering muffins and other baked goods that are made with love and will literally do your body good.

I was able to get all the details about Gina’s specialty baked goods and her inspiring story of how she lives the Balanced Babe lifestyle. Gina talks about the importance of being prepared when traveling, why fitness is essential for her focus and clarity, the importance of getting adequate sleep, and why you need to indulge once in a while!

Gina also is giving readers a chance to win a box of goodies from Mind Your Muffin at the end of this article! All details of what the prize is, and how to enter is on the last slide of the interview. It is super easy to enter, and you could be indulging in some deeeelicious muffins in the near future!

To start SLIDESHOW CLICK HERE

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Hummus…are they all created equal?

Short answer – definitely not.  There are many types of hummus preparations available for purchase at your local market.  So many different brands, then different flavors as well.  Many believe hummus is always healthy.  Not always the case.  Be on the lookout for additives, preservatives, excessive amounts of sodium and added sugars.  I find the best convenience foods are those with few ingredients, no additives and no preservatives.

Hummus is something I eat maybe 2-3 times a month, and I only consume Whole Foods Brand 365 Original Hummus.  This will become important a couple paragraphs down.  My system tolerates this brand well and I enjoy the taste and texture.  [note:Because of my under active thyroid condition and food sensitivities, I do not eat many legumes.  I do not feel great after having a large serving of beans or peanuts, or even if I have small amounts spread over several consecutive days]

The Whole Foods 365 hummus has the lowest amount of sodium I have found in a store bought preparation, with 75mg per 1oz or 28g.  I find many other brands have over 100mg of sodium per serving.  The ingredients listed in the 365 brand are simple enough.  They consist of chick peas, water, sesame tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt.

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As mentioned above, I typically only consume this brand of hummus.   Well the other day I was at my local Plum Market store and was looking for a hummus I could have that evening with a similar nutrition profile to the Whole Foods brand hummus.  The best option was Cedar’s Classic Original with 115mg of sodium per serving and a natural preservative, citric acid.  This hummus had preservatives and added oils.  I wasn’t happy with it, but figured a serving or 2 that evening would be fine.

Cedar's Classic Original Hommus

Cedar’s Classic Original Hommus

I was very wrong.  That night after 2 or 3 servings (so 2-3oz) of the Cedar’s brand hommus, I had severe heartburn all night.  So severe, I drove to Walgreens in the middle of the night and downed a few Tums.  Mind you, I haven’t taken anything for heartburn for over 4 years as it is a rare occurrence for me to have heartburn.  My body knew these 2 brands of hummus were very different.

Looking at the Cedar’s hommus label above, what were the red flags?  Let’s start with ingredients – fresh steamed chickpeas, sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame tahini, water, sea salt, citric acid, roasted garlic, guar gum, cumin.  First, why not steamed chickpeas rather than “fresh” steamed chickpeas?  I would never think the manufacturer would include chickpeas that had gone bad.  Then we see 2 types of oils added to the hommus.  This doesn’t sit well with me.  Citric acid is a red flag as this is a preservative.  Finally, guar gum.  Not sure why this is needed – perhaps for shelf life and appearance.

And here’s something comical about the label. If you read the top right of the label starting with “The Original blend of hommus…” you will notice the last line in that section reads, “..lemon juice is just a hint…” Then scroll down to the ingredients as you should find lemon juice as detailed in the description.  Gotcha! No lemon juice in the hommus at all!  That is some garbage – I promise I will not buy this product, nor from this brand ever again.

Lesson – always read labels.  Ingredients first, then nutrition.  Choose items with fewest ingredients and stay away from additives and preservatives.

The best hummus I have had is sprouted hummus made at home.  Unfortunately, I do not have the time to sprout chickpeas then make hummus a couple times a month so 365 original hummus it is!

Another note about hummus, why all the different spellings?

 

 

 

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Mind Your Muffin: All Natural, Paleo & Preservative-Free Goodies!

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Good Day!

Just wanted to share a review  that includes a SLIDESHOW of some of the delicious Mind Your Muffin sweet healthy treats!  The review is by Sarah Baker of Balanced Babe and this lady knows how to lead a healthy balanced life so make sure to check out her blog.

Sarah reviews our lemon poppy seed, chocolate, vanilla and pumpkin spice muffins along with our gluten-free paleo almond cave bite.  If the link did not work the site is http://balancedbabe.com/mind-your-muffin-all-natural-paleo-and-preservative-free-goodies/

Don’t forget Mind Your Muffin is able to send gifts to your loved ones anywhere in the US.  Perfect for all those with a sweet tooth, weight loss goal or dietary restrictions (including diabetics as all products are low carb and sugar free).

xoxo,

Gina

 

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Valentine’s Day Special Order – Last Day to Purchase!

Valentine’s Day Special Available for 1 more day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Mind Your Muffin Co. has a Valentine Day special of a combination half-dozen of decadent chocolate and vanilla muffins available to be shipped anywhere in the country, and it ends today!  All orders placed today will be shipped on Monday, February 17th (except if you arrange pickup or local delivery).  So get yourself, or be selfless and give the combination pack of 2 of our best selling flavors.  We are including a muffin carrier bag with each Valentine’s Day Special ordered as well!  Order hereImage

Just want to add a friendly reminder that it is easy to take any of our products with you on the go with our convenient reusable carrier bag.  Simply throw a muffin or a few cave bites into a carrier bag, seal and throw it in your purse or gym bag to ensure you will have your superfood snack with you when in need!  
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Have a terrific weekend,

Gina

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Racked Chicago Fitness Week Interview

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Just a quick post on my latest interview with Racked Chicago about fitness, weight loss and living your dream.  Check out the article at http://chicago.racked.com/archives/2014/01/06/gina-lemke-is-fighting-muffin-topwith-muffins.php or here

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To our best year yet,

Gina

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Muffin Giveaway! Who wants free muffins?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a quick post letting you know Mind Your Muffin Co. is giving away muffins!  Yes, you heard right…but, you must enter the contest before Sunday, September 15th to be eligible to win.  And make sure to share this with friends, family, colleagues and anyone else because the more entries in the contest, the more free muffins!  Details are below.  Also, you will find some information about Mind Your Muffin Co. below the details.

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-RealFoodsLady

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