Go Bananas With Your Green Juice!
By Sarah Villafranco, MD
Posted in Blog, on September 09, 2014
I really like green juices. I started juicing about 15 years ago when I was in medical school, which was also about the time I became a vegetarian. I usually try to keep a bag of prepped fruits/veggies ready, so that I'm not trying to start from scratch every morning, while getting two growing girls out the door to school. I'd say I get a juice made about three mornings a week, and I definitely notice an energy boost on those days. I try to juice mostly veggies, and add lemon plus a bit of carrot or apple to decrease the "wow-this-green-juice-tastes-really...GREEN" factor. I use a mastication juicer (pictured above), so the veggies are not being heated or enzymatically damaged during juicing. I would consider myself an "advanced juicer" - pretty knowledgeable about how and when to use juices, and capable of making an awfully tasty glass of green goodness.
But, on a recent trip to LA, I visited Beverly Hills Juice, and my world changed. This tiny little shop began in 1975 (I was two), and is still the go-to destination in LA for raw, beautiful juice. Their unique twist on green juice involves something they call Banana Manna, which is a blend of frozen bananas and almonds, sunflower seeds, or cacao. They will blend this magical concoction with any of their juices, creating a shake that's thicker than juice, but not as thick as a smoothie. As I sat outside the shop, sipping this devastatingly delicious, supremely healthy treat, I decided I needed to master the technique myself, so I didn't have to go to LA for my morning juice. So, here are the steps to making your own Beverly Hills Juice, minus the plane ticket:
1) Banana Gobslopsciousness
This step should be done, at the very latest, the night before you want to make juice. I make a pretty big batch of this, so I only have to do it about twice a month. I like raw, organic sunflower seeds for their flavor and the creaminess they provide, but you could do this with raw almonds as well. Sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium, as well as B vitamins. They supply about 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup, and are low in carbs. They do have some fat, but it's good fat - the kind that's been shown to improve your cholesterol profile. Choose slightly overripe, organic bananas - they have the best flavor and texture.
(Disclaimer: I have a Vitamix. I love my Vitamix. I worship my Vitamix. All other blenders are dead to me. This recipe works beautifully with a Vitamix. If you have a different blender, I can't tell you how this will turn out, except to say that my Vitamix is better. I'm sorry I said that. No, actually I'm not. But I do still love you despite your Vitamixlessness.)
Combine 7-8 bananas with just under 2 cups of raw sunflower seeds, blend until you have a smooth, creamy paste reminiscent of things I'd rather not mention. Spoon this messiness into ziploc bags (flip the edges of the bags over and try to stand bags up before you get started). I use 1/2 cup per bag, which is enough for two big juices (gotta keep the hubby healthy, too). Press excess air out of the bags, seal, roll into fat banana cigars, and freeze. These will keep for at least 1-2 months in the freezer.
2) Green Juice
I don't bother with recipes here. As I said, I try to use more greens than anything else, and I always add a big, honking knob of ginger. See the thing that looks like a wee potato? That's ginger. I'm not messing around.
- Keep a bag of peeled carrots, washed celery, and sliced apples in the fridge. Make a separate bag for the softer stuff, like peeled lemons and cucumbers (quartered lengthwise). Keep kale and romaine washed and ready.
- Plan to make the juice and move to step three quickly. Those enzymes are best when consumed within 15 minutes! That said, if you want to save it for after a workout or a mid-afternoon snack, it's still fantastically fresh and healthy.
- If you NEED a recipe, try this: 4 stalks celery, 1 large cuke, 10 pieces of kale, 1 lemon, 1 knob ginger, half a bunch of parsley, and either 2 carrots or one apple.
3) The Magic Part
Remember your frozen banana gobslopsciousness cigars? Blend your green juice, fresh off the press, and one banana pouch (run under warm water for 5 seconds if needed to remove from bag) in your Vitamix or - sigh - other blender until smooth. Sip slowly over the next few minutes, enjoying every gingery sip, and then savor the feeling of having done something wonderful for your health. That took work! You should be proud of you for putting in the effort.
(Disclaimer #2: This is not a "diet food". It will not make you magically thin and fit. It has calories. It has fat. You still need to get out and walk or run or hike or dance or yoga yourself until you sweat - five or six days a week. This is a supplement to a healthy, active lifestyle. It's great before a hard yoga class (so you don't pass out) or after a run. It could be used as part of a raw food cleanse. It's incredibly full of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. But, remember that it's only PART of the plan. You get the point.)
So, next time you're in LA, you MUST go to Beverly Hills Juice and order a green juice with their Banana Manna. Until then, I hope this takes you on a happy, healthy journey of your own.
Much love (and health) from us to you,
Sarah and the Osmia Crew.