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This post encompasses the basis of what my life is made of: kale, lemons, silliness, Mexican blanket patterns (?), sandals and wild, undone hair. Now that summer is basically here, I’m so thrilled to be able to drink a cold green juice on sizzling hot days, let my hair air dry and work on my tan, yo! Getting a tan is one of my top priorities at the moment… which also means I get to finally load up on some vitamin D. Thank goodness.

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Oh hey! I’m wearing a Roxy dress and DVF sandals.

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So let’s talk about juicing. I’m a total juicehead. No, not like one of Snooki’s boyfriends. The greener the better kind of juicehead. Make it a double kind of juicehead. I’ve received a ton of questions about juicing in the past few months so I decided to answer a few here and give you some info on why juicing is awesome, healthy, and totally delicious. It can be tricky sometimes, especially if it’s your first time getting juicy. Hopefully this post answers your questions and gives you some courage to go green with your juicing.

Here are my juicing rules, tricks + tips:

1. Your juice should be made of 90% vegetables, and little fruit. Juicing takes the fiber out of the fruit or vegetable, making it easier to be absorbed by your body and bloodstream. While this can be awesome if you’re juicing kale (YAY!) or any leafy green, juicing only fruit can actually be harmful to your body. Fruit juice is super high in fructose, causing your insulin levels to sky rocket, and then quickly crash. This equals major mood swings, high levels of triglycerides in the liver and a possible future of insulin resistance. No bueno. Fructose isn’t harmful in whole fruit (within reason), but when concentrated in fruit juices, it’s just not a healthy option. If you’re looking to get good flavor in your juices, and if anything green scares you — get over it, seriously — try using one green apple in your juice. Over time your tastebuds will adjust and you’ll be craving kale concoctions.

2. Juice to alkalize. Your body is constantly trying to maintain a balanced pH level. Whatever you eat is either alkaline or acidic. I am a paleo girl, and I eat a lot of animal products which are acidic foods; juicing helps to balance my pH levels so I can have healthy blood. Juicing alkaline foods keeps me cleansed, refreshed, healthy and functioning properly. A 7.4 is an ideal pH, which is neutral, or balanced. Juice plenty of alkaline vegetables! For a list of alkaline and acidic foods, check out this chart.

3. Juicing is not an excuse to get out of EATING your veggies. As previously stated, juicing strips the veggie of it’s fiber. Fiber is essential, not to mention there’s a lot of nutrition in the skin and fiber of the vegetable. Juicing does not and cannot replace eating the whole vegetable. Eat your veggies first, juice your veggies second.

4. Juice organic. I’m an organic snob and I’m not afraid to say it. I know it’s expensive and all, but I’d rather shell out the cash for pesticide-free, GMO-free food than buy an extra pair of shoes or blow money at ______ (fill in the blank). Health is a priority for me and so organic produce it is. If you want to read about GMO foods, click here. If you want to read about why buying organic food is better for your health, click here.

5. Don’t juice to lose weight. Juice cleansing can be great, or it can be really stupid. Your intentions and reasons for juicing should be just to cleanse the body of toxins (maybe after a holiday cookie exchange party or a vacation). If you’re doing a juice cleanse to lose weight, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You will only lose water weight, and the weight will more than likely come right when you start eating again. Be realistic, and do it for the right reasons. If you’re looking to lose weight remember that it takes time, lots of effort and a healthy lifestyle. Juicing can be a great supplement to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Get the foundation down first, but feel free to juice as much as you’d like on the side.

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My favorite juicing “recipes” are:

Green Juice-

2 cups kale
2 cups romaine lettuce
1 small green apple, core removed
1 small lemon (skin can be removed for less punch but I love it punchy!)
fresh ginger (about the size of the top of your thumb)

Minty Green Juice-

2 cups kale
1 cup collard greens
1 cup spinach
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 small green apple
1 small cucumber
handful of mint

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More great posts on juicing:

6 Things to Consider Before buying a Juicer - Summer Tomato
Juice Week: The Green Refresher – With Style and Grace
A Lesson in Juicing – 101 Cookbooks
The Great Juice Feast – My New Roots

Happy juicing!