A while ago, I was asked some excellent questions about juicing on behalf of Williams-Sonoma. Since I have some definite opinions on the matter, from a food and a nutrition POV, I was more than happy to answer:

Q: Is there a vegetable that you suggest is the best to juice? And what is a great vegetable juice recipe that you have tried or would like to try?
A: I like dark leafy greens (spinach, kale and so on) in juice because it provides great nutrients, fresh color and provide a nice balance to ingredients like fruit or root vegetables which are higher in natural sugars. Cucumber and celery are great swaps for fruits and roots when you want or need a lower-glycemic juice. I always think a hint of lemon or lime is a nice touch. I don’t do multi-ingredient juices at home, but I have a manual citrus juicer I use to squeeze orange juice on the weekend. I fell in love with fresh orange juice on a trip to Buenos Aires, where you’re hard pressed to walk more than a few blocks without tripping over a sidewalk vendor with a big pile of oranges, cups and a juicer. I think of that trip every time I use my own juicer, which is similar to this one.

Q: For someone looking to boost his or her immune system, what ingredients would you suggest be used in a juice recipe? And why?
A: To support immune health, I like dark leafy greens and ginger for their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as brightly colored, phytonutrient-packed produce like beets, carrots and berries. It was once thought that phytonutrients were pretty much just antioxidants, but know we know they can do so much more. Very important for health and a healthy immune system!

Q: Juice cleanses have become very popular. Have you or someone you know participated in a juice cleanse?
A: I’ve never done a straight juice cleanse, and I don’t recommend them. While juices can certainly be part of a healthy detoxification plan, the body needs fiber and adequate calories in order to properly detoxify. When fiber is too low, elimination slows and toxins can build up. When calories go too low, the liver and intestines (our main detoxification organs) don’t have the fuel they need to biotransform toxins into a form that we can eliminate. A diet high in juices can also push blood sugar too high in some individuals.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Williams-Sonoma in any way for answering these questions. I answered them because I wanted to, pure and simple…like a nice glass of fresh-squeezed OJ.