Step One: Rethinking Juice

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So, I bought a juicer, and it was not just because I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead!

Most people would agree that freshly squeezed juice in the morning would be preferable to the juice we buy at the grocery store, but honestly who has the time for that?! I HATE pulp, so every time I’ve been in a fancy hotel with freshly squeezed orange juice (which of course includes pulp), I just cringe and get water or milk instead. So why on Earth would I want to start making my own juice?!

My toddler drinks juice like there’s no tomorrow. She doesn’t like cow’s milk (I have to mix soy milk in with her juice), and she’s not crazy about water although she will drink it. I started giving her watered down Gerber juices when she was 10 months old, and when she started toddling we moved on to the Graduates (which have a little logo for toddlers). When I started looking at labels, I was shocked to see that while the juices for infants weren’t too bad the juices for toddlers were out in out false advertising.

One of her favorite juices is the Gerber Graduates Fruit Splashers Strawberry Kiwi. According to Gerber’s website, their Strawberry Kiwi juice includes the following ingredients: PURIFIED WATER, WHITE GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE, APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, CALCIUM HYDROXIDE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), NATURAL FLAVOR, STRAWBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, NIACINAMIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6)

Strawberry juice (from concentrate) is a long way down on the list, and I don’t see anything about kiwis. There are also ingredients that don’t have anything to do with juice per se, like calcium hydroxide (also known as slaked lime) which is used in a variety of products such as pesticides, hair relaxers, and sewage treatment, just to name a few.

Now, I don’t want to go on a diatribe against Gerber because I was raised on it, and its organic products are good, but it is like so many other companies in that it just assumes we are fine with consuming processed ingredients that our bodies weren’t designed for and are willing to subject our children to the same cycle. I don’t think that we’re all necessarily going to die younger because we consume these things, but they are definitely not what we need in our diets.

So I’ve started juicing for our toddler at lunch and for my husband and myself at dinner so that both we and our toddler can have real fruits and veggies in our diets instead of the processed and watered down versions we would find in store bought juices. I still buy some juices at the store for breakfast and crazy days when I don’t get to make juice, but I am looking at the labels a lot closer now. I’ll pass along some juice recipes and tips in a later post.

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