Clean Machine: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Drinking Green Juice

Clean Machine: 5 Things to Know About Drinking Green JuiceEvery morning, Monday through Friday, I try to stick to a pretty healthy routine. Not only do I feel better when I have a consistent schedule, but I’m also more productive and have more “me” time at the end of the day. I like to wake up, make breakfast, work out, and drink a big glass of green juice before getting down to work for the rest of the day. Drinking my greens is one of the best parts of my mornings, and I try to do it every day to get a big boost of vitamins and nutrients. But only recently did I learn that there are a few facts every girl should know when it comes to sipping those greens

With a little help from our expert nutritionist Shira Lenchewski, RD, today I’ll be sharing my smart girl’s guide to drinking green juice. Take a peek below to find out everything you need to know about getting juiced…

1. Don’t consider it a meal replacement.
Proportionally speaking, most green juices are very low in calories and protein, with the majority of calories coming from carbohydrates, according to Shira. So, while drinking green juice can be an excellent way to increase your daily servings of vegetables, most juices aren’t sufficient to be full-blown meal replacements. Try thinking of green juice as a health supplement—like a multivitamin—not a meal replacement.

2. Vary your leafy greens.
Rotating your greens is a great way to make sure you’re reaping the nutritional benefits of a wide variety of plants that you might otherwise miss out on, says Shira. I love switching off between kale, spinach, and romaine. But you can also mix things up by experimenting with dandelion greens, which are rich in calcium, and carrot tops, which are loaded with anti-inflammatory chlorophyll.

3. Don’t use too many sugary fruits.
Just like eating too many sweets can send your body into a blood sugar tailspin, drinking juices with too many sugary fruits can leave you with energy highs and lows. Shira advises her clients to stick to green juices made primarily with leafy greens and just one serving of fruit, like one small pear. Many commercial green juices are loaded with sugar, and they often contain more fruit than we should be consuming in one sitting.  And since the juicing process removes fiber from fruits and veggies, sugar hits the bloodstream faster. On that note, be on the lookout for common sugar-containing additives like coconut water and agave. Simply put: Try to drink juices that are as veggie-heavy as possible.

4. Don’t wait too long to drink it.
Drinking green juice immediately gives you the biggest nutrient bang for your buck, since the natural enzymes in fruits and vegetables start breaking down as soon as they are exposed to air. Shira recommends drinking your green juice straight out of the juicer for those fresh squeezed vitamins and minerals. However, most juices can be refrigerated up to 72 hours in airtight containers. So if you can’t drink yours right away, try to sip up within three days, or else your juice might not be as beneficial.

5. Drink it on an empty stomach.
I prefer to drink my green juice on an empty stomach—after I’ve worked out in the morning—because I like the idea of the nutrients going straight to my digestive tract (I make sure to eat plenty of protein about 20 minutes later). Drinking fresh fruit and veggie juice is the fastest way to allow your body to absorb all those vitamins and minerals—even faster than eating the fruits and veggies whole. So, drinking a green juice after eating a big meal will only slow down the process of those nutrients entering your system. My rule is: If you’ve eaten a big meal, allow yourself two hours to digest before drinking green juice. If you’ve just drank a juice, allow yourself 20 minutes before eating a big meal. Simple as that.

I hope you all enjoyed learning something new about drinking your favorite green juice (I sure did!). Another big thanks to Shira for sharing her expert tips.

What topic would you like to see us cover for our next health post?

Leave your requests in the comments below.

Team LC

sources: shira lenchewski, rd
photos: Allison Norton for

Categories: Allison Norton, Get Fit, Health
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  • gina
  • Carly Jade

    I’ve never tried juicing ever – I feel like I’m the only person who hasn’t! I just don’t think I’d enjoy drinking it, but I’d be willing to give it a go!

    I’d love to find out about the benefits (if there are any!) of protein powders. I have been recommended to use them after my workouts, but all I can think is that they are extra calories that I’m consuming when I could just go without. Are they really that beneficial to you when you’re on a weight loss journey?

    • Maria

      Hey Carly,
      green juices are scarier-looking/sounding than they truly are. My girlfriends introduced me to them this summer and I am hooked!
      Kale, spinach (or lettuce), frozen mangos, one banana, mint, lime juice, and top off with however much water you’d like for consistency (surprisingly, the thicker the better, IMO, because of the kale’s consistency).
      happy juicing :)

  • Shannon Witte

    I love a small glass of green juice as my early morning snack before my commute. Then I’ll have some overnight oats or a mini bagel and a banana on the train. Keeps me going all morning long.

  • Ashley

    Thanks for the tips! My green juice concoction is more of a smoothie and I drink it mid-day on an empty stomach. I’ve heard a lot about dandelions lately but never tried adding that, so this will be my added nudge to do so. My go-to is kale, spinach, blueberries, almond milk and almond butter. So good!

    • The Single Diaries

      That sounds great! What kind of mixer do you use? Blender, juicer, vitamix?

      • Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

        A Nutribullet.

        • The Single Diaries

          Thanks! I’ll have to look into that. I’ve broken more Magic Bullets than imaginable trying to make shakes and smoothies. Sounds like the Nutribullet is up for the challenge! : )

  • Cassie Vaughn

    Can green smoothies be meal replacements?

    • Ashley

      Yes, it just depends on what you put in them. I make one with 1 cup spinach, 1 cup frozen fruit (usually a mixture of berries, maybe some mango or pineapple), water, and a scoop of vegan protein powder. It has about 200 calories so it’s great for a quick breakfast or lunch! Alternatively, you could replace the water with soy or almond milk, or even yogurt and skip the protein powder.

      • Cassie Vaughn

        Thanks! I normally do almond milk and a dash of oats to beef it up a bit.

  • Katie

    Thanks for sharing these! I slacked off with my juicing this winter. (I think I must associate it with spring.) This is motivating to get back into it!

    Katie of

  • Logan Hermanson

    Although I love green smoothies, I’m still working on putting in less fruit. I guess it’s an acquired taste, but its worth it for the benefits.

    xox Logan

  • Erin

    I have a Nutribullet and I am able to put in whole leaf greens along with fruit, yogurt and a liquid of my choice and mix it together for a delicious smoothie. I still get the benefits of fibrous plants because everything is broken down where some leafy byproduct is left behind in juicers.

  • Lauren

    Very interesting!!!


  • Kimberly Ann

    These are great tips! I love juicing and need to do it more often!


  • Amber Naomi

    Very informative and interesting! Thank you

  • Trista

    This was very interesting. I love having my green juice. I use mostly kale in mine.

  • Sarah

    I’ve read so much about juicing recently I think I’m going to have to take the leap and add a green juice to my daily diet! Maybe a pretty new juicer will encourage me to think green!


  • Ebba

    ok im not so mutch into green juice. I would like you to cover some good and healthy smoothie tips in the next health post.

  • Grace

    This was very helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley

    Great tips!!! I don’t make enough of these drinks!!

    Xo Ash,
    Sincerely Miss Ash

  • Samantha Brown

    I’m totally with you on sticking to a routine throughout the week! Even though some people think routine is restrictive and boring I find that I am so much more productive and I can also be more flexible and creative – I don’t have to spend my time thinking about the little things (like what I eat for breakfast) and instead I can spend my time making more important decisions. Routine does get boring after awhile – but that’s why you change it up!

    Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  • molly

    I always add a tbsp of chia seeds into my juices after they’ve been juiced! Adds back some fiber that you take out when juicing!

  • Irma Rodenhuis

    is coconut water a sugary drink?
    I drink a tiny bottle (o.33l) of coconut water with pineapple every day, is that bad/too sugary then?

    • Starflykiwi

      Just check the label / ingredients list as a start, as most of them show that sugar is added.

      • Irma Rodenhuis

        well the ones I drink don’t contain added sugar (it is only coconut water and pineapple), but does coconut water it self contain sugar? like, natural sugars?
        Thanks for your answer btw :)

        • Ashley

          Coconut water does contain a surprisingly high amount of natural sugars.

    • Fatima Shafique

      i think canned coconut water is salty and sugary both as its not the same taste as real coconut water..but i am not 100 percent sure

    • SF_Foodie

      Wholefoods carries fresh coconut water, which has no added sugar or preservatives. I would be concerned more about pineapple than coconut water. Coconut water’s glycemic index is 45, whereas Pineapple’s 66. Vanilla ice cream has lower GI (60) than Pineapple’s.

  • Ashley

    These are great tips! I too LOVE green drinks made at home and you seem to have touched on everything that could discourage or prevent someone from doing this properly. I do have one question though. I usual make large batches of this at a time and then store them in the freezer until I am ready to drink up (taking out a serving the night before to thaw slowly). Since it’s frozen as soon as it’s made, it should keep for a while, right?? Keep this type of post coming :)

  • Tracy

    These tips are really great!

  • May

    Great article. I juice everyday but green juices are definitely not my thing. I have tried to add some green on my juices but the first time I put so much celery on it, it was undrinkable. Anyway I should start drinking green juices no matter what.

  • Laura

    Don’t forget to “chew” your juice! (Or swish it around in your mouth a bit.) This activates digestive enzymes.

    • dsa127

      True, amylase in the mouth is specifically for speeding up the digestion process of starches. So if your shake is causing you bloating, this is probably why

  • Green Juice A Day

    Excellent tips Team LC. Just wanted to note that juices made with a masticating juicer can be refrigerated up to 72 hours in an airtight container and only up to 24 hours with a centrifugal juicer. For more details on the 2 style of juicers check me out at

  • Nicole Smith


  • Happy Healthy Girl

    I absolutely agree with you Allison =) Juicing individually is never fulfilling as the body lacks proteins and other essential nutrients and we start feeling lethargic. So in body detox or juice cleanse it is always necessary to add some nuts, meat, salads and beans in your diet so you lose extra pounds and at the same time feel energetic, healthy and fresh.
    Try this free juice cleanse diet plan its healthy and easy to follow

    • Sam Brown

      I agree! I thinking blending is way better than juicing so you can digest the sugar alongside the fibre.

      Sam xx – how to make the most of your twenties

  • Martine

    Be careful with eating/drinking fruit and vegetables at the same time. Vegetables are harder to digest, while fruits are easy to digest. Therefore it can cause stomach aches. It is better to eat or drink them separately if you have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract. Also, if you take them separately, your body will be able to extract the best from both of them.

  • Shel Billett

    These were great tips, especially the meal replacement myth!
    Having been a personal trainer it always suprised me that people battling weight issues actually never ate enough to fire up their metabolism.
    I love adding my supplements/vitamins to my smoothie. I find it weird to swallow the plastic-like coating – plus your body can absorb them sooner . ( I was curious as to how long it might take, though I realize our stomach acid does it faster.) x

  • Ashley Michelle

    If you need more inspiration or tips on eating clean and the journey to staying fit, check out this blog post featuring the amazing Laura Dean, an aspiring bikini pro :)

    Ashley Michelle

  • Patrick @ Fit Me Tea

    We love adding a bit of cold, fresh brewed loose leaf green tea to our green juice. It adds some great taste and boosts the antioxidant benefits. Again – not a meal replacement, but an easy way to give yourself a bit of an edge each day.

    Check out our loose leaf tea blends for fit lifestyles at

  • Mehar Singh

    Thanks for the tips! :)

  • The Cat


    – Cat

  • Nicole

    Juicing is an awesome way to get all those nutrients but I personally am cautious about it. I recently have found out about some of my own health issues and after doing a lot of research I found out about goitrogenic foods. It is found in a long list of fruits and veggies… For example kale, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach and many more. Goitrogens suppress the function of the thyroid gland which controls your metabolism (which is what controls your weight/mood/mental health). You should eat goitrogenic foods cooked and not raw. Once they are cooked the chemical compound is neutralized. Research before you juice!

  • Kim

    Thanks for the tips!

  • SF_Foodie

    Great post, Thanks!!. Body would need different types of enzymes to break down veggies and fruits, it’s not a good idea to mix them together. Fruits can quickly break down, and you’d be wasting nutritional benefits of veggies if mixed. Blending fruits is a good idea than juicing it to avoid sugar spikes.

  • TheSolidBarCompany

    Looks good, thanks Alison. We can also heartily recommend these two drink cleansers/revivers, one ‘green’ the other ‘orange’:

    Enjoy and a very Happy New Year to you!

  • Namrata from Namysstylenest

    Seems like a great advice. Love it.

  • annie

    I drink a green juice every morning! It helps me to make better choices throughout the day. If I start with anything too heavy I feel it for the rest of the day. Thanks for sharing!

    xo Annie

  • vanessa brown

    I didn’t ever think about the last couple. Cool beans!



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