The juice craze continues ...

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Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2014 12:49 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The juicing craze has been going strong for some time now, and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Juicing fans are becoming more innovative, venturing away from the banausic green blend and trending new concoctions. This maturation of the juice industry is allowing the consumer to experience more delectable flavors and is creating a zeal in some people to do healthy blending at home. Juicing has become more “sexy,” and isn’t it about time?

Here are several juicing trends currently catching on across the Suncoast:

1. Shots

No, I’m not referring to the hard stuff, but a concentrated dose of everything that is good for you all in one tiny drink. “Wellness shots” or “boosters” are often used as natural remedies when fighting a cold or the flu. However, they can also give you a burst of energy while boosting your immune system. There are many ingredients that can be used in a shot -- cayenne pepper, turmeric, lemon and ginger are common. Simply juice your ingredients, add your spices/powders and throw it back!

2. Coconut

Adding coconut to juice amplifies the hydration of your drink along with adding B vitamins and minerals. You can use the fresh coconut juice found in the center of the nut, aka the “meat.” Once you have opened the coconut, scoop out the “meat,” then soak covered for 15-20 minutes in hot (but not boiling) water. Blend with remaining juice ingredients and enjoy.

3. Cocktail

Why limit your consumption of juice to breakfast? This juicing method may shock most people, but yes, you can have a shot of alcohol in your juice! Many trendy restaurants are offering juice-based cocktails on their drink menu. These “juice-tails” or “kale-tinis” serve as a healthy alternative to traditional mixers when coupled with low-calorie spirits like tequila and vodka. If you’re going to spend $10-$15 on a bar drink, it might as well be healthy for you!

4. Nut Milk

Soy milk has been growing in popularity during the past few years, but other mile alternatives are vying for the throne this year. You can even make your own nut mile by juicing. The key is to soak your nuts or seeds in a bowl of water overnight, (about 8-12 hours). This softens the texture, allowing the nuts to be easily juiced to a milky consistency. Soaking your nuts also makes the protein readily available for absorption, breaks down any gluten, and increases the supply of vitamins. There are many options when making your own nut milk. Try a more exotic nut like macadamia, hazelnut or brazilnut.

5. Kombucha

A fermented concoction of bacteria, yeast and black tea, Kombucha can add a tangy taste to juice. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, can improve circulation, and can lower high blood pressure -- just to list a few benefits. It’s no wonder that it’s being added to fruit and vegetable juices to create one powerhouse drink.

Click here for a follow-up piece in which Chef Judi tries out several popular juicers for sale at area retailers.

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