While January is winding down, many people are still clinging to their diets and healthy choices. And for those looking to add more greens and nutrients, juicing is certainly an attractive option.

Lighter than a smoothie yet packed with healthy ingredients, juices have long been a staple on the menu at Island Natural Market, 203 Longview Plaza, St. Simons Island. There, owner Jeff Switzer has been blending up fresh recipes in the cafe for years.

He says juices are an ideal way to give the digestive system a pause from its constant task of breaking down food.

“If you think about it, (the digestive system) is always working to break food down and that’s fine, but sometimes juicing just gives you a little break,” Switzer said. “But you still can assimilate a lot of good nutrients from it too. It’s very satisfying because the nutrients that are inside of that liquid can be easily assimilated.”

One of the cafe’s most popular items does just that. The Alkalizer consists of only six ingredients: cucumber, celery, kale, green apples, ginger and lemon that are blended together to offer a slightly spicy, yet satisfying beverage.

“It makes a really deep green alkaline, drink for your digestive tract,” Switzer said. “It’s got all the fiber in there, it really satisfies and it’s light. A lot of people this time of year are trying to cut back … trying to get away from heavier foods or curbing their desires for sweets. This is a really good way to start the day or maybe to have a really light lunch. You just really feel good, you don’t feel like you overate.”

The ginger and lemon give the juice a bit of a citrus kick that proves satisfying but not overpowering. It’s one of Switzer’s favorites and something he’s incorporated into his diet for 15 years.

But it’s not the only one he’s created. Switzer has crafted several juices that are loaded with nutrients. There’s the Energizer, which features carrots, apples and ginger, and the Five a Day, which boasts carrots, spinach, celery, beets and apples. The Lemon and Garlic Detoxes are other popular options, as is the straight carrot juice. The recipes and nutrition offered in each makes Switzer proud.

“It’s kind of fun to see all that stuff. Like ‘Wow, I’m getting all that stuff,’” he said.

“You have to digest it for the fiber, which is all good, it’s just that juicing sometimes when you’re really trying to cut back a little bit, you don’t have all that fiber — what you get is pure liquid without the fiber.”

While Island Natural Market offers plenty at its juice bar, Switzer says they are fairly easy to recreate at home. All one needs is a juicer and the ingredients they want to use.

And with so many aiming to get healthy in 2021 after so much uncertainty in 2020, juicing could be a great tool. Simple, easy and delicious — there’s not much else someone could want in their meal.

Cut the cucumbers in half along with the celery, green apples and lemon. Cut off a small portion of ginger (you can always add more if needed). Be careful with the ginger as it only takes a small amount to give the right kick.

Insert the cucumbers, celery and green apples into the juicer. Blend it well so the flavors mesh together. Once all ingredients are added, pour the liquid into a cup and enjoy.

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