Erika Ehmsen

Ready for the blender, this week's Juicing Box from Good Eggs delivered kale, Swiss chard, oranges, carrots, apples, and two colors of beets.

Who:  Erika Ehmsen, Managing Editor of Sunset’s Digital Editions (for your iPad, Android, etc.).

This year, I’m determined to:  Incorporate juicing into my daily diet.

I chose this because:  I need to change up my morning breakfast-bar routine and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Which shouldn't be a challenge for someone who stopped eating meat two decades ago. But my commute has ballooned to 2.5 hours of stop-and-go driving each weekday, leaving me grumpy, exhausted, and often likely to shove prepping and cooking to the back burner. Chop up a bunch of vegetables and steam or stir-fry them? Great for weekends. But blitzing them in a blender and drinking them raw is a much more realistic workday scenario.

So far, the challenge is going:  Like my life as a working mother (and that early-’80s Depeche Mode song), I’m struggling to get the balance right. Being primarily a vegetarian (I also eat fish), I probably have a higher threshold for vegetal flavors than the average omnivore. But I had to agree with a friend’s assessment of my #epicfail concoction of golden beets, carrots, apple, spinach, Swiss chard, and almond milk.

To quote my poor friend: “It’s very … earthy. Kinda like liquid compost.” Indeed, it smelled just like my compost bin. Or my refrigerator’s produce drawer when I’ve let the greens liquify. No bueno. Time to study some recipes and straighten out my ratios.

This failed blend (left) of golden beets, carrots, apple, and greens smelled like a compost bin and had the texture of overly puréed baby food. Breakfast was salvaged by a chia pudding (right) from

My biggest temptation to cheat:  Lightheadedness. I realized in a pre-noon slump at my desk that my morning juice blend contained all fruits and veggies and no fat or protein (which I could have gotten by adding nuts, a superfood supplement, even tofu or yogurt to the blender). So I’ve started experimenting with juice blends as an afternoon snack instead of as a substitute for a solid breakfast.

Coping mechanisms:  In all honesty, I’ve eaten a few breakfast bars—I need the protein and something to chew and more slowly digest. But I have been juicing daily, and I’m mostly doing a better job of planning ahead, both in seeking out recipes and in prepping ingredients the night before.

A saving grace: online ordering of local fruits and veggies, so a fresh selection is always on hand. I can order at any hour and support Northern California farmers. My two favorite Bay Area delivery companies also work with local chefs and bakers: Luke’s Local and Good Eggs, which regularly offers a Juicing Box filled with seasonal produce. With a knob of ginger, I had everything at hand for …

A ruby red blend of beets, carrots, and apple with spinach and almonds. Ginger adds zing.

A recipe I’m really digging:  This gingered beet-apple-carrot Detox juice blend from our sister magazine Health. It packs 8 grams of fiber and gets an extra iron boost if you add a handful of spinach. I also like to toss in a dozen almonds.

Follow me! Twitter @esquared415 and Instagram @esquared415. And please share your favorite veggie/fruit juice combos (I could clearly use your help) by tagging #SunsetEatFresh on FB/Twitter/Insta.

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