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Pink Juice with Green Foam

Recipe for DIY (do-it-yourself) whole food cranberry cocktail with 25 times fewer calories and at least 8 times the phytonutrient content.

December 2, 2011 |
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Images thanks to Shutterstock

Transcript

You’ve heard me say over and over that berries are the best fruit. So why didn’t cranberries do better than these others? Because it's not cranberry juice, it's cranberry cocktail—only 25% juice. So it should rightly be way up here, and take the gold. How do you do it without the corn syrup, though? You make your own.
2 cups of water, a handful of frozen cranberries, 8 teaspoons of erythritol, and a hardcore blender. When you do that, you don’t end up with 100% juice, you end up with 200% juice.
Let me explain: Here’s the amount of 6 amazing phytonutrients in frozen cranberries, but then you blanch them, throw away all the wonderful solids, clarify it, pasteurize it and you’re left with less than half of the phytonutrients what you started with. So even if you found 100% cranberry juice, it would really only be 50% of the whole berry’s phytonutrient power. That’s why it’s better to blend the whole thing up. I call it my pink juice but it’s not juice at all, It’s whole fruit. Nothing taken away or filtered out.
Comes out to be about 12 calories—25 times fewer calories, with at least 8 times more phytonutrients.
When I make it with frozen cherries with the juice of a whole lemon thrown in I call it my red juice.
The only thing healthier than berries? Dark green leafies, so for extra credit add some fresh mint leaves. Gives it a weird looking green foam on top, but then you’re chugging down berries and greens, then two healthiest things on the planet.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out all the videos on juice (including Is pomegranate juice that wonderful?).

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Alzheimer's Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventableHibiscus tea: flower powerWhich Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?, and Anti-Cancer Nutrient Synergy in Cranberries

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out all the videos on juice (including Is pomegranate juice that wonderful?), and don’t miss Tuesday’s corresponding blog post Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable with lifestyle changes.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/don-brix/ Don Brix

      Subject *: Cranberry juice recipe
      Message *: I was unable to understand the name of the sweetener you suggested in the recipe for homemade cranberry juice in the video of 12/03. I’d be grateful if you could send along the spelling of the product. Thanks,

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

        “Erythritol,” a nearly noncaloric sugar alcohol found naturally in certain fruits. I have a video about it here: A Harmless Artificial Sweetener. My family goes through about a pound a month. A study published last month adds a cautionary note, though: consuming erythritol with a large load of fructose (as can be found in certain confectionery and soft drinks) could inhibit fructose absorption in the small intestine and result in bloating and discomfort from fructose fermentation in the colon. I don’t imagine people would typically be mixing their diet and regular soda together, but if they did it could it could be a bad combo.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/bpcveg/ BPC

    When you do that you end up with 200% juice and 100% faith in erythritol!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/meha/ Meha

    I know my question will sound silly, but what is exactly a “hardcore blender”? Where I live there are cheap and expensive blenders, but all of them crappy.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/aguccionesbcglobal-net/ aguccione@sbcglobal.net

      Have you seen Vitamix blenders demonstrated at Costco-type stores? They are powerful enough to crush a car hood! Seriously though, these blenders run about $500.00, but they are worth the investment. An order comes with a wet blade, but a dry blade container is handy for milling grain and nuts. The more you use them, the better they run. They are almost indestructible. We loooooooove ours! You can buy them on line new or refurbished (a little less spendy).

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/laurie-k/ Laurie K.

        I’m on my second Vitamix! The first was white, and after about a decade of making my green drinks, the white base just became too discolored. I use mine so much and I like to leave it on the counter, but the discoloration became an eyesore. It sold IMMEDIATELY on ebay. I don’t have that problem with my second Vitamix because it’s black :) Great suggestion to buy a refurb, I believe you can get a decent warranty on them, too. They are incredibly sturdy and have so many uses. Best purchase I’ve ever made for my health!

        • Johnson

          Just buy a blendtec about $200 cheaper and even more powerful

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/kaodjs1/ kaodjs1

      I have made this drink with a Ninja blender and it turns out great. I bought mine for under $50 at Target. Amazon sells them too. Ninjas have 3 layers of blades that are quite sharp, so the Ninja serves as a blender and food processor (fast chopping like salsa) for me.

      • KC

        I love my Ninja! It is an awesome blender — My friend has a Blendtec and she constantly has to stop – stir contents – and start it again to keep it moving. I NEVER have that problem with the Ninja no matter how packed it is (I got mine at Kohls — It came with the blender and a smaller food processor for under $100).

        • pattyrose

          I have a BlenTec – don’t particularly care for it – my sister bought a Vita Mix and doesn’t use it and instead bought a Ninja which she loves. Would never spend the money again for a BlenTec or a VitaMix

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/wilscot/ wilscot

    You can make a powerhouse smoothie with an ordinary blender: add about half to one cup of thawed berries, two big handfuls of chopped greens (eg kale or spinach or a mix) and as much juice (eg grape or pomegranate) as you need to get it to blend. Then you can add some ground flax just as you drink it which provides the fat to help with absorbtion of the nutrients from the greens!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/wickedchicken/ wickedchicken

    I never thought of mint as a dark green leafy veg….. I have a mint plant in my garden so will be utilising it a lot more now – thanks!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/evanbrand/ evanbrand

    Dr Gregor,

    Are there published studies providing evidence about the efficacy of frozen fruit (vs fresh)?

    What are viable sources of acai in the US?

    Sambozan adds soy lecitihin to their acai product.

    Please advise.

    Thank you for these great videos.

    Your fan,

    Evan Brand

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Great question! I found two good studies comparing fresh to frozen fruit. One on strawberries and one on raspberries. They both found the same thing: “no statistically significant differences between the…[antioxidant levels] for fresh and frozen strawberries” and “It is concluded, therefore, that freshly picked, fresh commercial, and frozen raspberries all contain similar levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants per serving.” And in fact frozen last longer than fresh, are available year-round, and tend to be cheaper and more convenient. If you look in my freezer, normally it’s half frozen greens and half frozen berries (though this time of the year it’s also stuffed with 20 pounds of fresh dates!).

      In terms of your acai question, I’m not sure what your concern about soy lecithin is. Even people with soy allergies are often able to tolerate lecithin (soy proteins are more than 100 times less allergenic than other allergens such as eggs and dairy). I love the frozen packs of unsweetened acai pulp (featured in my videos Superfood Bargains and Antioxidant Content of 300 Foods), though if you’re extremely allergic to soy you may just have to stick to less exotic berries.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/drdons/ DrDons

      Hi Evanbrand, Wanted to add a thought to Dr. Gregers excellent response. Since Acai Palms are tropical all Acai is imported. You might look for products that are certified and fair trade certified. Having been a physician for 30+ years I tend to be skeptical of the “hype” associated with new products whether they are drugs, alternative therapies or food products. View Dr. Greger’s other videos for relative information on: Cost http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/superfood-bargains-2/; Weight http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/new-antioxidant-superstars-2/; and Serving size: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/antioxidant-content-of-300-foods-2/. Stay tuned as the science changes every year.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/HeidiWoodruff/ Heidi Woodruff

    I blend a Banana, handful of blueberries, flax seeds and baby spinach with a bit of Stevia powder (for sweetness), water and ice cubes. Yum! Even my teenage son will drink it!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/htwwo/ HTWWO

    I hear what you are saying about Erythritol but you made an even better claim about dates as a sweetener. Since it’s going in the blender, why not dates instead?
    I’m going to try it this afternoon.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/htwwo/ HTWWO

    Just made batch one. One cup water, half cup cranberries, two dates (seeds removed.) Blend to liquid.
    Love it.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      What a great idea–you just made it even healthier!

      • Kaleb Rogers

        Sub in cold brewed hibiscus for water. Mind blown.

    • Lawrence

      HTWWO- Yes, great idea. I made this drink with hibiscus flower tea (leaves and all), dried peppermint leaves and pitted dates. I found it necessary to strain the results as it was too particle-laden. But, then I placed the strained liquid back into the blender, added two tbsp ground flax seed and one ripe banana for an awesome smoothie. Sounds like a lot of bother, but it wasn’t that much trouble. Thank you Dr. Greger for this marvelous resource!

    • http://SimpleDailyRecipes.com/ Jill McKeever

      I’m trying this. I have everything on hand. ;D THank you for sharing.

    • Rease

      This was a great idea – I just tried it and it was fantastic. Thanks for the tip!! (I used carbonated water to make it more “cocktail” like.)

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/veganmom/ veganmom

    So where would one find erythritol? Wf?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      Yes, you should be able to find it at any health food store (including Whole Foods). I’ve found it cheaper to just order online, though.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mercman40/ mercman40

    If dates are better, and molasses second best, why use Erythritol?

    I tried date sugar but found it does not really work so well with tea, coffee, or any drinks that don’t have a thick smoothy like consistency.

    Is Erythritol better than raw sugar, or honey even?

    I can spend hours reading and listening to the videos…thanks for all you do!!!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/ahernandez/ ahernandez

    Should the cranberries, mentioned in the video, pitted? – I know a 3hp blender is capable of pureeing even the toughest seeds of certain fruits including the avocado, but I just wanted to be sure.

    Thank you.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/robertaj/ Robertaj

    I made a double batch of this tonight and my husband and I drank it throughout the evening. After about an hour my husband started having gas pains and then had diarrhea for a couple of hours. I also had bad gas pains and loose stools within a few hours. I just ordered 4.5 lbs via the Internet but now am afraid we are having a bad reaction to erythritol. Is this possible? Lots of “dangers” listed on the Internet, but nothing research based that I could find. What do you know about the possible negative side effects? Thanks!

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      The wonderful thing about erythritol is that 90% of it is absorbed in the small intestine, and so one doesn’t typically experience the gastrointestinal side-effects seen with other sugar alcohols (such as xylitol). Having said that, 10% does make it down into the colon, and so you can overdo it, as you and your husband experienced. Now over a period of weeks, your colonic flora will shift to start metabolizing the erythritol, but you definitely want to start slow.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable!

  • Patrice

     Try iherb.com – they have good prices on erythritol, as well as the ceylon cinnamon Dr. Greger recommends. You can use cod POD782 for $5 off an order up to $40 or $10 off more than $40.  Plus, there is free shipping, AND, make sure you click on the “Freebies” tab at the top and select a free sample for your order! 

  • Krasmuss

    I have a question about drinking a lot of cranberry juice, especially concentrated forms…I’ve heard that there are lots of oxalates(?) in cranberries, and was wondering if there would be a higher risk of developing kidney stones from too much cranberries?

    • Toxins

      Dont worry about oxalates, as long as your eating a varied healthy vegan diet oxalates are of no concern.  I would avoid drinking cranberry juice as this is a concentrated source of sugar.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fruit-juice-fail/

  • SteveW-Torrance

    Dr. Greger, your videos (aside from a world of great dietary info) are very funny at times…In a good way. I cannot say I ‘get’ everything presented but its a very helpful source for me in my quest to improve my health. I wanted to thank you for your efforts and making this sometimes complex info approachable and actionable.

  • ileana

    Dr Michael, I’m from Costa Rica an I always interested in your videos. Please send me the information of what you and your family eat in order to be certain that my family eats well. Best wishes

  • Nina Sky

    do i have to blend is juicing give the same benifts>

  • Linda Rudnick

    Alcohol sugar is not a good thing. It is better to use Stevia and there are some wonderful brands (I like Stevita powder or liquid). It is possible for you to post your recipes on your website, like the Pink Juice recipe, or am I just not able to find them. Thank you for your good work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Martie.says.hi Martie Anderson

    So do you have a recipe book with all of your recipe suggestions?

  • Tobias Brown

    I tried this recipe and while it tastes good, we lose much of the taste of the cranberries — due to the sweetener and water. Next time, I’ll try less erythritol and more cranberries with a couple cubes of ice to cool it down, and maybe try dates as the sweetener.

  • jenne

    Dr Greger Could you not use stevia as the sweetener?

  • Michelle

    Do you have any information on antioxidant content of cranberries (or any other fruits) before versus after blending? I’ve always been curious about how much gets oxidized from the blending process versus what we would absorb from just eating the whole fruit.

  • Mercedes

    Does heating up the cranberry/lemon recipe in the microwave destroy the nutritional benefits? We love it unsweetened! Quite the surprise! :-)

  • Chicov

    You can use dried mint also, only takes a bit, less than a teaspoon. Truvia is a common brand name of the sweetener. My cranberries always went bad before I could figure out what I wanted to do with them. Now they are a pleasure to get out of the freezer, and even the grandkids love this drink.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    I blend whole, fresh cranberries with blueberries and medjool dates. The taste feels like I’m cheating, but – health wise – I ain’t. =) I’ll try to add mint next time.

  • Pinkpeony

    Can anyone recommend a good supplier of cranberries? Also, I have had trouble finding organic frozen fruits in large sized bags for my family.

  • Edie

    55 years ago, when I was a teenager with a bladder/kidney infection, waiting out the weekend until I could see the doctor, my grandma fed me lots of cranberry juice. What a pleasure to read her ‘old-fashioned remedy’ corroborated in your article! Thanks for your VERY helpful work.