Juice Your Way to...Wake Up Right Now! 

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Back in January, I vowed to cut way back on caffeine as part of my New Year’s resolutions. This is something that is, for me, a near-insurmountable challenge. Ugggh. But I need to drink less coffee because I’m becoming reliant on it, friends. As in, I’m unable to function without around four cups a day, and it’s starting to feel...excessive.

But here’s the problem: I can’t just swap in green tea to get my day started. I hate tea. I need a way to wake up quickly without caffeine, something that will help me be healthier without requiring much thought early in the morning, if I’m going to keep this resolution. So I decided to try a new twist on fresh orange juice—a breakfast drink that’s sweet, tasty, has just four ingredients, and is therefore easy to remember how to make. And, it’s loaded with the kinds of micronutrients that will feed my brain and perk me right up.

Wake Up Now! Juice

Note: If you don’t have a juicer, this would work in the blender. The juice will come out a lot thicker, but the raw nutrients will still be there.

You will need

3 roughly peeled oranges
Throw these in, seeds and all, because it’s morning and my taste buds are traditionalists. Oranges provide us with a vitamin C–rich, sweet juice that has a low glycemic index, and they’re full of polyphenols that help protect against viral infections. They also help alkalize the body and contain beta-carotene, which helps the skin look its best. The quick jolt of natural sugar from orange juice can provide a little rush—albeit not a salted-caramel-latte flavored rush.

1 sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are like the dairy of the juicing world; they add creaminess and bulk to any juice. This sweet, fiber-full tuber is loaded with vitamin D, which we need for energy, and is also a great source of vitamin C and iron. What’s more, sweet potatoes are released slowly into the bloodstream, meaning they’re one of those veggies that can help us feel fuller longer (in other words, a great choice at breakfast time).

1 red bell pepper
Red peppers are sweet enough to trick our taste buds into thinking we’re eating fruit, and these low-calorie nutritional powerhouses have high levels of immune-system-boosting vitamin C, plus vitamin E, which makes skin and hair look lush and youthful. All things I could use a little more of in the morning.

thumb-sized piece of ginger
I’m obsessed with ginger, but it’s not my fault. It’s a wonder root, my buddy in juicing, and my friend in sickness, and in health. A large piece of ginger in this recipe provides an unexpected zing, but also fights inflammation (morning puffy face!) and helps your immune system do battle with anything you might meet during the day.

Wash everything, then toss in your juicer or blender, and hit the “on” button. If you’re blending, add a cup of water to help liquefy the ingredients.

Ahhhh this neon-orange juice is like gulping down the sunrise. It’s frothy, tastes like a sweet gingery orange, and it has a slight veggie aftertaste that reminds you that you weren’t just sipping fruits. The recipe makes around 35 ounces of fresh juice, which you’ll need to keep in the fridge in an airtight container (stir before drinking), and finish within two days. But you’ll want to drink it all up immediately and then do a dance around your kitchen as the robins chirp and twitter outside your window.