forget skittles, taste THIS rainbow!
Ok, I lied. It’s not gossip, but it IS some good info about a great juice (if I may say so myself). This past year I wanted to try something different: get a good cleanse and start fresh. I had just watched “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” a documentary by Joe Cross and thought perhaps he was on to something. Now the reality of life doesn’t usually allow us to hole up in a hotel room and make juice every meal of every day, PLUS I really feel like you’re missing out on protein, whole grains, and other nutrients that you simply can’t get the way he did his thing for 2 months. I DO, however, think that everyone could stand to eat more veggies (no, the lettuce and tomato on your cheeseburger do not count as your full daily serving) and that it’s a totally awesome idea to give your body a power boost so to speak of vitamins and nutrients every once in awhile. So, I adapted his idea to my lifestyle. Here’s what I did last year, what I do now, and the recipe I came up with (there can be many variations, so it’s really up to you as to what goes in the juice).
Quick-Stir Pitcher, never "settle" for anything
Joe juiced all 3 meals/day for 60 days. I juiced 1-2 meals per day for 30 days. I also included 1-2 very healthy meals every day that were made of solid foods. Since I am not 6 months old, the idea of purees and liquid 24/7 isn’t exactly enticing. Also, I have a life. I have a stressful, fast-paced job (and remember, at that time I was working 10-12 shifts every week), a ridiculously energetic daughter, and teeth that need to fulfill their chewing destiny in order to be happy. I made sure to avoid desserts/sugar, unnecessary salt, sauces and soups at work (heavenly, but usually full of calories, cream, etc.), soda, coffee, fried foods, salad dressings, bread/useless carbs, even cheese (simply because it’s a true weakness for me, and I can get the same vitamins in better forms). Also limited my types of proteins to grilled chicken, fish, soy and other beans, and the occasional treat of a little bit of steak. Now you know I’m an eater, or else I wouldn’t be writing a blog about food, so this was tough, REALLY TOUGH… but I made sure I was never hungry – always had healthy snacks or my juice on hand, and I drank LOTS of water anytime my brain told me I wanted to eat. The truth is, food can sometimes be like an addiction – we eat when we’re sad, bored, angry, happy; eating isn’t always just to satisfy a hunger/provide the body with necessary sustenance, but that IS it’s actual purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I love a great filet mignon, potato gratin, cheese-covered vegetable and bottle of wine with friends! But for the purpose of this post and what I was trying to do, let’s pretend I’m actually a health-conscious person, haha.
all the juicy details
Without adding exercise to the mix (which is truly necessary, but I literally didn’t have the time or energy), I LOST 10 POUNDS!! Imagine what I could’ve done if I had bothered to step on an elliptical machine for 20 stinkin’ minutes! I even actually liked the juice I was making, so periodically I still gather all the necessary vegetables and give myself a few days’ worth of goodness, even though my food routine is back to normal. I am attempting to incorporate different types of activities into my week, like playing outside WITH Ryley instead of just watching, going for walks with Jeremiah, swimming on hot days, etc. – things where I won’t even realize I’m doing something as horrible as exercise! Keeping up with the occasional juice also makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of the juice extractor I bought. There’s nothing worse than jumping on the fad bandwagon and having a house full of unused items that wasted precious dollars in this economy: dusty collapsible treadmill under the bed, rusty juicer and slap chop in a cupboard, a whole row of the boogie beat exercise video series still in the plastic… (ok, I don’t have any of these, but I know lots of people who do). I bought my GE Juice Extractor from Walmart
for only about $50 so at least it wasn’t like a car payment or anything in the first place, but it’s obviously a better value to get more than one excited week’s use out of something.
quickest apple slices ever
I’m not even sure how I decided which vegetables to use, how many, etc. but I think it was simply a matter of trial and error. I tried 3 or 4 different types of apples (I know that’s not a vegetable, but it has great qualities, and literally hides any strong vegetable flavor if you do it right) before settling on Fuji, which I found to be the most flavorful. When I want a tart and tangy juice I use Granny Smiths, so like I said it’s all about your own taste preferences. The more carrots you use, the more muddy the juice will look and it can be a turnoff for juice newbies. I like to use large carrots, but they tend to stain your cutting board and pitcher, so rinse/wash immediately. I’ve found that I do the same thing cooking, bartending, and now juicing – I simply throw things in and smell it, throw things in and sniff, throw and sniff – until it feels right. It’s the reason my “recipe” is going to be pretty vague, but that’s just how I operate, sorry! I use my Pampered Chef Apple Wedger ($13) so all I have to do is push down in one motion and pop out the core, the solid veggies I leave whole and simply cut off each end after washing, and the leafy ones get rinsed and stuffed one handful at a time. After it’s made, I pour it into my Quick-Stir Pitcher ($16.50) because it has a mixer built into the lid so I can give it a few pumps before pouring each glass (the veggies tend to settle and separate with time). I’ve heard the leftover pulp can be used for other food recipes, but quite frankly it seems like the stuff I bury in my flower garden. Juicing is ridiculously easy, and so good for you. Here’s the list of ingredients I usually choose to include and their nutritional attributes:
Celery – fiber. vitamins A, C, K, B6. calcium, iron, potassium, and more (vitamins in the leaves too) 4-6 large stalks
Cucumber – water. fiber, vitamins and minerals. molybdenum – anti-oxidant for cancer prevention (more nutritive value w/skin) 1/2 – 1 whole cucumber or 4-6 small Costco cucumbers
Zucchini – water, fiber, protein. vitamin C, K, riboflavin, etc. potassium, manganese and more (also with skin on) 1 large or 2 small
Carrots – beta carotene, fiber, B vitamins, anti-oxidants, other vitamins and minerals (you guessed it- wash, don’t peel) 3-5 large carrots or 4 handfuls baby carrots
Broccoli – vitamin C, fiber. diindolylmethane, selenium, sulforaphane – anti-cancer properties. helps prevent heart disease. 3 or 4 florets
Cauliflower – fiber, folate, water, vitamin C. glucosinolates and carotenoids. enhances DNA repair and slows cancer growth. 3 or 4 florets
Kale – vitamins A and C, fiber, protein. anti-oxidants, sulforaphane, and more. 2-3 juice tubes full (top cylinder of juicer)
Spinach – vitamins and minerals such as A, C, E, lutein, folate, iron. oxalates – iron absorbtion, anti-oxidants, calcium, etc. 2-3 juice tubes full (both are about 4-5 handfulls)
Apples – good carbs, vitamin C, fiber. phytochemical and immune system benefits – fight cancer. (wash VERY well, skin on) 5 or 6 Fujis; more with broccoli/cauliflower puree (7-8)
Flax Seed – fiber. calcium, iron. protein. (best if crushed or ground; whole are harder for body to use) totally up to your level of tolerance, I do about 1 tbsp per pint of juice
*if you are new to juicing (or eating vegetables, haha) SKIP the flax seed!!! there is so much dietary fiber in all the other veggies that unless you enjoy living in your bathroom, you will not need it… trust me…
**most of this info came from www.LiveStrong.com
, Self Nutrition Data
and a few others online as well**
looks like compost to me
I get as much organic as possible, from the local Farmer’s Market or Trader Joes, and when I was doing the SERIOUS JUICING I bought most of the items in bulk at Costco to save some bucks. They have literally everything except the kale, and there’s a huge price difference (but be prepared to make 3-5 2 liter batches of juice in a short time frame or it all goes bad). Even Walmart has all of the ingredients if you want to be extremely cost conscious. There are 2 different settings on my juicer for hard and soft foods, so make sure you use the right setting to help it live longer. I also discovered that because the blades spin so fast, foods with less liquid tend to get immediately flung into the dump bucket thingee without anything good coming from it. Or worse, the broccoli just sent chunks of the treetop part into my juice and I had to chew that batch [shudders at the memory]. This time I used my little noggin for the good and decided to blend my broccoli and cauliflower first, using some of the apple juice to help my blender catch the veggies. I threw the ground flax seed into it and liquidated the crap out of the mix just to make sure there’d be no chewing my juice this time! I prep all the items at once so I can throw them all in a few at a time to avoid turning the machine off too often – it never leaks or misses if you use a high enough container to catch it (my Classic Batter Bowl $15.50 fits perfectly), BUT while slowing down after shutoff it bounces away a little and drips on the counter. I put a paper towel under to catch any runaways and usually just hold the bowl and juicer once I’ve stopped them, and I have almost no cleanup that way. With the spinach and kale please PLEASE make sure the juicer is turned off before you load them. I refuse to be held responsible for any fingers found in your juice; I will not give you a refund or drive you to the hospital.
As I’ve said a few times, this recipe is totally subjective, I made it up completely, and I make no promises as to your satisfaction or undying allegiance to juice after consumption. I have, however, shared my creations with friends, family, and coworkers… and even those who feared for their lives (or at least balked at the color) tasted and enjoyed. So have fun, and may you find yourself healthier, juicier, and intestinally squeaky clean!
ta da, liquid health!