I bought a juicer at a Boxing Day sale last year and have – to my own great surprise and delight – been juicing ever since.
Right around 3 in the afternoon, that time when I start to crash, when I used to reach for a second caffeine of the day or grab some sugar to keep from slipping off into a comatose stupor, I now consume this:
Ok – I consume half of it – when juiced, the above becomes this:
Folks, it’s amazing. You juice this stuff up and you feel like you can take on the world. I work at home, so I have the luxury of quitting what I’m doing and taking the 20-odd minutes required to prep and juice these veggies and then clean the juicer. I run one glass downstairs to my husband, who is usually on a call with a client and meets my arrival with a fist-pump of triumph, and then I drain my own glass, reveling in how awesome I feel before hitting the grindstone with renewed vigor.
It took a few weeks of juicing regularly for me to notice a difference, but now I’ve gotten to a point where I feel all wrong when I don’t do it. And there are fringe benefits to juicing as well. I used to shy away from buying vegetables in bulk because there’s only two of us, and I thought we’d never get through them. Now, with the confidence that I can just throw things in the juicer if we don’t get around to cooking them, I’m a vegetable buying fiend. I prep my refrigerated veggies in advance – washing the kale, and trimming and washing the carrots and celery and any herbs. Non-refrigerated veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers, citrus, etc.) are all within easy reach. With all these vegetables at hand, I’m far more likely to throw some extras into whatever I’m making. As a result, I find that we also consume far more vegetables in our meals now that we’re juicing.
People often ask me what my favorite juice blend is. Um, I kind of just throw everything in there based on what nutrients I’m going for. In the beginning it was occasionally very untasty. I have learned from some mistakes over time and now follow a couple of rules of thumb to maximize my juicing experience:
- Just because it can be juiced doesn’t mean it should. For example, never, under any circumstances, juice an onion. Trust me.
- Get the most bang for your buck. I find that most of the juice I get from kale comes from the stalks, not the leaves, so I pull the leaves off for salads and cooking, and I use the stalks for juice. Similarly, I use the leafy parts of the celery and the stems of herbs for juicing, rather than throwing them out.
- Waste not. In the beginning, I saved the juice pulp to add to soups, sauces, and even baking. I have since failed to be that organized, although I do fertilize my herb garden with the pulp still. It seems oddly cannibalistic, but my herbs seem to love it.
- Buy organic when possible, and wash thoroughly. I soak all my veggies in a bowl with room-temperature water and a little baking soda before scrubbing and rinsing them.
- Juice really needs to have a little bit of a kick for it to taste good. For that I use the following:
- green apples – you can often buy organic granny smiths at a reasonable price if you by them by the bag
- lemon or lime – again, reasonable if purchased in bulk
- a good-sized hunk of fresh ginger
- sweet bell pepper
Juicing is time consuming, but it has become ingrained into our routine now, and it makes us feel amazing. I usually catch every bug that goes around, but this is the first year on record that I have held steady despite everyone around me dropping like dominoes as the brutal Canadian cold season sets in.
Just FYI, here’s exactly what went into the afternoon snack pictured above (and a by-no-means-exhaustive list of the health benefits of these ingredients):
- 1 bell pepper (for eyesight, immunity, prevention of birth defects, cancer prevention, and regulation of blood pressure)
- 1 lime (aids with digestion, immunity, and prevention of heart disease)
- 1 lemon (immunity, detoxification, antibacterial, and antiviral)
- 1 good-sized hunk of ginger (about 1.5″ X 1.5″) (aids digestion, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, and fights cancer)
- 3 stalks of celery (anti-inflammatory with over a dozen types of antioxidants)
- 3 carrots (for eyesight, beautiful skin, and detoxification)
- 1 granny smith apple (for regulated blood sugar and a steady heart rhythm)
- 1 cucumber (cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day, and they fight everything from arthritis to bad breath)
- A handful of Italian parsley (folic acid and heart health)
- A few stalks of kale (anti-inflammatory, helps prevent blood clotting, and has more calcium-per-calorie than milk)
This particular blend was completely fabulous. And I will probably never die. **