April 29, 2013

NATURALLY SPEAKING…..ALL JUICED UP

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We have come a long way since I Love Lucy’s hysterically funny commercial for “VITAMEATAVEGAMIN” tonic in the 1950’s.  Today, juice bars are just about everywhere offering all kinds of juice cocktails. As your taste buds may need to become accustom to bold flavors, you might not want to become accustom to the expense of drinking juice at a juice bar regularly.  Since I like to juice  5 – 7  times a week, I make and drink my own juice every morning at home. If you are seriously considering juicing, I am here to tell you to take the plunge. Juicing for over 15 years now, I have tried different concoctions. Some were hits and some were failures. It is so worth the time to juice because the health benefits far out weigh any inconvenience it might cause in the beginning. It is such a big part of my life and when it is not available, I miss it. It’s like having a daily mini detox.

WHY BOTHER TO JUICE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Hippocrates said, Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  The nutrients in vegetable and fruit juice are quickly absorbed since the body does not have to separate out the fiber. For example: A pound of carrots (about 10) will give you a nice sized glass (or 2) of juice containing a significant amount of calcium, protein, beta carotene, along with some trace minerals. You probably would not want to (or could) eat the quantity of carrots to receive the same nutritional benefits as juicing the carrots. The sames applies to all the veggies and fruits that juice well. However, please understand that juicing is not a replacement for fiber. Our bodies need fiber daily – about 30 grams. Whole produce and whole grains should be eaten in addition to juicing. Also, keep in mind that juicing is NOT a substitute for medical care but works nicely as a compliment to a healthy diet. Juicing has the advantage of allowing you to absorb the RAINBOW mix of fruits and veggies. Think of all the colors of the rainbow and purchase your produce accordingly. In fact, if you spend more time in the produce section of your grocery shop, you might spend less time in the processed food aisles. Who knows? You might lose some weight and feel a lot more energetic. For me, juicing gives me more energy, better stamina, and I am usually able to fight off seasonal colds and flu, or at least shorten the duration.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

There are special considerations for people with chronic conditions. Before juicing, consult your medical practitioner and do your own research on any reactions that may occur. Anyone with sugar-metabolism problems (diabetes, hypoglycemia, candidiasis, gout) should limit fruit juices to no more than 16 ounces throughout an entire week. People who are prone to kidney stones should probably eliminate high oxalate foods such as beet, spinach and swiss chard. The calcium oxalate is what kidney stones are made of and these foods feed the stones. Although juicing can have therapeutic benefits, any fruit or vegetable can cause an allergic reaction. Consider the RAINBOW and if you have to eliminate one or two foods, don’t let that stop you from juicing since the RAINBOW has a plethora of choices.

DO I NEED A JUICER TO JUICE?  (Not to be confused with a blender for making smoothies. That is another blog scheduled for a later date.)

The short answer is yes. I do not advocate one juicer brand over another, but I will say this. If you do plan to do some serious juicing, then invest in a decent juicer. Over the years, I did burn out some motors more quickly than I expected so I finally invested in a more efficient juicer. Access your situation, decide how often you are going to juice, and do some research on juicers before purchasing. There are a lot of good ones out there, even for beginners. Along with instructions, most juicers come with a recipe book and tips. One more thing about juicers…..I leave my juicer out on my kitchen counter all week long, no excuses.

WHY SHOULD I BUY ORGANIC PRODUCE?

Simply? Organic produce is grown without chemical additives and not sprayed with toxic chemicals. The health of any plant depends on the health of the soil. If harmful chemicals are in the soil, then these harmful chemicals make it into the plant. Many pesticides are systemic, meaning it is distributed  through out the plant and cannot be removed by cleaning. In general, thin skinned conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have more chemicals through out than thicker skinned ones. Peaches, apples,  sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines and strawberries are the top 6 of what is known as the “DIRTY DOZEN” of fruits and vegetables that hold the most pesticide residues. The prices of organic produce have come down over the years. In many cases, I have purchased organic produce that actually cost less than conventional. There are many farms that are in transition and offer decent produce prices. If you live in an area where it is difficult to get organic, don’t give up asking your grocer for organic. Remember, demand creates supply. If you buy non-organic produce, remove outer leaf layers and peel away any waxed fruit or vegetable.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE MY PRODUCE FOR JUICING?

When you bring your produce home from the market, remove any visible dirt and refrigerate. Some fruits can stay out of the frig as long as they are in a cool place. With a natural bristle vegetable brush, scrub fruits and vegetables with a non-toxic, biodegradable wash. The produce that cannot be scrubbed can be placed in a bowl with some cleaner and water, soak for a few minutes, rinse and drain. Produce wash cleaners are sold in most produce sections of supermarkets.

OR MAKE YOUR OWN PRODUCE WASH

  • 2 cups  water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Pour water, lemon juice and baking soda into a spray bottle. Shake (caution: it will foam), spray on produce and let sit for 5 minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse with cold water.

A FEW DO’S and DON’TS

  • DO NOT combine fruits and vegetables with the exception of apples. Apples can be added to veggie juicing to sweeten it up if you do not like “earthy” flavors.
  • DO NOT combine melons with other fruits except with different types of melon. Other fruits can be combined with each other.
  • DO juice the fruit skins of lemons, limes, melons and pineapple. Regarding pineapple – unscrew the top and throw away. Make sure to scrub all skins first with a wash before juicing.
  • DO NOT juice the peel of oranges, tangerines or grapefruits. Although not toxic, these peels are hard for humans to digest and can cause a negative reaction in some people. However, you know that thin white membrane  layer between the skin and the fruit? Leave as much of that on the fruit as possible. This membrane is rich in nutrients.
  • DO drink your juice fresh and immediately following juicing. Try not to store juice. It loses its nutrients starting from 5 minutes after juicing. If you want to bring juice with you to work, wet the inside of a stainless steel thermos with water and freeze overnight. Before going to work, make the juice, fill the thermos and the juice should stay fresh up to 8 hours.
  • DO drink your juice slowly so your saliva will mix with it. It creates a natural enzyme digestive process as if you were chewing your food. DO this especially with bold veggie juices such as beets and cabbage. These strong juices go to the bloodstream quickly and can be unsettling if you drink too fast. Strong flavor veggie juices should also be drunk in smaller quantities then fruit juices.
  • DO feel free to add sparkling water, crushed ice and fresh cut mint leaves to make healthy summer coolers.
  • DO continue to drink water through out the day to aid in good digestion.

OK IT’S TIME TO JUICE – HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE RECIPES

Cleansing Cocktail – Drink as a daily detox and energy booster

  • 6 carrots
  • 1 apple (or substitute with 1/2 lemon or lime)
  • 2 stalks celery (or 1 cucumber)
  • 1/2 handful wheatgrass ( wheatgrass is considered a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals)
  • 2-4 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 small beet

Tummy Settler Cocktail – Ginger is good for nausea and is also an anti-inflammatory spice. CAUTION if on blood thinners.

  • 6 carrots
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 inch slice fresh ginger

Cabbage Cocktail – Proven research to heal peptic ulcers

  • 1/4 to 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1 – 2 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 apple (optional)

Spring & Summer Cocktail

NOTE:   Pineapple has a special enzyme called bromelain which can aid in reducing swelling and pain in joints

  • 3 – 4 rings pineapple (with skin on)
  • 3 – 4 radishes
  • Handful of dandelion greens

Brunch Starter Cocktail

  • 1 pink grapefruit (without peel)
  • 2 medium oranges (without peel)
  • 1 to 1  1/2  cups strawberries (might have to place strawberries in a blender)

Pear Apple Cocktail – Pears and apples contain the soluble fiber Pectin. Pectin helps lower blood cholesterol levels and aids in regulating the body’s use of sugars.

  • 2 apples
  • 2 firm pears (only firm pears will juice well)
  • 1/4 lemon with peel

Have fun and experiment to make your own favorite juice recipes. HAPPY JUICING!

 

 

 

 

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