Juice For Life

Sunday, May 5, 2013

   I thought long and hard about a fantastic recipe for this year's Cinco de Mayo. This is a great weekend for rich drips, cheesy quesadillas and tacos of all different sorts as well as celebration in general. All good things, all things I love.

   But sometimes the 'ol stomach needs a break; every once in a while we need a 'pause' button when we've gone a little overboard with the dips and the chips. Enter the magnificent juice.

   I've never been much of a juice person; my mother essentially never bought juice when we were growing up. We equated store bought juices with soda- sugary, additive laden beverages that had no place in our daily lives.

   But recently I've discovered a new kind of juice: the home made vegetable variety. These elixirs are everything our bodies want and need not only on a daily basis, but especially when we've celebrated perhaps a bit too much. Unlike what you find in the store, home juicing ensures all the vital nutrients of the plant are kept intact- no added sugar, preservatives or destructive pasteurization allowed.

   Home vegetable juicing is nothing super new to me, my little brother has been doing it for years with a centrifugal juicer that my mom purchased when we were little. She intended the gift for my dad but he wasn't very interested; my brother on the other hand immediately developed a life long juice habit. He still has that ancient juicer and tells me his favorite recipe is based on red cabbage. That boy is going to live to be 100.

   For some reason I wasn't compelled to get on the juicing wagon until I read about it in Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet. I was so intrigued and talked about its benefits so much, my mom generously bought me a juicer (unlike my brother's, mine is a masticating slow juicer). Have I mentioned how awesome my mom is?

   As soon as that puppy arrived in the mail Steve and I haven't looked back. We juice at least 4 days a week, seven when we have time. Juicing extracts all the lovely minerals, vitamins and other micronutrients from vegetables and fruits and presses it away from the fibers and solid parts of the plants. It is incredibly easy to digest and basically equals a super easy on your gut explosion of veggie and fruit goodness for your skin, immune system and energy level.

   That said, it is totally possibly to make a disgusting juice. I've made a few that were so herbaceous and strong and just, well, so powerfully 'green' that I could handle only a few sips. But take heart: with a bit of experimentation (and a few sources of tried and true recipes) it's very easy to find a formula that works for your tastebuds. Kris Carr suggests a ratio of 3 : 1, veggies : fruit in juice and I find this works best for me as well.

   If you don't already have one, I highly suggest investing in a juicer. It amounts to an investment in your daily well being as well as your long term health. It just doesn't get much better than that.

   This juice is my most recent favorite.

My Morning Green Juice
Adapted from The Big Book of Juices 

1 large handful kale
1 large handful green lettuce
2 carrots
1 small ruby red grapefruit

   Wash the kale, lettuce and carrots. If you have a slow juicer, cut everything into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Cut away the skin from the grapefruit and slices out the wedges of fruit- as shown here. Juice everything and enjoy over ice.  Serves one.

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