Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Are You on the Juice? No, not THAT kind.

I watched Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead when it first premiered on Netflix a couple of years ago.  At the time, I was in the beginning stages of my health discovery adventure.  It was around the time that I started experimenting with a raw vegan diet.  I already knew the benefits of eating fruits and veggies, but Joe's story really amazed me.  It also made a huge impression on my omnivore husband.  We both thought that adding fresh juices to our daily routine would be a great idea.  

Why juice?  When we juice fresh fruits and veggies, we are basically pulling out the vitamins and other nutrients while eliminating the fiber.  This allows the body to absorb the nutrients directly into the bloodstream without having to process them through the digestive tract.  It's like injecting nutrition right into your veins!

I decided to buy my brother's juicer from him at a steep discount.  It wasn't anything special, but a Breville was good enough for Joe, so it was good enough for me.

At the time, we lived about 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store that carried organic produce, but I would go by there after work and stock our fridge.  I would also drive from our home to the farmer's market in Nashville (well over a one hour drive) every weekend and buy tons of fresh greens and apples.  I loved the experience of wandering the market, meeting new people, talking to the farmers, and just inhaling the fresh air.  But after a while, I got burned out on the long drive and the extra gas money.  (I was driving an SUV with a V-8 engine.).   Not to mention, we're both the kind of people who are running late wherever we go, and juicing takes time.  So, we didn't stick with it.  We both loved drinking the juice, but just couldn't make it a habit.  

Well, fast forward to January 2014, and I received a gift from a very generous and kind family member... A brand new Omega 8006 juicer!  It's quite different from the Breville.  This juicer is an auger-style, meaning that instead of spinning and cutting the produce, it presses everything into a screen at slow speed which releases the juice and separates it from the pulp without oxidative stress.  Heat isn't a friend of juice, so the centrifugal style, like the Breville, can be less than ideal.  However, having used both, I can say that I never noticed my juice getting warm when I used the centrifugal type.  The main thing that I noticed from using the Omega versus the Breville, is the amount of juice that's pressed from leafy greens and the dryness of the pulp.  A lot of my leafy greens would just spin out the side of the Breville without releasing much juice.  One downfall of the Omega is the prep involved.  Because the chute is small, I have to cut my veggies and fruits to fit.  I've gotten this down to a routine, though, so I'm not too annoyed by it.  My main concern is getting the best nutrition possible, and the Omega definitely helps with that goal. 

I can say that since receiving the Omega, we have juiced consistently.  I started by making a green juice and a root juice for myself everyday.  And as of last week, I'm making juice for myself and my husband.  I'm also sharing my juices with our ten-month-old daughter who seems to really enjoy them.  Yay!  

So, you may be wondering, "Lindsey, what do you juice?"  I don't get too creative during the work week, since I like to stay in a routine to keep things on-time in the morning.  My go-to for green juice as of late is kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, and lemon.  I managed to find some fresh turmeric root at the international market over the weekend, so I've added that to this week's juice, and it seems to be a hit.  No complaints from the hubby, at least.  My root juice is pretty much the same every day, too.  Carrot, beet, celery, apple is the base, and I've also been adding turmeric and ginger to it this week.  I love the kick of spice from the ginger and how it tastes with the sweetness of the other veggies.  

I watched a YouTube video by "The Life-Regenerator" Dan McDonald last week which inspired me to try something new on Saturday.  He made a pineapple, cilantro, and coconut juice, which sounded really refreshing.  Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs and is a great detoxifier.  I thought I'd give it a try.  Fresh Thai coconuts aren't easy to find in Tennessee, but I had some "coconut water powder" in the cabinet.  (It was one of Jimmy's Christmas gifts, since he's a complete coconut water addict.)  I must say, the juice was so refreshing!  Dan really knows what he's doing.  He has tons of videos on his YouTube channel demonstrating juice and raw food recipes.  

If you're just learning about juicing, I'd recommend keeping it simple, only juicing 2 or 3 items at a time.  Start with a watery vegetable, like cucumber or celery.  Then, add a green, such as kale, spinach, romaine, etc.  And lastly, toss in a fruit for sweetness.  Apples, pears, and oranges work great.  Lemon is also a nice addition and will help to keep oxidation at a minimum if you have to store your juices for any amount of time.  Once you've gotten some recipes that you like, try adding more flavors.  Carrots and beets will add sweetness to any juice.  Herbs are great for detoxing.  Ginger and turmeric are incredible for treating inflammation.  

I love experimenting on the weekends when I'm not hurried.  Play around and have fun with it.  It's one of the best things you can do for your health.  Even if you don't change anything else, you'll be flooding your cells with beautiful nutrition.

Some wonderful resources for juicing are:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Smoothie Recipe: The Hormone Balancing Orange Dream

About three weeks ago, I received my new juicer, an Omega 8006.  Since then, I've been juicing every morning.  Typically, I'll wake up and drink a glass of warm lemon water followed by a green juice.  While I have the juicer going, I also prepare a sweet root juice to take to work, usually beet-carrot-apple-celery.  I call it "The Plant Blood."  

I like to go easy on my digestive tract in the early part of my day, so I will then make a smoothie to drink as my morning snack.  With oranges being in-season, I've been on a bit of a kick.  This recipe includes maca, of which I have shared the benefits in a previous post.  It's truly a SUPERfood.  It turned out so good that I just had to share with all of you.

The Hormone-Balancing Orange Dream Smoothie

2 oranges, peeled
2 frozen bananas
1-1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp chia seeds (I soaked mine in water overnight)
1 scoop protein powder (I used Garden of Life Raw Vanilla Protein)
2 tbsp Maca powder (optional)
Cinnamon & ginger to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt

I blended my fruits and almond milk until smooth before adding the other ingredients just to prevent over-processing of my superfoods.  I then topped my smoothie with a scoop of hemp seeds.  It reminds me of the orange dreamcicles that I had as a kid, but without all of the junk and processed sugar.  Delish!  Of course, you could add your favorite leafy green vegetable or some celery to this to give it extra nutrient power.  Please give this one a try.  It's amazing!