Monday, September 5, 2011

The Love and Labor of Juicing

Double Raw Juice Happiness

At work, there has been a lot of juicing lately.  From day to day, there would be a variety of recycled glass jars filled with a spectrum of colors above the server station.  Grassy green, hot-ember orange, vibrant magenta.  It would inevitably turn into a juicing potluck, with each person sharing their concoction with everyone else.  And afterwards, we would all be beaming from ear to ear, exchanging "ooo's" and "aaahh's" and hugs, glowing both figuratively and literally.

When I inquired further, I learned that the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" was the impetus for much of the juicing.  If you're unfamiliar, it's the amazing real-life story of Joe Cross, who begins the film dangerously overweight and heavily medicated with a regimen of steroids to control an autoimmune disease.  Over the course of the film, he begins to turn his life around and regain his health through juicing.  But the best part is how he inspired countless others to do the same.  He travels all over the country, juicer in tow, to engage people in face-to-face conversation about food, health, and longevity, revealing how intimately connected the three of those things are.

So it's pretty wonderful that this ripple beginning with Joe Cross found its way through millions of people to me.  I had bought a juicer back in 2006, and had used it for a while, on and off.  However, after the move to my current address a little over 3 years ago, it hasn't seen the light of day.  

But the juicing bug at work had sunk its mandibles into me.

I was intensely motivated to return to juicing as a practice, so I dug up the juicer, gave it a good rinse, and bought a bounty of organic fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market and local grocer.  And here are the delicious results.   :)

 Orange, Carrot, and Beet Juice (GF, DF, V, rSF, SF)

2 large oranges
3 large carrots
1 medium beet

1.  Cut oranges into lengthwise quarters.  Peel quarters by grasping each end between your thumbs and index fingers.  Begin to pull skin away simultaneously to get you started and then grasp the segment with one hand while holding the skin with the other and gently finish releasing it from the skin.  This helps to minimize the amount of juice that ends up on your cutting board and maximize the amount of juice you drink.
2.  Thoroughly wash carrots and beet.  Slice off top portions of each.
3.  Start with carrots and beet, and then feed the orange segments into the juicer, either individually or two at a time.
4.  Makes approximately 16 ounces.

I heart this photo

Be gentle

Chiogga beets -starlight mint of the veg world

Apple, Celery, Spinach Juice with Ginger and Mint 
(GF, DF, V, rSF, SF)

2 large apples
3 celery ribs
1 bunch spinach (~2 c worth)
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger or puree
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint

1.  Wash apples and celery thoroughly.  I prefer tart apples, so I used my current favorite, Ginger Golds.  However, feel free to use your favorite or what you may already have on hand.
2.  Cut bottom portion of stems from spinach.  Invert in a bowl of water and allow to soak for a few minutes to release any sand or mud.  Rinse at least one more time before use.
3.  Start with apples, then celery, and finally spinach.  You may want to take the spinach scraps and run them through a second and third time.
4.  Mince mint with ginger.  Mix well with juice.
5.  Makes approximately 16 ounces.

Green with goodness

Ginger Gold juice

What a beautiful marriage


One of my coworkers, Kate, also makes use of her juicing scraps by baking them into "crackers."  So rather than adding the scraps to my compost heap, I decided to follow suit.  I added ground flax, the trio of sesame, chia, and flax seeds, and just a little sea salt to about 3 cups of the beet, carrot, spinach, and celery juicing scraps.  If you're wondering how I was able to separate the fruit scraps from the vegetable scraps, in between juicing each item I would clear out the scraps and set them aside.

juicing remix

too much fiber?  Nah.

I mixed all the ingredients and then spread them thinly over parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  I baked it at 150 degrees for about 15 minutes and then reduced it to 115 degrees for another 60 minutes.  I went the dehydration route rather than actually baking them, so the result was more like a tortilla than crackers.  But as I tore off bits of it and slathered them with homemade salsa, the only thing on my mind was delicious. 

a mother lode of nutrition

And there you have it: 3-for-1 recipe day at The Canary Files.  And if you don't have a juicer, fear not, reading this was not in vain.  I know several people who use a blender and then strain it afterwards.

Admittedly, juicing can be quite laborious and messy, but speaking from experience, the end result is potentially euphoric.  I had fresh carrot and orange juice with kefir this morning and it was sublime.  It left me feeling so invigorated and refreshed, the rest of my day had nowhere to go but up from there.  Now am I suggesting that everyone be on a juice diet? No.  But can most everyone benefit from integrating raw, fresh juices in some amount into their diet?  Absolutely. 

So with that in mind, I now pass the ripple onto you: 

Seize responsibility for the life you wish to live.  The tools you need are already within you.  The knowledge you seek is just a breath away.  And tomorrow is never a given.  Commit to living courageously.

From The Canary Files to you:  Happy Labor Day. :)

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! I must try the cracker!! Yes I am coming over...feed me this beautiful nutrient packed cracker!!!!


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