The Benefits of Juicing

juice veg farI touched on juicing in the blog, “Big Girl Steps to Health” and in other posts. I get a lot of questions about juicing from my friends so I wanted to address it again.

In the past year I have made a lot of changes for the good of my health. The biggest and best change has been juicing in the morning instead of eating breakfast. I generally don’t eat from dinner the night before until noon the next day. I juice in the morning. If I’m absolutely starving and cannot wait until noon to eat, I eat an avocado; the whole avocado straight out of its little skin.

This gives my body a chance to really digest whatever I have eaten the day before. I am not hungry throughout the day in a way that I was a year ago. I truly believe it is because my body is actually getting nutrients. It is nourished. It is a new feeling.

There are a lot of different theories and preferences when it comes to juicing. There is the whole Vitamix versus juicer controversy; well, hardly a controversy, but two different camps. The Vitamix keeps the fiber in the drink. The juicers remove the fiber. We all know that fiber is good for us, so why remove it? From what I have read, it is better to remove the fiber so the body does not have to do any digesting. The nutrients are quickly absorbed from the juice. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my share of veggies and get my fiber that way. But in the morning, I go straight for the nutrients.

YOU MUST USE ALL ORGANIC PRODUCE WHEN YOU JUICE. If not, you are grinding up and ingesting pesticides. I mainly juice vegetables. Sometimes I will juice grapefruits or cherries. Cherries have incredible anti-inflammatory properties. If you know anyone who suffers from gout, have them juice cherries.

This is the juice that I make 9 times out of 10. I have listed the benefits to each ingredient:

4 celery stalks (8 anti-cancer compounds, fights tumors, lowers the risk of stomach cancer, lowers blood pressure, neutralizes pH, lowers cholesterol, cools your body, reduces constipation, acts as a diuretic, breaks up kidney stones, aids in kidney function Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celery
http://cancer.stanford.edu/patient_care/services/nutrition/recipes/juicingRecipes.html

Health Benefits of Celery

1 cucumber Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, contains Lignans which have been shown to reduce cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate, high in vitamins K and C. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=42#healthbenefis
Either chard or Kale (about 4 stalks) Benefits of chard: regulates blood sugar, supports bone health, high in vitamins K, A and C. Source http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16
Benefits of Kale: Anti-inflammatory, reduces risk of cancer, reduces cholesterol, reduces bone loss, and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. Source http://fitlife.tv/5-health-benefits-of-kale/
A handful of cilantro Huge cleaning properties, removes heavy metals and toxins, may lower blood sugar, may reduce cardiovascular incidence, a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Source http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/
A handful of parsley Inhibits tumor growth and neutralizes carcinogens, protects against rheumatoid arthritis and promotes cardiovascular health. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100
4 carrots Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells and other cancers, high in antioxidants, and of course, it promotes eye health. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
1-2 beets reduces high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. It increases stamina and blood flow. It protects your liver. Source: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/benefits-beet-juice
1/2 inch of ginger (ginger is very strong so be careful the first time you use it) – This is a super star: Anti-cancer, anti-fungal, antibiotic, diabetes prevention, repairs ulcers, aids in digestion, anti-inflammatory, aids in reversing toxicity, and new evidence shows that it corrects non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (fructose damage). Yes, this is a new disease state from using fructose as a sweetener. Source: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/node/83545
½ of a Granny Smith apple – Green apples are lower in sugar, but red is okay too in a pinch. High in antioxidants reduces the risk for many cancers including pancreatic, liver, colon and breast, lowers blood sugar, prevents cardiovascular disease. It has many benefits for your lungs. Source: http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=15

Moreover, this juice is highly alkaline versus acidic. You should try to keep a ratio of foods and drink at 70% alkaline and 30% acidic to keep your body functioning at an optimal level. You can Google more information on alkaline versus acidic foods. Basically, disease thrives in an acidic environment.

Drink your veggies and avoid disease. Cheers!

My Big Fat Ugly Delicious Vegan Burger

vegan burgerI don’t want you to be afraid to cook. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I did and well… I made this.

I know it’s “ugly” but it was a really delicious experimental vegan burger. Most bloggers show their triumphs, I wanted to share my mess. I thought it would be encouraging to those who are a bit intimidated by making up recipes.

I scoured the web for vegan burger recipes and found most were really long and complicated or just didn’t look appealing (ironic, right?). So, I went into my kitchen and starting throwing things in to the food processor.

The result was something incredibly tasty that fell apart and didn’t look so much like a burger. I have to figure out how to keep it together (the burger that is).

These are the ingredients that I threw into the food processor; it made 6 “burgers”:
Use the grater attachment for the first two ingredients and set them aside
½ of a small onion
2 carrots

Process the rest together with the chopper blade:
1 can of Eden brand Garbanzo beans (remember Eden’s cans are BPA free and they reject the USDA certified organic seal because it is not stringent enough!)
1 cup of cooked millet (out of the bin at Whole Foods – cook according to directions)
1 portabella mushroom
A handful of almonds
A tablespoon of sunflower seeds
Garlic powder
Cumin
A couple of shakes of organic Worchester sauce
A couple of squirts of organic ketchup
A few dashes of Bragg Liquid Amino

Add the carrot and onion mixture back in and mix well by hand.

Bake on parchment paper in the oven at 400 degrees. I was about to write about how to dress the burger, but let’s be serious, we all know what to do from here. Enjoy!

Mama Mia Spaghetti Squash

sp squashNicki’s Secret Marinara (see previous post)

1 large spaghetti squash

Garlic clove minced

A handful of Kale (or 2 stalks) and or spinach, torn

Half of a Yellow or orange pepper chopped coarsely

3-4 kalamata olives chopped

A small handful of sundried tomato (not packed in oil)

3-4 artichoke hearts chopped

Cook spaghetti squash according to directions on the sticker on the squash. I usually cut the squash in half, take out the seeds and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until the center peels out like spaghetti strips; 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the squash.

Let the squash cool a bit. Scoop out the insides with a fork. It will look like spaghetti.

Saute garlic water, add the rest of the ingredients, cook until tender but not mushy. Add the spaghetti squash and Nicki’s Secret Marinara to the pan, mix and serve.

Grocery Cart of Death

Think about the kind of old man or old lady you want to be. If you want to schlep around an oxygen tank on your scooter, fill up the traditional Grim Reaper grocery cart and get ready to thrill your kids with long discussions about your meds. Otherwise, join me on this journey in rediscovering food as health and joy. Continue reading “Grocery Cart of Death”