Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don't forget about fiber

I'm just as sick of the word fiber as you are. Fiber feels like just another health buzz word that generally doesn't mean anything to me and I roll my eyes at when I see it in extra large font on the front of every cereal box in the aisle.

I did however recently find out that fiber is important if you cut it out of most of your diet.

I did a five day morning through lunch juice cleanse recently. This seemed like a perfect solution to many common first world problems I was experiencing; I didn't have time to make breakfast or pack a lunch, and I'm kinda chubby right now so I want to lose a few pounds. Add a brand new juicer to those problems and I was 'cleansing' away - right until dinner time and then eating whatever.

Fiber is used to push things along in the digestive track. If you take most of your daily fiber away and are still adding things to the digestive track, things won't move along as quickly and discomfort sets in.

I have since stopped the morning through lunch juice fast.

Hindsight this seems obvious. The point of a fast or cleanse is to give the digestive a break, not just lose a few pounds by skipping meals and eating whatever at the dinner table. I am still a big supporter of the strict juice cleanse and plan on doing a 7 day cleanse after the holidays pass. I just don't possess that kind of self control to complete a cleanse while everyone else is drinking Holly Nog.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Juicing for breakfast and lunch: Recipe day 5

Beet, blueberry, strawberry,
pomegranate, carrot, apple juice
Today's juice tastes like dirt. A nice big ole glass of fresh compost really. What a way to start the day.

I hate beets, yet I keep giving beets another chance. I keep hoping my hippie juice loving self will overpower that filthy dirt taste that beets have. I swear this is the last time. I swear I will know better next time. Also, too much beet juice can kill you. Something that gross should kill you.

However, in small quantity, beet juice is powerful:

Health Value of Beet Juice

The antioxidants in beet juice provide you with a convenient way to help your body fight free radicals, which damage cells and might contribute to cancer, heart disease and other diseases. Researchers at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom found that a concentrated shot of beet, also called beetroot, juice has high total antioxidant and polyphenol content. Polyphenols act as antioxidants to block the action of enzymes that cancer cells need for growth. Antioxidants from the beetroot shot were more bioaccessible than those from other vegetable juices, the researchers report in the June 2011 issue of the “Journal of Functional Foods.”
Read more:

I also learned that the Omega juicer does not like frozen fruit. Yes, this seems like common sense now. I wanted strawberries and blueberries and it's just not a good time of year to buy them, especially organic. I thought I would try frozen but I more or less just made sherbet out the waste end of the juicer. I was able to thaw the blueberries and successfully use those, but the strawberries appeared to be a mushy mass and wasted.

Today's juice recipe:
  • 1 small golden beet
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries (that may or may not have been wasted out the juicer)
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 clementine orange my daughter insisted we add
  • 2 organic carrots
  • 1 large organic apple

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Juicing for breakfast and lunch: Recipe day 4

Quick photo and recipe 
Cucumber, carrot, pineapple, green grape juice
Today's drink was refreshing. I really love adding cucumber, it doesn't give any strong flavor but just a crisp refreshing finish. Like summer in a jar. 

Today's juice recipe:
  • 3 large organic carrots 
  • 1 cup organic green grapes
  • 1/4 fresh cut pineapple
  • 1 large cucumber

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Juicing for breakfast and lunch: Recipe day 3

It's Saturday: A day when I usually enjoy sleeping in (well, 7AM) and eating too much breakfast. But I feel good about juicing this morning. I feel motivated.

Juice recipe for day 3:

  • Entire bunch of organic kale approx. 15 small stalks
  • 2 bananas
  • 5 clementine oranges 
  • 1/2 lime 
When using banana the Omega juicer, the juice comes out much thicker, almost like a smoothy. I'm pretty indifferent to the taste of today's juice - it's not great and it's not gross. No major 'grass' factor. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Juicing for breakfast and lunch: Recipe day 2

Carrot, apple, pineapple juice.
Day 1 went well, it went really well. I had green juice for breakfast, a plain earl grey tea, and green juice again for lunch, with tons of water in-between. By the time I got home and felt like I was starving, I sat down for a pretty reasonable dinner. It felt like my stomach had kind of shrunk during the day, so I really wasn't able to over stuff myself like I tend to (love to) do. 

Whether it was from the nutrients in the juice, or the water that I was finally drinking enough of, I felt really energetic and productive all day.

Day 2 is starting great. For once I woke up and just got up. To be fair I don't really think that had a lot to do with juicing, I think it had more to do with the fact that I drank a coffee at like 7PM and I'm a complete child when it comes to caffeine after 1. Either way it feels good. And it's Friday. The real challenge will be if I can continue to have just juice for breakfast and lunch over the weekend. Social pressure is a bitch.

Day 2 Juice Recipe:
  • 8 organic carrots
  • 1 large organic apple
  • 1/3 fresh cut pineapple
Do you know how to tell if a pineapple is going to be sweet? Pick the pineapple that has the most yellow or gold skin and smell the bottom - a ripe pineapple will smell really sweet! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Juicing for breakfast and lunch: Recipe day 1

I'm back to juicing this morning. Once you go to the grocery and buy four bags of fresh fruits and vegetables you've kinda committed. What the hell else are you going to do with an entire grocery bag of kale and 15 pounds of carrots.

Kale, cucumber, pear,
apple, green grape juice.
Breakfast and lunch today.
I'm taking a different approach this time as an experiment; instead of doing a strict juice cleanse I will be substituting breakfast and lunch with juice and having a normal dinner with the family. I usually feel a bit guilty (er, jealous) when the family is sitting down to eat together and I'm off in a corner sulking because I'm on a cleanse and only get liquid kale (yeh!). However, in the morning when I'm rushing out the door, and for lunch at work, I really don't care what I eat - whatever is fast and there.

I am a big supporter of juicing and drinking it within an hour - the juice has the highest level of nutrients and antioxidants during this time. This was something that was actually holding me back from doing a cleanse the past few months; I just don't have the time in the morning and I'm at work without my juicer in the afternoon. Juicing on demand right now is just not possible.

Well, I'm breaking my own rules. Fresh juice is good for you even if you drink it the next day. Or even after two days. The stuff you buy in the store is months old!

This time around I'm juicing at night before I go to bed and storing it in sealed Mason jars for the next day's breakfast and lunch. This actually solves a few problems for me at once. I suck at bringing a lunch, bread + cheese or peanut butter is typical. Bringing nothing at all is also typical which 'forces' me (yeh, really have to twist my arm) to get Chipotle. Financially and in terms of waistline this is not what I want. I also suck at eating breakfast. Before children I had nice things like oatmeal with fruit, or an egg on wheat toast. I actually cared about my own personal health and hygiene. Now I'm either sneaking out of the house very quickly before the kids wake up so I can get to work at a reasonable time, or I'm spending all morning getting kids ready and out the door because it's my turn to drop them off. Those quiet mornings of checking email and enjoying breakfast were shot dead long ago along with long showers and a clean house.

Anyway. Juice.

Todays recipe:

  • Approx. 10 stalks of organic Kale 
  • 1 large organic apple 
  • 2 organic pears
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 cup of green grapes
I follow the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Guide when it comes to buying organics. 

This recipe divided perfectly into two pint Mason jars.
I love adding cucumber to juice recipes. It has a very crisp, fresh taste. This recipe was not overpowering at all in terms of that 'grass' taste some green juices can have. Sweet, but not thick sweet. Really a great morning drink. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

What happened to the traditions of Christmas?

I caught myself humming along to Jingle Bell Rock at the grocery yesterday. Then I realized, WTF, it's November 11th, and it's 60 degrees outside. It is not Christmas. I didn't even realize it was a Christmas song until I was half way through it. I felt tricked; how dare you make me get into the Christmas spirit before I'm ready. And then I felt very receptive, or one might say paranoid, to the actions of everyone around me. Almost like the Truman Show when Truman starts to suspect that something is not right.  Grocery stockers were filling the freezer cases with pre-made pumpkin pies. Shelves were being stocked with Christmas themed giant bags of candy. Christmas versions of everything possible were being displayed: Red and green tortilla chips, Christmas themed pre-packaged Rice Krispy treats, boxes of stuffing mix with holiday images, cans of gravy on the first display as you walk into the store. Depression kicked in pretty bad for me at that moment, that pit in my stomach like someone just broke the news that Santa isn't real.

My grandmother used to spend two full days making pies. There would be a table just for pie. Pecan pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie. Pie was special. Pie was made with love. Pie was made with thoughts of family in mind. How can pie be special if I buy it in the freezer section on sale for $4.99 and leave it on the counter to thaw?

I  know there is the argument, why waste all of that time to make a pie when you can just buy one for the same price? Yes, I agree, time is valuable. Making pie may not be the most exciting thing in ones life. Is that not the point though? To hand someone a homemade pie is to say to them, you are worth my time.

When everything is pre-packaged, pre-made, and in general thoughtless all around you - how can you make the Holidays special?

I challenge everyone this Holiday season to really make something special. Be it a pie, a handmade gift, or a dish to pass made completely from scratch. Let's get back to what matters.