It finally became warmer last week and the temperature actually feels like spring. I have already had the pleasure of cooking with local vegetables like garlicky ramps, spring spinach, skinny asparagus and powerful kale. I am reminded of how tasty local vegetables can be. I feel recharged with essential vitamins and nutrients with all those green vegetables after the cold winter season. For the past few years, I have added a 3-5 day juice diet to my personal spring diet. Some people may refer to it as juice cleanse but for me it’s more about pushing my body’s reset button because not only does it clear toxins from my body but juicing also clears the fog out of my mind.
How much juice
When I do a juice session I usually drink eight 16-ounce liquids a days and in addition I consume three tablespoons of chia seeds, which I hydrate in water, which hydrates the body from the inside out. Chia seeds soak up just about any liquid perfectly. The seeds also help me to keep a satiated feeling all the time. All that said I don’t limit myself to eight juices a day - it’s more like I just don’t want to drink anymore. Of course that depends on how satisfying the juices are!
The juices I want
You’ll find plenty of juice places but only a few produce cold-pressed juices. The cold pressed juice production is superior to any other that is available currently. In the cold press system, a vegetable or a fruit is manually broken down in a slow-grind process, which does not generate any heat. Therefore all of the food item’s valuable minerals and vitamins are preserved. Later that pulp is folded into a strong woven cloth and squeezed with a hydraulic press that extracts the juice, which is then strained through a fine sieve. The process is proven to be much better for the preservation of nutrients compared with a harsh centrifuge juicer.
In general raw pressed juices have to be consumed within a 3-day period before they expire. If you don’t live close to one of the fresh juice places such as Organic Avenue, Juice Generation, Juice Press, or Dig Inn Seasonal Market, you have the options to get them via Fed-ex overnight delivery from Blue Print which uses a no-heat pressure pasteurization method that gives their juices a shelf life of a couple of weeks. Starbucks, with over 13,200 locations throughout the US, uses the same pasteurization technique and makes a juice session possible just about anywhere in the US.
There are a plentitude of raw juices available so it can be a little confusing but I let my taste buds guide me:
• Savory Juice - raw vegetable pressings – usually a combination of kale, romaine, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, ginger
• Sweet Juice – raw fruit pressings such as OJ, grapefruit, watermelon, pears, apples or a mixture of such
• Savory & Sweet Juices - a mixture of savory and sweet raw juices to make them more palatable
• Ades - made with lemon, ginger, cucumber, mint, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, often sweetened with agave and spiced with cayenne, vanilla etc.
• Nut and/or seed and spice milks - almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, hemp seeds, oats spiced with vanilla, salt, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, and sometimes exotic spices, often sweetened with dates.
A Juice Day
I start the day with a nut-milk such as almond and drink plenty of water throughout the morning. For lunch I drink solely green juice. In the afternoon I prefer sweet juice such as OJ and grapefruit which tastes like a treat at this point, plus it gives me carbs to stay alert. I don’t do many ades because they tend to taste too sweet to me. For dinner I’m satisfied with a mixture of green & sweet juice and later finish with cashew or pistachio milk, which are rich and taste delicious – it’s my dessert at this point and gives a nice full feeling before bed.
My breakfast nut-milk and lunch, afternoon, dinner drinks I purchase from stores. But the nut-milks at the end of the day I make myself at home in my Breville blender. It’s a breeze - you can fix it within 10 minutes. Here is my recipe for my favorite end of the day almond milk.
Almond & Vanilla Milk
(recipe yields 16 oz milk)
1 cup slivered, toasted almonds
2 ½ cups warm water
1/8 of a vanilla bean
2 pieces pitted dates, thinly sliced
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender cup and process for 4-5 minutes
2. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve or a nut-bag/cloth.
3. Pour the nut-milk over ice in a glass and serve with a straw.