Thursday, April 22, 2010

Juicing and a little Raw Foods 101.

Being that I have previously shared my obsession with kick-ass kitchen appliances, I am sure you will both understand and forgive my brief absence here at The Healing Plate due to the addition of my new toy.

A few weeks ago I purchased the Breville Compact Juice Extractor. (Don’t let the name fool you…Although it’s smaller than their larger juicers, I don’t know if I’d classify it as “compact.”) Since I brought it home, I’ve been a juicing fool and have even recruited Josh into my addiction, who now instead of his morning coffee has switched to juice to rev up his engines.

Let’s take a moment to explore the benefits of juicing.

Why make your own juice instead of just buying it from the store? First of all, drinking fresh juice is better than drinking store bought juice because many valuable enzymes and nutrients are lost during the pasteurization process. Pasteurization is a process that heats the product to a temperature high enough to kill certain bacteria and enzymes that unfortunately, can also affect the nutritional content of the juice itself.

Also, when you drink fresh juice, you can be certain that there are no additives or preservatives, therefore, what you are getting is 100% pure, natural juice.

This is one of my favorites, Apple, Carrot, Ginger, Kale, Beet juice...The ginger adds a kick, the beet makes it earthy and the apple and carrots make it sweet. YUM!

Earlier I had mentioned enzymes and nutrients that are in the fruits and vegetables. It is important to recognize that when you cook your food many of these nutrients and enzymes are either lost or broken down during the cooking process, making it more difficult for your body to digest the food in it’s altered state. Juicing your fruits and vegetables is a great way to ensure you are incorporating these valuable nutrients and enzymes into your diet.

Look at the beautiful color of the pulp...Which by the way, is excellent for your compost!

You may have heard of the Raw Foods movement; a lifestyle where people consume the majority of their foods in their natural, raw, and unprocessed state. On a trip to Manhattan, I came across a raw foods restaurant called Pure Food and Wine. Josh and I stopped at the Juice and takeaway bar for lunch one day and were thrilled with the intense flavors and unique presentation of their menu. During that trip, I bought their book, Raw Food Real World and read it from beginning to end in one night. I was intrigued and excited to try the recipes. After tinkering around, Josh bought me the Vita-mix blender, and later an Excalibur food dehydrator. Needless, to say, I was hooked, and a few years later was thrilled to preorder Sarma’s new book Living Raw Food

Although I don’t eat exclusively raw, I do eat a large portion of my foods in the raw state, and whenever I have cooked food, I try to incorporate something raw like a salad, or fresh fruit into the meal. The intensity of the flavors and brightness of the colors are so brilliant, it keeps you coming back for more!

I'm soaking the nuts and seeds to make a batch of "Grawnola", and Macadamia cheese...Both recipes in Raw Food Real World.

Okay...Back to juicing. The good thing about juicing is you can pretty much juice anything and it’s going to taste good. Try mixing in greens such as kale and spinach with apples, oranges, carrots, pears and ginger to not only get a healthy serving of fruit, but also your greens and veggies! Make sure if you’re going to juice the peel, like with apples, pears, carrots, cucumbers etc…That you are buying organic, otherwise you may want to peel your food before running it through the juicer to avoid ingesting pesticides or other harmful chemicals.

Here is one of my favorite juice recipes, and a great way to get your day started out the right way!

Serves 2

1 apple
1 orange
2 medium carrots
½ cucumber
1 handful fresh kale
1 one-inch piece ginger

Wash all ingredients, peel the orange (leave some of the pith on, it’s a great source of fiber!) and run through a juicer.

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