Juiced Up!

by Sarah Platenius, Tofino

I've been making up for the lack of sun by juicing fruits and vegetables with my Omega juicer. My favorite drink is a combo of apple, parsley, celery and lemon. Drinking a glass of this green stuff makes me feel like I'm drinking the sun and fresh air—it flushes my cheeks and feeds the cells of my body—I feel energized and cleansed.

Normally we think of drinking fresh, cool juices in summer. But winter is when we're less likely to get the five servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits each day that the National Cancer Institute recommends. Though scientific research is available, I've only brushed the surface of the benefits of juicing. The gist behind the science states that it is an optimal way to maintain and boost your immune and digestive systems. Studies have also shown that juicing may help cure certain ailments like migraine headaches and breast cancer. For me, drinking green juice has become a necessity—my body craves the nourishment.

I used to think it was a hassle to juice but I've gotten it down to a fine art. In twenty minutes, I've made myself an entire jar of vitamins and minerals and met the National Cancer Institutes recommendation of five servings of fruits and vegetables. The highlight of drinking juice is that the nutrients are easily assimilated and digested by my body. I could never eat that many salads in a given day—one salad, yes, for fiber perhaps but not five servings!

When I juice regularly, I buy a bag of veggies and about ten apples every other day. This way I can drink juice daily and store some for the next day in an airtight container (you don't want to store it any longer than 24 hours or else it will start loosing its nutritional value). As I wash and chop the fruits and veggies, I toss them into a colander. Then piece by piece, I push them through my quiet, user friendly juicer that slowly chomps away at them like a grazing cow. Then, I strain the pulp. (I've read that you can drink the pulp too but I haven't quite gotten to like it yet.) Next, I pour the juice into a pitcher and put it in the fridge. It's best to drink it at room temperature so as not to shock your system with the cold but I still prefer it chilled. As soon as my juice is ready, I clean the juicer—if you clean it immediately, a quick rinse does it for most of the parts, except the filter which needs a scrub with a toothbrush. After the pieces are clean I put it back together so it's ready to go the next time around.

During the holidays, my two younger sisters who are eleven and thirteen years old helped put the veggies through the juicer. They giggled at the duck size turds of pulp that came out one end while considering the green juice that came out the other. When they tried a glass of apple, parsley, celery and lemon, they were surprised to find they actually liked it! This is the key—start off with a combo of fruits and veggies you know you'll like. Another favorite combo of mine is apple, celery, beet, ginger, carrot. I'm slowly beginning to sneak kale or spinach into these combos because dark, leafy greens have the most vitamins and minerals—but of course they taste more like wet grass.

Juicers aren't cheap but if you are sure to use it, it's worth buying one because it will save you money in the long run, especially if you get hooked!

The brands I've liked most are Green Star and/or Omega which you can read about and shop for on the Internet. Before you make your first batch of juice, I recommend having a look at what I think is the bible of juicing titled Juicing For Life by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane. If you decide not to invest in a juicer, wait until spring when you can sample one of the excellent juices at Jupiter Juice—don't be surprised to find out it costs almost as much as a sandwich—it's this expensive because it's a meal in a cup! Or sun to go!

Your body will be grateful.

Sarah Platenius is a U.S. Nationally Licensed Massage Therapist and holds a certificate in Holistic Health from Heartwood Institute. She is currently waiting patiently in Tofino for her Canadian permanent resident status.

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