Juicing Update, Part One

Hey y’all!  I updated about a week or so ago… might be longer, because time gets away from me, about hubby and my new project: Juicing.  We have been on the juice fast for one whole week already, and I thought I’d give a quick update.

Since we began last Wednesday, I have lost almost 11 pounds, which is fabulous!  Hubby is doing even better, but he won’t disclose how much he’s lost other than, “Quite a bit.”  I know his hesitation in telling me, but it would be nice to know.  Weight loss right now is a nice benefit for us.  He is the one with the most to gain from improving his health.

I can get into this topic more in-depth if there is a demand for it.  So let me know if you are interested in hearing our travails on the juicing path.  I will leave you with another recipe that I have found that I love for dinner.  It’s a savory juice with all veggies, but it’s not harsh tasting.  In fact, if you like the V8 type juice, or even if you don’t, you might still enjoy this one.  From Reboot With Joe, I present the “Bloody Mary” juice!

Bloody Mary Juice

  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Zucchini (I substituted a green bell pepper)
  • Large Handful of Fresh Herbs (I substituted a jalapeno pepper, seeded)*
  • A dash of Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1-2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Wash all produce well.  I remove the stems and seeds from all of the peppers, and the stem portion of the tomato before juicing.  Run produce through the juicer.  Pour into glasses; top with Himalayan Salt and/or Olive Oil before serving.  Makes 2 servings

*If you are working with hot peppers, such as jalapeno and hotter, be sure to wear gloves while seeding and prepping, as capsicum from the seeds can get on your skin and have a burning sensation.  Be especially careful when touching your face and eyes after your hands have been exposed to hot peppers, as the capsicum can injure the eye.  Don’t learn this from experience like I did.  Oops!

Happy juicing!


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Juicing: Our New Endeavor 

A few months back I was chatting with a friend and the topic got onto dieting. I consider myself to be a professional dieter, having been on almost every diet known to mankind since I was about two. He has been a lifelong dieter as well, and asked if I had seen a documentary called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” I said I had not, and he immediately immersed me into the world of juicing, telling me about the near miraculous weight loss and transformation of the star of this movie. We talked for almost two hours that night; in fact, almost into the morning. Not very long afterwards I sat and watched the movie on my PC, all while munching handfuls of pretzels and probably a soft drink. Nice, huh?

I was very impressed with the content of the film, especially since hubby has been struggling with symptoms of MS, and I had seen what a juice-based diet had done for Joe Cross. Before beginning the journey, Mr. Cross had been suffering from Chronic Urticaria, an autoimmune disease he described as a chronic hive-like rash. Sounds like a living hell to me; as a chronic pain sufferer I would much rather have pain than itching. Pain, I have learned to deal with over the past seventeen years. Itching, however, is a whole different game, and I hate it. But the autoimmune part of his disease is what caught my attention, because MS is an autoimmune disease too. If Mr. Cross could get himself off of his prednisone and other medicine with a juice diet, then maybe hubby could avoid needing one of those scary sounding biologic medications doing the same thing.

Over the holidays, we saved gift cards and cash to plop down on a Breville Juice Fountain centrifugal juicer. Good ol’ Amazon makes shopping for stuff so easy, and the one we had our eye on was $75 off the normal price. Score! We ordered it a week or so into the new year, and it came in all of its 16 pound glory one week later. It’s a good thing we saved money on the juicer, because I think we will need it for produce!  Seriously, right now the inside of our fridge looks like the produce department of Publix, stocked with lots (and lots!) of kale, carrots, cucumbers, apples, oranges, ginger root, celery and spinach.

So this is our plan for the juicer. Hubby has begun a 20-30 day juice “fast,” consuming only freshly made fruit and veggie juice. After his reboot, he will continue to juice every day, probably for the rest of his life. He had experience with juicing before we met, but he never followed through afterwards. Now, he has a fresh diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and a new, frightening medication hanging in the balance.  His next appointment with his neurologist is March, when we will need to make the decision about this drug. Hopefully, his body can start to heal itself during this time of rebooting, and he won’t need to consider the drug.

As for myself, I will be juicing as well, and have been slowly transitioning to healthier foods and away from animal products. After my first green juice, I discovered (more like remembered) that my body sometimes has a problem with fresh, raw vegetables and their digestion (I will spare you the “juicy” details… take that as you will 😊) So I will need to experiment with other ingredients and greens to discover what works for me, and what will not. For myself, I’m hoping for a significant reduction in pain and inflammation, and a subsequent reduction in the medication I take to manage Fibromyalgia.  I currently take some strong pain killers, and I discovered (again, more like remembered) recently how bad my pain is without these medications. I don’t ever want to experience that pain again. I might go nutty fruit loops if I do, and believe me, that is not a pretty sight!!

I will leave you with two recipes we have found we like so far. A green juice that hubby enjoys, and an orange juice (which ironically has no oranges in it) that I like. Both are credited to Joe Cross’ website, Reboot With Joe. 

Joe’s “Mean Green” Juice

  • 16 kale leaves, washed well
  • 4 apples, cores and washed
  • 8 stalks of celery, with leafy tops, washed
  • 2 cucumbers, scrubbed of any wax on the skin
  • 1 lemon, peeled, if desired
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root

Note: this recipe is VERY gingery, and I tend to use less ginger if I am drinking it. Also, 8 stalks of celery is very strong-tasting, and I cut back to 2-4 stalks when I make this for me. Two is perfect, four is still a bit overpowering for my taste.  I have also found that adding a pear to this juice calms some of the “grassy” taste from the kale.

Get You Going Morning Juice

  • 3 carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 apple, cored
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 of a sweet potato, scrubbed
  • 1 handful of spinach

As I noted above with the green juice, this can be very gingery, so if you don’t care for fresh ginger you can either leave it out or just use a tiny piece. This juice is sweet and aromatic, and is good for morning or dinner (I usually have my juice with a smaller meal.)

Over the next few months, I will check in with you and update how we are faring with our new lifestyle.

Operation: Earth Box

My hubby and I live quietly in a two bedroom, upstairs apartment with our two cats, Sassy and Pixel.  It wasn’t necessarily my dwelling of choice, but one of needing to be close to my aging mother, so we settled here.  The apartment is cozy, has just about everything we need and is close to shopping, a hospital, banks and white sandy beaches. A few years ago, before the housing market exploded down here in Florida, we actually did make an offer on a pretty little house sold by the original owner, an unusual find here where there is more turnovers than you’ll find in a bakery.  Unfortunately, the seller had a cash offer and we were priced out of the market within four months.  So, here we are.

One thing I truly miss about not having my own home is having some room to plant things.  Back in Connecticut where I grew up, my Dad always had a few garden plots around our substantial back yard.  The yard was odd in that it was in two levels, the closest to the house was the lower level where Mom had a clothesline and Dad had the small garden plot.  He planted tomatoes and eggplant in alternating years in that spot.  On the upper “level” where a 15 foot pool once stood, green bell peppers, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini and whatever Dad felt like experimenting with grew in each quadrant, with the bean plants around the circumference of the pool.  The other garden plot directly up the steps and to the right, held whichever wasn’t growing in the lower plot, either tomatoes or eggplant.  My dad was known in the neighborhood as “Farmer John” and he took great pride in all his bounty, but especially the tomatoes.  He’d only share those with people who were close to the family.

When Mom and Dad relocated to Florida in the 90s and chose not to purchase a home, Dad lost his opportunity to garden like he once did in the “glory days.”  Sure, they tried to grow tomatoes in containers on the porch, but they never thrived in the harsh Florida summer heat like they did back home.  And so, this family tradition had been all but obliterated… until EarthBox moved into town.  I had already married and moved away when Mom and Dad discovered this little gardening treasure in a box, but I truly believe he was in a state of bliss when he realized he had a decent chance of growing some tomatoes.  For the first few times, Mom carted the box around back and forth to the EarthBox store to have it pre-planted for her, then Dad would tend it.  Unfortunately, the rats and mice that live around the retention pond had quite a tasty snack during those years, and they never saw a yield.  Ultimately, the EarthBox had fallen unattended after the death of my Dad in 2007, and grew the most beautiful weeds you’d ever seen.

In many ways, I’m truly my father’s daughter.  I have his love for Italian food, his temper, and his passion for gardening.  So it should come as no surprise that I have been passed the EarthBox “baton” so to speak.  Last week I dumped the contents, mostly weeds and two spent pineapple plants (those things bite, by the way!  Ouch!) and scrubbed all the parts and left them to dry.  Tonight I brought it home where it now sits, empty and waiting for another attempt at container gardening.  My EarthBox planting will be organic bush beans, aka green or string beans.  I wanted to start out with something that I know will grow easily and produce a good harvest the first time out, mostly because I need some confidence after so many failures in this box.  After the beans plants are done producing, I will attempt some of Dad’s favorites, eggplants.

Though I haven’t purchased the soil and fertilizers yet, I do have the seeds ready and raring to go.  Although the EarthBox store is still in town, I’m not planning on using their services this time around.  For now, I want to try things the “Wendy Way,” which may or may not be the best way but since this is my experiment, I’ll give my ideas a shot first.  I’ll be starting from seeds instead of seedlings, and I know that green beans grow exceptionally well from numerous grade school growing experiments.  From time to time, I’ll update and show pictures of how my little garden is fairing.  So with spring approaching most of the country, let me know how your garden grows this season.  What’s your favorite plant?  The most bountiful harvest?  Do you can or preserve the fruits of your labor?  I’m looking forward to the eggplants later on this summer and into the fall, and I have an excellent post coming in those days on one of my favorite things in the world.

Happy gardening, and happy Spring!

My "vintage" EarthBox, with Pixel ensuring everything is up to par.  What a good inspector!

My “vintage” EarthBox, with Pixel ensuring everything is up to par. What a good inspector!