THE MAGIC OF JUICING

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I have always been a sucker for infomercials.  Whenever I’m flipping through the channels, I’m very likely to stop and watch Chuck Norris demonstrate – again – the wonders of the Total Gym.  I’m still amazed that the NuWave Oven can produce such a juicy pork tenderloin, but with its patented infrared technology, I shouldn’t be surprised.  Once in college I caught myself dialing the 1-800 number to order an Esteban guitar – only 100 left! – but luckily I came out of my trance before pulling out the credit card.  I must take after my grandmother, who once ordered a wok set in the middle of the night and thought it had been a dream.

     No infomercial, however, captivated my heart quite like Jack LaLanne’s presentation of the appropriately-named Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.  Jack, may he rest in peace, had such an unbridled enthusiasm for all-things-juice that, by the end of the infomercial, all you wanted to do was go wild at the farmer’s market and spend all day grinding up fruits and vegetables and drinking them.  Nothing else mattered.  And oh the combinations!  Cantaloupe with carrots.  Carrots with apples.  Apples with beets.  Beets with spinach.  Spinach with carrots.  The possibilities were endless!

     The machine itself was an engineering marvel: an amazing commercial-quality juicer with a high-output motor and surgical stainless-steel centrifugal force blades that would allow me to make the fastest, healthiest, and freshest juice imaginable.  Best of all was the extra-large chute and the patented whisper-quiet technology.  No other power juicer compared.  Clearly, the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer ran on equal parts electricity and magic.  I mean, you could juice a watermelon and a pineapple SKIN AND ALL – no peeling!  My mind was blown and my world would never be the same.  It was a magical juicer that would produce the elixir of life itself, and I had to have it.

     Once I made the decision to unlock the power of juicing with the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, there was no turning back.  I added it to my Christmas list and waited, and as I unwrapped that big cardboard box with Jack LaLanne’s old smiling face staring back at me, I was genuinely thrilled.  My reaction to the bright white and shiny new power juicer was very much like that of the Old Man in A Christmas Story when he pried open the crate to reveal his leg lamp “major award.”  It was beautiful.

     Turns out, my new power juicer was also “fra-JEE-lee” (must be Italian), because the first time I tried it (which was about two minutes after it came out of the box), it did not work.  Luckily, though, it was only a small glitch that was easily fixable, and after my moment of devastation, I was off and juicing.  Since on a cold December morning you want nothing more than enormous amounts of fresh fruit juice, I went to juicing immediately – and pretty soon I had juiced everything in the house that was juiceable.  Bananas are not juiceable, as I soon found out.  Unfortunately, the infomercial does not tell you about the after-effects of juicing on an empty stomach, which I learned the hard way, but that initial setback was only temporary.

     I have been juicing off and on now for years.  My original Jack LaLanne Power Juicer finally died a year or so ago after many years of reliable service, strangely around the same time Jack LaLanne himself died.  After a very respectful disposal ceremony, I immediately visited the As-Seen-On-TV section at Target, and there sat Jack LaLanne Power Juicer number two, which I still use to this day.

     Despite the joking tone of this essay, I believe the health benefits of juicing are quite substantial and real.  My go-to juice is carrot/apple, which is a great early morning kick start.  It’s quite tasty, gives you sustained energy to get the day going, contains all kinds of healthful nutrients, and (so Jay Kordich tells me) fights off illnesses.  Who wouldn’t want to juice!  Speaking of Jay Kordich, I encourage you to look him up on YouTube.  If Jack LaLanne is the Juice King, then Jay Kordich is the Juice Man – someone who has dedicated his life to advocating the health benefits of juicing.

     I encourage you to try juicing for yourself.  Although I am no scientist, I believe the wide-ranging health benefits are probably mostly true.  And, even if they are exaggerated a bit, my experience with juicing is that it just makes you feel better.  Isn’t that enough?  It’s simple, easy, and quick, curbs your craving for sugar from less-healthy sources, and (as you are pulverizing fruits and vegetables with a powerful electric motor) is a great stress-reliever.  Go on!  Unlock the power of juicing!  Here are a few juice recipes to get you started.

Carrot/Apple

5 carrots

2 apples

1.         Juice ‘em.

2.         Drink it.

Apple/Beet

2-3 apples

½ beet

1.         Juice ‘em.

2.         Drink it.

Apple/Strawberry

2 apples

4-6 strawberries

1.         Juice ‘em.

2.         Drink it.

Cantaloupe

1 cantaloupe, skin and all

1.         Juice it.

2.         Drink it.

Watermelon

½ watermelon, skin and all

1.         Juice it.

2.         Drink it.

Pineapple

1 pineapple, skin and all

1.         Juice it.

2.         Drink it.

Apple/Pear

2 apples

1 pear

1.         Juice ‘em.

2.         Drink it.

Parsley/Carrot

Handful of parsley

5 carrots

1.         Juice ‘em.

2.         Drink it.

     As you can see, these recipes are not very complicated.  A well-trained Labrador retriever could probably make them for you.  If you want to incorporate a banana, juice then combine with a banana in a blender.  Tip #1: Tomato juice is gross without a little salt.  Tip #2: For you fair-skinned folk, go easy on the carrot juice; it will turn you orange, just like an Oompa-Loompa.  Tip #3: Always peel oranges and lemons, or the juice will be so sour that you can’t drink it.  Rule #1: In the world of juicing, there are no rules, except that you can’t juice a banana, no matter how hard you try.

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20 thoughts on “THE MAGIC OF JUICING

  1. I have juiced before, but this morning was a first for the rest of the family. The kids were a little reluctant, especially my son. I have been wondering ways to make it more enjoyable for him (I’m thinking pineapple may help), but I’m SO glad you posted about the banana! I was just getting ready to Google “banana” and “juicing”.

    • You are welcome! Thanks for the comment. Bananas work well as a sweetener. Also, apples pair well with basically everything (from carrots to bitter leafy greens) and are my go-to sweetener – they will make even the most “challenging” juices palatable.

  2. Great post! I’m going to try your cornbread in a few weeks too if I can find a cast iron skillet! I’ll let you know in ten years how it is 🙂 And… so funny about eating too much carrots. I’m going to blog about that in a few days, haha!

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