I still get emotional when I think about it, what life was like just two months ago and now.
My brain works again. I can actively participate in conversation. Walk miles. Savor what I’m eating. Fit into most of my clothes. Dream about the future. Feel inspired.
Ruminating with recipe ideas again feels so good!
Realizing all that I had hoped for … prayed for … believed. Yeah, it’s worth getting emotional, letting gratitude and joy sink deep into the worn calluses from climbing Health Mountain. I’m ready to summit.
A heartfelt thank you doesn’t seem adequate to express how much it meant to me to know so many were praying and wishing me well as I’ve been recovering, but I’ll say it anyway.
Your friendship, support, and timely encouragement was the comforting hug I so often needed.
Stirring in the kitchen and tapping away at the keyboard again definitely has the creative juices flowing, so there is a sizable list of recipes to try over the coming months. This first recipe is a simple one, but it does require special equipment—a juicer. During recovery, my goal was to do everything possible to encourage the healing process and juicing was part of my regimen because it is nutrient-dense and easy to digest.
You know I’m a big proponent of whole food. In general, separating or isolating nutrients is less effective for overall health than eating food closest to its natural, whole state. However, I do think juicing has its place, especially when our health is compromised or in a state of recovery, and we are unable to consume required nutrients at mealtime.
After surgery, it took four days for me to be able to eat any solid food and then only small amounts. It was well over a month before my digestive system was back to normal, during a critical time of healing. Juicing vegetables and greens allowed me to assimilate the nutrients my body needed for recovery without intestinal discomfort—a crucial aspect after surgery.
- Use only enough fruit to make any green juice palatable. Concentrated fruit juice can cause spikes in blood sugar, which is a burden on your system, so limit the amount of fruit. This is one of the common mistakes people make when juicing.
- On the subject of avoiding fruit juice, the same goes for smoothies. Fresh vegetable juice is an ideal base for smoothies too.
- If you juice often (more than 3 x week), rotate the vegetables and greens to add a variety of nutrients.
- Juicing is not a substitute for eating; rather it is a nutritional boost like a vitamin or supplement. Incorporate juices, but don’t overdo.
- Choose organic produce for juicing. Everything gets concentrated in the juice; you don’t want pesticides in the mix.
- Fresh juice should be consumed as soon as possible, however if you save it, do so in a container with little air and no longer than 48 hours for best results. As you can see in the recipe photo, I used a mason jar for the second serving.
- What about all the pulp? Some recommend adding small amounts back into the juice. I tried that and did not like the texture. Compost it, freeze it for soups, feed it to chickens, or even stir in some water and add it to your lawn (which is what I did).
Don’t own a juicer?
Neither do I, so I borrowed one. I wanted to know if juicing would be worth the effort and how committed I would be before making a purchase. Years ago, a friend of mine bought a $600 juicer and juiced one time, her husband still teases her it was the best $600 glass of juice he’s ever had. Fortunately, they kept the juicer and were delighted to loan it to me for my post-op plan (yes, she felt vindicated). Juicers range widely in price, from around $100 to over $1000, and like gym equipment, you might feel better for owning one, but it doesn’t do you any good collecting dust.
What kind of juicer should you use?
Masticating juicers extract the most juice. However, if you’ve never juiced before, don’t worry about what kind until you know it is something you will do consistently. Survey your friends (you know which ones to ask) to borrow one for just a couple of weeks or even a month. Then juice. See if it is something you can commit to, as well as what you like and don’t like about the juicer you borrow, which will give you a better idea about the features you’d prefer. For information and comparison of types, check out justjuice.org. The best juicer is the one you will use.
About this Juiced Greens recipe:
This recipe is adapted from Dr. Oz’s green drink. I’m a big fan of good-for-you, but it has to taste good too. Oz’s original recipe was too earthy for us; the parsley and citrus were too forward. It tasted fresh, but slightly bitter. After a few adjustments to bring the greens, tang, and sweet in balance, we settled on a refreshing recipe we have enjoyed every time. I think this is a good starting point for anyone who would like to try juicing greens.
The first time you make this juice it will take about 30 minutes, including prep and cleaning the juicer. I know, that’s a long time for what is basically a snack, but don’t give up. Like anything in the kitchen, the more you practice the faster it goes. I’ve got it down to about 15 minutes now.
We enjoy this juice most with Fuji or pink lady apples. Green apple is also a good choice as it is lower in sugar, but it was a little too tart for our taste.
Each ingredient in this juice recipe was chosen for specific elements of healing and restoration. To read more about the potential benefits of each one, check out the original recipe at JuiceRecipes.com.
Adapted from Dr. Oz’s Green Drink
- 2 medium apples
- 3 stalks celery -- coarsely chopped
- 1 medium cucumber -- 6-7 inches long
- ½ inch ginger root -- approx ½ inch long, 1 inch in diameter
- ½ small lemon (with rind) -- seeds removed
- ½ lime (with rind) -- seeds removed
- 1 cup parsley -- stems and leaves coarsely chopped into 1 inch segments, loosely measured
- 2 big handfuls any assortment of greens (spinach, kale, beet greens, chard, etc.) -- well washed
- Cut the produce to fit the feeding tube of a juicer. Process the produce in the juicer, then stir well and serve in two 12 oz. glasses. Yields approximately 3 cups.