Okay, so I have to come clean.
I've been juicing.
I juice almost every day. Sometimes twice. It's becoming a problem.
When I first encountered the idea of juicing I thought the concept was vile. People gluging down chunky slurries of parsley, cucumber, and spinach. All ingredients I love, but having them pureed into a fine green trickle just sounded vile. The semi-noxious smell produced by all that mangled vegetal flesh sitting in the juicer's repository didn't help, either.
The worst was the wheatgrass concept that sprung up in the 2K decade thanks to too many Jamba Jucies encouraging that these verdant shots were nature's steroids and would infuse your body with energy and vitamins. All you had to do was slam these tall glasses of green sludge that at first looked cute cocktails with a bit of jade foam on top. Like all juices, though, let it sit and the plasma would fall to the bottom while a raft of organic refuse rose to the top.
Yum. Nothing like a separated solution to get your hunger worked up.
No thanks. I stayed away from juicing because it just LOOKED gross.
My first foray into juicing was with my writing partner, Stephanie. During our trip in Southern California when we were shooting the photos for the cookbook we would taste up to ten or twelve mac and cheese recipes in a day. By the time the light had gone and the shoot was over we were hurting for anything green. Our arteries were packed with carbs and dairy and it felt as if I had eaten a bag of gravel. I felt heavy and tired and stayed far from deep water else I fall in and sink to the bottom like a cement-shoe'd gangster who had squealed to the coppers.
Steph began to slap her arm like a junkie on the ride home. "I need some juice!" she cried in a guttural tone like a baboon seeking a mate. She had a look in her eye, wild and unsteady. Her lip would quiver as she drove down the I-5 and she became mercurial, lashing out without warning at the slightest perceived provocation. Given, this was normal Steph behavior (haha, burn), but this was more than the usual level of annoyance at the world and its bad drivers expressed through her usual terrible driving. No, this form of pure irritation blazed brighter than a quasar in the dark nexus of the universe, both blinding and powerful.
"I need some god damn juice!" I agreed and quickly looked up the directions to the nearest juicing store out of fear of my safety could I not satiate the hunger. Luckily, in Orange County, the nearest juice bar is only ever five minutes away and usually next door to a botox station, and a few minutes later we pulled up for some green elixir and vegan food. (The latter, which, admittedly, I was hungry for, too. I had the most amazing buffalo "chicken" burger that tasted like actual chicken. This is surely the future.)
We walked into the juice bar, which smelled like a compost heap on a cold day. You know, that aroma of decomposing plant matter and smug attitude that people with "Keep Tahoe Blue" bumper stickers often effuse. The walls were covered in teak paneling and posters boasting the glories of their 7-Day Cleanse Program that promised to rid your bodies of toxins, fill you with vitamins, and ensure that you visit the bathroom at least eight times a day.
I let Steph order for me. She called up two tall orders of something with spinach, limes, cilantro, pineapple, kale, broccoli, cucumber and who knows what else. Again, all things I love. This, however, did not sound pleasant.
A few minutes and now suffering tinnitus after listening to two ear drum-shattering mechanical juicers wreck the shit out of some produce I now held my green drink. I sucked tentatively...
"Oh God, what the hell?" I grimaced.
"Yeah, it's definitely an acquired taste, like coffee," Stephanie replied.
"I hate coffee because I never brought myself to acquire a taste for something that naturally tastes like ass," I shot back.
She shrugged and I forced myself to drink it. It tasted awful. There were the occasional slurps that were more lime and cucumber than anything else in flavor and those were welcome, but overall it was a criminal charge of malachite liquid assaulting my mouth. Still, I forced myself to drink it in hopes that it would possibly help my carb-ridden body feel better.
Admittedly, it did. About a half hour later I felt refreshed and awake. I had some jump back in my step. I had the energy to run and could compose cohesive thoughts once more.
The juice had worked.
After that I didn't have much in the way of juice. Then one day, about two weeks back, my roommate, Brad, brought out his juicer that I had no idea was even in the garage.
Curious I asked if I could try what he was concocting - kale, parsley, beets, kiwis, apples, and lemons. The resulting juice was a swirl of dark burgundy and beryl green. It looked like the result of some strange science involving swamp bacteria and ancient evils from the Buffyverse.
I took a gulp and paused. It was good. Great, even. I quickly finished off my glass.
The next few hours I went running, knocked out some recipe testing, took the dog out, and read a book. The burst of energy was shocking, like I had suddenly plugged a couple of D-batteries in my body and took off.
So now I'm juicing. A lot. (Or I do when my Brad does. Meaning when he does. Which is often. Sue me.) I find it helps keep me going and feel more awake than I normally am. My favorite combination as of late has been juice made from golden beets, carrots, Navel and Blood oranges, and pineapple. It's a bright ochre drink that's earthy, sweet, and endearing in taste.
It'll turn you into a juicer, too. Just be warned.
Orange In Color Juice
I have no real recipe for this one. Use golden beets (or red beets, but you'll lose the orange color and get something much muddier), carrots, pineapple, and oranges of whatever variety you like (we used Blood and Navel). Process them all in the juicer and slurp away. Also good with a splash of vodka or rum if you're one of those who prefer a more regal sort of breakfast/snack/cocktail/whatever.