I actually owned a juicer once before. It was my only late-night infomercial purchase ever (okay fine, a mineral makeup commercial once sold me hard, but I didn’t actually buy the brand that was advertised… I shopped around). It was a Jack Lalanne version that cost far more—even in 1997 or whatever it was then—than my recent purchase, and my parents made me return it because it was a pain in the ass to clean. Not so with my new one. Ain’t nobody sending this baby back.
Its purchase was inspired in part by a film that my friend Colette recommended I watch on Netflix streaming, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” As we all know, I am already an organic, local food freak so I generally skip over the food documentary titles (seeing how most Americans eat just gives me bad dreams at night). But Colette said this film made her cry, and embarked on a thirty day juice fast of her own as soon as she finished watching it. As Aaron and I flipped through possible movie selections a few nights later, I suggested that we watch it. He agreed, without enthusiasm. He even pulled the New Yorker off of an end table to thumb through while “watching” with me. But by about mid-way into the movie, he hadn’t so much as opened the mag. It’s not that the film is either expertly made or even at all unpredictable. It’s just that seeing people heal themselves (and return from “nearly dead,” for real… think 400 pound depressed, diabetic trucker alone in a beach house for a week with a juicer) through simple lifestyle and nutrition changes is amazing. Don’t tell him I told you, but Aaron got a little choked up, too.
So then I got this book, Juicing, Fasting and Detoxing for Life, which rubbed me entirely the wrong way in its introduction (the author, Cherie Calbom, refers to all women as “this lady”… switch it up, already!) but had me thoroughly engrossed by Chapter One. Calbom details—and I mean details—each of the body’s major organ systems (totally helpful as I was making my way through an Anatomy and Pathology class at the time) and how to systematically cleanse each one. To be honest, I was a little wary of this whole line of thinking before I read the book; the word ‘cleanse’ just conjures images in my mind of anorexic Hollywood starlets… nothing healthy about that. But it makes sense to me that our organs that spend all of our lives filtering metabolic waste could really use a thorough cleaning themselves, sometimes, just like the various filters in our homes and cars. If our organs function efficiently, metabolic misfires will be less likely. But beyond staving off disease (or, as Cambom testifies to, curing it), efficient function also equates to more energy availability for other things. Like everyday life. And I can use as much of that as I can get.
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I haven’t done any of the actual cleanses outlined in Calbom’s book (been doing a lot of massage, and just finished moving… neither of which is particularly conducive to having to, um, flush large quantities of toxins), but like I said, I’ve been juicing on a daily basis. I stick with mostly vegetables to make the juices alkaline (most foods we eat in this culture tilt our body toward 'acidic', and it takes a lot of work to keep the balance between the two), and drink a glass in the afternoon as a pick-me-up when I feel like passing out but have many hours of work and activity ahead. It does pick me up. And it shoots a ton of vitamins and minerals straight into my system. Calbom says that, from there, they seek out and bind to whatever shouldn’t stay in you, and help keep internal things shiny and clean. I buy it.
Aaron drinks the juices I make, too. Kaspar tasted some carrot-ginger juice I whipped up for him, but he wasn’t into it. He’s not big into beverages beyond his hemp milk (plus Chinese herbs… shhhhh). Maybe when he’s no longer allergic to most fruits (fingers crossed), I’ll be able to make something that appeals to him more. I like my whirring juice machine! It’s saving me cash, too, since I no longer swing by The Daily Juice, a popular little shop that has a few locations around Austin, on a regular basis (btw, when Aaron’s cousin came to town, he remarked how hot all of the girls who work at The Daily Juice are. And it’s true. They are. Juice brings out the sexy in you!). I don’t think most juice shops use organic juices—they certainly didn’t in New York, even in health food stores— so I also like that I know exactly what's in my homemade concoctions (not a big fan of guzzling pesticides).
I’m planning, in the back of my mind, to try doing a week-long just-juice fast—or as Colette called it, “feast” — at some point in the near future, and, depending on how that feels, then making my way (at a reasonable pace, with good, long, whole food re-centering phases in between each round) through the organ system cleanses. If it doesn’t seem to work for my body, I’ll stop, and still consider the experiment a success. If it does work, I might do this annually or bi-annually or whatever. Week-long juice fasts can be conducted up to once a quarter, too, which sounds perfectly doable.
Anyway, I’m having fun with my new kitchen toy, and curious about what it can do. Tell me— do you have a juicer? Do you use it? Have you ever done a juice (or some other kind) cleanse? What are your favorite combinations of fruits and veggies for juicing?