Jen’s Stimulating Juice

I just made a new juice recipe discovery this week and feel compelled to share it. Being a relatively new blogger, I need to give a little background first. My current diet has evolved over the last 3 years, through a series of fairly small and simple changes, which en masse, create a pretty radical shift in my daily intake. Three years ago I ate like my idea of the average American: fast food for convenience and processed, packaged foods for the same reason, plus some sweet and salty snack foods just because they were fun.

Today I’m mostly vegan, fresh and raw, which is evident by the fact that I now produce about 1/2 of a small white kitchen trash bag of garbage each week. I do still occasionally eat half a burger, or some turkey or a bowl of ice cream because, well, I am alive and sometimes that’s fun, but I find that by maintaining my current diet I just plain feel good.

I grew up blessed with a high metabolism and the slender build of my grandmother, so I never much worried about diet. But rounding the decade into my thirties I started paying more attention to my health, something I realized was far more encompassing than just physique.

My first major change was substituting tofu for chicken/steak, introduced to me by my “hippie” vegetarian friend, who lived with me for a few months after returning from the Peace Corps. I tried it and liked it so it stuck. I developed my “tofu spinach salad” during this time and found that the meal, as I prepare it leaves me feeling sated, and holds me until the next meal. I used to get violent swings in blood sugar where, I’d eat a huge meal and less than an hour later feel like crap again. I began to put together other meals like this, but the tofu spinach salad is my core meal, and it’s very hearty.

So over the years lots of other little changes like this have created a much healthier me and I feel great pretty much all the time. I don’t get sick anymore and can’t remember the last time I went to the doctor. Last year, one such change was the addition of “juicing.” I found a free juicer through Craig’s List (who doesn’t love THAT site) and started experimenting.

I am fortunate to have an awesome farmer’s market at the end of my street, a place my dog Hayley and I walk to at least once every couple of days. I love being able to walk down there (with my own bags!) and come home with 3 full grocery bags of fruits and veggies for under $15, like I did yesterday!

But I digress. I approached juicing with the same utility and efficiency I use to approach life in general. I wanted to get the valuable minerals and nutrients from bulky items I wouldn’t otherwise have room to eat and/or simply don’t like the taste of in whole form. My goal was not to create a great tasting drink, but rather one that I COULD drink without gagging.

Basically, I pull together vegetables that I feel I need and then I add as many fruits as I feel are needed to overcome the taste of the veggies. People often ask me for recipes and I have to say that I approach juicing like I approach meals. If it’s something my body needs or can benefit from and I like the taste, then I will put items together and try them. More often than not, this just works out.

It’s going on a year of juicing now, and Mom gave me a nice, fancy new juicer for Christmas so I’m getting far better results on the process. Recently, I added beets to the mix for the first time and have since incorporated them. I just think that deep, rich, red color has got to be good for me (I subscribe to the eat by colors ideal).

This next part it getting personal but hey, it really worked and so I have to share it. I ate semi-poorly over the weekend out of town and my body was a little unhappy with me when I juiced yesterday. I made enough to drink this concoction last night and have another round for this morning. This mix proved VERY effective in stimulating the (ahem) bowels (which was an unexpected result), if you know what I mean. Given I’ve heard the average adult carries around between 5 and 25 pounds of well… you know… in their colons at any given time, movement at any time is a great thing! (I won’t comment here on the dietary practices that lead to these high amounts.)

So, here’s what I put in it (all amounts are approximate and all foods organic, where possible). I think I shall call this – Jen’s Stimulating Juice:

  • 5 stalks celery
  • 2 large beets
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3/4 pineapple
  • 1 navel orange

Drink to your health!

The weekend with the fun (and funny) family

I decided to go ahead and write the next post before I get in trouble for the Eskimo comments! It’s a short one, mostly to highlight the fun (and funny) parts of our weekend trip south. Friday night my niece and nephew (ages 4 and 6) spent the night with us at Mom’s and spent Saturday playing in the pool, except for the nephew. Christopher’s arm is in a cast and so he just “had to” spend the day playing Lego’s Star Wars on the Wii.

That is, except for when we were all gathered around with Mom’s Wii Fit and Dance, Dance Revolution. It was my first time with the Wii Fit and I have to say… I LOVED it! I agree with people that say if you have lots of weight to lose, don’t count on this to get you there (however, my Mom has lost over 40 pounds in the last few months and would tell you that Weight Watchers will). But for someone like me, already fit and health-conscious I thought it was a great challenge and tool for increasing posture, balance and strength.

My niece, Bethany, is really getting into a fun age, where she’s personable, happy and just plain funny. My Dad told us a story from the week before when Bethany was modeling her princess dress and Dad asked if he could wear it. Ever the diplomat, Bethany informed him that “this dress is probably too skinny for you.”

During my visit Bethany discovered that her grandmother is my mother. It happened as she and I were walking out of the kitchen and I addressed my mother, using that pronoun. Bethany gasped and squealed in her high-pitched voice: “MIMI IS YOUR MOMMY??!!” I confirmed this new and interesting fact and, after a brief pause she then asked (same high pitched squeal): “WHO’S YOUR DADDY??!!” I almost fell down laughing.

It was a beautiful weekend and we felt very safe in the pool, thanks to Diver, the rescue dog. My folks have a gargantuan Chocolate Lab (about 110 lbs.) who cannot sit still when we are in the pool, for fear something may happen. As I lounged on one of the foam noodles, he couldn’t take anymore, dove in, swam out and grabbed the end of it in his mouth and pulled me directly to the stairs (and I suppose to safety in his mind).

We did make it to the theater to see The Dark Knight, at Ryan’s behest. I’m simply going to reserve comment here but I will say that Ryan was not disappointed. Sunday morning was a relaxing one, before we loaded up for our return drive to Jackson, to fly the group back to Knoxville. I’m happy to be back in Knoxville, where the weather has radically improved since my departure!

Headed South

So my… 男朋友 (nan peng you – Mandarin for “boyfriend” since no one has given me a better term yet) Ryan, is a corporate pilot, which means he flies planes for a couple of local business men. The perk of dating such a pilot is that sometimes (SOMETIMES) he goes to fun places and there is extra room for me to tag along. Most times he goes to awful places like Jackson, TN (ranked in the top ten most dangerous cities in the US) or Marlton, NJ (what in God’s name is there). Twice in the last few months these trips have included the Bahamas. Today will be the second time in recent months that they include visits near my family, who reside on the Eastern Shore of Mobile, AL, in Daphne.

Luckily so far, on all the cool trips, there’s been an extra seat on the plane for me to tag along. This morning is another such occasion. Although not as close as the previous trip to Gulfport, we’ll be landing in Jackson, MS and driving down to the Eastern Shore. We’ll stay with my folks, who have a wonderful pool in their yard, and visit with family. My nephew, who I helped learn to swim when last in town, has his arm in a cast this time around, unfortunately.

Luckily, Ryan has extra Wii controllers, and he and Christopher, my 6 year old nephew should enjoy Mario Cart Wii greatly (I however, hate it… I actually rammed the wheel into the mirror on the wall behind me and overhead on the couch where I was sitting when last we played… it stresses me out way too much and well, I just had a massage today and don’t want to get all worked up).

Also, Ryan is way too freaked out that we are the only two people on the planet who have not yet seen the Dark Knight so I am sure that will factor into the weekend away as well. With that, I’m off to fly the friendly skies. I’m still hoping for some divine inspiration on a new and improved term for the “boyfriend” but so far, my prospects are looking grim. Put your thinking caps on people.

The bad dog and the cell phone

I finally decided to join the ranks of life bloggers and so I must begin with a (now entertaining) story from the last 24 hours. While replenishing the dog water bowls in the back yard at my boyfriend’s house yesterday I apparently set my cell phone down and left it.

I was in the car later when I noticed it missing, but thought I’d left it at my house. We started calling the phone when we got back home and listened for it in my house, in my car, in the yard… nothing. When he got back home he did the same thing there (which is where we both expected it to be). By then it had quit ringing and was going straight to voice mail (which perplexed us because it had a full charge).

In a flash of clarity I told him to go look on his partially completed deck near the water faucet. He found it outside alright, in pieces with large teeth marks through it, left by “the bad dog,” his Weimaraner. I was very angry, but soon became perplexed. Why did the phone ring for so long and then stop, indicating the phone was fine, until just before he got home.

So I pondered for a bit about how/what happened in the yard with the bad dog and the phone and have created what I consider to be a very plausible scenario, and it goes something like this…

The phone sat out in the hot sun in the yard and went completely unnoticed or at least was completely uninteresting to the bad dog. …Until it started ringing (when we started calling to try to locate it)… it probably rang a time or two and she thought… what the?? So she goes over to check it out and discovers that it isn’t only ringing, it’s also… vibrating. Wow, what a cool, interesting little toy. For the rest, I’ll let the bad dog speak for what I believe are her own thoughts:

Now, dad’s never given me a toy like this but… what else could it be? It rings and buzzes like a toy. I don’t know why it just started doing it all on its own but… I wonder if I can squeeze it like I do my other toys and make it keep ringing and buzzing like that. Hmm… so far this chewing thing isn’t reall…. OH SH**… it’s WORKING!! Hot damn… although it seems like I was squeezing in the same place just then as I was before… why did it work that time? Who cares, this is TOO cool… wait till Hayley (aka: the good dog) sees THIS… she’ll be so jeal… oh crap, it stopped again. Huh… lemme try over he… YEAH!! There it goes AGAIN… AWESOME!! Man, I am loving this thing, although the mechanism to make it play doesn’t seem very consistent. It stopped again and I’m doing the same thing. I wonder what happens if I chew on this pointy thing sticking down here…. huh… noth…. OH YEAH… THERE IT IS!! This is the most fun I’ve had in weeks. Man, I don’t even know where this came from but I hope there are more. Oh no, it stopped again. Maybe if I could get inside… how could I… OH, there goes that piece off the back… hmmm… this shiny thing inside looks like it might have something important to do with the noise… lemme OH OH OH… it’s working again!! Such a strange little toy lemme give this shiny thing here a tight
squeeze… yeah, that’s it… oh… what’s that funny smell… it smells like ice cream… I love ice cream… maybe there’s some inside… but wait… why did it stop ringing. Come on and ring again fun little toy!! Oh shoot, I guess it’s broken. Oh well, I hated that stupid toy anyway. I think I’ll just chew on this pointy thing on the end till dad gets home. Maybe he’s bringing me more of these….

People seem shocked now when I tell them I’m actually still using the phone. At the Verizon store the rep offered me a loaner to use until I could decide on an upgrade (this, after telling me my data was gone). I continued to press him on getting my data so he tried putting a new battery and… the phone turned on and the data was all there (I’ve since discovered the joys of Verizon’s virtual data storage as back up)! In the meantime, I told him I’d rather keep my phone, crazy lines through the display and all… so it LIVES… although clearly its days are numbered. Apparently I’m one of those people who develop crazy, inexplicable attachments to their phone. That, or I just love the smell of dog breath. Bad dog breath even.

(For the record, the insides of a Lithium Ion battery smell vaguely of ice cream, something you may notice the next time a dog tooth pierces your cell phone battery and you decide to smell it)