Friday, June 6, 2014

Eating Omily: Getting Green and Juicy

Have you heard? Candice Kumai has a new book out! Of course I had to  buy it, and attend a book signing so I could geek out over her fabulous, healthy recipes! This book is special, though: it's all drinks!
No no, not the boozy kind, that's a different blog post.

These are the HEALTHY kind: the kind that can reasonably substitute for breakfast or lunch, as long as you're paying attention to your hunger cues, and supplementing with nutritious snacks as needed. I know that having a beverage for a meal is an idea that's been co-opted by the fat-shaming weight loss crowd: the common understanding is that it's something that you HAVE to do because you're not thin enough. But it doesn't have to be that way!

Here's why I turn to my blender for breakfast or lunch regularly: I am a BUSY lady! I work as a yoga instructor, which means hustling my ass all over the city to disparate locations. I'm also training to be a proffessional aerialist, which means hustling my ass to whatever space is hosting open workout on that given day. I also shop three days a week at the farmer's market which means, you guessed it, hustling my ass to Union Square in the midst of all this! And then there's the foster work for the ASPCA, my allergy shots, all the errands I run since my husband works regular business hours, keeping the house clean and the laundry done (and that stuff is just not getting done like it used to these days!)...
In the midst of all this, when society suggests I need to stop in the middle of my day to sit down and eat food, I feel INSULTED. Who in the hell has time for that?? Rather than rack up expenses eating out everyday, or living on whole food snack bars, I can take ten minutes to whip up a nutrient-packed smoothie, and drink it on the go! This means I choose what goes into my body, based on my particular needs. Did I have cereal and milk for breakfast? I can use coconut water instead of milk, so as not to overload my system with dairy. Am I feeling a little exhausted? I can throw in some maca root powder! On my way to a serious workout? Throw in some peanut or almond butter, and/or pea protein powder to make sure my muscles can grow. Along with those ingredients, every smoothie also has green vegetables, and usually some fruit, too. I mix and match fruits and veggies to make sure I'm getting a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And, if I feel hungry before my next chance to eat a meal, I keep those whole food snack bars on hand.

Have these pictures got you interested yet? How about this beautiful green juice my husband and I whipped up for a snack: spinach, cucumber, and a little apple for a beverage that was cool, refreshing, and satiating!
Now, I'm not the world's most gung-ho juicer. I'm leery of stripping fruits and veggies of all their fiber, and spiking my blood sugar, to say nothing of all the waisted veggie matter involved. But, if you're juicing primarily veggies, and keeping that glass of juice small (and that part's easy when your juicer is the hand crank variety, trust me!), your sugar content is going to stay pretty reasonable, and there's actually lots of ways to incorporate that juice pulp back into your diet, so you can have your juice, and your fiber too! Along with...

Creamy veggie dip: Take grass-fed yogurt, and stir in your veggie juice pulp. Spinach and cucumber are great, but carrot, beet, and other greens would all be nice, too. Take a few moments to chop, or pull apart the pulp into small pieces, so you don't scoop up a huge wad of greens all at once. Add a little salt, and maybe some garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or other spices. This is great with a crudite platter, or tortilla chips.

Creamy veggie pasta alfredo: Ever read through a spinach alfredo recipe? They all have you blanch your spinach (that is, boil it for a minute, then transfer it to ice water to stop the cooking process), then squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can. You do this so that the juices don't run out of the veggies and into your white sauce, dying it green, and diluting the creamy texture. BUT, this is a step you can skip if you've already squeezed out the juices for your drinking pleasure! It's the ultimate two in one!

Extra nutritious crackers, breads, and muffins: Just google juice pulp recipe to find one that's great for you. You can find just about any kind of baked good, including gluten free and vegan options.

Veggie Burgers: Seriously? Genius. This woman makes almond milk, then uses her juicing veggie pulp and the leftover almond meal to make delicious raw, vegan veggie burgers! I'm sure there are other juice pulp veggie burger recipes out there, too.

If you wind up with any leftover pulp after all that, make sure it finds its way into the compost, not the garbage!

As with all cookbooks out there, some of these recipes do not fit in well with a locavore lifestyle...or at least, they don't seem to at first blush. I mean, look at this shopping basket: it's a locavore nightmare, right??
Weeeell...maybe not! These items are all organic, the coconut water is harvested from old-growth groves at a sustainable rate, instead of plowing under existing jungle to plant coconut trees, and the bananas and the mangos are certified fair trade! Considering that these items come from nations full of people struggling to get by, purchasing these items is contributing some good to their world, instead of feeding a machine designed to export their wealth straight over to our own glutenous nation. Now, the Fair Trade and organic certification are far from perfect. They make certain promises, but they don't have to go nearly as far as we'd like. You can always do more good buying directly from the source at your Farmers' Market, but I say life's too short to never satisfy that hankering for a ripe, buttery mango, and your chocolate protein green smoothies are never going to come out as good without a a banana as with one.

There are easy substitutions to make for some of the non-local ingredients recommended in the book:

If you don't have a problem eating dairy, you can get grass fed cow and goat milk at the Farmers' market, along with yogurt.

Perfectly ripe peaches, the kind you can only get at your Farmers' Market, make a great substitute in flavor and texture for mangos, and you can freeze or can them to keep their sweet, succulent texture available all year 'round.

Cocoa powder too, which I would never ask you to go without, comes in Fair Trade and organic varieties, and should you need a sweetener, you know where to get your honey and maple syrup!

You can get wheat grass at your Farmers' Market, too; it's where I always get it for our kitty, Leia.

This recipe is a fantastic way to get way more fruits and veggies into your diet, and you don't have to have a smoothie instead of breakfast or lunch! It's totally cool to have it along with, or as a snack between meals, too! A last recomendation before you get on out there and buy a copy for yourself (at an independently owned bookstore, of course): if you invest in a juice, make it a masticating style one, instead of a centrifugal one. You'll get more juice out of your produce, you won't heat it up and destroy any of those precious nutrients, AND you'll have a way easier time cleaning up, too. If you opt for the hand-crank variety like mine, you'll also save a bundle, especially over electronic masticating juicers, which are some of the priciest on the market. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Now, get juiced, you smooth-operator, you! ;-D


  1. I recently ordered this book, so excited to try the recipes! :)

    1. How have you been enjoying the recipes?? Got any favourites yet? :-D