Juicing is hot right now. Just last weekend I did a book signing with my new book, Juice It! in a bustling Coop, sitting by the juice bar. The line of people ordering juice often stretched down the aisle. The store was full of shoppers, many of them carrying a bright green, pink, or orange juice, sipping it through a straw.
(STAY TUNED FOR A BOOK GIVEWAY STARTING APRIL 27th!)
Fifteen years ago, the only juice bars in town were in the little macrobiotic store and the raw restaurant. Juicing was something a few of us were doing at home, with our ancient Champion juicers, or maybe a Jack LaLanne ordered from a TV infomercial. I’m sure that juice was flourishing on the Coasts, but it takes a while for trends to travel to the Midwest.
In the Coops and health food places where I worked, back in the day, there were always healthy juice people, buying 50 pound bags of organic carrots, and flats of wheat grass. It was also big in the cancer community, and we often got newly diagnosed cancer patients who were juicing daily as part of their treatment. Anecdotally, you would hear about people who had cured themselves by making carrot juice every day. It sounded like as good a plan as any.
But then the smoothie became ubiquitous, and fresh juices came along with it. We started reading about juice cleanses, and how people were doing them in groups, at work, to clean up their inner landscapes. Little juice making businesses sprung up everywhere, packing and delivering assorted bottles of the juices prescribed for these cleanses.
So what is really up with juice these days? Well, I hope that it’s not a passing fad. Most Americans don’t even get close the the minimum requirement of 2 1/2 cups of assorted veggies per day. Freshly pressed juices are a tasty and easy way to bridge that gap. Now that we have lots of evidence that vitamins in pill form are pretty much a waste of money, juices can fill the role of “nutritional insurance” that vitamins once held. Fresh vegetable juices are a better way to get a whole assortment of antioxidants and other plant chemicals that you would have to take handfuls of clunky pills to get.
So, if you want to make a commitment to health, it may be time to get into juicing. Spring is on the way (in some parts of the country!) and a nice, light glass of juice makes a great antidote to all the heavy food we have been consuming all winter.
Juicing has evolved from those days when we pumped out carrot juice to keep cancer at bay to a vibrant, and delicious new cuisine. Green juices are huge, now that we have embraced the greatness of Kale and spinach. The menu at that juice bar is not limited to the hard core healthy juices, either, with lots of fruity, fun juices with fruit and veggies blended for flavor as well as healthfulness. And why not?
So why juice at home? Well, you can save money, choose exactly what you want, and you get to keep the pulp! Now honestly, most of my pulp goes into compost. But there are lots of things you can do with it. Stocks, baked goods, it’s fun stuff.
That way, you get all the fiber that would have been in the veggies, but in a different form.
Try my tasty carrot-spice bars, and see how you like it!
1 cup pulp (from 1 pound carrots or so)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisin
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Oil a 9-inch square pan. Reserve.
In a medium bowl, stir the carrot pulp, oil and sucanat. In a cup, whisk the non-dairy milk and flax seed, then let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and lemon.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Stir the non-dairy milk mixture into the carrot pulp mixture and blend well, then stir into the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins just to combine.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and firm to the touch.