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When the Glass Is Greener

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I finally took the plunge.

After months of reading up on the pros and cons of juicing and following enlightened advocates like Kris Carr and Joe Cross, I decided to give it a try.

First I had to find the juicer. My husband, David, had purchased a Breville when I was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago thinking we (he) would juice my way to better health. I don't recall him ever using it, and certainly I never did! I never really cooked, blended, juiced or even brewed my own cup of coffee until A.C. (After Cancer) when I became an enlightened eater and born again cook.

I forgot we actually had a juicer and first tried to liquefy fruits and vegetables in my KitchenAid blender. But there was too much debris floating around after I finished including stems and leaves and something that tasted like plastic wrap that was probably from the bottle of coconut water I opened. I concluded that blenders are better for making smoothies and frozen daiquiris.

Once David dug out the juicer from the back of the cabinet I gave it a try. I started with my least favorite raw vegetables: celery, kale and carrots. I figured if they were liquefied I would enjoy them more. I first added a mango for sweetening with lemon juice and ginger for flavor balance. Once I got on a juicing roll I tried fresh peaches.

OK, I get it! It was easier than expected and fun to try different flavor combinations. I loved the pure flavors and the energetic "high" from drinking a glass of fresh juice. OK, the "high" is a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like a feeling of knowing you learned something new and enjoy that involves being in the kitchen. Usually I only drink fresh juice when we're on vacation, usually fresh orange or grapefruit juice. Maybe the "high" was feeling (sort of) like being on vacation.

I know I wrote several weeks back that "Liquid Diets Are Not My Cup of Tea." And they're not. I believe everyone should "Just chew it!" But, if you are going liquid, go fresh, and if you don't like your veggies raw or cooked, try drinking them. Mix it up the flavors with different combinations of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Sometimes I just juice my leftover dinner salad, and in the evening add a little vodka or gin for a delicious cocktail. It can be fun to play with your food!

Practically speaking, drinking fresh juice is a better alternative to consuming sugary sodas, and making your own juice beats buying them at $6-$9 a bottle at the local market. Kids and stubborn grown-ups, including my 80-year-old mother, who may not like eating their vegetables might enjoy drinking them. Now let's see if consuming all this fresh juice plus all the whole fruits and vegetables we are eating on a regular basis anyway will give me glowing skin, more energy and libido and overall well-being. Truthfully, a balanced diet coupled with exercise and plenty of sleep will achieve the same goals.

Here's what I do know: The gas is also greener. All this juicing makes me flatulent. Maybe it's because juicing removes the fiber in whole fruits and vegetables; that what's in the leftover pulp. Now I'm on a mission to figure out what to do with all the pulp rather than waste it. I'm going to try adding it to pastas and making a pulpy-yogurt dip. Suggestions are welcome!