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Seasonal Chef: To juice or not to juice? That is the question.
Posted By Maria Reina On January 9, 2013 @ 12:41 pm In Columns,Recipes,Seasonal Chef | No Comments
The holidays are behind us now and everyone is making their New Years resolutions. Truth be told, I generally never make a bold statement of resolution. I pretty much feel that you should be resolving every day of your life to do better, live well and be happy. I have a little quote on my Facebook page that I saw many years ago that says “Life is not measure in the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” Living each day to the fullest and as healthy as possible is pretty key to my happiness.
Last week there was an article in the paper by Linda Lombrosco titled Jump-start January with juicing.  I have been thinking about buying a juicer for a few months and reading the article gave me the final nudge I needed. After a little research on machines and consulting with my juicing-goddess friend Sandi Benz in California, I had a plan. Armed with my 20% off coupon I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up the Breville.
First let me say that the footprint of this model is on the larger size. So unless you have space on your counter be prepared to pull it in and out of the cabinet or closet. After a little countertop reorganizing I said adios to my molcajete and sent it packing to the pantry.
There are basically six removable pieces to the machine, seven if you count the little brush. By the looks of it you would think it to take a long time to clean, but it comes apart in a snap and cleans up in less than 5 minutes.
The first thing you notice when you juice is all the pulp left behind in the grey container. The chef in me was thinking “what a shame to throw that out.” Apparently not the case. That can be used to flavor stocks and sauces – but more research on my part will be needed for that! What you do get is a clean crisp and delicious juice, filled with tons of vitamins and nutrients.
More after the jump ….
But the whole pulp-left-behind idea was weighing on me, so I decided to seek out some advice from a couple of friends. First I called a fellow chef who I met on the Farmers Market circuit last year, Marti Wolfson , a New York City based natural food educator. We talked at length about the upside to juicing and how it’s a great way to get a whole variety of fruit and vegetable nutrient and vitamins compacted in one glass. “Juicing is a great way to give your body a break and calm down your digestive system,” Marti explained, “but it should not be an all or nothing proposition.”
So what is the downside?  Sadly, there some in life! Aside from the fiber that is left behind, you could experience a spike in your glucose level. What is coming out of the juicer is natural, but sugar non-the-less. Common sense would tell me that my body needs a compliment of both vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Let’s face it, fiber is what “moves” the toxins out of our body.
On another call with my friend Kathy McArdle, Administrator of the Sarah Neuman Center and Registered Dietician, we talked at length about the virtues of eating a well rounded diet which includes fat, protein, vitamins, nutrients and fiber. The key Kathy explained is “portion control.”
So where does that leave me and my new juicer? The creativity of it all knows no bounds in my mind. In just the few days of having it I’ve made 4 different concoctions that both Larry and I really enjoyed. Topping the list was a juice made with 1 starfruit, 2 granny smith apples and a couple of slivers of lemon. It was bright, tangy and sweet.
My second favorite, was a little surprising: a pear and parsnip combo. That was actually in the booklet that came with the machine. I love pear juice and the parsnip added a very interesting dimension to the flavor.
One last important bit of information I read on numerous health sites including the Mayo Clinic , was to take care to drink your creations pretty quickly, or at the very least within 24 hours. Light and air will immediately begin to affect the quality of the juice and potentially harmful bacteria will follow. No sense in getting sick when you are trying to be healthy, right? That said, I have the perfect container for my juice, and to remind me of our girl living so far away! Yes, it will be in the ‘fridge, but probably never more than 8 hours. My goal is to juice at night so we have something fresh to drink in the morning.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on juicing and if you have any special recipes for me to try. Below is one that was sent to me by former Small Bites blogger JL Fields . It’s bright, zippy and herbaceous.
Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina  comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She’s an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmers, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog , which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook , Twitter  and Pinterest .
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URLs in this post:
 Jump-start January with juicing.: http://www.lohud.com/article/20130102/LIFESTYLE01/301020037/Jump-start-January-juicing
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 Marti Wolfson: http://www.martiwolfson.com/about/
 downside?: http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/05/04/pros-and-cons-juicing
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 Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/juicing/AN02107
 JL Fields: http://jlgoesvegan.com
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 Maria Reina: http://www.bellacucinamaria.com/
 blog: http://www.bellacucinamaria.blogspot.com/
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bella-Cucina-Maria/16353308626
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