“People are looking to staying fit and agile and as they age they have the patience to try any meaningful way to do it,” says Pat Crocker, a culinary herbalist and home economist.
And her simple remedy to better health for any age group is to capture the benefits of juicing.
As juicing bars and “elixir cafes” spring up in cities across North America one might think it is just another trend.
Not so, Crocker says. It is really a centuries-old health practice revived in this age of over-refined, chemical-laden non-food, she says. In an effort to guide those who want to make juicing a regular activity, her book “The Juicing Bible” (Robert Rose, $27.95, paperback) has been updated.
First published in 2000, the new edition has 100 new recipes to create fruit and vegetable juices, tonics, cleansers, digestives, teas, smoothies, milk and coffee substitutes and frozen treats.
Also new to the book are details on juicing therapy for 80 common conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, depression, quitting smoking, menopause and migraine headaches.
As a regular juicer, Crocker and her husband prepare juices once or twice a day to enjoy fruits and vegetables at their peak of freshness.
Here are several useful tips on the method and equipment.
“You want to purchase a good juicer because if you don't, you will be disappointed by the outcome,” she says.
Also as they become more popular for home use, the prices are dropping, Crocker says, and no matter what the price “it is an investment in your health.”
Her ideal juicer is made from stainless steel with a basket that continually spins and ejects the pulp from the produce and separates the juice. “You don't have to stop the machine every time the basket gets full, which can be a pain,” says Crocker.
Her juicer has only three parts, “so it is easy to put together, easy to clean and it doesn't have all those gadgets that you have to clean.”
Crocker says besides the juicer you will need a really good blender.
“The difference is when you are blending you are using the whole fruit or vegetable. So you are getting all the fibre in a blended drink.
“With a juicer you are separating out fibre so the nutrients are absorbed into your bloodstream and it passes into your stomach and gives your liver and kidneys a rest. And you are flushing your cells with nutrients.”
Most important with either method is that the produce be fresh to receive the optimal nutritional benefits.
“Even in winter it is amazing how fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, winter pears and root vegetables juice beautifully,” Crocker says. “And frozen fruits and vegetables are perfect for juicing as they are high in nutrients as well.”
Here from the book are two recipes, one for vegetables, the other for fruit.
8 fresh spinach leaves
2 kale leaves
1 beet, top intact
2 stalks celery
Using a juicer, process spinach, kale, beet, beet top, celery and apple. Whisk and pour into a glass.
Makes 1 serving.
3 nectarines, pitted
2 fresh apricots, pitted
250 ml (1 cup) blueberries
4 peaches, pitted
2 plums, pitted
Using a juicer, process all the fruits. Whisk and pour into glasses.
Makes 2 servings.
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