Juicing is definitely trendy right now and everyone seems to be talking about the miracle wonders of juicing fruits and veggies. There are juice based therapies battling different cancers and diseases, super popular documentary films, and YouTube videos explaining fasts, diets, and trends. While these sources are well intended and carry lots of good information, their effects on BC may not ultimately be the most desired.
Let’s get this one part out of the way right away. I juice, therefore I am. I juice green veggies religiously. Not because I like the taste of the juice or the wonderful effects that I notice immediately upon consumption, but because I know I have to in order to get the necessary nutrients my body needs. Juicing is part of my life now like breathing, but it wasn’t always like this. I was the kid sitting at the dinner table for hours, refusing to finish my vegetables. In 32 years, cucumber was the only green thing I had ever eaten. No salads or green beans for this girl. No carrots or cheese covered broccoli either. There was no dressing, cheese, or any other condiment that would convince me to eat veggies. I believe that this nutrient deficiency was a significant factor in my body allowing a disease like breast cancer to enter the scene.
In the last few years I have learned that cruciferous vegetables are the healthiest food available to humans especially those of us with BC. The vibrant deep colors we see in greens like kale or cabbage are the essence of life, thanks to the help of our friend sunshine. The brighter and crisper the vegetable, the more goodness it has in it. The flip side is that I need to eat a lot of veggies to provide myself with the nutrients necessary to ramp up my body for optimal health. I still do not like eating veggies. The key for me is juicing. Unlocking one molecule at a time, I fill my glass with a whole bunch of fresh kale, a few carrots, a peeled lemon and a taste of ginger.
The conventional wisdom has it that green juice needs to be enjoyable for sipping like an appletini or chardonnay. Many juicers will tell you how delicious the juice is and how much they enjoy their morning green drink. Fruit is often added to trick the taste buds and make the dandelion or broccoli juice palatable. But I believe it defeats the entire point of juicing the greens. Fruit juice is one of BC’s best friends because it contains lots of sugar which feed the cancer cells. That’s not what I want to do! So I prefer to eat my fruits and juice my veggies. I love having fruit as a snack or for breakfast. I don’t pretend to love or even like the taste of green juice so I take it like medicine. I drink my 9oz glass just like a shooter as fast as I can and then chase it with a few small sips of concord grape juice. The trade off seems fair to me since red grapes contain resveratrol (good for me) and I don’t have to juice a whole pineapple or mango to dilute the green juice. When I first started juicing, it took me a long time to tip the glass into my mouth. I had a ritual dance (which I still perform often) and a countdown. My husband once told me that I reminded him of Tom Brady in the huddle getting the Pats fired up. Today, if I miss a day, I feel a strange craving for a green juice. Not a craving for a taste like pizza or chocolate but it feels like my body is looking for a fix. There is a certain energy that comes over me when I drink the green, making by body buzz.
So what green stuff do I juice? If it has green or purple leaves, I am juicing it! Dyno kale, curly kale, purple kale, green and red dandelion, collard greens, chard of all colors, green and purple Cabbage, watercress, romaine lettuce, spinach and broccoli. I even pluck the greens off the beets if they look good and stuff them in my juicer. Cauliflower, carrots, ginger, lemons, turmeric root, red and golden beets are all very good for me, make the juicer work smoother and mellow out the green tonic.
What do I not juice? Arugula! I did once (and only once) and personally it left a bad taste in my mouth, literally. That stuff is so strong that I can still taste it two years later, but I do know some people that love it. I also do not juice herbs because I eat them. The truth is that I never ate herbs before, but the discovery of cilantro in Thai food, basil in Italian dishes, parsley in soups and dill weed in my husband’s Russian potatoes made me appreciate these delicacies. In fact, I love herbs so much now I use them in most of my dishes and have an herb garden to feed my jones. Many people use cucumber or celery as the base of their green juices. I do not do this because I think it waters down and overpowers the juice and requires you to drink many more ounces of liquid to get the same vitamin benefit I get from my 9oz shooter.
Most of the time I juice a bunch or two of the green leaves like kale and spinach with carrots, lemon, and ginger. I try to rotate the greens and use turmeric root if it looks good. Sometimes I get real crazy and marry tomatoes, peppers, celery and other V8ish stuff together. Sweet potato juice? Yes, please! Cranberries or carrots with green sour apples? Heck yea!
How do I know that juicing is helping my BC? To be honest, I don’t. What I do know is that in the two plus years I have been juicing, I have not gotten a long lasting cold or flu. Before my diagnosis and dramatic lifestyle 180 degree flip, I was always nursing some sickness, asthma, or allergy symptoms. Since introducing juicing and a whole foods diet into my life, my immune system seems to be incredibly resilient. Occasionally I notice a sniffle or sore throat coming on, but I just kick up my juice intake and my body fights it off before I come down with a full fledge sickness. Maybe it’s a placebo effect because I believe that with every glass I tip back and every good food choice I make, I am giving my body the best chance possible to fight off any rogue cancer cells that my conventional BC treatment may not have destroyed.
Here is to green juice and all of the wonderful things it brings to the body. So, do a little a dance. Do a little count down. Pinch your nose. Stomp your feet. Do what you gotta and drink the juice. Cheers!
Here is the recipe for one of my daily green juice staples.
- One bunch of kale
- One handful of spinach
- 2-3 medium sized carrots
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1 thumb size knob of ginger
- Thoroughly wash all veggies.
- Chop kale, carrots, and ginger.
- Peel the lemon and cut into wedges.
- Feed ingredients into the juicer by alternating veggies.
- Use the carrot pieces to push the leaves through.
- Repeat until all veggies have been juiced.
- Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
*Scoop out any foam you may get and stir.
*I use all of the kale, including the stalks.
*No need to peel the ginger.
*If you are going to store the juice, fill the jar to the rim to avoid oxidation.
*If you are using mason jars, check out the BPA free plastic lids.