Plant-Based Chapters + CocoBeet Concoction Juice!

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What happens when a light sleeper gets bombarded with 23 texts at 3 in the morning?  An overly productive morning and a Rent sing-a-long.  Oh, and lots of juice!  I’m a big advocate for making use of everything in my kitchen, and that includes the stalks of broccoli I saved after using the florets for soup the other night.  Using broccoli stems as the base, I threw in some beets and carrots, and a whole bunch of cilantro.  To top it off, I added some coconut water to the end product. Holy yum!

CocoBeet Concoction

  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 beets
  • 2 stems broccoli (or 1 whole head broccoli)
  • 8 oz. natural coconut water

Add the coconut water after juicing all vegetables.  Enjoy!

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Does your kitchen look like this at 3:30 in the morning?  I think my neighbors are hating me through our very thin walls right now.  At least Bran isn’t terrified of the noise anymore.

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I’m so chill while mom juices.  Sometimes I get to eat the pulp!

Last night, I had dinner & drinks with a good friend who has been a vegan for years, and we got to talking about things that changed for us when we made the transition.  She started talking about different “chapters” in the life of someone adopting a plant-based diet, and seeing as it’s been almost a year since I fully dedicated myself to adopting a plant-based lifestyle, I’m seeing truth to her theory.

One of the big changes we talked about was the amount of alcohol we consumed.  I thought I was just out of the “college phase” and that was the explanation for my abrupt drop in tolerance for cocktails.  Nope.  Turns out a plant-based diet can lower tolerance over time, and it makes sense.  Lowering processed food intake and eliminating animal products altogether makes for one very clean and efficient machine of a body!  Nothing to clog up digestion or block absorption of nutrients; this holds true for alcohol as well.

You can take one of two approaches with your attitude in regards to this.  You can be upset about the fact that keg-stands are probably not going to stand in your life much longer, or you can get as stoked as I was about not having to buy 3 or 4 beers since I’m satisfied with one or two now!

Sorry for the short post, but I’m off to enjoy my juice and save the world one puppy at a time.  I’ll be posting more this week, so don’t worry!

Happy Juicing!

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How to Make Time For Juicing in Your Already Busy Life

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Now that the Polar Vortex of 2014 is finally over (fingers crossed!), 14 degrees on a Wednesday morning is practically Spring Break weather!  I’ve been doing my best to stay healthy during this cold and icky germ season, and one of my most powerful weapons (besides the holster of Purell on my belt) is juice.  Not Day-Quil.  Not a packet of Emergen-C.  Just good ol’ veggies and fruits and all the goodness they provide.  

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It’s not easy to think about health when it looks like this outside!

I’m not gonna lie; I woke up Monday morning feeling foggy, with a tickle in my throat and pressure in my ears.  I pretty much dove towards my juicer as soon as I woke up and made a couple “shots” of Flu Buster Juice (1 lemon, 1-2 inches ginger, 4-6 garlic cloves, dash of cayenne on top)..  Hands down, better than any cough syrup I could have tried, and immediately my throat was like “thank you, thank you!”  I also made a big pot of green vegetable soup, which I swear will cure anything you’ve got!  I’m still working on perfecting the recipe, though, so look for an upcoming post about it!

It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of “I don’t have time to juice”.  I’m not criticizing; I’ve been there too!  As a part of my New Year’s Resolution, I decided that I needed to make a conscious effort to juice more.  Now, I’m not saying every single day, because things happen.  I’m not going to set myself up for failure, and neither should you.  I want to get as close to that mark as possible, though, and I know that the “time” factor can definitely affect anyone’s juicing habits.  Lucky for you, I did a little experiment in my kitchen this morning to help debunk (even to me) the “I don’t have time for juicing” myth.  

Steel-cut oats have been my go-to breakfast lately, so I started the water boiling to make some.  These take about a half hour to cook, so after throwing in the oats, I started prepping my veggies:

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I was already throwing carrots into the juice, so I cut up a few extra to bring as a snack to campus with me.  Then I juiced my delicious concoction and scrubbed down the juicer.  Surprise, surprise, my oats were still cooking by the time this was all done.  I had time to make a bag of trail mix for class as well before my oats were ready to go.  Within 40 minutes of waking up, this is what I had to show for myself (on top of making hot lemon water, drinking my supplement, and taking my vitamins):

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Not too shabby if I do say so myself!  I know some of you are thinking “I don’t have 40 minutes between waking up and leaving my house to get all this stuff ready.”  Okay, but in all fairness, the juicing took ~15 minutes total, and the rest of the time went to making tea, mixing trail mix, stirring my oats, and cutting up veggies for my midday snack.  You can always stick to doing the juicing alone, but my morning routine requires some waiting around (like when I’m cooking breakfasts like steel-cut oats or an apple bake), so why not spend that time being productive?  I even got some packing done!  Side note: I’m so happy I’ll be moving into an apartment without such crappy lighting soon! My pictures are going to look so much nicer.

What I’m trying to say is that everyone can sneak in healthy habits where they might not realize they’ve got a little time to kill!  When I’m not using my “oat-cooking” time to make juice, I spend it practicing yoga or meditating, or even reading for school.  Whether you juice, sneak in a workout, read the paper, or write in a journal, making choices that are kind to your body & mind, especially in the morning, can really set the tone for the kind of day you want to have.  I find that when I take the time to make myself a yummy juice like the Broccoli Citrus Blast I’m about to share with you, I feel good about myself, and I radiate that goodness and project my positive attitude onto others.  Try it! You will feel great, I promise!

Time for the juice!

Broccoli Citrus Blast

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks celery

Juice and Enjoy! It may not be the prettiest of colors (orange and green don’t exactly mix to create a sparkly rainbow) but it’s delicious, I promise!  Feel free to add a granny smith apple as well; I didn’t have any on hand but I’m sure it would have been delicious!

Stay Well & Happy Juicing!

14 Popular Juice Recipes

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2 posts in one day… I’m a wild woman!  I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and I’ve had a few readers requesting these juicer recipes for a couple months now.  Being my uber-productive self, I finished one of my deadlines early this afternoon (I believe Starbucks may have contributed), and what better study break is there than blogging?  I know this blog is for “The Juice Junky” in all of us, but my new-found discovery of plant-based vegan recipes and holistic health practices can sometimes overshadow the juicing aspect you all come here for!  

I have compiled a list of the 14 most popular juice recipes to share with you.  Keep in mind, these are the most common recipes that I use myself, but there are obviously thousands of recipes that others may see as more popular than the ones listed here.  Also to keep in mind for those new to the juicing practice, these recipes are only a guideline.  Don’t be like “I have everything but the apple for this recipe so I guess I can’t make that one…”  Feel free to mix and match!  Once you get the hang of this crazy awesome world of juicing, you may move away from the recipes (I know I definitely have)  and follow the general 80/20 rule while creating your own delicious concoctions!  

The 80/20 Rule: You are not only allowed to make up your own juice recipes, you are encouraged to!  Like I said before, you may not have all the ingredients for a specific recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sub out apples for oranges or cucumber for celery, or even just omit an ingredient altogether (I can’t handle juicing radishes, no matter how many times I try!  I leave those suckers out of any recipe calling for them).  This brings us to the 80/20 rule: When creating your own juice recipes, the general guideline is to make your creation ~80% vegetables (preferably greens!) and ~20% fruits. You can ALWAYS up the vegetable percentage!

Fruit juice is okay in moderation (I mentioned making apple juice in my previous post), but it’s something that should be done as a “once-in-a-while-treat” basis.  When fructose (fancy word for fruit sugar) is consumed without being coupled with fiber (fiber is removed during the juicing process) there is nothing from stopping the fructose from flooding the liver in one heavy hit.  Eating an apple is okay, because the fiber combats the fructose and acts as a sort of “time-release” mechanism.  Drinking apple juice, there is no fiber, so the digestive system is hit with all that fructose at once, which can be detrimental in high doses.  I can go into detail on this in a later post if you’d like; just comment below and let me know!

Okay, enough science junk.  I’m the one in school, not you.  Time for the yummy part of juicing!  Without further ado, I give you my list of the 14 most popular juices in my kitchen! That’s one new juice a day for two weeks! Please share your juice recipes and experiments in the comment section below!

Heavy Metal Detox

  • 1/2 pineapple core
  • 1 small Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Lemon (peeled of not organic)
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 small head of Romaine
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/2 bunch kale

When the liver detoxifies, it sends those toxins to the intestines with the intention of getting them out of the body.  Many heavy metals going through this process end up being reabsorbed into the bloodstream repetitively.  Cilantro binds to these metals in the body and carries them through the intestinal tract so they are excreted once and for all, and don’t get reabsorbed, or stay in risky places like the brain.

ABC (a.k.a Fruit Punch)

  • 2 apples
  • 2 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pear (optional)

Ultimate Beet

  • 1 beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 apple

Mean Green (Original)

  • 2 small apples
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 4 stalks celery

Carrot Cucumber

  • 4-6 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 beet
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1 inch ginger root

Flu-Buster (I swear by this!)

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 4-6 whole cloves garlic

JUST SHOOT IT!  You will feel instantly invigorated; I promise!  Shoot it even when you’re not sick.  When your throat is sore though, this shot will coat it and you will feel improvement within minutes.

Cucumber Beet

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 beet
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Simple Cucumber Love

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 lemon (peeled if  not organic)

Cucumber Apple

  • 2 stalks fennel
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 handful mint
  • 1 inch ginger root

Perfect Skin

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (I prefer yellow, but red or green work too!  Purple is not my favorite)

Operation Detox

  • 1 tomato
  • 5 spears asparagus
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon

Hangover Cure

  • 1 bunch dandelion greens
  • 4 carrots
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Mango Salsa (my favorite “dinner” on a juice cleanse!)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 mango (pitted)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 jalapeno (discard seeds)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 lime (peeled if not organic)

Greens on Greens on Greens (my personal concoction)

  • 1 bunch celery (~10-11 stalks)
  • 1/2-1 bunch kale
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled if not organic)
  • 2 inches ginger root

When all else fails, there is this awesome infographic from CrazySexyJuice.com to help guide new juicers on their own juice-creation journey.  Definitely check this website out; Kris Carr is amazing and she is a true inspiration to anyone looking to improve their health through nutrition.

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Again, please feel free to comment and tell me about your favorite juice concoctions and kitchen experiments!

Happy Juicing!

Back to School: Morning Routines & Juice

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Loving this chill in the air!  Autumn is on its way and my apartment smells FANTASTIC with all these Autumn-y additions!  I bought cloves and squash yesterday and got so excited!  Pumpkin smoothies are just around the corner!  Currently, my entire apartment is smelling like the vegetable stock I’ve got on the stove, and it’s making my mouth water.  If you haven’t seen my post on making vegetable stock, check it out here.  It is so simple and easy, and if you don’t have juicer pulp, you can always save up your kitchen scraps in an airtight container and use those!  That’s what I did today.  I made ratatouille last week as well as some vegetable soup, and had plenty of scraps to make stock this morning.  I also used basil, rosemary, and thyme from my herb garden.  I may never wash my hands again; they always smell so divine after picking fresh herbs! 

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I’ve started to get into a morning routine now that classes have resumed.  For those of you who don’t know, I am in graduate school at Case Western Reserve University pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health.  I like to wake up, shuffle into the kitchen to put the teapot on the stove, and drink a nice, hot glass of water with a lemon wedge squeezed in.  I find that if I do that before anything else, even breakfast or a workout, it really makes me feel invigorated and ready to start the day!  After my lemon water is downed and I’m caught up on important things like Facebook and Pinterest news, I do a 30-50 minute yoga routine.  My favorite place to find at-home yoga routines is here.  All the routines are free, and yoga is my way of creating an oasis in what I know is going to be a crazy day!  Then it’s juice time.

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My juice today was very reflective of this mildly chilly weather.  I also used other vegetable scraps to make it, like broccoli, zucchini, and tomato.  To add a bit of sweet, I juiced the apple cores I saved from a couple of apples I ate yesterday.  Pretty yummy and not too sweet, and very green!  Not to mention, the perfect fuel for my studies!

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For those of you resuming classes, may the curve be ever in your favor!  For everyone else, keep doing what you’re doing!  Just because the weather is changing doesn’t mean it’s time to slack on your health!

Stay healthy, and stay HAPPY!

Cauliflower Alfredo

caulifredo landscape

Two short days stand between me and my Clean Eating Challenge, and I have to say I’m getting pretty excited!  I’m so pumped for this coming week, and you should be, too!  I have some great recipes and juices to share, and I can’t wait to expand my foodie experience, not to mention feel like a beast! How do I know I’m gonna feel great?  It’s simple. “I feel bloated and sick and weighed down after eating all these vegetables”….. said no one ever.  Good food does good things for your body, and cutting out the bad stuff (refined sugars, white flours, etc.) just makes more room in the diet for the good stuff!

Okay, so in anticipation of the week ahead, I may or may not have pounded down half a loaf of bread last night while searching for raw food recipes.  Bread is my kryptonite.  Well, carbs in general, but mostly bread.  I purposely don’t buy bread or pasta because if it’s in the house, I can’t help but binge on the stuff!  I think it has some to do with the fact that my Italian heritage had living on a healthy diet of spaghetti and bruschetta throughout my childhood.  They’re two of my go-to comfort foods when I’m missing home.  Bread isn’t always the most nutritionally dense food, though, and come Sunday, it’s gonna be Adios baguette and hola okra.

With carbs on the brain, I wanted to share with you one last cooked recipe before the raw ones appear on Sunday.  One of the hardest things for me to give up when I went vegan was creamy Alfredo sauce to put over my pasta.  I found a pretty tasty alternative, though, using cauliflower as the base.  Even if you aren’t the biggest cauliflower fan, you should try this!  It’s very creamy and is so good on a bowl of whole wheat pasta!

caulifredo portrait

Cauliflower Alfredo

  • 2 cups raw cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 3 tsp Earth Balance
  • 1 cup homemade almond milk (any other non-dairy sub will work, too)
  • ½ cup non-dairy cheese of your choice, or nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup broccoli florets

Throw everything except broccoli into a pot and bring to a boil.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is very tender.

Pour everything into your Ninja, Vitamix, or other blender and completely pulverize it!

Serve your delicious new sauce over whole wheat angel hair or elbow pasta, and mix in some raw broccoli florets while you’re at it!  Enjoy!

Clean Eating Cleanse + My First Turnip!

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Where has the summer gone?  It’s already August and that means school, sweaters, and squash season are all right around the corner!  I can’t wait.  Autumn is my favorite time of year, and pumpkins are sort of a small obsession of mine. Pumpkin pies, roasted pumpkin seeds, and, of course, pumpkin smoothies! Yummm.  Okay, my mouth is watering now.  Point is, summer will be drawing to a close, and to quote one of my favorite books, “Winter is coming.”  Fasting and cleanses are pretty much non-existent in the winter thanks to a busy school schedule and cold weather, not to mention the fact that many of the yummy foods I eat during cleanses like cantaloupe, berries, and bell peppers won’t be in season.  Sad face.  Even though summer technically draws to a close in mid-September, us students must wave goodbye early, at the end of August, when classes begin and life gets put on hold until December.  So while I’m definitely excited for my kitchen to transition with the seasons, I’ll be gearing up for another cleanse starting next week in order to get my body one final reboot before my sweater-wearing, snow boot-loving, hibernation instincts take over!

One part of winter I won't be looking forward to is not being able to sit out on the river and enjoy my morning bagel!

One part of winter I won’t be looking forward to is not being able to sit out on the river and enjoy my morning bagel!

I’m still in the process of piecing together the “rules” for this Clean Eating Cleanse, partly because I think rules are silly.  For those that know me, I’m not a believer in mass-produced diet schemes, rather finding healthy alternatives that work for my lifestyle in particular.  That’s what I encourage everyone to do.  I obviously love my juice, but it’s not like I tell my followers “You HAVE to substitute 2 meals a day with juice” or “If you don’t do a juice fast for 10 whole days, you’ll never be healthy.”  That’s just ridiculous!  In my book, every health-conscious decision you make, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction!  Do you make fresh juice every day? Every couple weeks? Once a month?  Good for you!  I won’t lie, some nights I’m just too exhausted after working 10 or 11 hours to make a home cooked meal, and I’ll admit that I DO reach up to the tippy top shelf of my pantry for the Ramen noodles I tried to hide from myself.  It happens.  Health isn’t about perfection, people; it’s about progress.  Baby steps in the right direction eventually turn into miles and miles in the right direction! That all being said, I would like this cleanse to be yet another stepping stone in the right direction.

So what’s the general idea behind this Clean Eating Cleanse I’m about to embark on?  It’s exactly what it sounds like: 10 days of eating nothing but whole, fresh, unprocessed foods.  This means no Ramen (my heart is breaking a little).  This means no Franks Red Hot (I put that s*** on everything!).  This means no Oreos or tortilla chips or Earth Balance.  For a week and a half, I want to attempt a few raw recipes, as well as focus on vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and seeds exclusively.  Oh, and juice of course!  Substituting one meal for a green juice every day is good practice to begin with, so I definitely want to stick to that whilst on this cleanse!  It took me 6 months to fully transition to veganism, and though I’ve been a full-fledged veganista for 5 months and 16 days, I’ve still only scratched the surface when it comes to finding new foods.  Cleanses and special goals like this help expand my world, and I’ve never been one to stand stationary for too long; I love trying and experiencing new things, no matter what realm of life they’re in!

Take tonight for example.  Tonight, I had my first turnip.  Did you know turnips are little white radish-looking things?  I had no idea (says the girl who learned how to cook rice at 22)!  I made broccoli soup for dinner using the recipe my mother has sworn by since before I was born, and threw in some cubed turnips.  I don’t know anyone else’s take on cooked turnips, especially in soups, but in my opinion they almost had a meaty texture, and added some much-appreciated bulk.  I know most people are probably used to the traditional, cream-based, broccoli-cheese soup, but my mother always made us a water-based broccoli soup growing up, and that is what I made tonight. Ahhhh, mother’s cooking.  That’s a blog post all its own though.  For now, I’ll just say that turnips are now about to be a staple during grocery trips and I’m positively delighted about that!

What new foods have you tried lately?  What did you think?

6 cups water 2 tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic 2 small stalks broccoli (cut into bite-sized pieces) 5 turnips, peeled & cubed 1 bay leaf 1.5 tsp Old Bay 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper 1/2 onion, chopped Bring water to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (pasta optional for a bulkier meal.  I like ancine di pepe noodles) Enjoy!

6 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 small stalks broccoli (cut into bite-sized pieces)
5 turnips, peeled & cubed
1 bay leaf
1.5 tsp Old Bay
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
Bring water to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (pasta optional for a bulkier meal. I like ancine di pepe noodles) Enjoy!