Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Favorite Juice Recipe

Since I have been asked by a few people what my favorite juice recipe is, I decided to create a post about it.  It isn't Joe Cross' 'Green Machine' juice, although that is good too; I don't think I could drink that every day, all day.  My blend is a bit sweeter, based on the NutriBullet formula of half fruit, half veg.  If you like the taste of melon, this is a good standby and you can of course vary it with more veg or different fruits like strawberry and pineapple - both can also be added to the basic mixture here and it's also very good.  If you like a bit of spice, add a small knob of ginger - and with fresh ginger, less is more.  Add it in SMALL amounts.

I make this in the Ninja blender because I like my drink a bit thick and with micro-pureed bits.  I find the fiber really makes me feel full and the added benefit is that you don't get any of the constipation issues that drinking pure, filtered fiber-less juice can give you.

Basic Recipe Ingredients


1 Quart of Watermelon
1 Quart of Honeydew
1 Quart of Cantaloupe
1Quart of packed Spinach leaves (or 50/50 Spinach & Spring Mix Blend)
2 Apples
Water or ice as needed to blend to desired consistency
*Ginger, 1/2 to 1 inch peeled piece (optional)

If the ingredients are kept ice cold, it will not need any chilling.


Note:  The order of the ingredients doesn't matter except for the lighter spinach which needs to be added somewhere in the middle.

1.  Add Watermelon to Ninja Blender and process smooth.

2.  Add Honeydew and process smooth.

So now it should look something like this.  

3.  Pack Spinach leaves tightly into 1 quart container - about half of a large container of Spinach leaves.  

4.  Add Spinach to blender and top with heavier Cantaloupe pieces.

5.  Core the two apples - Do Not pulverize or blend the apple seeds as apple seeds contain amygdalin which degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized.  (See APPLE NOTE below)  Once you core the apples, add to the blender and blend until smooth.  Apples added to juice mixtures help to emulsify and thicken the mixture and adds a nice smoothness to the final juice.

6.  And voilĂ  ~ your juice is finished and ready to drink.

7.  I usually have 2 large glasses of this for a meal and it really is delicious and refreshing - as well as filling!  If I am extra hungry, I just have another glass.


Yes, in fact, if you eat enough apple seeds or cherry pits, you could die.  Unlikely, but definitely possible.

 Apple seeds contain amygdalin, a cyanide and sugar compound that degrades into hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when metabolized.     

Cherry pits, and seeds from related fruits, including peaches, plums, almonds, pears, and apricots, contain cyanogenic glycosides. The larger stone fruits contain potentially harmful amounts but their pits are usually very hard and tough so it's unlikely that you'd actually be able to eat it.

Your body can detoxify small quantities of cyanide compounds. If you accidentally eat a cherry pit in a pie or swallow an apple seed or two, you'll be fine. Actually, if you swallow several seeds whole, you would absorb a minimal amount of the toxic compounds. Chewing the seeds makes them much more hazardous to your health. Children and pets are much more likely to suffer poisoning from eating the seeds than adults.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

16 Days of Juicing & Light Protein - Progress Report

So as you can see from my daily weigh-ins, I am down from 201.4 to 194.2 in the past 15-16 days for a grand total in 15-16 days of 7 lbs. LOST.

My diet has consisted of my regular EXTRA LARGE Dunkin' Donuts coffee with cream and sugar in the morning, (which I am not giving up) and then a small blended fruit and veg smoothie are work via the NutriBullet mixer and usually 1/2 spring greens and spinach blended with a bit of water and fresh apple, strawberry and some other fresh fruit.

Then dinner is a chunky smoothie made of a quart of cantaloupe, a quart of honeydew, a quart of strawberries and watermelon as well as 2 cups of spinach and a small knob of peeled ginger.

To help us stay on track, we did have a regular Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving with all the trimmings (Thanks John & Lisa!) and 3 times in the 15-16 days, we had a bit of grilled salmon (grilled with salt and pepper), grilled chicken and some grilled lamb.

The juice blend I make actually helps me to stay awake and alert all day and it seems I already sleep better too!  Because we blitz the whole fruit and veg, we have plenty of fiber and I'm not hungry 5 minutes after drinking 2 large cups of juice.  So no constipation (a common pure straight juice juicing side effect), no hunger pangs and I feel overall better.

I think I'll keep on it for another week and see how I do ~ stay tuned!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The First 'Official' Three Days of Juicing

So it's Sunday afternoon and we are into Day 3 of the 'official' juice fast.  I am happy to report that neither of us is hungry, feels ill in any way or is cranky from 3 days of just juice.  I should qualify that we aren't drinking strictly just the 'green machine' juice as demonstrated in Joe Cross' "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" documentary.  We are making and drinking varied juice mixtures of approximately 50% fruits to 50% vegetables - and we are pulverizing the whole fruits and veg so that we get the extra added benefits of fiber and nutrition from consuming the entire fruit and veg.  So when I talk about juice in this blog, it really is more of a fruit and veg smoothie in our case as opposed to just the extracted juice.

We actually started a few days before the official start day of Friday, November 16, 2012 by creating and consuming a juice every night with dinner.  Because the juice was filling, we had about 2.5 cups of juice each first before sitting down to our normal dinner and since we had consumed the juice beforehand, we ended up eating about half of our dinner before we were full.  Then, amazingly enough, we felt full through the evening and well into the next morning.  I attribute this to the fact that we consumed a fruit/veg smoothie containing all the fiber of the fruit/veg used as opposed to just the juice.

I should also mention at this point that we also agreed that if either one of us started craving some meat or protein during this period, that we would be free to have a lean protein of some sort be it chicken or pork or beef for dinner to slake the craving and then continue on with the juicing.  I believe that anyone undertaking this type of endeavor can easily be derailed if it starts to feel too restrictive.  Perhaps a departure from Joe Cross' mentality but neither of us is morbidly obese and the goal is to be able to reach our respective desired weight goals and then to maintain the loss through incorporating juicing, a better diet and exercise.  It isn't just about how much weight can be lost or how fast it can be lost.  So no, we are not juicing on Thanksgiving Day.  I do have to say that with juicing, I am not really hungry so I'm not really worried that I'll turn into some out-of-control gluttonous maniac when I do decide to have a bite of food. I'll enjoy all the Thanksgiving goodies I like in moderation and then back to juicing on Black Friday.

With dinner the on the day that the Breville juicer arrived, we made the traditional Joe Cross 'Mean Green Juice' which is mostly veg with a green apple and a knob ginger for sweetness and punch.  A word of warning - try just a small knob of ginger for your first batch, I plopped in a one inch knob and it was plenty ginger-spicy!  Not bad for us but probably too spicy for most people.  The juicer worked perfectly and we had a smooth green juice with a slightly foamy head.  It was pretty good - less sweet than the 50/50 mixture trials we'd made before, but no less palatable.  All the juices were very good and very drinkable.  The only negatives (if you can call them negatives) are that they aren't the most visually appealing and they can smell a bit grassy - even if they don't taste that way.

If you have followed this portion of my blog from the beginning, you'll see that I purchased 3 different 'juicers'.  The NutriBullet, the Ninja Blender and a Breville Juicer  (The Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor).

Here are the differences in what they create:

The NutriBullet Smoothie

The NutriBullet - the NutriBullet (above) creates a smooth, emulsified mixture that has a creamy consistency like a milkshake - or smoothie.  No chunks, lumps, bumps - just creamy smooth, thick smoothies.

The Ninja Chunky-Smoothie

The Ninja Blender - the Ninja Blender (above) creates a chunky, less-emulsified mixture that has a creamy consistency with a lot of microbits of the fruit and veg.  We use minimal water to blend so it's thick and has the consistency of thick grits or farina.  It is very filling.

The Breville Smooth, Liquid Juice

The Breville Juicer - the Breville juicer (above) creates a smooth, completely liquid mixture that has the consistency of water or traditional extracted juice - no pulp, no solids.  

Here are a few favorite recipes from the first three days of the juice fast:

1.  Spinach, Beet Green, Cantaloupe and Watermelon - Ninja Blender

This mixture is very refreshing and lightly melony-sweet.

  • 1/2 7 oz. package of 50/50 spinach and beet greens (or 50/50 spinach and spring mix)
  • 1 quart of pre-cut cantaloupe
  • 1 quart of pre-cut watermelon
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water (or to taste for desired consistency)

Put all ingredients into the Ninja Blender and pulse to desired consistency.

2.  Spinach, Spring Mix Green, Strawberry and Apple - Ninja Blender

This mixture is also very refreshing and lightly tart-sweet.

  • 1/2 7 oz. package of 50/50 spinach and spring mix)
  • 1 quart of pre-cut strawberry
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, quartered and seeded - skin on. (apple seeds are not edible and can produce cyanide - do not blend or pulverize
  • 1 Honey Crsip Apple, quartered and seeded - skin on  (apple seeds are not edible and can produce cyanide - do not blend or pulverize
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup water (or to taste for desired juice consistency)

Put all ingredients into the Ninja Blender and pulse to desired consistency.

3.  Gazpacho - Ninja Blender

This mixture is savory and much like a traditional gazpacho in flavor.

  • 6 Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large English Cucumber (if using a waxy cucumber, peel)
  • 2 stalks Celery
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper 
  • 1/4 small Red Onion - or to taste
  • 1 Lime, peeled not seeded - or a splash of Sherry or Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup water or all-natural Bloody Mary mix
  • Parsley - optional and to taste - we liked it better without. *(see note)
  • Salt, Pepper & Garlic Powder (or Goya Adobo Seasoning) to taste

Put all ingredients into the Ninja Blender and pulse to desired consistency.

*NOTE:  The original recipe we tried used 2 cups of parsley, tops and stems.  It tasted good but it was closer in taste to Tabbouleh as opposed to Gazpacho due to the amount of parsley.

The red onion should also be used sparingly because it can overpower the mixture.

You can definitely use both lime and vinegar in the mixture if you like, but keep the final acidity of the drink in mind and perhaps use the lime in the blender then finish with a splash of vinegar on the finished drink before consuming.

Of course - the most important bit of this all is that I have lost 5+ pounds and Ed had lost 7+ pounds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

'Green Machine' Trial

Since the Breville Juicer arrived today, I decided that it was a great time to try the actual 'Green Machine' recipe used by Joe Cross in the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" documentary.  Joe drank it for 60 days and lost 100 lbs.  More importantly, I was dying to know how it tasted - because as you know, for me - taste is ultimately the difference between success and failure in this endeavor.

The recipe is simply what you see above in the first picture for this post:

  • 6 Kale Leaves
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Green Apples
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 piece of ginger

All of this gets put through the juicer - cut up, but unpeeled, unseeded. I forgot the kale so I substituted with 6 Romaine leaves.

The Breville juicer is a pretty piece of appliance to be sure and it looks impressive and there is even an ad for Joe Cross' documentary on it in sticker form - OMG!!  Make sure you REMOVE the sticker before using...

Anyhoo ~ I added all the ingredients into the wide mouthed chute - cut into halves or chunks but not peeled or seeded.  It's a bit loud but literally as fast as I could put them down the feed chute, the produce was blasted into pure, silky liquid form with a slight froth on top.

Vibrant green and actually very pretty - pure smooth watery, juicy liquid - unlike the pulverized smoothie mixture of the NutriBullet or the stone-ground look of the Ninja blender.

The recipe makes about four cups and so I poured two 16 oz.glasses of the classic 'Green Machine' and we clinked glasses and gave it a taste.  Now for the review:

It is very smooth and it is pure extracted juice - no pulp, fiber, or tiny un-blended bits - perfectly smooth juice the consistency of water almost.

The taste is not overly sweet - it is a predominantly a citrusy, veggie-like taste - but not unpleasant at all.  I hesitate to describe it as 'grassy' because that description has such a negative, off-putting description for most people.  I could taste the sweet-tart of the apples, the bright flavor of the lemon and definitely the spiciness of the ginger - I put in too big of a chunk of ginger and it was spicier than I anticipated.  Not bad for me but some might find it overpowering.  In any case, it went down smoothly and I have to say, I liked it - I could drink it regularly with no complaints at all.

Once I cleaned up the juicer - which was the biggest job in all of this - I dried it and put it back together quickly, ready to use tomorrow.  This is a very cool and powerful juicer, but definitely an appliance for the home because of the cleanup.

The NutriBullet is perfect for the office since it is the easiest and quickest cleanup and the Ninja blender could be used in either place because it also is a very easy cleanup - but it does not blend the veg/fruit mixture smooth like a lump and chunk-free smoothie.  The NutriBullet does that perfectly.

I also downloaded a FREE app for my iPhone called the Weight Recorder: so that I can track my weight during the whole process - you enter your data (height, current weight, goal weight etc.,)  and then start adding your weigh-in weights and it creates a graph for you and tracks your progress to your goal.

The countdown to 
Friday, November 13, 2012 
has begun!!!

Exploring Juicing

 Ok, so after doing a lot of reading on the web about juicing, juice fasts and juicers, I had discovered that juicers are not all the same.  There are basically five types, if you are interested – if not, skip past all that info and just go to what I bought LOL
Juicer Types
Masticating Juicers / Single Gear / Single Auger Juicers use a single gear or auger that literally chews fruit and vegetable fibers and breaks up the plant cells, resulting in more fiber, enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals. Masticating juicers are generally more efficient than Centrifugal juicers because they can extract more juice from the same amount of food (i.e. the pulp comes out drier). Masticating juicers are very capable at juicing virtually any fruit and vegetable, and single gear juicers will also extract juice from leaves and grasses, like wheatgrass, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and other leafy greens and herbs. 

(Note: the Champion Juicers are the exception and do not juice wheatgrass or greens very well).

Another benefit of masticating juicers is that they operate at slower speeds (RPMs) than centrifugal juicers, resulting in less foam and heat, which means more nutrition in your glass. The low speed also increases the shelf life of the juicer so that you can generally store your juicer for a few days. Masticating juicers are also more versatile than centrifugal juicers because, in addition to extracting juices, the these juicers also homogenize foods to make baby foods, pates, sauces, nut butters, banana ice creams and fruit sorbets. Some of these juicers can even extrude pasta and make bread sticks and rice cakes!
Upright Masticating Juicers are a revolutionary new patented design juicer with all of the high yield, low speed qualities of a standard Single Auger Masticating Juicer but in a space saving, upright design. With these juicers, the juice is first extracted through a crushing stage and, before the pulp is ejected, it is then squeezed during a second pressing stage; resulting in more juice, and extremely dry pulp. The low RPMs of these juicers ensure high yield and low waste. Upright Masticating juicers are very capable at juicing virtually any fruit and vegetable, and single gear juicers will also extract juice from leaves and grasses, like wheatgrass, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and other leafy greens and herbs.
Twin-Gear (Triturating) Juicers are the most expensive type of juicers, but they offer the most benefits. Twin gear juicers turn at even slower speeds (RPMs), resulting in even less oxidation from foam and less destruction of nutrients from heat. The low speeds also decrease the aeration and oxidation of the juicer, meaning you can refrigerate and store your juice for a few days.

Twin gear juicers are the most efficient type of juicer available and can extract higher yields of juice from fruits, vegetables, wheatgrass, pine needles, spinach, and other greens and herbs. The pulp that comes out of twin gear juicers is the driest of all the types of juicers. These juicers extract as much juice from wheatgrass as the wheatgrass-only type of juicers.

Twin gear juicers operate by pressing food between two interlocking roller gears. This juicing process yields a larger volume of juice. The high pressure squeezing force of the twin gears breaks open tough cell walls and releases more enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals.

Twin gear juicers do more than just extract juice, they homogenize to make baby foods, nut butters, fruit sorbets and many have optional or included attachments for making pasta, bread sticks, and rice cakes.
Centrifugal Juicers are the most popular and generally the most affordable type of juicer. In fact, most juicers available in department stores are centrifugal juice machines, but beware of machines with warranties of less than one year.

Centrifugal juicers are great at juicing most any fruit or vegetable and get the job done very easily and quickly. However, centrifugal juicers have a more difficult time effectively extracting high yields of juice from grassed and leafy foods like wheatgrass, spinach, lettuce, parsley and other greens and herbs. Centrifugal juicers will extract some juice from these greens, but far less than single or twin gear juicers.

Some Centrifugal juicers are available with large feeding chutes that allow whole foods to be juiced without the need to cut and prepare food into smaller pieces. Most, centrifugal juicers, however have oval shaped feeding chutes that are large enough for a half or at least a quarter of an apple.

Centrifugal type juicers first grate the fruit or vegetable into a pulp, and then uses centrifugal force to push the pulp against a strainer screen by spinning it at a very high RPM.

The advantages of centrifugal juicers are the speed at which a juicing job can be done, especially when juicing with a wide mouth juicer. There are several disadvantages as well. As mentioned above, centrifugal juicers are not effective grass and leaf juicers. Additionally, the pulp generated by a centrifugal juicer is still relatively wet, meaning that some juice goes to waste. Single gear juicers and twin gear juicers have higher yields (drier pulp) than centrifugal juicers.

Another disadvantage is the shelf life of the juice from a centrifugal juicer. Because of the high speed required to extract juice, the juice gets aerated, or in other words a great deal of oxygen is dissolved into the juice. The oxygen bubbles in the juice causes the juice to oxidize (spoil) quickly. As a result, the juice from a centrifugal juicer should be consumed right away and can't be effectively stored for any length of time without loss of nutritional value. If you wish to store juice, consider a low speed juicer like a single or twin gear juicer.
Wheatgrass Juicers are made exclusively for extracting the juice from wheatgrass and other leafy greens, as well as some soft fruits like grapes. Wheatgrass juicers are not made for extracting juice from vegetables and most fruits. Wheatgrass juicers are available in both electric and manual models.

(Note: all of the masticating (except Champion) and twin gear juicers are capable of extracting juice from wheatgrass)
I couldn’t wait for the Breville juicer (which is a centrifugal juicer) to arrive on Wednesday to at least start tasting what is going to be my source of food for the next week or two; so I ran to Target and bought a NutriBullet ($99) to give a sample juice recipe a try.

Since Target has fresh produce, I also picked up a package of Spring Mix, apples, bananas and blueberries.   The Spring Mix was organic, as I saw on the label later, but that was completely unintentional as I’m not really big on the organic produce as a rule.  I find organic produce to be usually double the price and not as nice or as large as the non-organic, but that’s just my opinion, anyway.

So I went back to the office and used the NutriBullet to whip up in seconds a drink consisting of:

  • 2 handfuls of Spring Mix
  • 1 cored apple
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • ½ cup of water

It did not look very appetizing but when I tasted it was very pleasantly surprised!!  

 It actually tasted really good!  Now this wasn’t a juice per se, because it was everything simply pureed smooth – like a natural smoothie.  When the ingredients are pureed, you get the added component of fiber that you don’t get from an extracted juice.  

In any case, the fact that it tasted really good gave me a LOT of hope that this is definitely an endeavor that can be undertaken.

I left the NutriBullet at the office to use there since it really is only made to make enough for one person at a time.

On my way home, I stopped at Walmart and picked up a Ninja Pulse Blender (on sale for $89) so I could try the same recipe I made at the office at home - with the addition of pineapple and pear (which was the actual recipe I had earlier, but I forgot to get the pear and pineapple).

Once home, at dinner time, I used the Ninja to make a drink using:

  • 1 container of Spring Mix
  • 1 pineapple, cored and cut into chunks
  • 2 cored apples, skin on
  • 2 cored pears, skin on
  • 2 peeled bananas
  • 2 handfuls of blueberries
  • ½ cup of water

Again – it did not look great and it actually came out a little more like thick pea soup because of the small amount of water but it did, once again, taste good. 

Ed liked the chunky stone-ground texture because he felt like it was more substantial. The pineapple made it a bit too sweet, believe it or not but I had about 3 cups of it.

I’d also bought a large Mexican papaya at the store since I love papaya and decided that I’d make a pure papaya smoothie to sip on as I worked at the computer.

I cut up the peeled, seeded papaya and whizzed it in the Ninja – it was not smooth like the yummy papaya smoothies I usually get at 30th St. Station (you know, the amazingly delicious ones with papaya, yogurt and probably gallons of sugar syrup) so I decided to add some whole milk and blended it until it was smooth and creamy.  It looked delicious – but wasn’t as good as the earlier mixtures.  It was definitely smooth, creamy, had a great milkshake-like mouth feel but it had a slightly astringent aftertaste.  Clearly why my favorite smoothie place loaded their pureed papaya up with yogurt and sugar syrup – it needed it!

However, as I had made a quart of it – I sipped it all down over 2 hours as I worked at the computer – as it was.  I got used to it and it wasn’t so bad in all honesty.

I got a good night’s sleep – went to bed feeling VERY full, but not uncomfortably full like if I had a dozen pierogies or anything like that.

It is now 12:45 in the afternoon and I am STILL not hungry LOL – I think that the addition of the fiber and pulp in last night’s mixtures really helped to make me and keep me feeling full.  So that little tidbit is definitely a ‘note to self’ about juicing.  If I’m feeling hungry, I’ll opt for a fiber and pulp full juice as opposed to a pure extracted liquid juice.

I have my Breville juicer now (a day early - yay!) so tonight I am going to try the classic ‘Green Machine’ recipe.

Tonight's Juice Recipe:

Mean Green Juice (original)

This is the official recipe used by Joe Cross and Phil Staples according to the Reboot Program.

  • 6 Kale Leaves
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Green Apples
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 piece of ginger

Stay tuned!!