How I do juicing…

(Before I get into this post where I write about my thoughts on juicing, I want to say that I’ve come to believe diet and health are completely individual and idiosyncratic and that while advice from the internet is great, the best thing we can all do for our health is get better at tuning in to our personal experiences and our bodies and acting accordingly. One person’s raw-vegan-diet will be another person’s path to anemia and stomach upsets….one person’s high-fat/paleo diet will be another person’s path to lethargy and gallstones…every body is unique and only experiential/intuitive awareness will lead us to optimal health. Tune in, self-educate, and do what makes you feel well.)

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So….I’ve had a juicer for a couple of years now, but I’ve only been drinking juice every day for about the last six months…I’ve tried lots of different vegetable and fruit combinations, and experimented with how best to consume the juice and here’s what I’ve ended up with…

(In November, I did a seven day liquid fast of juices and protein drinks (I used NUZEST which is vegan and gluten-free as I can’t drink cold dairy products, like milk (or even soy, which isn’t dairy but has the same effect) because they upset my stomach. I did it with a friend, and we did it to a) lighten up our diets leading into summer b) for fun – yes, this is the kind of thing I do for fun, baha! c) to see if we could! Because we were consuming protein drinks, neither of us got hungry but I did get bored (oh, yay, a drink for dinner, etc), realised how much I love TEXTURE in food (crunch, especially) and I haven’t been able to face a protein drink since…)

Each morning, I make about 600 mls of mainly vegetable juice (my favourite combination below) – which I then have a third of before breakfast. I put the rest in a covered vessel in the fridge, and use it to sip from throughout the day, in those times between meals when I feel a slight energy lag and feel like I need a snack or a drink. My body seems to respond well to having it like this, in a few bursts through the day…

When I started juicing, because most advice about juicing says you should drink it as soon as possible after it’s juiced to avoid oxidization, I would drink it straight after making it…but that just didn’t feel good in my stomach. I have a slow metabolism and the juice would feel like it was sitting uncomfortably, and sloshing, in my gut. The way I consume it now seems to make my body much happier. (But again, you might find this is not the case for you!)

Juicing creates a lot of waste, but I’m OK with it because I either compost or feed to my chickens the pulp from the juicing process. I’ve had friends say they feel it’s a waste of produce, that they’d rather just eat it and get the fibre, etc. I appreciate this point of view, but as I’m having this juice ON TOP OF my large servings of vegetables and salads, I do think it is worth it for me, for the extra nutrients, and I believe the alkaline properties of the juice is good for my gut health.

The pulp is of course, still absolutely edible – here is a great post about ways to use the juicer pulp.

You really need to tune into your tummy to get the right juice combination for you. If you drink juice and your gut aches, churns or feels heavy…or if your mouth feels weird – there is something in the juice your body doesn’t like. Lots of people use cucumbers in juicing because they are mild in flavour and contain lots of water so are ideal. Unfortunately, they make my stomach ache, so I don’t use them.  Similarly, I can’t have very much citrus juice in one hit. And people rave about kale in their juices, but kale juice makes my mouth go all numb and weird.

Here is a really great informative post about juicing basics, which also addresses the common concern that fresh juice is just a big fructose dump on the system and can lead to type 2 diabetes…

Here is my usual juice combination, occasionally I might change it up a bit depending on what fruit is in the fruit bowl, but this is pretty much what I have every day and what makes my stomach happy…

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HELEN’S HAPPY STOMACH JUICE

One large beetroot / one large (4-5 cm) piece of peeled ginger / one or two large lemons / one small apple / one small carrot / one very large bunch of greens – spinach, parsley, silverbeet, NZ spinach, lettuce, chickweed, dandelion leaf…whatever I can find in the garden, basically…

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I’ve learned from juicing to:

-when I’ve finished juicing everything, I take the pulp out of the catcher and put it through the juicer again. It garners another 50-100 mls of juice, so I think it’s worth the effort.

-aim for mostly vegetable juice, with minimal fruit juice added to make it taste better. Carrots pretty much count as fruits in terms of how sweet they are. Over time your palate will require less sweetness.

-I always clean and rinse the juicer straight away, it’s easiest to clean it then…leave it until later and all the detritus dries out and becomes a pain to clean…re-assemble your juicer right away…keep your juicing systems well-organised and you are more likely to keep at it.

-if I’m feeling unwell or my digestion is sluggish, I might replace dinner with a juice, which I sip at over a couple of hours.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER juice radishes. They smell and taste like demon-bowels. GAG! (I did it once. Never again!)

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Be warned, if you consume a lot of beetroot, it may make your bodily wastes take on an alarming hue, as hilariously illustrated in this Portlandia clip ‘911 Beets Emergency’, ha ha!

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So, there is my experience with daily juicing – I’d love to hear your experiences or if you have any other tips…JUICE ON, sisters!

 

 

 

 

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a retreat into writing and resting

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Recently I took occupation of the Beatson’s Foxton house, which is generously rented out to writers at an inexpensive rate so that even people on a poet’s wage (cough cough) can afford a retreat, for a weekend with three writer friends.

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It’s a beautiful house overlooking the Manawatu Estuary, it has all the things you need for a retreat – a nice view, hundreds of books, a fire…(I don’t have a fire at my place. I do miss having a fire!)

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While I’ve been working away at my writing when I can, the year began with the daunting task of helping to run a Yoga Studio for ten weeks while our head teacher was away in India, plus my freelance work has been good and busy….so this retreat weekend fell just after the studio-sit finished (whew! we kept the place afloat with no major mishaps) so was a lovely opportunity to celebrate that work and to sink into my writing.

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I took a bundle of new poems to share with my retreat-mates, and they most generously workshopped ALL OF THEM which was very helpful indeed.  I also printed out (for the first time!) my manuscript which I began during last year’s Massey Visiting Artist residency. I have been working away at that, without looking too much over what has come before – just focussing on generating new work. It printed out to be a solid bundle of pages, but I have to admit…I didn’t end up cracking open the blue folder I took it along in. I thought I was ready and that the weekend would be a good space to read over what I have so far, but nope. It’s still sitting on my desk, un-peeked at. I take that to mean I’m not ready and so I will just keep writing for now, but I have given myself the deadline of the end of June and THEN I have to print everything out, read it in one go and start the bit of the writing process where the real work begins….editing. All I know at the moment, is that I have written a big pile of material. Whether any of it is any good – well, I’ll let you know in July.

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Even though I didn’t do that, it was great to have some new poems workshopped and I did some new writing and lots of yummy reading – Louise Erdrich poetry, Gary Snyder prose and lots of incidental reading of poetry books on the shelves in the Foxton house.

((We cracked ourselves up reading aloud and miming a poem from the 1980s by a NZ poet in which he described doing a ‘naked plie’ and admiring in the bathroom mirror the plum line of his penis. I know, super-mature, right? (Maybe you had to be there…))

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We also walked along the estuary, ate several very good meals, took one jaunt into Foxton to cruise the junk-shops and generally had a great, restful time. I do love going away with evolved, fully-realised women – there is an organic, seamless way in meals occurring, fires being lit, cups of tea being made, outings suggested…somehow everyone contributed enough and yet everyone was looked after by the others enough. Very lovely. I also like going away with people who aren’t afraid of silence.

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This year has been PACKED with good, rich stuff. Feeling very blessed, right now.

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Hullo, you fullas.

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(Because I can no longer buy fabulous coloured Roman Sandals due to the sad closure of the Douglas Sandals factory in Auckland, I buy black ones when I see them about and customise them. These ones I painted with silver glitter nailpolish for that ‘night sky on your feet’ feeling…)

A week and a bit of the school hols to go. So much is lovely about the hols and so much isn’t.

Lovely = unstructured time, time with the kids, summery goodness.

Unlovely = unstructured time, too much time with the kids, trying to work AND do full-time childcare.

I have already have a lot of my plate for 2014 and heaps of it is good, rich creative stuff. I have a very good feeling about this year.

We didn’t stray far this summer – just one week a little bit south. The weather has been unremittingly shit wherever we are, but ah well, it gives the summer that element of endurance which is always enlivening, right? It doesn’t stop us roaming outdoors, either. To be honest, F and I love the outdoors in wind, rain and cold. Fraser loves climbing mountains in sleet and snow. On Sunday I tool a long walk along the river in the sheeting rain. It was most stirring – even if I couldn’t see through my glasses because of the wet onslaught…..this tendency towards liking the wild weather must be the Danish/Scottish/German/Russian/Northern England residue in our respective bloods…

Here’s some stuff I have enjoyed around the internet lately:

Megan Scent-of-Water wrote a thoughtful post about what love means HERE

I just discovered the blog and vimeo channel of photographer Xanthe Berkeley – great if you need a bit of cheering up; colourful and celebratory HERE

There’s an excellent long interview with Penny Rimbaud of Crass HERE – revisiting Crass always takes me back to my punk roots and makes me feel all fired-up, like anything is possible…theirs is the best type of anarchism. Anarchism of creativity, collectivity and positive action.

If you like doing yoga at home, but can’t afford one of the subscriber-sites – yoga teacher David Procyshyn most generously posts excellent-quality full yoga classes for *free* on his vimeo channel. I use it a lot and can really recommend it HERE

I like this Brainpickings article about Brian Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’ for creativity and now I want to write my own….HERE

After a couple of years of having to push myself to keep my journal writing going, I have refound my zeal and inspiration (yay for post-burn-out life!) and am busily writing, painting, collaging, scribbling away….I’ve started a Pinterest board for journal inspiration HERE

I’m very excited about new Warpaint HERE ; new TV on the Radio HERE ; & new Ebony Bones HERE

Culture Unplugged is a great FREE documentary site – there’s all sorts of stuff about environmentalism, spirituality, left-politics & much more. I have watched a tonne of stuff on here. I especially love this film about a Zen cook ‘How to cook your life‘ – it’s a nice mix of food, spirituality, humour, emotional honesty…well worth a watch… HERE

 

Gosh, I have so much to talk/write about. Brain is brimming! But for today, hullo!

Happy not-so-new year. x x x

lots going on in the winter garden

With the warmish wet winter we’re having, the vegetable garden was getting over-run with weeds, but the other day I gave it all a good tidy-up and was pleased to see just how much is going on, despite the season. (I’ve said it before….we are so lucky to live in such a temperate climate that we can carry on growing food all through the winter.)

So, what’s growing? Lots of green things, of course. Winter is not the season of colour in the vegetable garden – the kale is growing great guns, rainbow chard, the lettuces are looking lush and lovely, the florence fennel is growing into tree-like proportions, the leeks are nearly big enough to start eating…

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In terms of colour, there are beetroots, which I cannot wait to eat – I’m thinking beetroot/feta/toasted walnut salad will be first up!

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The artichoke is thriving – this is looking down at it’s centre. I love the silver of it’s foliage.

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The calendulas are going mental at the moment, and the fact that the nasturtiums are still alive shows how few frosts we’ve had – they are frost tender and don’t usually make it this far through winter in the Manawatu.

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And last, but not least…..my first spring bulbs are popping up. Hoorah!

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But it’s not all fun and games…

Failures this season:

Broad beans, alas I let the romping nasturtium cramp the broad beans style and they are stunted and pathetic. I will probably pull them out.

Carrots. I planted them in March, experimentally pulled one up today and it was the size of….a cherry tomato. TINY! They’ll go to seed before they’re big enough to be edible. It was sweet and delicious, but so uselessly small. I think I’ll give up on carrots, they are so inexpensive to buy.

Rocket. It’s called ‘Rocket’ for a reason, no sooner has it established it’s first edible leaves it goes to seed. I think I got one tasty sandwich off six plants. PAH.

If you are a vege gardener, I hope the season is treating you well, too.

 

him belly full, but him hungry…

…a hungry man, is an angry man!

I’ve taken to listening to a local Reggae-all-the-time radio station instead of National Radio. The mix of hardcore left politics, quirky christian imagery and a zen-like focus on simple pleasures (food, weather, love) is comforting to me. More comforting than the news, which, lets face it, is always bad.

(Also, I can instantly tell if it’s 80s reggae because of the inclusion of a saxophone. The saxophone to the 80s is like the ukulele to…whatever this decade is called.)

Around 5pm each day, I ‘shop the garden’ and whatever I can scrounge out there goes into dinner. It’s often an odd mix.

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I grew banana chillies for the first time this year. They grow big! As big as teaspoons. They are mild and child-friendly…like a slightly hot capsicum. I will grow them again.

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From my summer garden this year I learned:

-I don’t like to eat artichokes

-tomatoes thrive without coddling (I was away at peak growth time & came home to a tangled tomato forest which fruited abundantly.)

-despite a record hot long summer, it is not hot enough in the Manawatu to grow watermelons. FAIL.

-Cape Gooseberries are little orbs of time-travel.

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This is a clock. A clock of summer.

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At the start of summer, I thread a bead and a bell onto some embroidery floss and as the chillies grow I impale them and hang in the kitchen where they dry. There were many other chillies which got eaten along the way, or given away to friends…but some made it on to the chilli string so that we can have their heat all through the winter. A dried chilli is not an attractive thing, but looks aren’t everything.

There are manifold ways to measure time. There are lots of ways to be hungry. There are immeasurable ways to make a living – the best is to Live a Making.

harvest time

I was talking to a friend on the phone is early-January and she said: ‘I bet your vege garden is going for it right now’ and I said ‘Actually, no, we are only really getting salad greens and herbs – everything is still growing.”

How quickly this changes! A couple of weeks after that, we started eating our corn and ate it every single day for three weeks solid! You would think that we might get sick of it, but I didn’t. It is such a wonderful summer treat. It seems like no time it all that the corn went from seed to tall, rustling plants to plate.

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Last weekend, I harvested all the remaining corn –  including all the straggly little ones which hadn’t thrived – they became a treat for the chickens. Chickens love corn. I blanched the cobs in boiling water, then cut the kernels off and froze them. They will make nice additions to bean succotash and soups through the colder months.

I had noticed that the birds were starting to eat the apples, so Fraser and the boys got up on ladders and chairs and we stripped the apple tree. They filled a large bin with apples and on Saturday night I spent many hours peeling apples and made 12 litres of spiced apple sauce (delicous on porridge or in desserts)  for the freezer and six litres of apple cordial with the water the apples cooked in (I just added more sugar and boiled the liquid until it went thick.) The next day I had a big bruise on the finger which held the peeler and I wore the skin off….but it was worth it!

Finally, after what seems like an endless wait, the tomatoes are going for it too – but I haven’t preserved any so far – we are just enjoying eating them for dinner. We have had sauteed onion, zucchini and tomatoes for many nights in a row, too and I AM wearying of zucchini a little.

There’s a Manawatu saying “You can’t give away a zucchini in February” and it’s pretty much true – they grow so well and voraciously here – everyone trying to give them away at the same time. “Would you like some zuchinnis?” is usually met with “Oh bugger, I was just going to say that to you.”

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I also picked, cooked and ate my sole artichoke for the season – I love the plants so much, but I am not yet a convert for eating them! I think I need a more experienced friend to make me a delicious artichoke dish – I stoically chewed it down, but to be honest found it kind of fibrous and the smell and flavour bought to mind, well, urine. Not what you want to be reminded of when you are eating. I’m going to keep growing them, however, because the plants are so gorgeous.

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The mornings are getting colder, the days a little shorter so I’m enjoying this time of garden abundance and cleansing heat while it lasts!

You can find another lovely post about garden harvest time HERE on WHOLE LARDER LOVE. 

apples – from tree to pie

It’s such a beautiful time at the moment, settled hot days, heaps of food growing in the garden, cicadas roaring away…

We’ve got a lovely apple tree in our backyard. Unfortunately it’s got codling moth, but that’s not too bad – I just have to cut around the moth-holes when cutting up the apples. They are still delicious and tangy. Perfect for cooking. (Does anyone have any advice re: codling moth?) I picked the first apples off the tree yesterday and baked a pie, topped with the words ‘wild and precious’ – a fragment from this Mary Oliver poem. We had it with whipped cream. I do think our grown food sources are wild and precious – (and under threat.) Tree to plate eating? Yes please.

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