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.)


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…



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…


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!)


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!


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!






Setting the year ablaze

For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word for the year – something to mull over, to set intention, to facilitate ongoing inner growth…

For a few years there, the word was ‘No’, as in learning to say no, to be assertive, to DISCERN what was and wasn’t important to me…

Last year’s word was SHAMELESS, read about it HERE and HERE. See my SHAMELESS Pinterest board HERE. It was somewhat successful, although I did slide down into several shame spirals over various things – I think shame is in my DNA, maybe it is for all women, given the culture we live in.

Since the solstice, I have been mulling over a word for this year…all words of a gentle, nurturing nature were not doing it for me…I wanted something with an edge, with big metaphoric possibilities, with high-energy. Energy is what I hope for for this year. I’ve had a few ‘damp’ years, fallow years, resting years, compost years – and I accept them as part of a life passage, part of an organic process.

‘There are years that ask questions and years that answer them.’

-Zora Neale Hurston

Some credit to this year’s word must go to my friend EMMA – as part of my Christmas present she gave me a box of fancy matches which have the saying ‘The inner fire is the most important thing’ on the box, as I unwrapped it she said: ‘Well, you are a pyromaniac.’

It’s true. I love a good bonfire and often have a big burn in the backyard. I love candles, and incense. I use matches rather than a lighter because I get a small thrill from striking a match.

In yoga-teaching, we talk about ‘igniting the inner-fire’ – meaning both physically, as the core warms up, an internal heaters starts to fire, deepening the breath and warming the body…and metaphorically – the inner-fire being our drive, energy, prana, shakti!

So my word for the year is FIRE.

See my Fire Pinterest board HERE.

Like The Pixies I’m DIGGING FOR FIRE.  Hoping that this is a year that answers questions, and hoping to light a match to all my desires… watch them turn into the biggest bonfire on the most beautiful beach under the fullest moon.


Backyard hobo bonfire in a rubbish tin.


Plant fire – calendula in my vege garden…


Winter solstice celebration from some years back…


Fire sky, Queenstown 


Growing my fire and eating my fire… 



Backyard fire at a friend’s place…

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn…”

-Jack Kerouac


‘Tastes like a bonfire of recalled Barbie Dolls’: a family Japanese KitKat tasting…

My friend Emma recently went to Japan and she gave me a big bag of Japanese snack-sized KitKats she bought back. KitKats come in manifold flavours in Japan. Emma said there were whole shops which just sold KitKats!


Over a game of Carcassonne, Fraser (42), Willoughby (13) and I (41) had a KitKat tasting. (Magnus was in bed, so he missed out. It sucks being nine.)

I took comprehensive tasting notes. Fraser’s favourite was Wasabi, mine was the Brown Rice Tea, whereas Willoughby, he liked the ‘cheesy’ ones.** The least favourite flavour with no competition was Red Bean Paste.

Here are some of our tasting notes. I’ve also noted the colour of the KitKat. (If I have any of the flavours or names wrong, I apologise, but I can’t read Japanese so was guessing/trying to remember what Emma had told me/using the pictures as guidance.)

((I have no idea how interesting this is.))

** I suspect the cheesy ones taste a bit like breast milk. Sorry. TMI?

EDAMAME, light green in hue

H: Smells like chocolate farts; grassy note to the flavour.

F: White chocolate mousse smell; flavour tastes like staleness.

W: It smells and tastes like white chocolate, only less yummy.


H: Smells like Parmesan cheese! Tastes like fatty, cheesy white chocolate.

F: Smells like shoes. Tastes like a cheesy lemon-crisp biscuit. Feral, but nice.

W: Delicious! A cheesy-perfumed chocolate bar.

GRAPEwhite   (Errata – Emma has since informed me this is RUM AND RAISIN) 

H: Smells like Sultana Bran. Has a bubble-gum flavour which is off-putting.

F: Smells like cheap supermarket soap. Lolly-ish flavour. Extremely sweet.

W: Ooh, fruity-fruity! Smells like Grape Hubba Bubba but tastes like fruity Tic-Tacs.


(Disconcertingly the picture on the front looks very much like mince on toast.)

H: (sniffs) Oh God! Smells like an ash-tray! Tastes like dirt with a plasticky after-taste.

F: Tastes like last year’s Easter Egg which you hid under the flax bush and then found a year later and then ate. No, it’s worse than that. Tastes like a bonfire of recalled Barbie Dolls. Aged, smokey chocolate, in other words. Has a sour finish.

(The taster drank a large glass of water after this sample).

W: Euw, dirty Easter Egg chocolate. The worst. Negative 5000 out of 10.

RICE TEA, brown

H: Distinctive rice tea/Mirin smell. Strong rice tea flavour with a savoury after-note. I like it a lot!

F: Smells of seaweed. A sour Oolong flavour. Notes of iodine and heather.

W: Smells like that seaweed that is on sushi. Fresh, clean flavour. I like it! I have never drunk tea so to me it tastes like seaweed. I’ve never had sushi either. Why have I never had sushi? Can I try sushi? Like, soon? Like tomorrow night for dinner? *

(* Taster has not eaten sushi because since the age of about two he has consistently reacted with horror when offered sushi, despite many attempts by his parents to get him to try sushi. His sudden interest in eating sushi is both baffling and frankly, irritating.)

UJI MATCHA,  a unique khaki colour

H: Smells and tastes of tea, but not as strongly as the last one. Very sour and fatty aftertaste.

F: Looks like Brut Faberge soap. Not much going on in the flavour department, a slightly astringent aftertaste.

W: Smells like white chocolate. Tastes like white chocolate. Just eat white chocolate for god’s sakes! At least proper white chocolate isn’t GREEN!


H: Vanilla-ish in smell and flavour. Nice.

F: A spicy note to the smell, yes, wafts of stale old cinnamon.

W: White chocolate with a hint of random.


H: Oh dear, it’s like a strawberry cheddar-cheese smell. Not a good combination. Tastes like synthetic strawberry with cheese.

F: Oh god, remember that time we were driving home from Taupo and we stopped at the petrol station and the children chose drinks and Magnus chose strawberry Up’n’Go and then an hour later, we were just out of Hunterville, remember? He threw up all over the back seat? That’s what this reminds me of, strawberry milk refluxed. Euw.

W: What are you on about? This smells delicious! Smells like fresh cream cheese, but tastes like strawberry. Hmmm, this is my favourite.

WASABI, pale green

H: Oo, it does SMELL like Wasabi! How unusual. Sweet wasabi. Weirdly it warms the nose like normal wasabi does, but there is no heat in the flavour. That is freaky. In a good way. I think.

F: Unusual, unexpected smell and flavour, but very nice! Has a compelling sweet/savoury character.  Refreshing and palate-cleansing. The perfect flavour to end on. I like this one the best by far.

W: What’s wasabi? Why is my nose all cold and weird? What the hell is this flavour? Is this what sushi tastes like?? Euw! Just, …no.


So, there you go. I should add that Emma had previously given me a box of cinnamon Kitkats and they were delicious.

Thanks, Emma, for letting us share in your travel adventures through our noses and taste-buds.

If anyone else wants to send us random foods to sample, feel free. We will happily give it our very very close attention.








you can’t lie to yourself when you are walking


My favourite mode of transport – my feet.

I like walking. I do my best thinking when I walk. I have my best thoughts. I process stuff. I see interesting things.* I couldn’t walk there for a while (about 18 months) because I had a pesky injury  which precluded walking, much to my horror,…but it’s better now and so I’m back to the way of the plod, foot over foot.

* (You have to walk without music, though, and without your phone in your claw. Put it away, for the sake of all that is holy, or better yet, leave it at home.)

I live in a very flat town. I miss hills. I’ve lost my hill-fitness (I know this because of the walks I take each time I’m back in Wellington.) I miss not knowing what is up ahead because of the terrain. Manawatu is big sky country. You can see for miles up ahead.

The best place I ever lived for walks was up a hill in Newtown in Wellington. The green belt was about fifty metres from my back door. I could be high up in the pines with an grand urban vista within a few minutes. Bloody lovely.

I also lived in Island Bay for a brief spell and when I moved there I swore I would walk along the beach every day, and I did, in all kinds of weather with a baby in tow.

No sea here, no hills, but still there is stuff to see, places to go.

I like reading about other people walking. I’ve read quite a few memoir about the Camino. I love Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve read the Peace Pilgrim book. No Destination is another fascinating memoir of a long, long walk.

A recent walk around Lake Taupo – Willow trees and rowboats…

walking_2 walking_3

So, with all this love of walking, I was fascinated to read this essay over at Dark Mountain blog recently about the Dutch artist Monique Besten who has made walking part of her artistic practice and process. Like Peace Pilgrim and Satish Kumar, she is walking to make a political/spiritual point. She wears a men’s three-piece suit (the ‘soft armour’ of her essay) which she embroiders along the way. She is refusing speed and fear and comfort in order to go very slowly across Europe, meeting people, finding things, making art along the way.

Right now she is walking from the Netherlands to the south of France. She expects it to take 99 days. She is 17 days into her trip and she is blogging it. You can read it HERE. Go back to the start and read it chronologically, perhaps…

I am enjoying it so much! It’s like the books I mentioned above, except with the extra thrill of being in real time, so each update is an account of her day.

Wonderful rich stuff for the fantasy life of the domestically tethered.

Lake mirrors sky – Lake Taupo…walking_4










tiny worlds of the Adam/McIntyre household

When I went south to see Neko Case recently, there were tiny worlds within the tiny world that is the small Wellington villa of my friends, Pip and Brent.

Brent and his daughter had made some miniature lands by planting some real grass in pots and populating these micro-farms with plastic animals.

The organic meets the inorganic:


The perfect vegan farm:


Giant pig or tiny barn?


And Pip bought this small, ethereal and spooky populated terrarium for Brent’s 40th birthday:

Is she longing to escape or happy to be sealed safely in?


reaping what you sow

Abundance of late:


I do love my slightly-twee ‘picking’ basket, which I op-shopped last year.

So much goodness coming out of the garden right now…


But on the downside – there’s been a bit of a sneaky drought on here, lately. I say ‘sneaky’ because it hasn’t made the news but it is definitely very dry lately. It hasn’t rained properly for weeks….so I’m behind in winter-planting because I want some rain to come before I entrust vulnerable seedlings and seeds to the ground. (I do water the vegetable garden, but it’s hard to keep it damp enough to support new life.)

So while it’s all full-baskets now, soon there is going to be slim pickings, while the baby leeks and spinach and silverbeet and fennel and parsley take root.


Anyway – gather ye rosebuds, and all that…. or in my case, tomatoes.


Rosy cheeks


I got a horrible cold last weekend. One of those ones where your bones ache and your eyes run and you fill a bag with tissues in a few hours and you go hot then cold then hot then cold…for a couple of days I drank only miso soup and honey/lemon/ginger drinks, and felt pretty low…

I’m getting better  & there’s nothing like a bout of illness to make me GRATEFUL for my usual good health. My aim now is to boost my immunity and get strong for the long winter ahead.

I’ve been enjoying this new NZ-based healthy food blog, Wild&Good. To be honest so far I have just enjoyed the notion of the lovely recipes and pretty photographs and am yet to MAKE anything off the site….but this cold has motivated me to give my nutrition-intake a bit of an overhaul, and I’m sure this inspiring blog will help. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by being the food-provider for my family…and as I am the only vegetarian I think I let my own nutrition slip sometimes…putting the energy into whatever I cook for the family. It’s challenging to make things that children will eat AND things which are maximum nutrition AND which appeal to me, also.

Anyway, that’s a bit of a tangent….I meant to post about APPLES! We’ve been eating apples off the trees for a couple of weeks now, but suddenly they all just looked very ready and the blackbirds were starting to eat them, so I picked what I could from ground level, and then I sent Fraser up a ladder to get the higher ones.



Then last night I ‘graded’ them into eaters and cookers. (Eaters = good-looking apples, cookers = ones with marks, bruises or blackbird pecks.)



(In the basket you can see the two varieties we have, one is a Braeburn (I think!) – yellow & red stripy skin with sweet,  light, juicy flesh; the other variety, I’m not sure what it’s called but it has green and red skin with sour, very dense flesh.)

With the cookers I made a giant pot of cinnamon apples sauce. (Cooked the peeled, chopped apples with cinnamon, sugar and water until apples were soft, then blended it with a quick-stick). Apple sauce with very fresh apples is THE BEST. It goes very fluffy and velvety. I love having it warmed up for winter breakfasts, by itself or on porridge.

Now the freezer is full of apple sauce and we will chomp our way through the rest. I’m happy to have conquered the Codlin Moth which had afflicted the main apple tree, by planting peppermint geranium thickly around the base, a handy hint which a blog reader told me about.

Autumn is my favourite time of year.