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!






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.


transition towns garden tour – Feilding

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a tour of four organic ‘self-sufficiency’ gardens in Feilding, which was run by Transition Feilding.

***Do you know about the Transition Towns movement? If not you can read about it here.***

Three of the gardens were the urban gardens of people working towards self-sufficiency in vegetables (and some fruits, and in two cases, eggs) and one was the shared garden of the Bhutanese Refugee Community.

(I must confess my ignorance – before this tour I had not known about New Zealand’s Bhutanese Refugees. Here’s a little bit about it:

‘Since the 1990s, over 100,000 Lhotshampa (Bhutanese of Nepali origin) have been confined to seven refugee camps in south-eastern Nepal after the Government of Bhutan revoked their citizenship and forced them to flee the country. These Nepali Bhutanese spent 18 years in refugee camps, being denied integration into the local Nepal community or their return to Bhutan before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offered third-country resettlement as a solution. In 2007, New Zealand announced its inclusion of Bhutanese refugees into its annual refugee quota.’

(Taken from the website.)

Anyway, here’s some photographs – doing this kind of tour is my idea of BLISS, I could walk around other people’s vegetable gardens all day. (Ornamental gardens, not so much – I get bored after twenty minutes or so and think ‘gosh, you could grow so much food here!’) I love seeing how other people do things and getting ideas.

(I didn’t take photographs of the first garden, because it belonged to a friend and she wasn’t feeling all that public-ready on the day.)

Here’s some shots of the Bhutanese garden – they were donated an empty section by the local council, and the local Lions Club built them a fence around it so people wouldn’t nick their vegetables. They grow intensively, it was like a mini-farm!

They get horse poo from a local barn and man, their brassicas were HUGE!

I like the way they use tree windfall branches for bean frames:

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These shots are from the garden of the Brebner family – they have been self-sufficient in vegetables since the 1970s. Their garden was super-tidy, pretty and well-organised, with a beautiful mini-orchard of fruit and nut trees and cool little greenhouse. My garden never looks this tidy! It did make me yearn for a greenhouse – their greenhouse tomato plants already had fruit!

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The final garden was a ‘Reclaim the Lawn’ garden of the Witt family. It is a relatively new garden, and they are slowly reclaiming their substantial lawn and turning it into productive space. It was so inspiring to see how attractive the mixed beds were, with vegetables, herbs and flowers all in together. You can also see the start of a herb spiral. They also have lots of chickens and ducks! but I didn’t get a shot of those for some reason.

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It was a lovely way to spend a morning and I came home inspired to plant more & more & more edibles all the time, AND to do more mixing up of ornamentals and edibles in my flower beds.



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…



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!


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


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


This is a clock. A clock of summer.


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.


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.”




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.


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. 

feel the fear….and feel the fear

“Love what you have, and you’ll have more love.” -Regina Spektor

Aah, THIS SONG …”the piano is not firewood yet….” so much yearning in this song.  I’m can’t stop playing it. In it she is saying, ‘Who knows what is ahead of us, so dance today, love today.’

I am an environmentalist, or a greenie, or an eco-freak or whatever – I hate these labels – we should ALL be these things if we care about our future on this planet, and they shouldn’t need labels – it should just be conscious living.

Anyway, because I am awake and aware to what is going on in the world (unlike many people who prefer to do the hands over their ears -“LAH LAH LAH LAH – I CAN’T HEAR YOUUUUUUU….!” thing) – the awareness comes with a great deal of pain. However, it’s not all bad….knowing the things I know does two things to me – firstly, it gives me a great appreciation for what I have, while I still have it and it returns me firmly to the ‘now’ of my life. I sit with so much fear about the future, for myself, my children, my country, the planet…so much fear. But the fear is ultimately pointless, unhelpful, useless. So I sit with the fear in meditation, I observe how it manifests in my body – churning stomach, tight neck, tears coming into my eyes, overwhelming feelings of powerlessness – I try to just sit in that place, observe the physicality of the emotions….and then it goes, it always goes. The sooner I observe it and name it…the sooner it goes.

The second thing the fear does it that is leads me to cultivate beauty and celebration in my life. Actively, I seek it out. I try to create it. I NOTICE all that I have and I am thankful for it, so thankful!

The intellect only gets us so far. Most of what we experience is physical and sensual. To live a life of contentment (not happiness – happiness is a fickle, lightweight state of being that flits in and out of our days like a butterfly, just to be content is what I aim for) takes attention, cultivation and gratitude. These are mental attitudes that often take a bit of effort in our human minds which more naturally descend into chaos, anger, jealousy and fear.

I don’t know how I ended up writing this today – I meant to post about my vegetable garden. I still will – but I guess I wanted to say a bit about why I post so often about simple things which bring me pleasure, beautiful things in my life…which may seem facile, unintellectual, maybe even banal. There is so much going on underneath these little observations, so so much.

I was at Buddhist study group last night and my teacher, Demo, was talking about bringing Dharma (buddhist wisdom) into the heart, to stop intellectualising it and feel it, physically feel it, and I knew just what she meant. On Monday I was having a particularly fearful time – for no reason – it was beautiful sunny day, at home alone, no pressures on me, nowhere to be, no one needing anything from me and I was sitting at the table gripped with so much fear I could barely breathe. I named it fear, and I went from being enslaved by the fear and panicking at it’s escalation, to observing the fear as it manifested in my body. Stomach, shoulders, heart, face. I breathed deeply. I leaned into the fear. I sat there breathing until my shoulders loosened, my body relaxed.

And then I finished my tea, went outside, picked vegetables and took these photographs: