Someone’s In the Kitchen with a Juicer and Almonds

I’ve recently dug out my “Champion” juicer – a heavy, hard-working, heat-producing, stand up model that’s been sitting in my cupboard unused for several months now. I did a lot of juicing last year and really noticed the health benefits – clearer skin, a boost in my overall energy level, better digestion, but then, for some reason I stopped, and it’s been sitting on my shelf since.

Lately I’ve been hearing people talk about juicing, and seeing new juicers on the shelves as I’m shopping so I figure I’m being given a nudge. I decided it was time to get my “Champion” working for me again.

When I started juicing, one of my favourite combinationFruits, Juice, Pineapple, Mangos included apples, carrots, celery, ginger, kale and some lemon juice. However, I recently learned from a nutritionist that blending vegetables and fruits in the same drink is hard to digest. This is because fruits are acidic and contain a lot of sugar. For good digestion, they are best eaten alone. Vegetables, on the other hand digest in the mouth (a mildly acidic environment).  But if you eat highly acidic food (such as fruit) at the same time as vegetables, the saliva becomes too acidic and this impacts the digestion of the vegetables. The fall out is an added burden on the pancreas. The solution is simple; juice fruits or vegetables separately.

It’s also preferable to drink juiced fruit on an empty stomach because fruits require so little time to pass through your system. My morning fruit juice begins with peeling tropical fruits, like pineapple, kiwis and mangoes. I also peel apricots, peaches and melons. While it may seem strange to think of peeling soft skinned fruits (like peaches) before juicing, my nutritionist friend reminded me that many fruits, even organic, carry mould or e-coli bacteria on the skin. And if they aren’t organic, they’re covered in fertilizers and pesticides that simple washing may not remove.

One yummy fruit juice recipe includes apples, pears, plums, ginger and some lemon pulp. With summer on the way, you can choose from locally grown varieties like plums and berries. Juicing melons together, like watermelon and honeydew, produces a delicious, high water-content beverage with powerful anti-oxidant benefits that helps the body to cleanse.

Later in the day I’ll make a vegetable juice with kale, carrot, and celery to carry me through the day. And often I’ll use a wide range of veggies. Vegetables are health restorers and combining a wide variety of them produces a juice with maximum nutritional value.

Bok choy makes a great addition, as it also has high water content, and some green colouration. Peeled cucumber and more intense greenery such as parsley and Swiss chard add colour and flavour. Spinach is especially high in minerals. Cabbage is also a healthy addition to juice. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations and I keep this in mind as I shop.

I recently purchased a 25 lb bag of juicing carrots. Carrots are a great substitute for apples as they add sweetness, as well as colour and lots of nutrients. They go well with celery, golden beets, ginger and kale. A clove of garlic (or two) and some parsley or cilantro, add additional zing for the brave and adventurous.

Fresh fruit and vegetable juicing takes a little extra time to prepare but one sip of a newly created concoction and it all seems worthwhile.

Almonds Are Not for Juicing
A few years ago a friend began roasting and selling almonds. They were so yummy and made a really convenient protein snack. I decided I would try and make my own version.

Almonds with their skins are hard to digest because of a certain enzyme they contain. Soaking the almonds for 24-48 hours in clean water removes the enzyme. The nuts swell up and the skins just fall off or are easily peeled off.
almonds
After soaking the almonds, dry them on a cookie sheet in a very slow oven (100 to 120 degrees). This can take several hours. Be patient. Higher heats destroy the live enzymes. My last batch took nearly twenty hours to fully dry out. Others have finished in twelve hours.

For a sweet treat, coat them with honey or maple syrup, and add a smidge of Celtic sea salt. Stir well and pour them onto a large flat baking pan in one layer. It will vary with each oven. The finished almonds then taste sweet and are still full of live enzymes. The perfect snack!

~ Matthew Craig

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