A few months ago, I began to feel toxic. Too much wine, too many verditas shots (thank you Esme and Cayman), not enough sleep. As a temporary single parent, I started to feel a little anxious. Sam was still away on tour. I’d been cooking for one and a half for two months and finding it creatively challenging.
My best friend, Lola, has been a fan of the Earth Bar in L.A. for a few years actually... juices, vitamin shots, simple organic treats and eats, an overall health-food-store. Juices are called Detox Lemonade, Gimme Greens, Raw Recovery etc., not I Am Beautiful, Hear My Woman Roar, or My Spirit is Special. So I gave it a go. Not too crunchy for me.
A juice cleanse is the most L.A. thing I have ever participated in. I was pretty jazzed to give my liver a snooze, sleep well, back away from the kitchen and test my will power. As a lady who lives to cook, not eating food is nearly unbearable. Especially when on the sixth juice of seven, cooking arugula pesto linguine for Vesper, and not eating it.
So I did it. For three full days. A raw juice cleanse of 1400 wimpy calories. I have never slept or felt better in my life, or even had more energy. I’ve also never been a very good breakfast eater, which I know, is a detriment. But I am generally not hungry in the morning. I don’t like to eat when I’m not hungry, and practically zero percent of any convincing to eat food before 11 am will result in success. Unless... it’s juice.
The only bummer about this cleanse was the amount of plastic bottles I went through... 21 total and three plastic raw soup containers. I kept them all for pictures. And then of course recycled them. I even asked if I could return the bottles for reuse at Earth Bar. “Ah, no.” “Gross” was their implied response.
Seven $6-9 juices in addition to early morning delivery, a raw soup and ‘am/pm’ pills... this cleanse was relatively affordable, considering I didn’t eat a thing for three days. There was only one juice that I had to hold my breath to drink, the Total Greens, which basically tasted like I’m assuming the ground must taste.
But I did it... I made it through, lost five pounds and felt amazing. I went to bed early the last night so I could wake up three hours before my toddler to eat real food and drink hot coffee. And yes, I’m still not into breakfast even though that soft boiled egg and soldiers never tasted better.
Now a few months later, I’ve been craving these juices and the way I felt, especially in the morning. The first juice is called Gimme Greens, the second Chlorophyll Boost, the third and most delicious thing ever, Almond Milk flavored with dates and vanilla. My new goal: make them at home. I dragged down the Breville juicer we were given as a wedding gift six years ago and have used once; I found a spot on the crowded counter in our kitchen, storing a few of the gazillion cutting boards I boast.
I haven’t quite mastered the juices, but wow are they filling, energizing and expensive. Two pounds of kale makes like a half ounce of juice. I’ve discovered the key to juicing is more vegetables, less fruit. Otherwise you’re drinking more sugar than necessary, more concentrated fruit than you would ever consume in a day. Use the fruit to sweeten the veggies.
I have been starting my mornings with Gimme Greens then Almond Milk, in addition to a forced bowl of cereal or yogurt. Be warned, while juices provide a great deal of energy and balance, they are generally high in calories as well. But damn, do I feel good!
Gimme Greens - my Earth Bar version
- 1 Green Apple
- 1/2 Cucumber
- 2 oz Spinach (optional, but why not)
- 1 Regular Lemon
- 1 bunch Kale (roughly 6 stalks)
If you have a juicer, combine all ingredients, whole, juicing one at a time.
If you don't have have juicer, you can use a blender, and strain any and all solids that form, either through a sieve or cheesecloth.
Almond Milk, with dates and vanilla
- 1 cup raw almonds
- water for soaking
- 3-4cups water ( I prefer closer to 3, so the milk is fuller-bodied)
- 2 pitted dates, chopped
- 1/2 tsp vanilla salt and pepper (optional)
Soak the almonds in water overnight or for at least 6 hours.
Drain the water from the almonds and discard.
Blend 3-4 cups of water, almonds, dates and vanilla until well blended and almost smooth.
Strain the blended almond mixture using a cheesecloth or other strainer.
You can keep the meaty product left from the almond milk. Makes a yum almond butter with a little added salt.
Homemade raw almond milk will keep well in the refrigerator for three or four days.