I resisted juicing for a long time because I thought it was an extreme activity carried out by obsessive health-food freaks. There was no way I was going to touch that pond water, no matter how many overly-happy people were drinking it and posting photos on Facebook.
Then I got sick with a condition called Actinomycosis. Two years of heavy duty antibiotics (which probably kept me alive but didn’t cure me) left me debilitated and depressed. I did not think I would ever get better. When the acute phase passed, I stopped taking the antibiotics and exhausted any natural cures that I could find out about, but I remained sick.
Then I watched a couple of convincing documentaries about juicing and decided to give it a go.
Two weeks after I began my foray with the green stuff, the symptoms of the illness all but disappeared. My energy came back, the lesions disappeared and my balance returned. Since that time, juicing has become a way of life for me and I have really deepened my relationship with it.
I was more than pleasantly surprised by the taste of the concoctions. They taste like health in a glass, so pure, fresh and delicious. I use seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden in the combinations that they grow in. Since I grow most of my own veggies, I can pick juice and drink them quickly, getting those enzymes and vitamins into my gut within 5 minutes.
Juicing has become integral to my permaculture lifestyle because it allows me to apply the principles so easily.
Turn waste into resources
I can use even the scrappiest and insect eaten remains to create a gourmet juice — no one would ever know. Of course, if there are fresh vibrant fruits and veg available I would use them first, but the sadder looking produce in my garden still contains way more nutrients than the perfect looking things on supermarket shelves.
Courgettes in abundance are no longer overwhelming — they provide a delicious watery base for more intense flavours of a daily juice. Don’t let the mild flavour of courgettes fool you, they are full of powerful health benefits. Use them in place of cucumbers in your juices.
I add seedlings that I have thinned out. They are surprisingly nutrient-dense also. Making use of them makes me feel that their short life has not been in vain.
The pulp that is leftover from juicing acts like a compost accelerant and mixed with greens and browns from the garden, turns into beautiful, fluffy soil within a few months. This totally speeds up the composting process because it is so broken down.
Pulp is also excellent for soups and stews, vegetable stock or to feed the chickens.
Use and value diversity
Each juice I make combines at least 6 different kinds vegetables and fruit. There are probably more vegetables in one glass than I used to have in one day. Packed full of superfoods and containing a diverse range of nutrients, each glass of juice serves to keep my intestinal flora in good shape and gives my body everything it needs to function really well. Then, when I use a specific herb or remedy to do a specific job, my body can really get to work with it.
Use and value renewable resources — the best nutrition is often found in the edges
Many foraged plants, fruits, weeds and berries can be used in juicing to provide heaps of vital nutrition that is hard to get in cultivated plants. For instance, dandelions provide folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. Added to other veg and fruit, the astringent taste is not such a bitter pill to swallow.
Foraging also really helps to hone our skills of observation and interaction in our efforts to catch and store energy.
The nutrients required by the body are the same as the nutrients required by the soil. Giving your body an extensive smorgasbord of nutrients is exactly the same as soil building. Great things will grow in your life.
Soup from carrot, orange and ginger pulp
Integrate rather than segregate
Like any new project, start small and go slow — don’t overwhelm your system. Work it in with what you are already doing. If you go from one extreme to the other, it’s like pouring tons of water into a dry plant pot, it will all run out of the bottom! This is feedback you will definitely want to respond to!
Use least effort and energy — create more time
Juicing is also a brilliant time-saver. There is no way you would be able to prepare and chomp your way through all the veggies that go into one breakfast drink in the time it takes to pick, juice, drink and clean up the juicer. The energy required to power a juicer is much less than powering an oven.
It is the best fast food available!
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a juicer as some would have you believe. I certainly didn’t. You can probably pick up a secondhand one. Lots of people go through phases of juicing.
There are also people who will tell you that only certain types of juicers will give you health results. Also not true. I don’t have a fancy, smancy one. It’s actually nature that works the magic, not the juicer.
Sad to say, I am now one of those people who proudly post the odd photo of my glorious juice on Facebook and I am an absolute convert! I am also enjoying sparkling health and lots energy. Six months on and I am totally well.