|Clockwise from top left: Taboulleh Juice, Kiwi-Chard, Golden Rule, Cucumber Mojito, Heart Beet|
This has been a very difficult autumn. Actually, it was a pretty rough summer too.
As you know if you read my mid-July post on congee, I’ve been having trouble swallowing all year. Much longer than that, actually, but this year it’s gotten really bad. In that post, I talked about strategies for dealing with GERD, including making a careful effort to see what foods might make it worse.
Well. When I finally went to see a gatroenterologist, she spent a few minutes perusing my food diary, looked up, and said, “It’s not what you’re eating.” Moments later she told me it didn’t look like GERD to her at all.
The GE suggested a few things it might be, and scheduled an endoscopy. When I woke from the anesthesia, she told me that, despite my pre-procedure fasting, there was (sorry folks, this is kind of yucky) still food in my esophagus. I went for a barium swallow test, and rescheduled the endoscopy with a longer fasting period.
|A bottle of Emerald Sunshine|
All of which is, for the purposes of the recipe part of this post, a long way of saying that I needed to find some way to feed myself that I could manage despite the fact that I can barely swallow. So we took a little trip to Squeezed juice bar. The juices there were so sparklingly fresh and delicious that I instantly wanted to try to make them at home.
When I put out a call on Facebook to see if anyone had a juicer I could borrow, my friend Mia was on top of it. She loaned me a beautiful Champion juicer the very next day, assuring me that she never used it anymore. (Thanks also to Laura, who offered to ship me hers from the Midwest.)
I brought it home, printed the manual from the website (hurrah 21st century!), and figured out how to put it together. (It was much easier the second time.) I checked out several books on juicing and perused the internet for recipes. Then, of course, I used the recipes as mere suggestions and threw in whatever the heck I wanted. For a couple of weeks, the refrigerator was always packed with at least three kinds of juice – a challenge to squeeze in there around the beets, chard, apples, oranges, and huge 5-pound bag of carrots.
I’ve made some wonderful juices. One of my favorites is a knockoff of Squeezed’s Liquid Sunshine, recreated from the description on their menu. Like all of my favorite juices, it adds just a little bit of vegetables to a base of lots of fruit. I tried several juices that were all or mostly vegetables – like the Taboulleh Juice in the top photo – but my palate just couldn’t handle it. It was a pity with the Taboulleh Juice, because the stuff was fantastic. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around liquid taboulleh. (Like to try it? I used this recipe, with the addition of a sprinkle of cumin.)
I’m sharing a few of my favorite juice recipes below. They don’t have any instructions because they would all just read, “Juice.” To prepare the produce, I like to cut the seeds out of apples (the seeds contain a cyanide compound), peel carrots (this makes the juice a little less “earthy”), and cut the bitter ends off cucumbers. You can either peel citrus completely or just remove the zest with a peeler – the white pith underneath adds surprisingly little bitterness and makes for a delightfully creamy juice. I haven’t included serving sizes because I forgot to record them. All the recipes make at least two six-ounce servings; most make four or more.
Though juicing has been a lot of fun, really tasty, and has given the constantly running recipe-creation function in the back of my head something fun to do, I desperately miss real food. Happily, Arne found a useful trick for me on an achalasia discussion group: Drinking lots of warm water with meals helps. It seems to relax the overly tight muscle. So I’ve been able to eat a little more normally for the last week, and it’s a relief… but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about eating at a normal pace (I have to eat very slowly right now), and about all the foods I just can’t have because they stick in my throat. Bread and rice especially. Once I get this thing fixed, I’m gonna eat all the sandwiches and sushi rolls in Albuquerque.
Until then, bottoms up!
A wonderful beginner juice. Sweet and sprightly, with just enough greens to feel really healthful.
3-4 leaves kale or chard
Fingernail-sized piece ginger
Kiwi juice is very thick, making this beautiful and tasty green juice almost as rich as a smoothie.
2 kiwi, ends cut off
2 big leaves chard
Handful of parsley
Such a gorgeous garnet red! Delicious too.
1/2 lemon or 1 lime
Just as pretty as the Heart Beet, but gold instead of red, and a bit less sweet and fruity.
2 small or 1 very large apple
1 golden beet
Tropical Spring (not pictured)
This is incredibly delicious, and the pineapple and kiwi have enzymes that are great for digestion. Blend a cup or two with a banana (and maybe a few tablespoons of yogurt) for a fantastic breakfast smoothie.
1/2 pineapple, peeled
2 kiwi, ends cut off
1 or 2 leaves mint, optional
For a simple cocktail, stir in rum or gin to taste.
2 Persian cucumbers (or 1/2 English cucumber)
Large handful mint