Please welcome guest author Alison Barker as she shares her recipe for a Green Juice Detox–a healthy, refreshing, and perfect drink for post-Mardi Gras revelers! – Helana
Mardi Gras is, arguably, the most delightful time of year: the costumes, parades, shiny beads, marching bands, king cakes, and booze. For many of us in southern Louisiana, February is spent dancing to the cadence of brass bands, yelling, “throw me something, mister,” while eating and drinking. And eating and drinking. While all this revelry is great for my soul, it sends my body into a tailspin.
If you’re like me, you’ve landed from the high of carnival time with a giant thud, and all you’ve got to show for it is several trash bags filled to the brim with beads, and a big, bad Cranky Carnival Hangover.
Though I am not one of those hardy souls who can launch into an austere detox regimen, I do swear by the healing power of fresh green juice to rejuvenate me and restore tons of vitamins, especially after overindulging in high calorie, low nutrient foods and drinks. (Yes, beignets, that means you.) Growing up, my father practically force-fed me mounds of leafy dark greens. Despite this unpleasant memory, I’ve acquired a taste for them all—but especially kale.
Pictured: Alison’s Green Juice Detox made with kale, cucumber, green apples, and lime.
Kale is serious business. Eaten raw, it’s a tough, flat or curly leaf that is a real job to chew. There have been times that I’ve simply felt too tired to eat a kale salad.
Kale is like the Optimus Prime of good-for-you vegetables. It’s chock full of vitamins A, C, K, and the antioxidant manganese—but also carotenoids and flavonoids, two of which have been shown to fight against the formation of cancer cells. One cup of raw kale provides 20% of your recommended daily amount of fiber! And 10% of your body’s demands for anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Kale can help your body resist arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and asthma.
When I started regularly juicing kale, I noticed a decrease in my junk food cravings, and after six weeks of three servings weekly, my persistent sinusitis hadn’t recurred. This could be a coincidence, but when juice entered my life, I had more energy. Also, drinking green juice actually feels good for you.
Kale juice has a complex taste, and sometimes I add celery and carrot to round out kale’s bitterness, but they also add pepper and a heavy, earthy quality. All fine and good, but for spring, I crave a lighter juice that doesn’t feel like a meal replacement. Thus, the cucumber and apple.
Pictured: Celery, carrot, and apple can be used to round out Kale’s sharpness while also making for wonderful juices by themselves.
I use a centrifugal juicer. There are two common types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating. Masticating juicers, overall, produce more juice; if you’ve got one of those, you can use half the amount of kale.
I am happy to report that thanks to my own experience with the super healing powers of kale juice, I’m on the fast track to recovery. And not a minute too soon! Louisiana’s springtime festival season is just around the corner. So raise a glass of juice and toast kale! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Alison’s Green Juice Detox
There are many variations of green juice, such as Organic Avenue’s Green Love* Green Juice, of which Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle blog GOOP are fans, and Dr. Oz’s “Green Juice.” The former uses kale plus a whopping 4 additional dark greens, pear and lemon, and the latter omits kale and uses spinach and celery—which increases manganese and iron, but greatly decreases fiber, vitamins and calories.
A word on directions: process all ingredients into one 5-cup capacity container under your juicer spigot, specifying “low” and “high” settings according to density of vegetable and fruit.
*1 cucumber, peeled and washed
*6 of your favorite small/medium apples, washed
*3 small bunches or 15 leaves of curly kale, washed
*1/3 c. ginger root, washed, peeled, and coarsely chopped
1.) Chop peeled cucumber into pieces small enough for the diameter of your juicer’s feeding tube, and feed them into your juicer while on the “low” setting.
2.) Wash and chop apples (no need to peel and core unless you are concerned about vestiges of wax and pesticides on the skin). Juice on the “high” setting.
3.) Snap kale leaves in half and feed into juicer on the “low” setting.
4.) Juice ginger on the “high” setting.
5.) Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge up to 12 hours for best results.*
Makes 4-5 servings at 8 oz. each.
*COOK’S NOTE: For those of you who aren’t afraid to let kale’s edgy flavor take center stage, try Sandy Henson Corso’s “Green Lemonade” variation: replace cucumber and ginger with celery and lemon juice. Cut it with seltzer water for a healthy, but seriously tart kick in the pants!
Written by: Helana Brigman