It’s Christmas, Even Juicers Can Have Fun!


Zesty Raw Orange Christmas Pudding inspired by a Raw Chocolate Company* blogpost recipe (recipe here).

I’m a juicer, vegan and so-called ‘clean-eater’. That means I eat a healthy, plant-based diet: I don’t eat sugary, fatty, chemical-laden or processed foods (except the occasional vegan sausage or, at Christmas, a nut roast, but even these are organic). I don’t drink bone-harming fizzy drinks.

It’s not just good for me but also for the environment and the animals: fewer chemicals, less packaging, no cruelty.

Following years of pain medication and undiagnosed gluten-intolerance, I can’t digest many processed or starchy foods nor alcohol or coffee. And dairy makes me snotty! So even if I wanted to, I couldn’t have a Christmas blow-out – unless I was prepared to suffer weeks of pain afterwards and generally feeling yuck. So I make no apologies for refusing the flaming Christmas pud or sherry-doused trifle!

But that doesn’t mean that I dampen any joy my family and friends have in anticipation of festive foods and it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself over the holiday period. Far from it.

I have been juicing and clean-eating now for 3 years and have reaped the benefits of no longer having to use an inhaler, no more bloating or burning stomach pain, no itchy skin, better sleep, more energy and so on.

Why would I jeopardise all that for a couple of weeks of over-indulgence just because tradition, newspaper articles and advertising companies suggest that I am a killjoy if I don’t participate?

I read an article in The Guardian* decrying the likes of Deliciously Ella* for providing advice and recipes for clean food over the holiday season (see Comment is free). The writer calls them smug and suggests they promote poor eating habits. Personally, I am grateful to Ella, Tanya Maher*, The Raw Chocolate Company*, Laura at The Whole Ingredient*, Victoria at Caramelia Cakery*, Hanna at My Goodness Recipes* and all the bloggers who post their colourful, gluten-free, sugar-free, chemical-free recipes to inspire and enjoy.


My Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

It is always good to try other people’s culinary creations, most of us get bored with our own usual fare.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean boring, bland and brown! On the contrary. Check out Victoria’s Amazing Raw Vegan Christmas Cake on The Raw Chocolate Company Blog and Tanya Maher’s The Uncook Book!


Many of us have health conditions which means we would be foolish to ignore our normal regimen. Many don’t want all their hard work losing weight or controlling Type 2 Diabetes going down the drain through a couple of weeks’ boozing and bingeing.

I don’t like that bloated, heavy feeling, having to loosen my belt or undo the top button, collapsing on the sofa unable to move and then falling asleep while my poor body expends all its energy digesting it all.  (See Post Thanksgiving/Christmas/Celebration Digestion – some suggestions to ease that overstuffed feeling)

 But it doesn’t mean we can’t participate in festivities or indulge our tastebuds. I really enjoy having unusual meals surrounded by my family, sharing food successes and disasters, trying each other’s creations.

Do they have to be full of different forms of sugar, artificial flavours, colouring, or sweeteners? Do we have to drink so much alcohol we become sick, boring or even worse, abusive? Absolutely not.

Last year, my family of 13 all got together for a buffet lunch we prepared for each other, our Christmas gift to the family. There were vegetarian sushi, falafels, bharjis, pizzas, olives, salads, dips, filo parcels… The desserts were yummy and home-made and involved copious amounts of raw chocolate!


My daughter’s Vegan Sushi

This is the one occasion in the year when we are all able to be in the same place, and cooking for each other is our way of celebrating that fact.

One way juicers and clean-eaters can still join in but not suffer the negative impact of over-indulgence is to have a large green juice first thing in the morning. This provides all the nutrients your body needs for the day and as a result, you won’t feel the need to over-indulge. You can have a little bit of what you fancy and still feel good:-)


Clean-eating doesn’t mean juicing and/or eating raw all the time. Of course you can have cooked meals and treats. Colourful warming soups are my favourite. I merely choose to avoid the nasties and include as many healthful ingredients as possible. In any case, it’s a choice.

Don’t let anyone undermine your efforts to be the healthiest you can be, you haven’t come this far just for someone to question your sanity and persuade you otherwise, but you can enjoy yourself if you want to without worrying about paying for it in January.  

And if you do find yourself succumbing to temptation remember, as Neil Martin (Natural Juice Junkie) says:

It’s what you eat between New Year and Christmas that counts, not just between Christmas and New Year!

In any case, you have the insurance of Jason’s Big January Juice Challenge* or The Natural Juice Junkie’s Juicuary Challenge* to get you back on the straight and narrow!

Have a lovely Christmas, however you’re spending it. I wish you all Peace, Health and Happiness and thank you so much for supporting my blogging efforts!

* * ** * * * *

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Juicing While Watching Le Tour De France

imageIt’s that time of year again – I can’t believe we’re into July already and I’m still wearing my woollies and putting the heating on! (Even the telly has a scarf on!) Anyway, as I said, it’s that time of year again when our house and our family become completely overtaken by all things Tour de France (TdF): wall to wall cycling everyday, all afternoon, and the highlights in the evening! Oh, and we’ve even joined a Fantasy League.

My son and I spend hours going through the form guides, switching team members every other day for about two weeks before any cycling event, keeping it all hush-hush; my husband spends half an hour picking names he likes the sound of the night before, guess who usually wins?! This is the man who falls asleep every single time the cycling is on, doesn’t have a clue who half of them are and he nicks the win in the last couple of days. (I’ve even joined another couple of leagues to try to win some TdF goodies). But we’re not competitive. Not at all. Texts will be flying back and forth throughout the day and the occasional triumphant one will cross the ether late evening after the daily league update goes live. But we’re not competitive.

During the first week, I shall also be doing a juice challenge. imageThis time of year is usually when people begin to think about their upcoming holidays, about displaying the parts of their bodies that have been covered up all year with woolly jumpers, jeans and boots. Others want to rid themselves of that central heating pallour to their skin, get re-energised and kickstart a healthy-eating programme or reset their hormones and taste buds having decided to declutter their system of processed, fatty and sugary foods.

I signed up for Jason Vale’s free 7 Day Juice Challenge – there’s still time to join in, just visit the website* and sign up. You’ll receive an emailed shopping list, all the recipes and coaching videos for free. There’s lots of advice on how to begin, what to expect and lots of encouragement if you find yourself struggling, – like when your family are eating pizza! – and what to do afterwards.

Join me, raise a glass of juice and tell me who you reckon is in with a shout to win this year’s Tour de France – I mean the riders of course, not our fantasy league, because it really doesn’t matter, we’re not competitive at all!

Here’s to a healthy summer!



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Green Lady Blended Juice


This blended juice was my husband’s improvised creation. Anyone who knows our family understands that this can be a tricky situation. He has always maintained a love-hate relationship with cooking: he loves to eat but doesn’t like the process of getting it to his plate!  He has generally lived by the mantra cook high, cook fast, done when smoke alarm sounds! He tries but must be supervised at all times especially if you are the one he’s cooking for: an ambulance once made an appearance when he added 2 heaped teaspoons of ground black pepper to pasta sauce instead of basil and I collapsed on the first mouthful.

He does, however, make our juices every morning, but strictly according to Jason Vale’s recipes, and, apart from the occasional beetroot explosion, these turn out well. Improvisation is not encouraged and I approached this morning’s juice with some trepidation.


We generally use cheaper organic Gala apples for juicing and save the larger, tarter apples for eating on their own or as desserts. Today we had run out of Galas and so HB used one of my favourite large Pink Lady apples. Sacrilege in my book, so he didn’t ask first. It did, however, make quite a difference to the flavour of the juice.

I loved it. He is very proud of himself.


All ingredients are organic, if the lemon is not organic, pare thinly to leave as much pith as possible. Pears are best used for juicing before they ripen.


1 Large Pink Lady Apple

1 Pear

A Thick Slice of Unwaxed Lemon

1 Celery Stalk, chopped

4″ Cucumber

1 Small Carrot

1 Kiwi Fruit, peeled

2″ Broccoli Stem

Handful of Spinach

Third of a Ripe Avocado


Juice all fruit and veg except avocado, then blend with chopped avocado for about 30-45 seconds in a high speed blender until creamy smooth.

Add ice if liked.

P.S. HB vetted this before it was published!


Copyright: Chris McGowan

5 lbs in 5 Days: Day 5 Feelgood Friday – Parsnips? You’ve Got To Be Kidding!

Ok, I’ll spare you the rant! Regular followers on here and on Twitter will be well-versed in my, ahem, relationship with this particular root vegetable – if you are one of the few not familiar with said relationship, I invite you to read Pears But No More Parsnips!

The reason I mention it again here is that Day 5 means Pear ‘n’ Parsnip juice – twice! But after trying several times in the past, I have given myself permission to forego this ‘delight’ and will be substituting with a juice from the Super Juice Me! app so that I can use some of the asparagus we inadvertently ordered in our veg box this week, forgetting about the juice cleanse.

It is ok to substitute occasionally, providing you still create a balance with your juices and don’t overdo the fruit or the root veg to make them sweeter.


Nature’s Super Blend in my Grip and Go leakproof glass bottle.        Much healthier to use glass rather than plastic to store or drink juice from, both for us and the environment.

5 Day Friday

So, today is the final day of the cleanse. How is it going? Did you find it a breeze or a struggle? Did you ‘cheat’? How do you feel about ‘cheating’? Did you give up because you cheated? Do you feel a failure?


As I said at the beginning of the week, this is not a test for you to pass or fail. One slip doesn’t mean juicing isn’t for you! You can start over: if circumstances precluded you doing a full cleanse, then have a juice a day until you can. Did you have support or were people commenting about protein/fibre/sugar etc? Or cooking food you don’t want to eat and ‘encouraging’ you to ‘just have a little mouthful, once won’t do any harm.’

You are trying to be the healthiest you can be.

That’s not for anyone else to comment on, only for you to feel proud about.

And if you’ve made it through the week, well done! But don’t give up yet – it’s 5 Days AND 5 nights! 

Saturday is transition day. You will still need to juice while gently introducing whole fruit and veg, in other words plant-based foods. Don’t be tempted by family or friends to go out and celebrate – well, not in the way that’s traditionally done! No alcohol or fatty, sugary processed foods. Believe me, you will regret it.

See Super Juicing! I Feel Good – What Now? for tips on how to proceed after a cleanse.

(Whispering now cos it’s not polite to use toilet talk in public: after the initial ‘elimination’ at the start of the cleanse, some people have problems restarting the system, shall we say, towards the end of the week. If this is the case, it is perfectly fine to add a spoonful of ground linseeds to your juice in the morning).

And with that thought, I’ll love you and leave you!

Oh, ps look what my mum brought with her!


NB Please ask your doctor for advice if you’re thinking of extending your juice cleanse.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spiralising: A Great Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Greens, Reds, Yellows …

I have a confession to make. You know all those kitchen gadgets I mentioned in Gadgets Anonymous ? Well… <typing in quiet voice, head down, eyes looking sheepish> I have another one… But it’s not a blender!

Nope, a spiraliser. Lurch is its name.

To be fair, it isn’t new. It’s been sitting in the cupboard for some time, still in its box, waiting for us to catch up to it. And last night, we finally did, amd what fun!


On this plate are a Red Apple, a Carrot, half a medium Courgette and a quarter of a long Cucumber. Look at the wonderful colours!

It is highly unlikely anyone would sit and eat those items whole with a knife and fork. But spiralised, it becomes a whole different experience. Spiralising really does make a difference to how they taste, the texture and how much you can eat.

I had all this for dinner last night, along with a couple of very tasty, easy-to-make items from Jason Vale’s Super Fast Food app, which I hope to review when we’ve given it a good workout – so far, so thumbs up!

(We made the Zesty Creamy Rocket Pesto and the Nutty Seeded Crackers, both flavourful and nourishing and now added to our menu for regular use).


For the kids, it’s so much fun watching the twirly ribbons of veggie noodles emerging from the spiraliser, they just want to take a handful, tip their head back and start feeding the spirals into their mouth.

The Lurch spiraliser is very light and easy to use. Kids can help make their noodles with supervision. It comes with 3 different blades which are stored in the side and have protective hand grips to make it easy to switch.


It has suction feet to stop it slipping or travelling while in use. It also cores, and kids find the leftover middles amusing to play with or eat, or they can be juiced.

I am so excited! I know I am late to the party as far as spiralising is concerned, but I’ve been wanting to try for so long and better late than never!

Just hope the juicers and blenders aren’t going to view this as an act of betrayal! (But they needn’t worry, they continue to have pride of place on the kitchen counter, the spiraliser for the moment is still confined to the cupboard).

With grateful thanks to K and M! x

Copyright: Chris McGowan

4 Christmas Meals = 3 Extra Lbs, But That’s OK!

(Apologies for no pictures of Christmas food, I was too busy eating it!

Despite still managing to have a couple of juices a day over the Christmas period and only succumbing to 3 vegan mince pies, a glass of fizzy wine, some bombay mix and some tortilla chips, by way of processed food, I have managed to gain 3lbs. I think it was Christmas get-together number four that did it, as I seemed to consume most of those items in one day!

But gaining the 3lbs doesn’t worry me, I know they will disappear when I get back to normal.

What matters is we had a wonderful time. All 13 members of my family came together – a rare feat given one member had just returned from Peru! – with everyone old enough producing an item of food towards the buffet lunch.

My son made the most decadently delightful raw chocolate avocado mousse I have ever tasted – and I think I ate most of it!!

(Well, he said he needed his kilner jar back😉)

He also made onion bharjis (yum), my daughter made vegan sushi (my favourite), there were sesame and mint falafels (me again), almond stuffed olives (ditto) and my daughter-in-law made me some raw breakfast bars (but as I discovered, also good for lunch, tea and any time in-between!)

So that explains the 3lbs. I enjoyed putting on every ounce of them haha!

Christmas is a special occasion for us as it is the only time of year when we can all be in one place to share a meal together, and I wasn’t going to spend this precious time worrying about weight gain.

Neither should you.

Now life has returned to normal, I am gradually returning to normal portions of clean food, juices and smoothies.

What matters is looking and feeling healthy, having energy, resisting coughs and colds – not obsessing over 3lbs.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, too!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Preparing to be SuperJuiced!


I find January difficult. Dark, damp chilly days, post-Christmas blues, everyone hibernating waiting for the sun to come out.

A few years ago, I developed a coping strategy whereby every January I give myself a project or a challenge.

Three years ago, for instance, I spent the month adding to my family history. Two years ago, I came across Jason Vale’s 3lbs in 3 Days app* and began juicing (see my post ‘J is for January, Juicing and Jason!’).

I discovered a new me.

Last year, I became a raw foodie and vegan.

This time I am going to try Super Juicing. I have wanted to do it since I saw Jason Vale’s documentary, Super Juice Me! (see it for free on YouTube, link below), but wasn’t sure I had the stamina or discipline. I have done 7-9 days before, but I am concerned about my weight. I can’t afford to lose more than 3 or 4lbs, having already lost and kept off 34lbs and reached an optimum weight for me.

No, I am not superjuicing for weight loss. At this time of year, I always feel a slump in energy, a feeling of lethargy. As I write this, it is such a grey, wet day we need all the lights on, the fire lit. No opportunities for natural Vitamin D. I also have multiple aches and pains from longterm injuries. The youngest children were full of coughs and colds at Christmas, plus my husband has started sneezing.

So I am superjuicing to boost my energy levels, help ward off winter viruses and to see if it will help me reduce the pains and stiffness of damp winter weather.

This week I am tapering down: gradually returning to my normal clean diet in preparation for beginning Jason’s Free Big January Juice Challenge on the 11th.*

Part of this preparation is reading Jason’s ‘Super Juice Me! 28-Day Juice Plan.’

Although I have done most of his juice challenges, it is still always inspiring and remotivating to read one of his books before embarking on a cleanse.

It is as important to renew your juicing faith, to understand how it works and why you’re doing it, to make a mental commitment, as to prepare your body physically by gradually reducing the processed, sugary and fatty foods, coffee and alcohol.

I recommend reading any of Jason’s books: they are easy to read, informative as well as amusing. His enthusiasm is like attending an evangelical meeting. It is almost impossible not to see it through once you have read the book, made the commitment and best of all, watched his daily coaching videos. His SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary * is also inspirational as is Joe Cross’s film, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

So this is my personal January Challenge: I am committing to doing a 14 Day Super Juice Me plan. I will see how that goes and how it affects my weight before deciding whether to carry on.

I had my last mince pie on Friday.

(It is important to emphasise that this is Taper Down Week NOT One Last Blow-Out Week!)

I am having my morning ginger shots or variations on the theme (see my post ‘Juicy Winter Warmers), a protein smoothie for breakfast, blended juice for lunch, a handful of nuts in the afternoon and light cooked meal for dinner – oh, and perhaps a little Raw Chocolate Company* raw chocolate in between (well it would be rude to let my Christmas present go to waste!)

I’ll keep you posted!

Happy New Year to you All!

Ps Don’t Forget To Keep Hydrated!

SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary


Copyright: Chris McGowan