Juicing My Way Through The Cold Wars + Golden Milk Recipe

When I wrote Preparing to be SuperJuiced Part 2 at the beginning of January this year, I mused about whether I would be able to avoid succumbing to any of the winter viruses while living on juice only for a fortnight (which actually turned into nearly 3 weeks).

Before I began juicing almost 3 (now 4) years ago, I would suffer untold pain and discomfort from a heavy cold, sinusitis and chest infection in January or February every year. This would last up to 8 weeks, make my asthma worse and occasionally crack a rib and strain a stomach muscle from the effort of coughing. It was exhausting, I was unable to sleep or breathe properly and nothing gave any relief. I would go through a jar of Vicks, use honey and lemon and copious amounts of cough sweets to try to ease the symptoms. I probably used a forest of tissues!

After my first year of juicing, I almost got away with it. Everyone else in the family had fallen like flies but I was still standing, until my husband became ill and probably for the first time since I’ve known him had to take to his bed for a few days. It really knocked him for six. This placed me under a lot of stress and almost inevitably I got it too. BUT: it didn’t turn into a chest infection and I didn’t have to use an inhaler, nor did it last nearly as long and I wasn’t as ill as my husband.

So this January, having turned vegan and been on a mainly raw diet for a year, I was interested to see how my body would react this time around. I was also doing the 14 day juice cleanse and having a series of intense dental treatments. And if that wasn’t enough of a stress test, I don’t know what is!

I have felt a dry throat once and a few sneezes once, but each time I thought a cold was coming on I drank a lot of fresh ginger, turmeric and lemon tea as well as regularly sipping ginger and turmeric juices – see Juicy Winter Warmers in Juice Recipes – I also gargled with a couple of drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil in warm water for the dry throat. Tastes horrible but is very effective! I eat a lot of garlic too, a natural antiviral, antibiotic, decongestant. Within hours, all symptoms were gone.

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My Medicine Chest

This despite being hugged and kissed by younger family members in the full throws of colds and chest infections with weepy eyes and ears and undergoing the aforementioned intensive and painful dental work. I am allergic to adrenaline and when I had a local anaesthetic my whole body convulsed for 20 minutes. On two occasions, a twenty minute appointment turned into an hour and a half.

Oh, and in February I tried to make a hole in the ceiling over the stairs – with my head! As you do. Don’t ask. You know those cartoons where the character hits something hard and sits there cross-eyed with a circle of stars around his head? That was me. It literally and metaphorically knocked me sideways. I was feeling the vibration of it throughout my body for days afterwards and it placed untold stress on my spine for months afterwards.

After all that, I was sure I would now fall prey to the next virus passing.

Then my husband had surgery. And my mum was ill.

But here I am, October, and as I write still cold-free. My body has been through untold pain, stress and worry over the last 9 months, a sure sign to any lingering germs that my immune system is being seriously stretched and giving the green light for an immediate full-on attack. But so far, so juicy gingery good!

Update: Haha – the blogging gods are laughing at me now! I post-dated the publication of this post, it is now November 2016 and I am still vegan, still juicing, but after 3 visits in 5 days recently from family members with their horrible coughs and colds and waving goodbye in a horrible chilly wind, I succumbed to a dry throat and tickly cough.

I didn’t fall ill though, I bombarded it with ginger, turmeric, lemon and black pepper as tea and in juices, in between drinking my Spicy Watermelon & Grapefruit Juice – another nutrient-filled anti-inflammatory juice – and avoided the stuffed up head cold and the usually inevitable chest infection.

I’ve also added Golden Milk to my natural treatment armoury and it works a treat at aiding sleep when you’re under the weather. It is so warming: just add a few slices of ginger and turmeric with a twist of black pepper and if necessary, a teaspoon of maple syrup, to a cupful of warm almond milk, (making sure you stir well while warming in the pan to stop it catching at the bottom, it will thicken slightly). Let it steep for 5 minutes, then strain and drink.

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Toothache Tip: My daughter-in-law visited recently and was suffering terribly with an inflamed wisdom tooth. Nothing was helping: she tried clove oil, gargling with salt water, Nurofen (which helped a little for a short while), then we hit on the idea of ginger tea and between sips she held one of the slices of ginger from the tea against her gum and – done regularly – it seemed to provide some longer relief.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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The Health Benefits of Grapefruit + Heart Healthy Wake-Up Juice Recipe

I love grapefruit, always have. As a teenager, it was always a bit hit and miss as to whether I had time for any breakfast before dashing for the last possible bus I could catch to get me to school on time, which usually meant a quick slurp of black coffee and a slice of toast and Marmite eaten on the way!

Weekends, however, I generally had time for fresh grapefruit. Even then, I preferred it raw and sugarless – and not just because I was aware of its metabolism-boosting properties and was trying to lose weight! No mucking about putting it under the grill with brown sugar as was the fad then. In those days, the only variety available was the white one.

It is only in recent years, with my penchant for home-made muesli and, later, juicing, that this juicy, tangy and beneficial fruit silently disappeared from my breakfast menu.

This all changed when a gorgeous ruby red grapefruit appeared in my organic veg box last year. (They are slightly stronger, the pink are a little sweeter) I waited and waited to have it. I wanted to savour it. It was so salivatingly juicy and well worth the anticipation.

Next time, I decided to juice it. Recipe below.

It has long been known that the nutritional content of grapefruit is good for a healthy heart and in lowering blood pressure. A diet that includes fresh red grapefruit has beneficial effects on blood lipid levels, especially triglycerides.

But grapefruit has many health benefits. The high Vitamin C content in fresh grapefruit helps with the absorption of iron and calcium and also aids in unblocking the lymphatic system. The salicylic acid in grapefruit helps to remove inorganic calcium deposits which form in joint cartilage.

Grapefruit helps curb hunger, prevent cancer and is good for the skin. It also helps prevent the build-up of fat in the liver.

A glass of grapefruit juice a day is particularly beneficial in the colder months to help prevent colds and viruses.

(Pink and Red Grapefruit have slightly higher antioxidant levels than the white).

Here is a tasty, healthy juice combining heart-healthy fruit and vegetables high in Vitamin A and C. The apple and celery in this juice help to improve kidney function. Beetroot helps with circulation and lowering blood pressure. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral ingredient, which helps to prevent colds and can reduce symptoms of chronic degenerative conditions.

Heart-Healthy Wake-Up Juice

All ingredients are organic.

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NB There should be a small piece of ginger root too.

Peel a small orange and half a grapefruit leaving as much pith as possible, this is where all the micronutrients live.

Scrub the carrots, cucumber, small slice of ginger root (no idea why it’s absent in the photo!) and 2 small chioggia beetroot but keep the skin on (you can substitute with ordinary beetroot which are a little stronger). Wash the apples and keep the peel on. Wash the celery, keep any leaves on.

Begin with an apple and end with an apple when juicing to get the most out of the softer fruit.

Add ice if liked and if it’s not going to chill you to your marrow! (Writing this on a chilly Autumn morning).

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NB Some medications interact with grapefruit so please check with your doctor or pharmacist. Grapefruit contains a compound which interferes with the breakdown of certain drugs which means there can be a build-up and possible reaction.

 Copyright: Chris McGowan

Refreshing & Hydrating Papaya, Watermelon & Cucumber Juice with a Kick!

imageI came up with this combination after my Raw Island One Day Juice Cleanse (see my Review).  It is recommended that you have watermelon and papaya as your first solid food afterwards,  to reintroduce fibre, I’ve never had papaya before and I wondered what it would be like juiced. I’d read that it could be difficult to juice and bitter but I found it was neither – just be sure to remove the seeds, they taste like peppercorns! Papaya juice tastes wonderful on its own but I decided to add the other ingredients to make a post cleanse hydrating juice.

Papaya is a delicious exotic fruit that is beneficial to good imagehealth, clear skin and aids digestion. It contains an enzyme called papain that aids regularity and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. Papaya is also high in antioxidants and B vitamins making them a good anti-inflammatory food, and full of minerals and dietary fibre.

Papaya, watermelon, cucumber and celery are wonderfully hydrating, while ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral and adds a nice kick to the juice. Carrot adds more antioxidants and lemon adds Vitamin C which aids absorption and helps slow down oxidation of the juice.

Ingredients

1 Papaya

1/4 Mini Watermelon

4″ Cucumber

Thick Slice of Wax-free Lemon

1″ or more of Ginger

1/2 Medium to Large Carrot

Small Celery Stalk

Scrub the skin of the Papaya, Cucumber, Lemon, Carrot and Celery. Discard the Papaya seeds as these can make the juice bitter and may block up your juicer. Peel the Watermelon and discard the seeds and peel.

Juice everything, add ice if liked – and if you’re not in the depths of winter!

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Hot, Hot, Hot Anti-Inflammatory Beetroot & Ginger Juice!

This is one of my favourites. I love ginger and have become so used to it I can stand quite a lot of it in juicies. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-fungal and when used regularly it’s great for helping ward off colds and viruses, treating Candida, nausea and relieving inflammatory pain.

Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

If you’re not used to it, begin with a thin slice of ginger root and gradually increase it.

Beetroot is well-known for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, it dilates blood vessels which improves circulation – athletes, professional cyclists and gym enthusiasts are known to employ fresh beetroot juice in their training and preparation. It’s a good source of potassium.

Freshly extracted beetroot juice has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol when drunk regularly.

Celery, apple and lemon provide electrolytes, so altogether this is a good juice to have when exercising.

All ingredients are organic and therefore they are just washed and the peel left on. If using waxed lemon, thinly pare the peel leaving plenty of pith, it’s where the healthy micro-nutrients are.

Ingredients

Small Beetroot

2 Carrots

2 Apples

1 Stick of Celery, chopped into 3″ pieces

Thick Slice of Lemon with peel on

Thick knob of Ginger – about 2cms x 2 cms

Juice all the items, placing the lemon and ginger between the apples and putting the celery in last to avoid it clogging up the juicer.

(The picture in the background is entitled Moths and Butterflies by Sophie Whiting).

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warm Apricot & Ginger Rice Salad with Tamari-Splashed Garlic Mushrooms

imageThis was born on a very chilly, wet and windy July day a few days after I had finished a 7 day juice challenge. I had been having salads since, and this was my first fully cooked meal. I wanted something light but warming – it didn’t feel at all like summer – but we had a lot of summer vegetables and fruit so we decided to combine a little of both with some filling and nourishing basmati rice and served with large chestnut mushrooms lightly stir-fried with crushed garlic and tamari.

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Once the rice has been soaked for an hour, the preparation and cooking only takes about half an hour from start to finish.

All ingredients are organic and measurements are as always approximate.

Have a warm dish and a warm plate ready to serve.

Ingredients

1 Cup Basmati Rice, soaked for an hour, rinsed and drained. Cook as normal.

While rice is cooking, prepare:

1-2 or 3 thin slices of Ginger – depending how spicy you want it -chopped finely

1-3 Spring Onions, depending how big or small they are, sliced

5-6 Sugar Snap Peas or Mangetout, sliced

2″ of Courgette/Zucchini, chopped

Floret of Broccoli, thinly sliced

3″ of Carrot, shaved

1/2 Cup Sweetcorn

A few Small Broad Beans

3 Large Chestnut Mushrooms with Stalks separated per person, whole

1 Large Garlic Clove

2 Tsps Coconut Oil

Tamari

Black Pepper

Lightly toasted Pine Nuts

1 Fresh Apricot, sliced

A few Sprouted Mung Beans (optional)

Method

Just before rice is cooked:

Heat 1 Tsp oil each in 2 frying pans

In one, lightly stir-fry all the ingredients on the list up to the mushrooms.

In the other, stir-fry the whole mushrooms and stalks with a crushed clove of garlic and a couple of splashes of Tamari.

Keep everything slightly undercooked with a bite to it.

Place cooked ice in a hot dish and fluff it up with a fork to release the steam. Add some black pepper.

Lightly mix in the stir-fried vegetables, top with, mung bean sprouts, sliced apricot and toasted pine nuts. Place the garlic mushrooms on a hot plate

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The mushrooms have a salty, meaty texture giving you something satisfying to chew.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Warm Rice Salad with Ginger, Dulse & Sprouted Mung Beans

imageRice salad, whether warm or cold, has long been a favourite in our house. It is quick – essential here! – nutritious and versatile: you can vary the spices or herbs as well as the vegetables.  If you keep until next day, heat it through thoroughly.

We use organic basmati rice. Brown rice contains B vitamins, protein and fibre. We always soak it for an hour and then rinse, to remove any arsenic (yes, most rice, even organic, contains a small amount of arsenic from the groundwater it was grown in – more or less, depending on where it was grown). Cook it according to your usual method, but don’t overcook it. It wants to be whole and nutty, not splitting or wet and mushy. If you overcook rice, it acts like sugar in the body and you lose many of the benefits of using wholegrain rice.

Dulse is a sea vegetable. These contain all 56 minerals and trace elements required by the human body for optimal functioning, as well as B6, B12, Iron, Calcium and are an important source of Iodine for a healthy thyroid.

Sprouted Mung Beans add protein, fibre, B vitamins and several minerals, as well as Vitamins C and K.

Ginger is anti-inflammatory and spring onions are prebiotics – they provide the nourishment that probiotics feed on to maintain a healthy gut.

Ingredients

1 Cup Basmati Rice, soaked and rinsed, then cooked in 1 and 1/2 Cups Boiling Water, about 25 minutes. Have a hot dish ready to serve it in so that any moisture disappears and fluff it up lightly with a fork.

1 Tsp Coconut Organic, Raw Coconut Oil

A couple of thin slices of Ginger, finely chopped

A few Spring Onions, depending on their size

2 decent-sized Mushrooms, whatever type you favour, or a few if small, chopped

A few Sugar Snap Peas or Mangetout, trimmed and chopped

A stick of Celery, with leaves, chopped – reserve half for the green salad

About Half a Small Courgette (Zucchini), chopped

Ground Black Pepper

A few splashes of Tamari – not too much because the Dulce is salty

Some Dulse, snipped into small pieces and soaked for a couple of minutes

A couple of handfuls of Sprouted Mung Beans

Method

  Very lightly stirfry all the ingredients adding them in the order listed, only adding the Dulse and Mung Beans when the rice is cooked and you’re ready to serve.

It takes only 5 – 10 minutes. Try not to overcook, you want some bite to the vegetables and you want to retain as many nutrients as possible.

Mix together lightly with the rice in a hot dish with a fork.

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Serve wth a green salad and a dressing of your choice, with humous, spicy cashew cheese or guacamole.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Juicy Winter Warmers – 5 Juices to Help Ward off Colds

With the cold season upon us I thought I would write a short post with some Warming Winter Juices that are full of antioxidants to help fight off colds and viruses.

These are of the ‘shot’ variety, not full meal replacements.

Drink one every day after your early morning glass of hot water and lemon or honey. As soon as you feel the first signs of a dry or sore throat or a cold coming on try having one three times a day or more.

You will see that ginger is the common denominator here. It is a natural antibiotic and decongestant, and is full of minerals. It is also anti-inflammatory, as are celery and pineapple.

(Do you remember that scene in The Great Escape where the American POWs are making Hooch to celebrate American Independence Day and when they taste it they each go Wow! and can hardly speak? That was me testing these for this post!)

I use organic produce where possible and leave the skin/peel on – except for the pineapple, unless you have a juicer that can cope with it.

It is best to put the ginger in the juicer between halves of an apple, or in first and then the apple or pineapple if using only those ingredients.

All the glasses in the pictures are 6fl oz. ie very small.

First up is my Morning Glory, it makes a bit more than a shot.

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1 Apple, 1 Small to Medium Carrot, Half a stick of Celery, Thick Slice of Waxfree Lemon, At least 1 cm of Ginger but as much as you can take! Optional: 1 cm of Turmeric plus a pinch of Black Pepper stirred into juice before pouring, to help with absorption of Turmeric.

Next up is Pineapple Bomb – Mark Beddoe’s* short but sweet and very spicy answer to winter sniffles:

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1″ thick round of Pineapple, Thumb of Ginger, as much as you can stand.

The Natural Juice Junkie’s Winter Slammer is a daily starter on his Winter Cleanse Programme.*

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Half an Apple, Half a Waxfree Lemon (rind on), 1 Thumb of Ginger. Optional: Pinch of Cayenne Pepper stirred in before pouring into glass.

Jason Vale’s* Ginger Shot was my first introduction to juicing ginger – as part of his 5lbs in 5 Days plan – it nearly took my head off! Of course now I don’t blink at all, the stronger the better.

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Half an Apple, 2-3cms of Ginger

Down in One!

Jason also does the Ginger Zinger – which is a larger juice – as part of the 7lbs in 7 Days plan.

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2 Carrots, 2 Apples, 1″ Slice of Waxfree lemon, 1/4″ Ginger. Juice and pour over ice.

(Sorry forgot the ice for the photo!)

Here’s to a Healthy You!

(Having tested all these in one go for the blog, I should be cold-free the whole winter!)

*@explorejuice  http://www.naturaljuicejunkie.com  http://www.juicemaster.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan