Sunday, May 4, 2014

Juicing in Japan

Last December, a friend of mine suggested I watch the movie "Fat, sick and nearly dead" by Joe Cross. She suggested it because I had been complaining about pain in my leg and knee. She said it was a great movie so I watched it. In the movie, Joe Cross (an Australian) goes to the States and does 60 days of only freshly made veggie and fruit juice. He did it because he was sick and tired of being sick. He had an autoimmune disease and had pretty much tried everything else and thought that juicing might help. It did help...not only him but other people featured in the movie.

I was so inspired that I went out and bought a juicer but as I wasn't sure I would like it or not, I just bought a cheap centrifugal juicer and figured if I really liked it, I would buy an expensive juicer later. I went to the supermarket and bought all kinds of fruits and veggies and made a few juices. WOW!! I loved it! And what is weird is that I NEVER drank juice before. I hate juice from the supermarket...always have so it floored me that I loved juicing. I made some not so great juice (daikon juice is soooo not for me lol) but overall I was happy with the juices I made but I wasn't happy with my juicer as the pulp was so wet and greens were nearly impossible to juice. So...after only a week of using my cheap juicer I bought an Omega 350VRT HD which is a masticating or cold press juicer. I ordered it from and had it delivered to me here in Japan (it was cheaper by almost $150 dollars even with shipping, than ordering one from here in Japan).

Well...what a difference! The pulp is drier, greens are easier to juice and the juice looks better...greener or redder (depending on the veggies) than from my other juicer. And after making it, I can store it for  up to 72 hours (though I never really go longer than 24) because it is a masticating juicer which means it runs at much lower rpms and therefore doesn't create much heat so nutrients aren't lost/destroyed.

Now...there are many many recipes out there but I live in Japan which means I don't always have access to them or in the case of fennel....NEVER have access to them lol. I thank God for costco because I can buy zucchini, celery, baby kale, romaine and other veggies and fruit in great quantities at great prices. Some veggies and fruit I can find at my local supermarket but in crazy small amounts...for example celery. I can only buy 2 stalks (stalks not bunches) at a time and half of it is leaves and it can cost $3 for 2 stalks! So...again I say thank God for costco because I go through so much celery in a week!

So...while we don't have access to all the fruits and veggies people in the States do, we do have access to other tasty veggies. Here are some of my favorites:

This is "santo sai"...apparently related to the Chinese cabbage (my hubby said "you's like the uncle or cousin of cabbage" lol). There is another one called "shirona" which I also like.

This next one I LOVE! It is called "shiso" or perilla leaves. I seriously love this leaf! It adds a fabulous flavor which is hard to describe. The only reason I tried it was that the day before we had "temaki sushi" (the kind you make yourself at the table) and we had extra and I hate to waste food so I thought I would throw it in and yum!!

The next thing I love to juice but hate to eat is "gobo" or burdock root. In Japan it is very popular in cooked dishes but I hated it. Not sure why I tried to juice it but I think at one point I just put things in my cart to try in a juice. Anyway, gobo is super healthy...good blood cleanser and it adds an earthy flavor without being overpowering. I just cut  about 10cm off the big root, peel it and then add it to the juicer.

I have many favorite juice recipes...but right now my favorite is celery/apple/gobo (burdock) and shiso (perilla leaves). Here is a pic.

In January, I did a 25 day juice fast and while I loved it in many ways, the main reason I wasn't happy was that I was FROZEN!! I mean, it is cold enough to snow here but we don't have central heat. My students thought I was nuts lol! I was sitting under the heater (25 degrees C), with a heavy coat on, fingerless gloves and a scarf and complaining about being cold. So I stopped. I also realized that my weak point in the day is when I come home from work so cooking my husband dinner was too tempting so during the fast I did in March/April I didn't cook him dinner. I did 15 days at that point and I was still frozen. While I wasn't thrilled to be cold I was thrilled with other pain went away! The swelling in my feet and ankles went away! I slept better! My skin glowed. I felt great. When I'm not doing a 100% juice fast, during the week I juice breakfast and lunch and eat dinner. On the weekends I juice breakfast and sometimes eat 1-2 meals.

While I was juice fasting I was getting excited about eating more veggies after stopping the fast...and I did that. And I have had problems. It looks like my body loves veggie juice but isn't crazy about eating all the veggies as I suddenly had gas, bloating...feeling pregnant etc so I think it was just too much fiber. And during this past week I have been on holidays and I haven't juiced as much as I normally do so tomorrow my husband and I are both doing a 3-5 day juice only fast. I've done them before but this is the first time my husband will be joining me. About 2 weeks or so ago, he started juicing breakfast and lunch with me and basically felt ok. He sometimes forgets to drink enough juice or water when he is working so he needs to do a better job of that this time lol. The good thing is...besides cucumber juice (which he loves to eat and hates to drink...he can smell cucumber juice a mile away lol) he has loved most of the juices I have made. He has also started helping me in the morning when I make the juice for breakfast and lunch. He does the straining (masticating juicer let more pulp through so the juice is thicker which we don't like so we strain it) and some washing up which is a big help now that I'm making juice for 2!

Anyway, given how much I love juicing I will probably be posting more in the future along with some pictures and recipes. Here is something that helped me when I first started juicing.


Jennie J said...

I love your blog and can´t stop reading :D I understand after reading here and also watched some videos at Youtube I have to order a juicer (thought I could use our mixer but I can clearly see it will NOT be the same) So Im gonna check the Omega 350VRT HD out :)Your blog is awesome!

FromJapanWithLove said...

Hi Jennie!
I have a big smile on my face-thanks!
Juicing is awesome!! It is fun to experiment and figure out what juice combos you like. And don't be surprised if some of the veggies that you love to eat you hate to juice and vice versa!

And yep-blending and juicing are NOT the same thing! :)

Good luck!


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