Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tales of the Juicer

My friends Julia and Maxey, knowing of my cancerous issues, recently lent me a juicer. Julia and Maxey are both smart and beautiful women who have been juicing for years. The machine now in my kitchen was Maxey’s when she went to college. It sort of looks like R2D2 with a spout and is eerily quiet for something that can reduce a giant, hard  carrot to mush. I have already had one nightmare where the juicer is chasing my cat while humming the Star Wars theme song.

Jack LaLanne’s name is on the front. You remember Jack, the original Hollywood he-man. He swam the Atlantic Ocean at age 105 and then retired to Malibu and developed his own line of healthy eating machines.

Jack’s creation weighs 15 pounds, has a 3600 rpm high induction motor and a stainless steel blade that would make Dr. Joseph Guillotin envious. It will take in kale, celery, apples, carrots and a variety of other veggies (I drew the line at beets) and spit out a copious, bile colored liquid, the taste of which reminds me of my initial venture at playing football (not a sport played often in my native France), getting tackled, and ending up with a mouthful of dirt.

The very first time I used the Jack Lalanne Pro Juicer in my kitchen, thick liquids exploded from pretty much everywhere and painted my t-shirt and shorts, as well as my kitchen ceiling, with small globs of orangish vegetation. The second time I was more careful. I made sure every aperture save for the spout was sealed, and the experiment went much better, though the taste was roughly the same. Friends have suggested I add lemon, ginger, vanilla extract and vodka (this from a truly clueless person) but not bananas (they’ll mush up the works) or yogurt. Also, once the juicer has done its work, the result must be drank (drunken) within ten minutes for maximum efficiency. What is left after juicing is a sort of multi-colored Brillo pad that I am sure could be converted into vegan burgers by people other than me.

Ideally, only organically grown vegetables and fruits should be used.  This makes perfect sense, as juicing a chemical-laden apple or pear only means you’ll get a concentrated dose of whatever noxious fertilizer kills fish in agricultural run-offs. This means you have to shop in stores that charge 1000% markup for runty and splotchy (but pure) veggies. Luckily, kale is a mainstay of juicing, and, organically grown or not, it is inexpensive. I used to feed kale to my iguana who was so healthy he attacked me whenever I tried to be friendly.  Kale’s taste, however, is truly toxic. Imagine liquefied and concentrated topsoil, with worms.  Only the toughest can endure kale by itself, and even Julia and Maxey, hardened juicers both, have to mask its venomous flavor.

I’ve learned about the Dirty Dozen, conventionally grown celery, peaches, strawberries apples, domestic blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, potatoes, imported grapes and lettuce.  According to, “these tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, with some testing positive for as many as 67. For produce on the ‘dirty’ list, you should definitely go organic — unless you relish the idea of consuming a chemical cocktail.”

The produce on the Clean Fifteen list “bore little to no traces of pesticides, and is safe to consume in non-organic form.” This list includes onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mango, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and sweet onions

So all right, now that I’ve made fun of Jack, juicers, juicists, etc. , here’s the thing: I’ve only used the machine four times and I feel better. Last night, for the first time in months, I slept an undisturbed six hours.  I expected some monstrous intestinal distress and haven’t had any.

Thank you, Julia, thank you Maxey!  I’m sold.


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