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Adventures In Juicing:

Hey Guys, today I’m celebrating my anniversary! No, not with Mr. Right, even though I’m still holding out hope on that front. Today, I’m celebrating one year of juicing!

Over the past year, my juicing practice developed from a curiosity, to a hobby, to an essential part of my routine! It’s taught me a lot, from patience to nutrition to getting creative with combinations. So, today I want to share a few of the triumphs and tribulations I’ve had over the past year.

First and foremost, I can’t stress this enough-you have to have a good juicer. I made the mistake of starting with a half-broken hand-me-down, which caused me no end of trouble.

When I got started, I didn’t even know the difference between slow juicers and fast juicers. I figured they were all pretty much the same, so why not just use the fast juicer my roommate left behind when she moved out? Weeeeeell, that wasn’t the best decision in the world. If you’ve ever used a fast juicer, you know the spinner-basket piece in the middle that sucks out the juice. Hers wasn’t cleaned very well, so it only got about half the juice out. After the first time I juiced, I was kind of horrified by how much juice was still in the pulp. So, I ended up running everything through cheesecloth, and wasn’t THAT a good time… not.

Long story short, I had a bit of a learning curve, but I eventually did the reasonable thing and consulted the internet. I read lots of reviews for juicers, which was time consuming, but I ended up finding one great site that had pretty much everything I wanted to know about juicers, because I literally had no knowledge whatsoever (if you’re in the market, you should look here at juicerelite.club).

I finally ended up with a Champion, which I’ve since learned from other juicers I’ve talked to is like the #1 most popular model ever. So, it’s nice to be in the club. I really like this one, because I could honestly throw anything at it and the thing refused to break. I literally made so many mistakes, I was cringing pretty much every session thinking I might have made an irreversible mistake. But Old Faithful came through! I’ve been doing lots of experiments and trials to find my “juicing mojo”, so here’s some of what I learned:

-You should always mix things around. I read this when I started, and thought “why would I do that? Just do all of one thing and then add the next thing”. Well, little did I know that that’s just ASKING for trouble. If you do what I did, and start adding about a pound of carrots all at once, you’re…uh…gonna have some problems. Don’t do it. Trust me. If you mix up the soft stuff, like tomatoes, or pineapple, that sort of juicy fruit, with hard stuff like root things and apples, you get a lot better juice. Basically, the way it works is all the hard stuff pushes the soft stuff through, and clears out the system as you go. So, you’re never just spinning your wheels on soft stuff, or burning out your motor on hard things.

-Don’t skip cleaning. No, really. Don’t skip cleaning. Even if you think you’re gonna come back to it later. Just do it. Get it over with. I learned this the hard way. I left my juicing screen in the sink one day, since I was in a hurry to get to pilates. Well, I got back, and started scrubbing. And scrubbing. And scrubbing. And no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get the stupid thing clean. Not at all. About half the holes were clogged, and I defy you to find a tool that can get in there once it’s stuck. Thankfully, the internet came to the rescue again, and I figured out how to unstick it with vinegar. But I seriously can’t stress enough–just clean things quickly. It’s SO much easier. Follow the juicer maintenance guide, and stick to it. You'll get a routine down soon enough!

-Don’t feel like you have to juice everything. I don’t know if it’s just me, or if this is something every juicer does, but once I got going, I would literally juice every single piece of produce that came into my house. Plums? Sure! JUICE THEM! Radishes? JUICE THEM! The bottom line is, some things just aren’t worth juicing. That’s true for stuff like plums, especially. You don’t get much juice out of those not-too-hard, not-too-soft fruits, and they taste so much better the old fashioned way.

So, yeah! Happy one year, Champion! Here’s to many more!

If you're a juicing fanatic like me, you'll love my page. Do check it out.

On Being Vegan:

Hey guys! So, I want to start this post by saying that I believe very firmly that veganism is a broad tent. It’s a lot of different people from different walks of life. We’re all vegan for our own reasons, and we all eat completely differently, just like meat-eaters or any other group. So, I don’t mean for this post to be like a doctrine. It’s just my thoughts on some of the misconceptions I think we’re sold when we read about veganism, or see veganism portrayed in a simplistic way.

To sum it all up, I want to point out that veganism doesn’t mean substitution. This drives me crazy. I know that might seem self-explanatory, but think about it: when you go to a “vegan” section of a store, or look at the “vegan” option on the menu when you’re eating out, chances are you’re looking at some sort of substitution. It’s a veggie burger instead of a hamburger, or a soy cheesecake rather than a dairy one. I personally find that really condescending. That’s a non-vegan saying, “well, I don’t know what you people eat, so I’m just gonna make my things in a way that you like. Even if it’s not as good. Even if I wouldn’t eat it.” So, we constantly live in a way that we’re just given this alternative thing, but in a very limiting way. We’re given the other, not as good version of whatever foods non-vegans eat.

The truth is, there’s a whole other world of foods out there. What non-vegans don’t realize is that when you base every meal around a meat product or a type of cheese, you forget that there are hundreds of other foods out there. Whole cultures have learned to make great food without meat, and you can find just as many and even more exciting flavors, textures, and combinations without animal products. You forget that rather than resigning yourself to having not-as-good food for the rest of your life, you could have equally good but different foods!

Now, I know that some people who become vegans have an emotional attachment to some foods they had before. They loved Thanksgiving turkey, for instance, so they want to have something like that. And I get it. But it’s so limiting, because you have to know that every imitation bird you buy won’t be as good as the real thing. You’re just signing up to be disappointed every single year. 

On the other hand, if you keep experimenting, exploring, and cooking different and adventurous meals, you’re sure to find something you love and treasure as much as your Mom’s turkey.

One of the things I think trips a lot of vegans up is that feeling like you need to measure up to non-vegans, or to sort of compete with them. For instance, meat substitutions, or cheeses. There’s that test: oh, this vegan cheese isn’t as good as the real thing. Well, there’s a lot more to being vegan that imitating cheese and coming up short!

Basically, I just want to say, there’s a huge world of food out there, and I think we all owe it to ourselves to explore it. To try new things, to find new possibilities, and open ourselves up to the freedoms of being vegan, rather than living our lives around its limitations. So, I’m not saying give up your vegan cream cheese, or our tempeh bacon. All I’m saying is, we don’t have to be the ones envying or craving the non-vegan foods. We should be making foods that make non-vegans re-think their conceptions of what vegan lifestyles can be, in a way that broadens all our understandings of great food.

More of my adventures HERE.