If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that matters of health are very important to me. As I look back on my 55 years, I guess they always were. Among many other things, I’ve owned several juicing machines, convinced that they would help me maintain good health. My current contraption is called the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, and it’s the best I’ve tried. I’m chalking that up to the influence of its namesake, Jack himself.
Who was Jack LaLanne?
Jack was born in 1915, was purported as a youth to have been a juvenile delinquent, and was reformed at the age of 15 when his mother took him to hear nutritionist Paul Bragg speak. He reformed his poor eating habits, eliminated all white flour & sugar, and owned a “health-food bakery” by the age of 18.
In 1936 at the age of 21, he opened what is believed to have been the country’s first health club in Oakland, California. At the time, doctors warned against working out with weights, believing it could cause a heart attack or even male impotence! But eventually LaLanne, first seen as a crackpot, came to be known as America’s foremost authority on fitness. In 1951 he produced & hosted The Jack LaLanne Show, TV’s first workout program. The show featured Jack performing calisthenics to snappy music, usually with only a chair or table ledge as equipment, while he urged America to “get up, work out, and feel better”! The show became nationally syndicated on ABC, and ran successfully for 34 years. (And I really do remember watching it with my mom who was physically handicapped!)
During this time Jack devised such now-standard gym equipment as the leg extension and weight pulley machines. He was the first to produce protein supplements and nutrition bars. Jack demonstrated his high levels of personal fitness with a series of stunts, usually performed on his birthday. Among those … in 1955 he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, while wearing handcuffs. And in 1971 for his 70th birthday, he swam a mile while shackled to 70 boats, that were carrying 70 people!
Jack was in his 90’s when he began touting his juicers, and still continued to work out daily, an hour in the gym and an hour in the pool. He claimed he had not missed a day of workouts, or had a sugary dessert, since 1930. When he died just last month at the ripe old age of 96, the spiritual father of America’s fitness movement was reported to have been holding a hand-weight! See www.jacklalanne.com for more about Jack.
So with the history of this fabulous role model, whose name literally looks me in the face every morning in my kitchen, how can I not at least try to emulate him? But juicing takes commitment, and I have my times of slacking off. Beyond the inspiration of Jack, I look at juicing as a way to preserve not only my own health, but that of my husband Bob’s, too. Now my Bob is not a fan of vegetables in general, and he’ll be the first to admit that. But I’m proud of him since in the 19 years we’ve been married, he’s literally gone from a triple by-pass (at age 37), to being somewhat of a food snob! He’s much more picky than I about fat on meats, spending lots of time cutting it off any food he’s served where it appears. For a guy who really did live on burgers before we met, he now asks when his dinner salad will be ready, and actually compliments me (well, sometimes) on new veggies that I present on his plate. So when I really began to take juicing to heart and asked him to try it, I was happy to have him say he liked it! Now our fresh juice with breakfast is a way of life … and we miss it when we are not at home.
How I Juice:
Here’s the commitment part. I juice the freshest fruits and vegetables I can get, and that means buying mostly organic produce in winter. The rest of the year, I maintain a good-sized garden where I attempt to grow all the produce I need. I regularly juice carrots, celery, beets & their greens, kale, swiss chard, spinach, romaine lettuce, mustard greens, parsley, cilantro and apples. On Sundays, I spend time putting together my bags for each day of the coming week … just under 2 pounds of produce yields our two glasses of juice. This way it’s easier to just grab a bag in the morning & juice it. When I’m prepared ahead like this, the juicing & pouring takes about 3 minutes. Then we drink the juice within 20 minutes … the nutrients begin to escape very quickly.
Then there’s the machine clean-up. This is said to be the part that causes most people to fail long-term in juicing. I try to make it short work. When I’m done juicing and have poured the juice into glasses, I IMMEDIATELY put on my rubber gloves and thoroughly rinse the juicer. If you let it sit, even for a short while, the job will be harder. I disassemble the parts, and simply run them under hot water, washing the debris down the drain. I leave the parts to drain for the day. Rinsing the juicer takes me another 3 minutes.
Every so often when I have time, I’ll load the parts into the dishwasher, but that does not remove the heavy staining very well. The better way is more time consuming … load the parts in the sink filled with hot soapy water with bleach & leave it soak. Later, spend some time scrubbing with the brush that’s included. Now, keep in mind that I’m regularly juicing a lot of highly colored produce, so the parts definitely become very stained. I suppose the proper way would be to soak & scrub the juicer after each use, but that’s not happening in my life. And I have the less expensive white model; I imagine the stainless steel would hold up better.
So there you have it … juicing is a great way to add tons of healthy nutrients to your diet. Visit http://www.powerjuicer.com/ for more details. To our health!