I was in Los Angeles last week, complaining to a friend about the difficulty of looking okay naked when one has spent the last several months in sunless New York, growing ever whiter in the damp and dark like a button mushroom. In addition to a brumal pallor and a duffel bag full of sweaters, I'd brought along a little case of heartbreak with me to California.
"You know what you need?" she advised. "Pressed juice."
Oddly enough, she was the second woman on the trip to mention it. The first was a colleague who warned me of chard enthusiasts lumbering wild in the streets of LA, evangelizing about nut milk like bronzered Krishnas.
In the past couple months, I gathered, pressed juice shops have sprung up at an alarming rate, much like the yogurt joints of yesteryear. My friend prophesied that the bubble would soon burst, leaving the entire west side a rattling ghost town of empty storefronts and dried kohlrabi tumbleweeds.
Anyhow: vegetable juice! It's going to be big for the next few minutes, and you heard it here, third.
But while frozen yogurt just does a decent-ish job of "filling the void," this juice is actually supposed to make you feel better, long term. And I have to say, I'm really drinking the Kool-Aid. Although in this case, the Kool-Aid often tastes like ass sweat harvested from a pair of old hemp underwear.
You can probably find an establishment in your town that will sell you fresh green juice. I had some at the Staten Island Ferry terminal the other day, so I'm pretty sure they're going to start peddling it to teenagers at rural Sonics any minute now.
That said, I now own a juice fountain, and it's really been a high point in my life. Yes, it is a deep pain in my velvety soft parts to empty, but it's cheaper than a Vitamix, which I cannot afford because I am not the sultan of Brunei. I am very attached to it even if its maintenance does involve the use of a tiny brush. Anything that necessitates a tiny brush to clean usually is Not for Me (see also: elaborate mantelpieces, children), but that's how into with my juice fountain I happen to be.
If you have 99 bucks and the counter space, I cannot recommend it enough.
Fruit juice is great, but it has a lot of problems -- like sugar, calories, and appeal. Vegetable juice uses produce that is low in carbohydrates and fructose, but high in calcium, vitamins, and mystery items like folate. These things supposedly work together to help improve mood, cholesterol levels, blood pressure ... pretty much everything but the lingering worry that guys don't like the size of your nipples.
Your typical elixir consists of leafy produce like spinach, kale, collards, chard, dandelion, and lettuces, plus other beneficial stuff like broccoli (which fights cancer), cucumber and ginger (anti-inflammatories), parsley (anti-carcinogenic), and celery. Who knows what the fuck celery does, really? It's basically stringy water, calorie-wise. I guess it's going in.
You can spike it with lemon, or sweeten it a little with fruit, but most devotees will tell you to keep it at least 80% green so you're not playing havoc with your insulin levels or just drinking some tarted up Hi-C. Some people put garlic in there, because it's supposed to be really good for you. Although personally, I've been relying on my personality to keep people from texting me after we sex.
Basically, you consume a whole ton of dark leafy greens and brightly hued vegetables at once. I would never really do this if they were in solid form, unless I was doing some kind of very specific fetish video. Which, incidentally, I would do for someone I liked and felt safe with. Just an FYI.
So why juice? Well, I think -- no, I know in my bones -- that some of these things in their raw state tend to taste bad. Yes, I see you, kale people. Sit down. Maybe you really do like to eat kale raw or as chips or in your crazy "living salads" or whatever. But it is, empirically, sort of bitter tasting. If you argue otherwise, that's fine, but you are living a lie. I applaud your powers of self-delusion, though. I wish I had them, right about now.
OK, so, I'm into green juice. It's an easy way for me to pack in a lot of nutrients like iron and vitamin K, which sadly cannot be found in any of my favorite foods -- airline peanuts, wine, hot fries, or the semen of somebody who doesn't love me.
Also, green juice CAN taste good and is relatively cheap, compared to say, dinner out or the better part of a whole pizza consumed during a recent, seven-hour horror movie marathon. Sometimes I find that being terrified by a movie is a welcome reprieve from the nagging fear that you are a poor conversationalist, or not the kind of girl you would want people in a restaurant to see you with.
Other upsides? Green juice is easy to consume in the morning. I mean, so are a lot of things, but not if you aren't a breakfast eater, which I am not, even when I'm not sad. The only colorful thing I'd like to put in my mouth before 10 AM is Damian Lewis.
And while it's kind of a pain in the ass to do multiple times a day, I use airtight glass bottles from Aquasana if I know I'm going to be on-the-go, or out of my apartment. I try never to do that much, that being "on-the-go" or "out of my apartment."
I have two favorite green juice recipes. I like them for completely opposite reasons, like Dean and Jess from "Gilmore Girls": one is sweet and simple, and one is dark and bitter. I know what you're thinking. Is there anything I can't or won't compare to Dean and Jess from "Gilmore Girls?" Answer: NO. Stop asking.
You can have these in addition to however many meals or pizzas you like to eat in a day, or you can substitute them for one, if you aren't hungry but might be cheered up by seeing your tongue turn a silly color.
They both make about 12 ounces of juice, but it'll probably vary for you, because my measurements are as unscientific as the horoscope of someone who you will probably never even see again.
Of course, you need a juicer for these, or a heavy rock and a lot of patience. HERE WE GO!
Julieanne's Green Juice Recipe 1
This one tastes good but has fruit in it, if you don't want to be super hardcore and cut out sugar. Sometimes I'll throw a beet in here too if I'm feeling extra loco.
- 1 large cucumber (which you'll need to peel if it comes waxed.)
- 1 bunch spinach (Not the baby kind. Best bought in a bunch. You can try the bag kind but it's hard to wrangle and doesn't produce a whole lot of juice)
- 1 cup of fresh pineapple or one green apple
- Half a bunch of Parsley
- Several sprigs of mint
Instructions: put it in your juicer according to your juicer's instructions. I don't know what those are and I'm not going to guess. I'm not an engineer.
Julieanne's Green Juice Recipe 2
Here is a green juice recipe that, at first, you may confuse for distilled jacuzzi water that somebody has expired in. It will, however, make you feel amazing, and you will come to tolerate the taste. Basically what I'm saying is don't be a fucking baby.
- 1 large cucumber (again, peeled if it's waxed)
- 1 bunch dandelion greens, rainbow chard, or (GOD, FINE) kale
- 1 bunch spinach
- Half a peeled lemon
- Half a thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger
- Half a bunch of parsley
Instructions: ignore your gag reflex. Drink it. I SWEAR TO GOD YOU'LL FEEL SO GREAT. AHGHHHHHGHHGHH
It's that easy! Possibly, the pleasant feeling I get from being a human lawnmower bag is due to what some people might call a "placebo" effect. I don't know. In addition to not being a doctor or an engineer, I just don't really care about where my feelings are coming from. I just want to know, "Can I pour juice or pizza on them? Great."
All I know is that after my green juice, I feel like the tree from "Evil Dead" put on some Ginuwine and did me slow and right. My skin and hair look all glowy, and I feel very nourished. I mean, physically. Emotionally I am pretty much the pulp left over from the juice. Off topic, but if you swung that way, you would date me, right? I have a job. I'm pretty nice. I did already mention that I own a juicer, but let me add that I also have several other mid-priced household appliances. Paid for in full.
You're supposed to drink fresh juice pretty soon after you extract it so it doesn't oxidize, but I guess you could be cool like me and carry them around in these dorky bottles, which I like to gulp from while doing the "Make me feel goooooooood" speech from "Monster's Ball." I can be funny sometimes, I swear. Sometimes I'm just boring when I'm nervous around somebody I like. It's a character flaw and I'm working on it.
If you guys have a favorite recipe or any advice for me, either about love or how to make kale taste less like morning breath piped in through an old library book, lay it on me. I'll be here. I'll be literally right here.