Get Your Juices Going Again

After all the rich, heavy food during Passover meals and all that matza that may have overburdened the digestive system, the body needs liquids to cleanse itself.

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Vitamin C juice. Credit: Limor Laniado Tiroche. dishes from Nedunya Antiques, Tel Aviv.

Passover is drawing to a close, and now, more than anything, the body needs lots of liquids - to help it to cleanse itself after the rich and heavy food at the holiday meals. Eating all that matza this past week may have also overburdened the digestive system and disrupted its regular functioning.

One of the better and more pleasant ways to renew the body is via vegetable and fruit juices. This is an age-old method, known to many cultures - a basic means for rehabilitating various bodily systems, one that is also considered therapeutic in treating a wide range of diseases.

Vegetables and sprouts juice. Credit: Limor Laniado Tiroche. dishes from Nedunya Antiques, Tel Aviv.

You can drink juices for three days in a row or replace your breakfast every day with a liquid meal. Another option is to devote one day a week or one day a month entirely to drinking just juices. Your own personal lifestyle and eating habits will determine which alternative is right for you. Some people end a day of juice intake with a pureed vegetable soup, rich in root vegetables and unseasoned.

The logic behind juice days is that they give the digestive tract a rest, since they do not contain the unnecessary substances found in processed foods, and allow the body to channel energy into the task of purifying itself of toxins.

There are two kinds of juices: clear and shakes. You can choose one kind or combine them. Clear vegetable and fruit juice does not contain dietary fiber, and it can be made in a juice machine for hard vegetables (a carrot juicer ). Smoothies or shakes are thicker and therefore more filling as well; they are prepared in a blender.

Clear juices have a great advantage: They provide all of the food groups essential to the body, and have particularly high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and chlorophyll, which are important for strengthening the immune system and preventing infection. They also contain no dietary fiber, so the juice gets absorbed into the blood stream relatively quickly. These juices are low in calories, and thus aid in weight reduction. Juice that also contains vegetables, especially green ones, will give a quick boost to the metabolism and prevent constipation.

In contrast to clear juices, shakes contain fiber, which also contributes to the feeling of being sated after consumption. Some people think the greater fiber content makes shakes less helpful as cleansing agents than clear juices. In any event, if the juice is to be a substitute for a meal, it's better to opt for a big shake that will leave you feeling full for a longer time.

When we prepare juices or shakes it is important that they taste at least as good as a carefully prepared dish of solid food. A juice that is not tasty simply won't cut it as a regular substitute for a meal, and might even turn you off. It is important to take a sip before serving so that you adjust the taste. Some preferred foods for improving taste are avocado, which gives thickness and "body" to the juice; banana, which provides both bulk and sweetness; and apple juice, whose sweet flavor both improves the taste and is a good complement to vegetable concoctions. Orange juice lends a tartness that improves more bland - or, by contrast - overly sweet juices.

I recommend adding one or more additives that can enhance and improve the body's ability to absorb all of the nutritional wealth inherent in juices or shakes. These include: a few drops of olive oil, a teaspoon of raw tahini, a teaspoon of powdered Spirulina or two cocoa beans.

The following recipes will yield one large glass of juice for one person.

Cleansing juice

1 beet
1 bunch parsley
1/2 cup spinach
2 celery sticks
3 apples
4 prunes, soaked overnight in 1/2 cup water
2 kiwis
1/2 medium papaya, peeled and pitted
Liquify the beet, parsley, spinach, celery and apples in a juicer for hard vegetables/fruit. Pour into a blender and blend together with the prunes (including the water they soaked in), kiwi and papaya.

Carrot, pear & goji berry juice

2 oranges
4 carrots
2 pears
1 ginger finger
1 tablespoon goji berries, soaked in water for 2 hours
Squeeze orange juice. Liquify the carrots, pears and ginger in a juicer for hard vegetables/fruit. Pour the juice into a blender and blend together with the drained goji berries

Cleansing juice. Credit: Limor Laniado Tiroche. dishes from Nedunya Antiques, Tel Aviv.

Green juice

Recommended for breakfast.
3 green apples
3 pears
3 celery sticks
5 lettuce leaves
3 cucumbers
1 ginger finger
1/4 cup nana mint leaves
1 lemon wedge with peel
Combine and liquify all the vegetables and fruit in a juicer for hard vegetables/fruit. To make the drink more filling, you can pour it into a blender and blend with tahini, banana or 2 dates.

Carrot juice.Credit: Haaretz archives

Vegetable & sprouts juice

4 carrots
1 beet
3 celery stalks
4 Swiss chard leaves
1 small bunch of sprouts
1/2 avocado
Liquify the vegetables in a juicer for hard vegetables/fruit. Pour into a blender and blend with avocado.

Green juice.Credit: Limor Laniado Tiroche. dishes from Nedunya Antiques, Tel Aviv.

Vitamin C juice

2 oranges
10 strawberries
2 kiwis
1 banana
1/4 cup nana mint leaves
few drops olive oil
Squeeze orange juice. Pour into a blender and blend with the rest of the ingredients. Add a little olive oil.