magine if going on a cleanse was as easy as switching on a vacuum cleaner and having it all get sucked out, all evils just washed away and us absolved of our many imbibed sins. We spend so much time taking care of the outside, the visible parts of us , gussying it up, making it all shiny , yet we put so much crap into our bodies not really thinking too much about the consequences, or dealing with them many years down the line.
Modern diets and lifestyles, i’m not preaching honest, wreak havoc on us . Lets face it we’re all guilty especially at this time of the year when we’ve just spent a month ( maybe more) indulging in a plethora of delights from christmas pudding and mince pies, to egg nog and copious amounts of champagne (ok that was my holiday diet). You get to January and all your bits have gotten a bit softer, bit wobblier , you feel sluggish and lumpy. So the next step is you sign up for a new gym membership to get back into bikini shape, but what about the inside, whats the saying , beauty should start from within , right?A popular method of inner spring cleaning is the fast, you give your digestive system a rest by only drinking juices or teas or spicy maple lemonade. Fasts are nothing new of course, but they’re pretty bloody trendy these days and not just as religious practice during Ramadan or Lent which both employ fasting as part of the “making yourself holy” schtick . A fast is great but but whilst washing your inner bits its not really putting anything back into your system.
I live in the city of Angels, the land of mashed yeast and alfalfa sprouts according to that great Noo Yawker Woody Allen, here there is an almost unnatural obsession with juice cleansing, juice bars popping up all over the shop, charging $10 a go for a cold pressed bottle of green nectar, its also become popular to add, dare I say it ( waiting to be struck down by lighting) a shot of vodka or gin to said juice mix, I mean I wrote about it this time last year so I know it to be true. But this month as a change of pace and to give us all a break I decided to concentrate on the beneficial aspects of juice cocktails , or mocktails. As a bartender I get at least one request a night to make a mocktail of some sort , since I’m a lover of veggie juice I always try to incorporate it somewhere on any drink list I have a hand in. Recently however I started thinking about making healthful tonics not only that will cleanse those twenty odd miles of twisted pipes in your tum but that will also help put you back on the right track with the addition of plant extracts.
Phytochemistry ( yup a big word but not a scary one) is the science of chemicals derived from plants, natural chemicals of course,that are used to heal and prevent illness, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines are all derived from Phytochemical mixtures and have been used for centuries before modern medicine was even considered, in fact a whole slew of modern medicines are synthetic imitations of plant based compounds.You may be asking yourself at this point did I suddenly decide to change track and start writing a wellbeing blog, rest assured I did not but as someone that has over the years developed intolerance to all sorts of foods I started looking at ways of making my body feel better and stronger naturally. Here’s just a few…for my chronic migraines I take Feverfew daily, for joint stiffness ( brought on by standing too long and gluten in my diet) I take Boswellia ( same family as Frankincense, you know one of the gifts that a wise man carried) and Turmeric , for upset tummy I use Black walnut tincture or charcoal powder and as an immunity booster oregano or astragalus. Don’t get me wrong I still pop an Advil every now and again much to my Witch Doctor’s disapproval, sometimes pain needs a faster method of being whipped, especially if I’m behind the bar facing 6-8 hours of shaking drinks and attempting to be sweet ( not my forte) , but popping one too many and your liver will start to suffer, too many artificial chemicals will eventually take a toll.
Natural healers are all around us, take for instance extra virgin olive oil, believe it or not it has similar actions to ibuprofen, its a powerful anti-inflammatory , turmeric one of the main components of curry also great for pain and joint stiffness, eating hot peppers helps to release endorphins and make you feel good, ginger root helps with upset tummies and has a higher level of cancer fighting anti oxidants than most berries ( and its often cheaper than them ) it also helps eliminate pain and inflammation. So using these guys as part of my phytocleansing arsenal, here then are this months soothing cups of love full of natural, plant based free radical fighting superheros.
Oh…and when you get sick of being too righteous and good, toss in a shot of your favorite liquid poison.
Street Phyto Man
3 oz fresh pressed carrot juice
1/2 oz fresh pressed turmeric juice ( or a quarter teaspoon of powdered root)
1/2 oz fresh ginger juice ( or as hot as you can stand it)
2 oz fresh apple juice
1 bar spoon of devil’s claw tincture ( available at most health food stores)
a pinch of cumin powder
Add everything to your tin with a couple of cubes of ice , no need for tons of dilution, shake for about 10 seconds only then strain into a vessel of choice. Drink it fast or within 15 minutes, the longer it sits the more the valuable elements within the juices will evaporate so you’re just left with carrot tasting water, defying the whole purpose.
great for stiff joints, replaces electrolytes, aids sluggish digestion, lowers sugar levels, soothes the pain)
The Kick Inside (an ode to my first vegetarian hero Kate Bush)
1 oz fennel juice
3 oz fresh apple juice
6 mint leaves
3 slices jalapeño
1 oz meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz agave ( plant based and low on that nasty sugar index)
black walnut tincture
fennel fronds and mint sprig to garnish
Using your trusty muddler mash up mint and jalapeño with the agave and lemon juice, add rest of ingredients ( except garnish) and ice. shake for about 15 seconds an dump into a highball. Gussy it up with your garnish and sip away!
Helps with sluggish digestion , rebalances healthy flora in your body, releases endorphins and makes you feel good all over.
Flip It Good!
3 oz chilled jasmine green tea
1 oz meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
1/2 oz fresh ginger juice
1/2 oz egg white
bar spoon really fruity extra virgin olive oil
bar spoon Camu Camu powder
4 drops of vanilla extract
toss everything except for the olive oil into your tin and dry shake for 10 seconds without ice to build up a nice froth, add ice and shake again for a good 15 seconds to incorporate the Camu Camu. At last second stream in the olive oil, it adds a lovely velvety texture and fruitiness to the drink, shake again for few seconds. This is similar to making a Ramos Fizz, add the fat too soon and the drink will not whip up well.
High in antioxidants, Vitamin C, powerful anti-inflammatory and free radical fighter, immune booster and mood enhancer.
Phyt The Power
1 whole ripe avocado
1 whole ripe banana
1/2 cup finely chopped lacinato kale
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 oz agave nectar
4 oz unsweetened almond milk or coconut water
bar spoon chlorophyll powder or spirulina
1 ml dropper full of astragalus and ashwaganda ( in the immunity section of your health food store)
Add everything to your blender and blitz on high till your mix is nice and smooth, there will still be green bits of kale but as long as you can get them through a straw you should be good to go.
Great blood cleanser, blood builder, oxygen booster, immune booster, chock full of anti-oxidants and healthy oils to make your skin, nails and hair look strong and vibrant.
Chill-dren of the Revolution
Ok , so this one takes some time to prep but once its done and presuming you made a batch it will last in the fridge for about a week.
1 silicone ice cube mold (1 ” cube size)
1/2 cup chilled mint tea
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of ginger juice
1 cup fresh apple juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon powder
3 capsules Rhodiola Rosea, open up and just use the powder
1 teaspoon agar agar powder
2 tablespoons agave nectar ( sweeten to your taste)
put everything together into a saucepan except for the agar and the Rhodiola powder, bring to a simmer and whisk in the agar agar, whisking for a couple of minutes to makes sure there are no lumps.
meanwhile have the silicone ice tray mold sprayed with veggie oil ( wiping out the excess with a paper towel) this helps release the cubes when ready.
take mix of the heat and add the agave nectar, stirring it in, cool slightly before whisking in the Rhodiola, again make sure there are no lumps or clusters, you want to make sure it dissolves fully.
pour into prepared mold and let set in fridge for about 1/2 an hour or longer if you can wait that long.
for the drink, take 3 cubes and put into a cup or heat resistant glass, add lemon wheels or a twist, a couple of cloves and another twist of fresh black pepper. Pour over a cup of boiling water, the cubes will dissolve . Stir and enjoy the aromas hitting your senses.
Great stress reliever, mood enhancer, energy booster, helps your brain rebalance all the good brain chemicals such as seratonin and endorphins.