A couple of weeks back I received a lovely invitation to the launch of The Juicery in The Westbury Hotel. It just so happens to be one of my favourite hotels in Dublin and so my heart sank a little at the thought that I might not be able to write positively about its latest venture.
I was very pleasantly surprised to find that they had tracked down possibly the first sensible juicing proponent that I had met in Ireland, Cindy Palusamy. Cindy is the founder of The Juicery and has just released a book called Juice, Blend, Drink. When her opening lines were, "you shouldn't have to hold your nose to drink a juice" and "I tend to order a superfood salad and juice at lunch, with a side of fries", I knew that I had found a kindred spirit.
You see, I think that Ireland has lost its way a bit. We now know that white bread and plastic cheese (or even raw jelly) probably aren't the best snacks and we're all over #EatClean, sweet potatoes, kale and avocados. However, we are also obsessed with these 'Three Day Juice Cleanses'. In fact, I was speaking to an ex-rugby player in his 50s the other day who told me that he currently weighs 17 stone and has developed diabetes - and now he has started a five-day juice only diet to get rid of the Christmas pounds. People, PLEASE! Let's stop the madness.
Our bodies are not designed to survive on juice alone. You don't need to 'detox' your body; it does that itself every day without your help. Your liver is our best friend in this area and we pass all of our unwanted waste.
Also, if you do juice but you just throw in a rake of fruit and no greens at all you are just consuming pure sugar with no fiber. And no, I'm afraid that it does not matter that it's 'natural sugar'. It's still a damaging ingredient for our bodies and should be limited. All juices should be 70 - 80% green and then just add a few berries to sweeten if you wish.
To put things into perspective, a 350 ml glass of Coca Cola has 140 kcal and 10 teaspoons of sugar; the same quantity of apple juice contains 165 kcal and 9.8 teaspoons of sugar. Things are not always as healthy as they seem.
Personally, I'm a Nutribullet fan. I absolutely thought it was all just a fad but what has made me continue to use mine on an almost daily basis is the lack of fuss and cleaning up afterwards (we also have a giant beast of a juicer by Heston Blumenthal that sits forlorn and unused on the counter as it's a five-day camel ride to clean it). I put the whole vegetable or fruit in, meaning that I'm getting the fiber. One of my favourites is spinach, avocado, nut butter, seeds and almond milk with some berries to sweeten.
Should you 'eat clean'? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn't mean no food. It means lots of fresh vegetables (especially the dark green leafy ones), some fruit, some seeds and nuts, fresh fish and meat. And yes, you are allowed the occasional alcoholic drink and indulgent food, because it's about balance. Our mums were right all along: everything in moderation.
For the record, there was no nose holding while testing The Juicery's wares. In fact, they were absolutely delicious and I'm excited to go back soon and try some more. Before I order a bottle of wine that is. #Balance
How do you stay healthy? Is juice part of your plan? Do you have a fancy whirring machine that you can't live without? If you have any recipes you swear by, do share!