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Posted on Sun. May. 05, 2013 - 12:01 am EDT

Grab fruits, veggies for cleanse

My usually level-headed 29-year-old son called and excitedly told me he’d lost 5 pounds on a juice cleanse. I was a bit skeptical of the whole process. Nothing but juice?

Worried that he’d been abducted by radical vegetarians from outer space, I decided to look into the whole juicing phenomena that seems to be emerging as the newer, healthier way to lose weight. As best as I can discern, a juicing cleanse is supposed to be a very short-term diet that limits a person’s daily food intake to only freshly pressed (juiced) fruits and vegetables.

The benefits of a juice cleanse/juice fast are purported to include clearer skin, rapid weight loss and a generally overall feeling of well-being. I could not, however, find any real medically supported evidence to the claims that it is a “healthy” way to lose weight and feel better.

What I did find out is that juicers (the machines that juice, not blenders, which don’t really pulverize the stuff) are expensive. If you’re going to juice, prepare to spend several hundred dollars to get the right equipment. Price not being an obstacle, juicing fresh fruits and vegetables is really a great way to get all the recommended daily allowance your body needs without too much effort. Simply put: you can eat five cups of chopped carrots or one cup of carrot juice and get the same nutrients. The trade off, however, is that you don’t get the fiber the raw unjuiced fruit or vegetable has to offer.

There are some really good juicing recipes that are wonderful alternatives to our overprocessed, high-sugar, fat-loaded diets. Always use fresh, well-washed fruits and vegetables as you kind of defeat the purpose by using frozen or canned stuff. Fresh juice is perishable, so my suggestion is to drink it right away and no later than about 24 hours after you’ve made it.

The following recipes are suggestions. You can always experiment with whatever combination you like. If the resulting concoction is too icky tasting or too thick, try adding grapes or oranges to the mix to sweeten it slightly.

For each recipe, put all the ingredients in the juicer and juice.

Carrots and Lemon

4 to 5 medium carrots

1/2 medium lemon, peeled if you like

1 large apple

1 cup chopped red cabbage

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

Makes 1 serving

Kiwi Smoothie

2 kiwi fruits

1 banana, peeled

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup mango chunks (you can buy the frozen)

Makes 1 serving

Cantaloupe and Banana

1 firm kiwi fruit, peeled

1/4 cantaloupe

1 ripe banana

Handful of kale, stems off

Makes 1 serving

Berry Bliss

1 cup strawberries, hulled

1 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cucumber, whole

1 tablespoon honey to be added after the juicing if needed

Makes 2 to 3 servings

Sort of Gaspascho Juice

2 tomatoes

1 stalk of celery

1 large carrot

1 cup broccoli

1 cucumber

1/2 lemon, peeled

1 garlic clove

Makes 1 serving

Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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