What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
YO XOJANERS! Happy New Year and all that shebang. How was yours?
I was meant to have a quiet, sober one this year on account of saving money and being healthy and yadda yadda yadda. Chris and I escaped Brighton, which as a tourist hotspot, is always overrun with tons of revellers on NYE which means everywhere is full of dickheads and everything costs loads more money and everywhere is generally intolerable.
So this year we decided to go somewhere nice and sedate, and where we'd see the New Year in in peace and quiet -- Jersey. Not the one in the US, the one in the Channel Islands which is in-between France and the south coast of England.
It's absolutely teeny tiny, with a population of less than 100,000 people, and it's very pretty and there's a shit ton of good restaurants. You should go! It's nice. But also everything closes at weird times and you definitely can't get a kebab after midnight. But hey, swings and roundabouts.
So yeah, we set off for Jersey feeling all smug, all "HA! We're going to feel SO FRESH on New Year's Day! None of that hangover bullshit for us! Body is a temple, yo!" and indeed, we took it very easy for the first day or so. We ate at a strange little Portuguese place and had a THREE HOUR NAP on New Year's Eve which was incredible and definitely up there in my Top 5 Naps of All Time. Hotel room naps, in the afternoon when it's raining outside are the best naps, no?
We got all dressed up and ready for our fancy dinner which was supposed to be our civilised celebration of the turning of the year.
Well, tons of wine happened and I don't remember the end of the dinner, midnight, or any of these photos.
Suffice to say, it looks like we had a nice time. We woke up on New year's Day feeling like the inside of someone's arsehole and I had flashbacks of being sick. I also found a load of photos of my phone of Chris with the champagne lid resting on his willy like a little hat. SOBER NYE IT WAS NOT.
It was lots of fun though, and has definitely encouraged me to fly headfirst into a new, healthy regime for the new year. There's only so much vomit one person can produce in a year and I don't want 2014 to be my record breaker.
So I'm just going to slyly slip in what this post is actually about, having hopefully already got your attention with stories of penises and upchuck. JUICING! Yes! Another post about juicing! But this time, it's for people like me with dodgy, sensitive guts who are maybe looking for a new way to feel a bit more in control of their health and destiny and all that.
I posted just before Christmas about feeling rubbish again, and how my Crohn's wasn't behaving, and how I was worried about having a miserable Christmas and New Year. As you can see from the above photos, I certainly didn't. And I can partly credit this to juicing.
The day after I wrote that post, feeling run down, with cracked corners at my lips, ulcers, fatigue and stinking of desperation, I started reading up on how I could get a vitamin boost. When my stomach is bad, and as anyone with IBS, an IBD or any kind of digestive disorder will know, fruits and vegetables are largely off the menu. Fibre is a big no-no, which people often don't understand, and even an apple can leave us in pain and shaking our fists at the fruit bowl. I was craving them though, wanting that kick to make me start healing.
I started reading about juicing -- obviously, when you juice fruits and vegetables, you remove the pulp and fibre, and are left solely with the juicy goodness. That makes ingesting them tolerable for people like me with pathetic digestive systems that can't cope with anything other than about 3 grapes before I'm on the loo for a week. PERFECT! So I borrowed my Mum's juicer, bought a load of bags of vegetables and got cracking.
I've been focusing on using iron rich veggies, such as kale, spinach and parsley to help with my anemia and vegetables that are known to soothe the digestive tract, such as carrots and red cabbage. I've found that pretty much any juice will taste okay as long as you chuck an apple in for sweetness -- but it's all a matter of taste! Oh, and beetroot makes everything taste of beetroot, which is fine, and so does celery, which is not fine. UGH, CELERY.
A couple of days in, I felt so much better. And this isn't some propaganda for a fancy juicing company who send you pre-made juices for $$$$. This is just me, in my kitchen, trying out what works. Now, I'm not doing this as a cleanse, or replacing meals, either. I'm doing it as a supplement to what is often quite carb-heavy and obviously veg-poor diet. I'll juice up in the morning, drink it fresh from the juicer, shaken with ice, and then leave for work. AND BAM! I GET SHIT DONE!
MY #1 GUT SAVER MEGA VITAMIN BOOST
After doing a couple of weeks of experimenting, here's what I would say is the best juice for someone needing a massive boost of vitamins and minerals -- it's not acidic either so won't harm those of us who have tummy troubles. Try juicing this up every morning for a few days and TELL ME you don't feel better. I felt so much better that I had WINE on NYE! WINE! You Crohnies/Colitis babes out there will know that's MENTAL.
- 3 - 4 big carrots - Carrots are great for the digestive system and are very soothing.
- 1 beetroot - a detoxifying and blood cleansing veg.
- Handful of spinach - tons of iron!
- handful of kale - a real superfood, with more vitamins and minerals than you could shake a courgette at.
- 1/3 of a red cabbage - another great veg for the digestive system, it promotes healing and calms ulcers.
- Handful of parsley -parsley is basically a multivitamin in a garnish. It has over 100% of your RDA of vitamin A in one cup. And it makes your breath smell nice, apparently!
- 2 apples - for sweetness, but also contains vitaminsA, B1, B2, B6, C, Folate, E,Calcium, Chlorine, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur, Iron, Chromium, Malic acid, Pectin, Ellagic, chlorogenic and caffeic acid, Phloridzin and Quercetin and some other stuff I'll never be able to pronouce.
Cut them into reasonable size for your juicer (some fancier ones you can chuck everything in whole --I have the Philips Viva Collection one and it really is great -- whizzes everything up in seconds) and drink straight away. The enzymes in the juice are best consumed straight away so you get the best of everything before they start dying, or do whatever it is science-y they do.
Obviously it tastes pretty earthy, but not unpleasant. I always shake mine with a few ice cubes and chug it straight down. NO MESSING.
I will say, always make sure you clean your juicer straight away, as they can be a real bitch to clean if you leave them to fester. I've got my juicing to a fine art of assembling, chopping (where necessary), juicing, washing and drinking it down to 10 minutes beginning to end. It's now an essential part of my day, and I know it's making me feel, look and BE a better human. And it's fun! Seriously, shoving a beetroot into a spinning blade and watching and feeling it get pulverised is really damn satisfying.
Are you a juice-head? Got any good recipes for me? Share them below, fellow Juice Bores! Let us unite!
Natalie's on Twitter - @Natalie_KateM