By: Wai Lana
Short and sweet, the heart of the vivid autumn season is possibly the most beautiful time of the year. Leaves change to brilliant shades of red, gold, and orange and fall quietly to the ground. The air cools and a refreshing briskness greets us in the morning. Days get shorter and curling up on the couch with our loved ones once again becomes a cozy thrill in the evening. And of course, the fall harvest brings in an abundance of flavorful root veggies, apples and pears galore, and countless interesting gourds coming in a number of curious shapes, sizes, and colors. This bounty offers us wonderful nourishment for the long winter ahead.
But in colder climates, the body tends to slow down and tighten up a bit. It’s not uncommon for people to exercise less and put on a few unwanted pounds underneath the bigger sweaters and jackets. We may even sleep more because there is less sunlight and little inclination to wake up early and get outside. When I’m in colder climates, however, I use fresh juice to prevent that wintery sluggishness from setting in. In fact, my juicer never leaves the countertop. Never. And come October, I begin to use the juicer perhaps more than ever. I simply find that the vital nutrients of fresh juice provide one of the most effective, natural, and delicious ways to maintain my health and the health of those I love.
If you don’t already have a juicer, the upcoming holiday season is the perfect time to bring one home. You may even wish to try a juice cleanse after indulging over Thanksgiving and Christmas. A cleanse—a time of light eating and lots of juicing—is a great way to undo any holiday excess. It helps you feel light, refreshed, and brimming with energy at a time when we tend to feel heavier and a bit on the dull side. Fresh juice is bursting with vital nutrients like enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants—all in a form that’s easy for your body to absorb and use. Such nutrients enhance your immunity, enliven your eyes and skin, and improve your digestion and elimination.
It’s easy to tailor juice recipes to the fall and winter seasons. Just go to the farmers’ market, which is usually overflowing with the autumn harvest. There you’ll find lots of great local produce that will agree with your body. Sustaining vegetables like carrot, beet, and parsnip are dynamite for juicing. And you can add fresh or dried herbs to enhance their healing and nutritional properties. Make plenty of apple or pear juice and warm it up on the stovetop. You can even add a pinch of a warming spice, like nutmeg, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper. Combine fruits and veggies (e.g., apple-beet-parsley or pear-parsnip) and stir in different supplements, such as a good-quality green powder, spirulina, bee pollen, protein powder, or apple cider vinegar. Myself, I juice gingerroot with just about everything.
Don’t wait until spring to go on a health kick. Stay healthy, trim, and energized all year round—you’ll feel better physically as well as emotionally. And with fresh juice, it can be a truly delicious experience.
Juice Recipe: Warm Apple Cobbler
When my crew, family, and I were shooting on location in the snowy mountains of New Zealand, this was our favorite cold-weather recipe. It’s a warm, nurturing drink that, on “play days,” would often end up in a thermos, packed along with mittens, scarves, and the toboggan.
2 apples (preferably firm and tart)
1-inch piece fresh ginger
3 dates, soaked and pitted
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
½ cup water or milk/soymilk
Juice the apple and ginger, then blend the juice with the remaining ingredients. Pour into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Gently bring to just under a boil. Remove from the heat and serve. If you like it tangy, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Makes about 1½ cups
Delicious energizers like apple, date, and banana make this recipe an ideal way to begin your day. Dynamic spices like ginger and cinnamon stimulate your digestive fire and metabolism. This tasty combination also strengthens your immune system and relieves constipation.
Wai Lana hosts the popular TV series Wai Lana Yoga, which airs nationally on PBS and the Wisdom channel. This recipe is from her book Wai Lana’s Favorite Juices, which you can find at major bookstores and wailana.com/juicing.