Licuado Verde

I thought today instead of boring you with more Valentines stuff, I’d change the pace a bit.  I’m going to show you to make a Jugo Verde, or Green Juice.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was sitting around the steps outside with my neighbors and we were talking about wanting to lose weight.  My neighbor told me that if you drink a licuado of cactus, celery, and pineapple every morning, it will help you lose weight.  It sounded interesting, so I asked another neighbor the next day.  She said, “Oh yeah, that does work really well.  My mom did that.”  So I researched cactus, or nopales as they’re called in Mexico, on the internet.  This is what I found:

According to Wikipedia, the edible cactus, or nopal, industry in Mexico is worth $150 million each year and approximately 10,000 farmers cultivate the plant.  Also, nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber. They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper).  Nopales have a high calcium content, but the nutrient is not biologically available because it is present as calcium oxalate, which is neither highly soluble nor easily absorbed through the intestinal wall.[3] The ddition of nopales in a diet also reduces the glycemic effect of a mixed meal.[4] Nopales are low carbohydrate and may help in the treatment of diabetes.  (click on the “nopal” button to find out all the info).

The part that intrigued me, was the part about reducing the glycemic effect after eating.  In other words, eating cactus in the morning can help your body to not absorb sugar into the body later.  It also helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.    After reading all that, I decided to give it a go.  Here’s how:

Step 1:  Get cactus

This is what a Prickly Pear “leaf” looks like, after it has had the prickles shaved off.  I know I’ve seen them at Wal-Mart in Nebraska before.  Any of the grocery stores that have a good Mexican-food selection should have them, too.  (They are also sold canned and pickled, which I’ve never tried but I’ve heard are very good.  Look in the Hispanic section for nopales)

Step 2:  Dice, rinse, and throw it in the blender

Cactus can be slimy, so rinse it well.

Step 3:  Add additional veggies

I added parsley, romaine lettuce, and a half a cucumber.  I originally tried it with celery, but that made me gag.  Green veggies are the best, but you can also add a couple of fruits if you want.

Step 4:  Add liquid and blend

I use about a cup of pineapple juice.  It’s from concentrate, but no artificial sweeteners or additives.

Step 5:  Strain (optional).  I don’t strain it because I want all the fiber that’s in the pulp.  Straining it would make it easier to drink, just because it wouldn’t be so thick.

Step 6:  Drink and see the results soon!

I’ve been drinking one every morning for just under two weeks (with a few days missed in between) and I am starting to see results in the love-handle area.   I don’t own a scale, so I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost, but I’m guessing a 2-3 pounds.  I also feel better in general.  So if you want to try something new, a healthy way to live better with no gimmicks, give it a try!

Just a reminder:  Give your significant other a warning…because all that extra fiber might make you a bit gassy!

Side note:  Cacus basically has no taste, it reminds me of cucumber.  It can be boiled (twice with clean water to get the “slime” out) and mixed with onion and tomato, chilled, and served as a side dish.

SPANISH WORDS OF THE DAY:

Nopal/nopales ……..cactus/cacti

Licuadora…………….blender

Jugo (hoo-go)……….juice