Friday, 7 March 2014

Para Beber?

As you all know, I am a tea drinker. 

Always have been, always will. 

As a young kid, I could never quite understand why my friends chose to "Get busy with the fizzy" at my house after school, in preference to having a nice cup of tea. I was happy enough setting up the SodaStream machine for them, and helping them decide what flavour carbonated drink to have (I am sure we had most of the syrups that were available at the time), but that was about it. Home carbonation products just didn't to it for me. In fact, whilst growing up, I rarely ever chose to drink a cold drink, apart from milk. Tea has always been my tipple of choice (I'm not including alcohol here guys!!). 

Thanks for the pic, Guardian newspaper!
However, in recent years, I have managed to wean myself down to about three cups of tea a day - a brew in the morning with breakfast; tea in the afternoon as a pick me up to get me through the remainder of the day; and a cup of tea before bed. Of course, I am always willing to share a cup or two with anyone who asks, whatever time of the day. And when I say 'tea', I mean proper tea, with milk, absolutely no sugar and served in a nice big mug (although I am partial to a pretty bone china cup and saucer on special occasions). Strangely, I am not that fussy when it comes to teabags as opposed to loose tea served in a teapot; either suits me equally. But, I do absolutely loathe brews such as Early Grey, Chamomile, Lapsang Souchong, or any other airy-fairy fruit-flavoured tea. I do not particularly enjoy iced tea either, although I am working on this. 

Now of course this has presented me with a big problem here in Costa Rica: what am I supposed to drink during the day? I swig at water all the time, but that gets very tedious. I would like to keep my teeth, so I am not happy about supping on Coke or Pepsi on a regular basis. I can't 
really guzzle beer all day (well maybe for a bit, but my waist line does not need to increase further) and cocktails and wine are out of the question too.

So as an alternative, we have been making good use of all the wonderful, cheap fruits that CR has to offer and have been blending away making juices and smoothies since we arrived. Banana smoothies are always a success, and a must as the fruit turns so quickly here, most probably because of the heat: our current favoured choice is banana and tamarindo, with ice not milk. Yesterday you may have read that I concocted a juice with the beautiful manzana de agua; and earlier in the week, I made a pineapple drink whereby I placed the pineapple skin in water and left to ferment for 3 days - when served over ice (unfortunately with some sugar added), it made for a very thirst-quenching beverage.

Today though, I thought I would jump onto the 'Green Juice' bandwagon. I know they have been around for years, but as I said before, tea was my preferential drink back in the UK and I allowed little space, or time, for anything else. Green juices are everywhere and according to every article I have read, they are not only really good for you, but they are extremely refreshing, which is ultimately what I am looking for. I doubt very much that this will be the start of a newer healthier me, detoxing and using juice a solid food supplement, but if it revitalizes and refreshes, so much the better! 

The Green Gremlin!
Not having a juicer, I just blended my choice of green veg with a little water. It could be served like this, with the pulp, but I wanted a thinner consistency, so I poured the mixture through a fine sieve, then using a spatula, pressed the pulp to extract the most liquid possible.

Christening my attempt 'The Green Gremlin', I have to admit that it didn't smell great, nor did it look that appetising either. To be honest, the contents of the glass resembled the mushy peas that might be found in a polystyrene beaker at a fish-and-chip shop. "Pickled egg to go with that sir?"

But appearances can be deceptive and I seriously wished that it would taste better than it looked. After all, I had prpeared the drink, so had only included ingredients that I liked - no Brussels Sprouts in my Green Juice then!! I hoped that by being pulp-free, the juice would be velvety smooth and easy to swallow. Obviously too gloopy for tea, but if I really concentrated, perhaps I could pretend it was a slightly thicker, and non-alcoholic, mojito or apple martini!
Image from

From when YS was about 11 weeks old and onwards, we had to consume anything edible behind his back, as he started to drool at the sight of food. I was over the moon, making up little ice cube moulds of pureed fruit and vegetables for him, something I had rarely done with ES as he had never shown any interest in food. My freezer was full of lovingly-prepared, brightly coloured, nutritious blocks of sustenance. Anna Karmel would have been proud! But very quickly these chunks of cuisine soon became inadequate fare for YS and his switch to solids was rapid.

I now understand why! 

Pulverized vegetables, however healthy, beneficial and nutritious, are in no way, shape or form, enjoyable!!!! They taste of mush - and that is putting it mildly! I am sorry to say that I gagged my way through the Green Gremlin; I had to force myself to drink the whole glass. Within about 10 minutes, I had severe stomach cramps and without going into too much detail, I think the benefits left my body quicker than they had entered! 

But here's the thing:

  • Did I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and hydrated afterwards? No, not really. 
  • Are green juices as tasty as smoothies or natural juices? Most definitely not. 
  • Could green juices ever replace tea? Do I have to answer that question???
  • Will I try this experiment again? Probably, I mean I could have included a rogue spinach leaf, or knob of ginger in my recipe, couldn't I?

Y para beber?  I think for now, I will just casually hitch a ride every now and then on the Green Juice Bandwagon rather than wholeheartedly jumping on it.

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