The IRONIC: ‘A Prescription’ for Health, Beet & Green Apple Smoothie

| March 30, 2011

Is it odd that before I was ever diagnosed with serious illness, I knew two people who had beaten cancer using quite unconventional means? And by unconventional I mean fruits and vegetables, though to be sure there is a universe of treatments—some evidence-based and some rather outlandish—all crowded together under the umbrella of unconventionality.

At the time I thought nothing of it because—let’s get real—most of us in our 20s, 30s and 40s don’t walk around thinking of getting seriously sick or, heavens forbid, dying.  In retrospect, of course, I wondered.   Whether the two of them, these survivors that I knew personally, were a form of grace—some glimmer of hope for later, when I would encounter my own storm.

The first was a youngish man who had skin cancer. He was the father of one dear friend and the uncle of another. It was the late-1980s. I hung around their house often. I knew he was sick. I knew that for some reason he had declined chemotherapy and radiation. I saw mountains of carrots and other vegetables atop their kitchen counters every time I visited. And also, an odd-looking juicer. The gravity of his illness never registered.

The second was my aunt—my father’s much younger sister who has lived in Holland since the 1970s when she was swept off her feet by a Dutch man who happened to be passing through Iran as he hiked around Asia. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma almost a decade ago. She changed her diet drastically by cutting meats and dairy, began eating and juicing loads of fruits and vegetables, and drinking copious amounts of teas made from wild herbs—particularly stinging nettles—that she would pick fresh in the woods near her home (which, I always thought, made her story sound even more fantastical than it already appeared).

My aunt often tells of the time she went in for a follow-up visit about a year after diagnosis. Holding her scans in hand, her doctor waltzed into the examination room and said with a great deal of excitement: “There is absolutely no sign of the cancer! Our treatments are working beautifully for you!”

And then he began rifling through her chart to see what exactly she had been treated with. That’s when my aunt interjected. She told him: “You never gave me any treatment. You sent me home to die. I treated myself.”

Even now, even knowing these two and their stories—both very much alive and healthy—my rational mind questions. (And, I’m not proud to admit, doubts.)

Carrot juice what?

Stinging nettle who?

Beets? To do what? Clean the blood?!


Most medical doctors will listen to you tell stories like these and many will look at you askance, a bit like you are mad.

And as you recount these stories for family, friends, total strangers in waiting rooms, even you yourself will feel a bit mad.

But there you have it. It is what it is. The power of the carrot. The power of the mind. The power of the placebo. You may call it whatever you like.

There are many fantastic combinations of juices for cleansing, for healing, for renewing. Here’s the one given to me by my much-loved clinical nutritionist. I drank it several times a day in that first year after diagnosis. And though organic is ideal, it is not a deal-breaker:

Beet & Green Apple Smoothie

Beet & Green Apple Juice

4-5 carrots

1 small beet (including the leaves)

A couple stalks of celery

A handful of kale

A handful of spinach

1 green apple

Drink within 20 minutes of juicing.

Check us out on Hearth and Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, Tip Day Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, and Fresh Bites Friday!

Thanks to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Featuring this on Full Plate Thursday!

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Category: Beverages, Featured Articles: Health & Nutrition, Health & Nutrition, Recipe Vault, The Ironic, The Kitchen Sink

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Comments (15)

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  1. Christy says:

    This drink sounds delicious as well as nutritious – I need to get my juicer out to try. I believe that how we eat causes some cancers so it is just a small jump to believe that what we eat can cure it. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!

  2. Amanda says:

    Thanks, Christy. My experience illustrated for me that old saying that ‘the more you learn, the more you realize how little you know.’ The naturopath I worked with always says that 2 things are paramount: (1) Never make a decision based on fear; and (2) Commit yourself to the independent investigation of truth.

  3. Biren says:

    Those deep colored fruits and veges do pack a lot of goodness in them. Glad to hear that this beet and green apple juice works for you. It sounds very healthy!

  4. Simply Life says:

    wow, this is so fascinating -thanks for sharing!

  5. Miz Helen says:

    This looks like an awesome drink. I can hardly wait to try it. I love the combination of beets and green apple, lots of good for you veggies. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!

  6. amy says:

    I’m hosting a wonderful tea sampler GIVEAWAY! Come check it out when you have time.


  7. Mimi says:

    Your drink sound great and I will try it this weekend. Being diagnosed with cancer in my 30’s, I am especially interested in good nutrition. Although I believe strongly in conventional medicine and do not believe that food can prevent or cure cancer entirely, eating well is always a good thing. Thanks!

  8. Miz Helen says:

    Congratulations Amanda!
    You are featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. You are welcome to stop by and pick up your Red Plate, enjoy!

  9. siltnamiai says:

    Hey guys, after reading this blog one thing came up to my head, should we all start growing our own vegetables? Really if that thing makes the difference why not to use it, if you have your own garden lets say, you could start having there greenhouse (siltnamiai) where you could grow your own vegetables, this way you will not need to go to supermarkets and buy one, since we all know that they are not really so organic.

  10. Kate McBride says:

    The story about your aunt is really amazing. It is no wonder you have such faith in natural medicine and your smoothie recipe sounds great I think it is more than the power of the mind and the placebo effect. Natural remedies, especially raw,organic food do work for many people.

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