Prevention & Recovery

Toronto's juicing maven Ruth Tal shares her healthiest habits

Toronto's juicing maven Ruth Tal shares her healthiest habits

Photography by Paula Wilson, Paula Wilson Photography Image by: Photography by Paula Wilson, Paula Wilson Photography Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Toronto's juicing maven Ruth Tal shares her healthiest habits

Toronto Juicing, yoga – and now weight-training are some of Ruth Tal’s healthiest habits.

Ruth Tal has built a mini food empire, including her four Fresh restaurants in Toronto, on fare that is way more than just good for you. Hearty multi-layered salads, green juices and filling rice bowls -- plus her trademark miso gravy -- have taught diners that vegan and vegetarian eating can be as addictive as junk food.

"If it’s healthy for you it doesn’t have to be bland or boring,” she says. “It can be a pleasure. You can have it all. It can be sexy to be healthy."

But having just turned 50, even this beacon of health is eyeing a few changes. We caught up with her for a phone chat as she was launching the newest addition to the Fresh line-up, a series of cold-pressed bottled juices and nut milks which keep for up to 72 hours.

We asked Tal to give us a snapshot of all her healthy habits. Here's what we learned.

Why are cold-pressed juices healthy?
The organic cold-pressed juices are a little brighter in flavour and colour; the nutritional profile is higher. There’s no heat, no friction, no oxidization. You can really notice it with carrot and apple. Whenever we’ve done big events, I won’t offer combinations with apple or carrot because they brown. The browning is oxidization. It’s losing its nutrients. With cold-pressed, our Apple Ginger Glow is bright yellow-green. It stays bright. Carrot stays bright orange.

How many juices do you drink a day?
I’ll have one or two unless I’m cleansing. I always have a green juice, then either a beet- or carrot-based one.

I’ll have a shot, too. Our "detox shot" has apple cider vinegar and turmeric in it. Right now those two ingredients are really on my radar; turmeric for the anti-inflammatory properties and apple cider vinegar for adjusting the body’s PH balance.

How do juices fit into your daily eating?
I do a lot of yoga. I can’t go on a full stomach, so one of these juices will be my breakfast, then I’ll go do my practice. I’ll have a short espresso in the morning too.
And then I’ll have lunch. In the afternoon I’ll have a juice as a pick me up. And a proper dinner.

What meals do you return to again and again?
The more you lean into juicing the more you realize you’ve spent a percentage of your day eating raw -- and you feel good. I’ve been eating a ton of salads with tofu and tempeh, lots of nuts and seeds, usually some goji berries, puffed quinoa and often some chickpeas and azudki beans. I use kale or baby greens as a base, then top with grated carrots and beets and sunflower seeds.

What’s your thinking on juice cleanses -- I see one-, two- and three-day cleanses on your website.
It’s a great pro-active way to get a handle on your daily food habits. You can do all greens, or go easy with all kinds of nut milks.

How many days do you do?
For me, three days is ideal. It’s the most popular. You can add more days, but don’t put pressure on your self. Even try one day.

If juice cleanses are too extreme, what foods would you recommend for rebooting one’s diet?
Skip the cereal and granola in the morning and have a juice. Then a nice salad for lunch, a juice in the afternoon and a salad for dinner. A bowl of soup when you want something warm. A cleansing diet for some people can be eliminating alcohol for a week -- or all wheat is a big one, or pasta and bread. You take out the pasta and bread; you kind of are just left with salad. And taking sugar out is huge.

How much do you exercise?
I hike a lot. I love to cycle as soon as the weather is friendly enough. I walk almost everywhere. My physical practice is yoga.

I just did a full physical at a private clinic. I’m turning 50 and this was a gift to myself. I had my first mammogram, my first colonoscopy, bone-density test. The one thing I did find out was that I’m at the point in my life I need to increase weight-bearing workouts. I’m strong but I have to take it to the next level to maintain and build muscle for my bone health. I do something every day. I’m not perimenopausal but I see it on the horizon.

Anything else you do to relieve stress?
I meditate lying down as I’m waking up. I’m awake but my eyes are closed. I love it. The trick is not to turn on the phone or think about your day; just be in that place between sleeping and being awake, when the brain firing up. It’s a lot of breathing, usually for 15 or 20 minutes to an hour. It’s centering myself, grounding myself for the day

Read on for tips on healthy juicing and whether beet juice can be considered a sports drink.



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Prevention & Recovery

Toronto's juicing maven Ruth Tal shares her healthiest habits