Friday, September 2, 2016

My First Aloe

Hey, guys!  Well, if you follow me on Instagram then you know I've sorta kinda been on a serious health kick.  I've always been health conscious and tried to be nutritionally aware, however, I've stepped it up a few notches, incorporating a wider variety of veggies and other nourishing notables to my daily regimen.  Which brings me to my latest indulgence - aloe.  Potently packed with a myriad of vitamins that almost run the full alphabet, including A, C and E, it also boasts skin hydrating, immune boosting as well as body detoxifying powers.  If that's not enough, it's also a competent antioxidant and antibacterial agent.  For the initiated, all this may be old news.  But for the rest of us, this ACE of a plant has an impressive resume that is hard to ignore any further.  And so I bought my first aloe vera leaf... and prepped it for consumption as well as topical use.

Built like a shark's fin with spiny sides, the aloe vera leaf (single) usually comes sealed at its base.  Not knowing how to pick one out, I just grabbed the one that felt the fattest around its mid-section and didn't look too beat up.

Next, I cut the leaf into three parts, cutting both above and below the meatiest part of my plant - the middle.

I then placed all three parts into an empty bowl with the exposed sections down so that the yellow sap of the leaf can drain out.  This yellow substance, or the latex of the plant, is layered just beneath the aloe's "rind" and contains aloin, which can act as a natural laxative and cause irritability to both the skin (if you're sensitive to latex) and stomach if ingested.  Therefore, to avoid any "issues", it's best to let as much of it drain out... especially if you plan on incorporating it into a drink or meal.  

At this point, also, you may notice a smell, which I would describe as a slightly sour green onion, if that makes any sense.  It is pretty pungent as it filled up my entire kitchen and even started to creep upstairs.  But I wouldn't go so far as to call the smell repugnant even though I have heard it referred to as "off-putting" and "foul".  So if your nostrils are super sensitive, keep the area well ventilated (i.e., open a window... or two).   

Once fully drained (I let mine sit for about an hour), you are ready to fully expose and extricate its gelatinous core.

Using a sharp knife, I cut the thorny sides and then peeled the top layer right off.  Next, I slid the knife between the remaining skin and flesh, completely freeing the diaphanous "fillet" inside.

In addition to the uncovered "meat" of the plant will also be drippings of the ooey-gooey gel, which is not tacky/sticky at all and coats its entire innards.

After gutting the leaf completely, I put the contents into a blender and whipped it a few seconds until it turned into a foamy liquid.

Finally, I put the elixir into a air-proof container and placed it in the refrigerator.  Still sporting a frothy "head", this aloe vera juice is now ready to work its medicinal magic and - from start to finish -  it didn't take much time to prepare at all!

I even managed to spare a chunk to put into my veggie/fruit-filled smoothie (which turned out totally delicious, if I do say so myself.  And I do!).  #WINNING #YUM

So there you have it!  I am thrilled to have finally tried aloe vera out; it has proven to be a subtle addition taste-wise to my power drink and I am trying it out on my skin as we speak.  Will it be for me the so-called medicinal panacea that many aloe adherents tout it as being?  Well, I don't think I'm looking for it to be.  But if it can and will boost my health in any type of way then I'm all for it.  Therefore, I look forward to reaping all of the benefits from this green-leaved gem... and can't wait to see the results from using it on my skin!