Whether it be for meal replacement, vitamin supplementation, or to lose weight, boost energy, metabolism, or immunity, juicing has become a cornerstone of the health community. If you are taking steps towards improving your health, good for you! Daily juicing is a great way to start. Knowing what to do to improve your health is half the battle, and here you are, seeking the knowledge you need.
Why Juice? Heres what we’ve experienced:
- Increased immunity
- Weight loss
- Increased energy & mental clarity
- Better quality of sleep
- Healthier nails, hair, & skin
- Elevated mood & sense of well being
- Decrease in allergies
- Improved overall health, improved life!
There are countless benefits to juicing, many of which you will feel immediately. When juicing, the fiber is separated from fruits and vegetable juice and the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients are able to enter your blood stream within 15 minutes of consuming. Most people experience loads more energy and healing from regular juicing because it allows your body to readily absorb large amounts of nutrients without expending the energy it takes to digest fiber.
There IS a difference between store-bought bottled juice and fresh juice. Fresh squeezed juices maintain their living enzymes. Enzyme attrition occurs immediately after a fruit or vegetable is processed. You will see this as oxidation occurs: The juice will lose it’s vibrant color as a sign of these living enzymes dying (so drink up right after you prepare for the most nutrients.)
Store bought juices are not as fresh, have added colorants or preservatives to help the juice have a falsely fresh taste, and are pasteurized. Pasteurization kills almost all living enzymes. In addition, bottled juices usually have loads of added sugar. Even if the juice says made from 100% fruit juice it still is NOT the same as juicing for yourself.
Ready to start juicing? Lets get started!
1. First things first- you need the equipment. There are several juicers but 3 basic ways to juice a vegetable- centrifugal, masticating, and blending.
Centrifuge Juicers ($): A centrifuge processes the produce in a circular fashion- finely chopping and spinning out the liquid in order to filter out the fiber. These juicers usually require less of an investment.
Masticating Juicers ($$$): A masticating juicer looks sort of like a meat grinder. Through the process of mastication, the produce is tightly ground and pressed through a tube. The juice is pressed out while the fiber is agitated through. This is the ideal juicer to buy if you intend on juicing wheatgrass or other herbs. These juicers can be more expensive but also extract more of the juice from the fiber than centrifugal.
Blending ($-$$$$): Mainstream appliances that blend juice are the Vitamix and Nutribullent. These machines are very efficient and powerful, pulverizing beyond a pulp. While a standard blender can break fresh produce up, these machines have the power to break down the plant cell walls to completely liquify the produce. Making juice in a high powered blender might make the juice thicker as more fiber is retained, which may be more desirable for some people. These appliances can vary in cost.
Decisions Decisions Decisions! Don’t over think it or over complicate the equipment decision. You might be able to borrow a juicer from someone you know, buy a used one online, or find a new one on sale.
2. What fruits and vegetables you want to drink. There’s a million of options to juicing. While at first it seems complicated it’s really quite simple. There isn’t only one way to juice. Some people juice vegetables, or fruit, some make smoothies, some like juice sweeter, some like savory or spicy. Luckily there are endless recipes to be found online- including right here at Healthy Homemakers! Gather inspiration to start off and follow your taste buds. When selecting your produce, try to buy local, fresh, and organic ingredients. Buying seasonal vegetables when you can can also save you money.
You can start with just oranges for fresh orange juice, just carrot and apple for a simple great juice or go for a daring combination of beet, pineapple, lemon, parsley, wheatgrass, and ginger. You can design drink combinations to suit your tastes or your specific health needs.
Be careful when juicing! You can have too much of a good thing. When drinking fruit juice, beware of high natural sugar content (fructose). Since the juice is entering your body with out the natural fibers that normally accompany it, it can spike your blood sugar if it’s too sweet. This is something you want to avoid as this can disrupt blood sugar balance, and I’ve read too much fruit juice can have serious consequences for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia. When drinking fruit juice, I drink 3 ounces of juice at most which isn’t really that much at all.
Make a list and go grocery shopping. Organic and non-genetically modified produce is best. If you can, get seasonal produce, fresh produce, and /or grow your own. This way you know the time from when the produce was picked to your juicer is minimal. The fresher the better.
Washing produce. When you get your produce it is best to wash it right away in a vinegar bath. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar in a sink full of water. Let sit for 15 minutes and then rinse and dry. Everything will be sparkly clean and free of excess toxins, pesticides, wax, chemicals, and dirt.
Juicer should be proudly displayed for easy use. You are going to be more likely to use your juicer if you can see it out as a reminder. To make use easier, pre-cut your veggies and put into containers that are ready to go for when you have the urge to juice.
You might ask why not just eat the fruit & vegetable??
You are supposed to have 2-4 servings of fruit a day. People who don’t like to eat a lot of fruit may have a hard time meeting this recommendation. While some fruits you may not like whole, you may find them pleasant in a juice combination. If you want a specific juice because of the health benefits, certain flavors can be masked by lemon or sweet fruits. Juicing takes less time to digest- just think about how long it takes you to chomp on a carrot versus drink one!
Should I drink smoothies or juices??
You can drink both- do what you like.The important thing is to start increasing your nutrition intake.
How often should I juice??
Optimally, drinking a juice or smoothie once a day is a good goal to shoot for. But as always consult with your health care professional before starting on a juicing regimen.
What are some good beginning juice and basic smoothie recipes??
We have a whole list of recipes on our page http://healthy-homemakers.com/juices-smoothies but play with combinations of the fruits and vegetables you enjoy.
What are some considerations or other tidbits on juicing?
- Juice should go in glass not plastic
- It is better to drink strait from a glass and not through a straw and you are actually supposed to “chew” your green juices to mix them with your saliva (a digestive enzyme).
- For the most nutrients, drink within juice within 15 minutes of juicing.
- Drinking a juice that is too high in sugar can make your blood sugar spike and burden your liver since there is no fiber to slow absorption. An exception to this is lemon and lime which doesn’t cause the blood sugar to spike as much.
Many websites advise not to juice while pregnant or breastfeeding. One of the benefits of juicing can be the release of toxins from the body which you don’t want to expose the infant to. If you are healthy and juicing before your pregnancy you should be able to drink one juice/smoothie a day and not find it too cleansing.
If you are juicing to lose weight, you may want to avoid juicing lots of fruit. Stick with juices with mostly vegetables, that contain lemon to sweeten it and ginger to add in a bit of heat.