Juicing. I’ve been thinking of exploring this health concept for awhile now.
There’s an abundance of information online and in books and with it, an abundance of claims for the health benefits of juicing. Depending on who you listen to, juicing can cure everything from acne to cancer to ingrown toenails (ok, I have not yet found anybody who will claim juicing cures ingrown toenails… but I figure it’s only a matter of time).
I’ve started this little juicing exploration and plan to document it here. As I learn new information, I will not only include it in my updates, but add it to the hints below so this post will become a more comprehensive introduction.
The Advantage of Juicing
It’s key to maintain a down-to-earth, fact-based philosophy about juicing. Expecting a magical cure for what ailes you will probably lead to disappointment. But, if you are like many of us who have a hard time getting in enough fruits and vegetables, juicing might be an important strategy for improving your diet and overall health.
It seems like perhaps turning a large volume of veggies into a reasonably sized glass of juice might be a good alternative to just not eating all those veggies… which, admittedly, is the current plan for too many of us.
My Juicing Experiment
I am not one of those people who loves broccoli and veggies of all kinds. Even my fruit intake could be improved (and I like fruit, so there’s really no good excuse here). I am not looking to cure cancer or do an extreme juice fast here, I’m just looking for a way to increase my consumption of fruits and vegetables. Based on what I’ve read so far, juicing seems like a reasonable, even ideal, plan for someone like me.
I will be sharing my impression of each juice I try and offer tips based on my experiences so you can follow along and maybe decide to jump into juicing with me!
Things to Know About Juicing Before you Begin
1. Many health claims for juicing are up for debate.
Often claims rely on seeming like common sense as their foundation, rather than evidence or research and one should always take common sense claims with a very healthy dose of skepticism.
2. Juice should be consumed the same day it is extracted.
Unpasteurized juice can quickly grow harmful bacteria, so only juice as much as you can drink in one sitting or in a day.
3. Investing in a juicer is a good idea.
I tried using the juicer attachment that came with my Magic Bullet blender and while it produced juice, it took for ever and really only works for maybe one or two fruits or veggies before you need to clean it out or the part that separates the pulp from the juice pops off and… just trust me, for anyone seriously considering making juice more than once a month… invest in your own quality juicer.
I got myself a Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor, which was spendy, but appears to be worth every penny so far. There are less expensive models and models that extract juice more effectively (but cost even more) but for my beginning juicer project, it’s an excellent choice. During my research into which model to buy, I learned there are many choices at many price levels. For more detailed info, check out my List O’ Juicers – juicer models that have been recommended to me.
Juicer Shopping Hint: I got my juicer through Amazon.com and was able to find a refurbished model for about $100 less than purchasing a new one. It only comes with a 90-day warranty, but I purchased a 3-year replacement warranty from Amazon for $35. Shipping was free, so I saved $65 and the piece of mind of knowing I’m protected for 3 years is included.
4. Prepare produce for juicing.
How much chopping you do will depend on how wide the mouth of your juicer is. In addition to the tips below, you’ll need to chop your produce small enough to fit into the mouth of your juicer.
– Give your fruits and veggies a bath if you plan to leave on the peel. If you don’t buy or can’t find organic produce, wash with a mix of 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 TBS baking soda, 2 TBS lemon juice.
– Even if you do buy organic greens, rinse to remove residual dirt.
– Peel citrus, but leave behind the pith. Also peel melon, pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya, guava and ginger.
– Core apples and remove pits from peaches, apricots, plums and cherries.
– Make sure berries are free of hulls and stems and remove any that are spoiled or moldy.
– If you are using a juice extractor (non-masticating type juicers) wrap your greens and leafy veggies into tight bundles or around more solid veggies before putting them through the juicer. This will help maximize the amount of juice you get from this type of produce.
5. Consider getting a citrus juicer for juicing oranges, grapefruit, lemons, etc. Extrator juicers do not maximize the amount of juice you can get from citrus and you may soon find it worth picking one up if you are juicing a lot of citrus. I own this one which is a simple, plastic, electric model for less than $20.
For the next 7 days, I will be trying 7 different juices and posting them here. I’ll include the recipe as well as my non-veggie lovin’ opinion on how it tasted. Keep in mind that just because I don’t love something doesn’t mean you won’t love it – so try it even if I don’t like it!
Day 7: Beet – Carrot – Apple – Orange – Celery – Ginger (Includes some additional tips for juicing)