Ever since I got the Earth Diet book and started juicing I noticed some wonderful health benefits. I feel more energetic, my mind feels clearer, and my body feels cleaner. My skin and hair have improved too. My hair is thicker and my skin has a better texture and tone. I would encourage anyone who is contemplating juicing to do a little bit of research first however. I actually bought my juicer before doing much research and I didn’t fully realize the differences between the juicing machines. Once my current juicer burns out (a centrifugal juicer) I’ll get the kind that I want. Below are some things for you to think about if you want to try juicing.
1. Buy a juicer that fits your needs
What is more important to you? Quality, quantity, or cost? If you’re on a budget, the cheapest juicers are the centrifugal juicers. If you want high quality juice then perhaps a masticating juicer would fit your needs. If you want to squeeze the most juice out of your produce then a hydraulic press juicer would work best. Each type of juicer has its pros and cons. For example, centrifugal juicers are low cost but noisy and not completely efficient at getting all the juice out of your produce. Masticating (single gear) and triturating (twin gear) juicers are more expensive and take longer to extract juice. But they are also quieter and more efficient at extracting juice. The hydraulic press juicers are the most expensive of all (e.g. $2,000+) and works slowly as well, but produces the best quality juice that can be stored for longer periods of time. So think long and hard about what is important to you. Just as a general guideline, if you are a beginner you should start with the most affordable juicer. Then if you decide you want to become serious about juicing you can get a more expensive juicer later on. Read up on the different types of juicers here.
It’s a good idea to drink fresh juice, especially if you have a centrifugal juicer which produces lower quality juice. The benefit of juicing is that your body can absorb the nutrients much quicker since the fibre is absent. But at the same time, the nutrients and enzymes in juice oxidize quicker once in liquid form. The optimal time to drink your juice is as soon as you make it. But if you don’t have time to juice every day, you can also juice once or twice a week and freeze your juice. Thaw the juice a day before you want to drink it. The nutrient value in frozen juice will not be 100% but at least you will still get a lot more nutrients into your body than if you were to try to eat all the produce you’ve used to make the juice.
Having an airtight mason jar can help preserve the nutrients in a green juice. It prevents oxidization as well. More tips on how to store your juice. I like to make large batches of juice on the weekends and then freeze them immediately. Some juice snobs may sniff at this and chide me, but until I get a better juicer this is what I will be doing to keep my juice fresh. I find the frozen juice tastes almost as great as the fresh juice and I still get to experience the health benefits from juicing.
When I first got a juicer I just threw them in without any order. Using a centrifugal juicer, I found a lot of the produce was coming out in the pulp almost whole and not fully “juiced”. Then I read Vani Hari’s book which said the leafy greens should go first, then soft fruit and lastly hard fruit and veggies. The harder veggies and fruits will push the softer items through the juicer. Since then, my pulp doesn’t contain whole pieces of produce that didn’t get through. From The Food Babe Way by Vani Hari.
This is the kind of juicer I have. A Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juicer. It’s a centrifugal juicer.
5. Don’t use more than 1 high sugar fruit per juice
Some fruits like pineapple and mango are very high in sugar. Although it’s a natural sugar it’s still a good idea to limit those fruits to one per juice. For example, you can do: kale, apple, ginger, lemon and carrot. The sweetness of the apple and carrot are balanced out by the rest of the ingredients. Here’s a very useful list of low sugar fruits. Plus an article on low sugar vegetables, fruits and what fresh juice does to your blood sugar.
6. Drink your juice on an empty stomach
The best way for your body to absorb the nutrients of juice is on an empty stomach. If you eat something before having juice you may experience stomach upset. If you want to eat food soon after having juice, Food Babe advises to wait at least 20 minutes. I have waited about 30 minutes before having solid food and not experienced any problems when I do this. Reasons why to have juice on an empty stomach.
7. You don’t need to use a recipe book
The great thing about juicing is that you can just go with the flow and follow the tastes you or your family like. Like it a little spicy? Add some ginger or garlic which adds a little zing to the juice. Recipes are good if you’re a newbie to juicing and want to focus on a certain goal like boosting your immune system or losing weight. But otherwise don’t feel you need to have a recipe book to start juicing. You can find tons of free juice recipes online and then change them to your tastes. I agree with the intuitive eating theory that the body knows what nutrients it needs. If you find yourself craving something then as Liana Werner-Gray says in the Earth Diet book, give in to that craving but get the most natural version of that craving that’s possible. Want some kale or broccoli but don’t like the taste? Juice them with some apple or carrots to help mask the tastes you don’t like.
8. If you want to do a long juice cleanse, make sure you speak to a nutritional expert
A lot of people jump on the juicing bandwagon very quickly. While I applaud that enthusiasm, you have to realize that if you’ve been eating junk food most of your life then doing something drastic like a juice cleanse will cause some major detoxing symptoms. I don’t know anyone who would want to feel lousy while trying to get healthy. Before you leap into a juice cleanse, take a look at your eating habits. If you don’t eat healthy then start to gradually eat better. You can always do a juice cleanse later on. Then before you do the actual juice cleanse, get a physical to make sure your body can handle it. If you will be doing a long juice cleanse (e.g. more than a week) then speak to a nutritional expert. You want to make sure that you’re not depriving your body of essential nutrients. Juice cleanses should be tailored to each person’s specific needs and body issues.
Some great resources on juicing:
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (a Joe Cross film – documentary movie)
More articles on juicing: