Ready To Start Juicing? Here’s What You Need To Know! Written by: Tom Arguello
As cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease rates continue to skyrocket, more and more people are looking to address the root cause of disease and search for alternative methods that can help to mitigate the risk of such diseases. The current juicing trend is not new. In fact, the practice of juicing vegetables has been around since the early part of the twentieth century.
Are you curious about juicing but don’t know where to start? Start here!
Below are some common questions regarding juicing to help get you going with this fun, awesome, incredibly healthy trend.
What Is Juicing?
In very simple terms, juicing is the act of separating juice from plant tissue. Freshly made green juice really is the most powerful form of nutrition. By juicing veggies and dark leafy greens, you are able to separate the green goodness from the indigestible fiber and in doing so, you unleash an abundance of nutrients that literally feed and nourish you on a cellular level! It is the quickest and most efficient method in which to get essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants like SOD (superoxide dismutase) and phytonutrients directly into the bloodstream within minutes of consuming.
So, why aren’t you juicing already?!
What’s Better, Juicing Or Blending (Smoothies)?
Short answer? One is not better than the other. It all comes down to preference. For me, juicing wins for the sheer fact that I can take an entire basket of veggies, run them through the juicer and drink all the contents of said basket. I could never eat all of that in one sitting, but I can drink it, whereas with smoothies, you tend to get fuller faster because of all of the fiber.
Full disclosure: juicing does take a commitment of time (washing, chopping, juicing and the cleanup). For me, the juice is worth the squeeze (see what I did there?). Now, having said all that, given the choice of smoothies or nothing… I’d gladly drink a smoothie!
I prefer juicing, but if you got a brand new Vitamix for Christmas or a birthday, blend away!
How Do I Do It (Should I Do A Juice Fast/Cleanse And If So, For How Long)?
The very idea of a juice fast or cleanse implies that it will have an end date. What happens then? What I advocate is juicing every day. I’m very big on establishing and maintaining daily healthy habits. I see a greater value in having one or more green juices every day for the rest of your life over having 3-5 days of nothing but green juice and then going back to the Standard American Diet (SAD). Make sense?
Green habits last longer than fad diets.
Does Green Juice Taste Bad?
I’m not going to lie to you. For beginners, juicing can be an (ahem)… acquired taste. Here’s what I tell people – think of it as medicine. People have no problem stomaching horrible tasting cough syrup or swallowing bitter pills, yet they shriek at the thought of eating or drinking vegetables! Hippocrates, the father of medicine once said, “Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” It’s as true today as it was in 370 B.C.
While there is no specific rule regarding the amount of fruits to greens, I typically suggest starting off with a 60% – 40% fruit to leafy greens ratio. It’s extremely important for a person’s first juicing experience to be a good one. It simply has to be palatable in order for people to want to continue doing it! Once you get used to the taste, I recommend decreasing the amount of fruit and start incorporating more leafy greens and vegetables. My ratio now is 90% veggies and 10% fruit and let me tell you, I LOVE the taste!
Green juice tastes like health. ?
What Juicer Do You Recommend?
When it comes to juicers, there are essentially two types: centrifugal and masticating. Centrifugal is by and large the most commonplace and the one you are most likely to see on store shelves. It has a circular blade that spins at a high rate of speed. When you shove vegetables down the chute, the blade separates the juice from the fiber. Because of the high-speed extraction process, the juice will oxidize faster, meaning it will lose nutrients over the course of a few hours.
Masticating juicers are a completely different animal in terms that they literally squash and grind (much like how we chew food) the juice out of vegetables. Because they work at low speeds, they produce more juice and oxidize significantly slower (anywhere from 2 – 3 days).
Which do I recommend? That depends on your level of commitment in terms of time and money. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. While centrifugal juicers are more affordable, their juice has a shorter shelf life, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how fast you drink it. Centrifugal juicers are also more challenging to clean (I’ve got it down to five minutes!). Masticating juicers are more expensive, but they are easier to clean and produce more juice, which, in the long-term, will save you money on organic produce.
I originally started out 3 years ago with a Breville Juice Fountain Plus centrifugal juicer. I recently upgraded to an Omega masticating juicer. Again, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
They both make quality juice. Get one!
Can I Buy Juice Somewhere And If So, Which Juice Is The Best?
This is a tricky one, as there are a lot of companies that claim to sell juice, but are really only selling nothing more than sugary green liquid. Some of the more recognizable brand names claim to see sell juice, but in reality, it’s nothing more than multi-colored, sugary liquid. Don’t fall for it.
There is a growing market for what I call “Convenience Juice” and it can be difficult to navigate through the murky sea of marketing madness! So, how can you separate the junk from the juice?
Read labels. When it comes to store-bought juice, there are four different types: Raw, Pasteurized, Flash Pasteurized and High Pressure Pasteurized.
Raw juice is the best, if you can find it. It has not been through any sort of pasteurization, which can kill vital nutrients and enzymes. It’s the same as if you made it fresh at home. You can find raw juice at your local juice bar or at some health food stores.
Pasteurized juice is again, the multi-colored, sugary liquid that you’ll find at your local gas station or grocery store. It has been fully heated and contains little to no nutrients. You might as well drink a can of soda, because that’s basically what you’re getting in terms of sugar content.
Flash Pasteurization applies extreme degrees of heat for a shorter time and may still kill beneficial nutrients and enzymes found in the juice.
High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) applies just that to the juice – high pressure. While there is no heat involved, the HPP process still reduces the amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in raw juice.
Having said all that, I’m going to be real with you. Have I had some HPP juice? Yes. Do I feel bad about it? Absolutely not. I’ve adopted a “good, better, best” mentality about it. HPP juice is better than a soda, but raw juice is the best.
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‘Naked’ juice won’t make you look better naked. Go for raw.
How Do I Get My Kids/Family Members To Juice?
Make them part of the process. From the very moment I brought the juicer home, I included my children. We opened and unpacked the box together, we went to the grocery store/farmer’s market together to buy organic produce and we made juice together! Getting their buy-in and making it a family affair goes a long way towards establishing long-term healthy habits.
Make it fun! We give names to our juices. My 4-year-old son is currently obsessed with the Incredible Hulk. He now likes to drink green “Hulk Juice” so he can grow up to be big and strong like his favorite superhero. There’s also “Elvis Parsley” and who can forget about “House of Cards?” I also make it a habit to buy fun and interesting glasses to drink juice out of.
Referring back to my previous statement, making the juice palatable is the key here. Their first experience has to be a good one. Start off with a little more fruit and gradually reduce the amount over time.
Drink green juice or Hulk will SMASH! Just kidding.
Juicing is a fantastic method to get more vegetables into your diet. It’s also a great way to use produce that may not be the freshest. I encourage you to try to incorporate juicing into your daily routine. You will find that, not only will you look better, but you will feel better too! Here’s to your health!
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