Juicing has become quite a popular trend in the natural health community. Touted for its powerful health benefits, it rivals its counterpart, the “Smoothie” which also has terrific health benefits and nutritional value, but more on that method of getting extra greens in your diet, on another post.
At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), one of our visiting instructors was the Juicing Reboot creator himself, Joe Cross. Joe has an amazing health testimony and weighed over 300 pounds and was on medication for a debilitating autoimmune disease that caused him a lot of chronic pain. He found juicing beneficial for regaining his own health and now shares his experience and knowledge with others through his website, classes, shop and movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2.
While juicing may not be for everyone, there are many benefits that are undeniable, but whether you are looking to juice your favorite veggies and fruits to get your mega dose of greens or juicing as part of a detox challenge, there are some things to consider that can help your experience go a little smoother.
Begin by investing in a good juicer. We have the original one that my husband has had for over 20 plus years and then we also purchased this juicer during my cancer battle. I needed one pronto to help try to detox my body and it was the only one available that I could get fast. The juicer you choose doesn’t need to be the Cadillac of all juicers to deliver the same benefits. Juice machines vary in prices and although you may be able to find some that are super cheap, you want to look at the quality and if it will be able to offer the power you need to get the job done. You could shop yard sales and thrift stores and probably make out just fine. In fact, it is common for folks to purchase a juicer with the best of intentions, only to let it sit in their cupboard or cabinet after using it a handful of times. Their loss is your gain. (wink). If I had to purchase another juicer, I like the features on this one from Breville. There are really so many to choose from. Read the reviews and choose which one fits your needs.
One of the biggest complaints I hear is that juicing can get so messy! Clean up was one of my biggest hurdles that I had to get over during my cancer battle a few years ago. The benefits far outweighed a little extra clean up. Juicing is a super simple process and there are simple ways to make clean up a snap. Drawing our juicer a warm soapy bath prior to starting, helped cut down on clean-up detail. The key is not to let it sit where the food and fiber dry. That’s with any large clean up job. Clean-as-you-go is a preferred method in our farmhouse! (smile) Another complaint is that it requires a lot of ingredients and organic veggies and fruits can get expensive.
Pro-Tip: Some helpful ways to offset the cost are…
- Grow your own garden. Don’t have a large yard, no worries! You can always grow in containers or raised beds. Be creative.
- Buy local and support your local farmers.
- Purchase produce that is in season.
- Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) to save money and help connect with other like-minded health conscious folks in your area.
- Use the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen chart which is updated yearly by the EWG. This chart is an easy reference to see which produce uses the most or least amount of harmful chemicals and pesticides. We have found this helpful in determining which produce we need to purchase organic and which ones are “safe” to buy conventional without unraveling all the work we have already done on getting healthier.
Some of the main health benefits to juicing are that as the fiber is separated from the juice, it will be more easily assimilated into the body and be able to be digested faster, offering a boost of energy from the concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals. When you are wanting to help the body cleanse some of the built-up toxins that it is exposed to on a daily basis, this is a great option, even in short spurts. It can help strengthen your immune system and offer your digestive system a reset or hiatus from constantly working to process the food you eat. People notice improvement with the strength of their hair and nails, complexion and even clearer thinking. If you find that you are not one for eating your greens like you know you should, but still want the benefits from eating more whole organic vegetables, this may be a good option for you because you can get more than enough of your daily recommended dose of your greens at one time.
New to juicing?
Here are some “Pro Tips” that can help get you started…
- Start with a clean surface. Spray and wipe prep area with your natural all-purpose cleaner. We use distilled white vinegar for most of our cleaning needs. Need more simple ideas for natural cleaning products? You may find the 3 Simple Tips for a More Natural Home post helpful.
- Gather all your supplies and ingredients ahead of time.
- Draw your warm soapy water bath in your kitchen sink.
- Wash and clean any produce you will be juicing. Remove any sticker labels and discard in trash.
- Slice and/or chop larger items to make it easier to juice and not bog down your machine.
- For easy clean up, we line our discard bowl with a grocery bag. Easy peasy! Make sure not to throw away the fiber you will collect. It is great on your garden or on your compost pile. You can even use it in your favorite recipes.
- Choose only quality fruits and vegetables and if you are unsure if a particular item is juiceable, do a quick search on line. Better safe than sorry!
- Juice more vegetable than fruit to keep the sugar content down. We like to add one green apple to our juice to give it a little sweetness, but not that sugar spike that can sometimes occur with too much fruit. You know that one that causes a crash shortly after your initial energy boost. Green apples have a lower glycemic index and don’t typically cause that spike in blood sugar. The 3:1 ratio is a good rule of thumb when juicing. (3 vegetables to 1 fruit)
- Drink it fresh to take advantage of all that yummy and healthful goodness.
- Remember that juicing is great for an extra dose of your super foods, but is supplemental and should not be your only means of getting your nutrients. The body needs a variety of foods and diversity is key if you want to make sure you are getting enough of your vitamins and minerals.
- Take note that not all veggies and fruits do well in the juicer. Avoid bananas, avocados, and most citrus peels. Lemons and limes are fine, but make sure they are fresh, especially lemons because overtime, it can make things taste bitter.
Note: Aloe is a great source of over 75 vitamins, enzymes, and minerals and can be a great addition to your homemade juice, but take note that most aloe needs to be filleted first, prior to putting it in your juicer. Not only does it tend to gum up your machine and make for more work during clean up, but it also contains compounds in the skin that can cause a bitter taste to your juice which may cause you to avoid it like the plague. To filet, simply cut off ends with a sharp knife and carefully slice the outer layer of skin to expose the gelatinous clear flesh on the inside. Then juice as you would any other veggie or fruit.
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Until next time, cheers to your health!