For those of you that don’t know, ‘Juicing’ is the process of extracting juice from vegetables, often completed with a household appliance called a juicer. Now the basics are out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
It’s hard to argue against the benefits of eating your vegetables. But drinking your vegetables is another story. Is juicing the antidote to bad health, as its proponents claim, or just another fad diet?
There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:
Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. If you are a carb type, you should eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.
You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.
Juicing has been credited with alleviating everything from skin diseases and immune disorders to cancer and high blood pressure. But skeptics claim that the detox and cleansing benefits attributed to juicing may be more psychological than physical. There’s also a lack of scientific evidence that proves that juicing your vegetables is significantly healthier than just eating them. If you’re not eating enough vegetables, drinking them might be one way to up your intake. The bottom line is, juicing certainly can’t hurt.
It is important to note that vegetable juice has very little protein and virtually no fat so by itself it is not really a complete food. It really should be used in addition to your regular meals not in place of it. So unless you are undergoing some special fasting or detoxification program it is probably unwise to use juicing as a meal replacement. Ideally it can be consumed with your meal or as a between meal snack.
What type of Juicer should I buy?
Buying a home juicer can pay off in the long run, although the juicer you buy might also make a difference. Centrifugal juicers, which grind and strain produce at high speeds, are the most affordable machines, but also less efficient — some say the high speed generates heat, and decreases the amount of enzymes in the resulting juice. Masticating juicers “chew” produce and can make more juice out of the same amount of vegetables, while triturating juicers, the most expensive and efficient option, “press” produce and retain more nutrients.
While juicers extract only juice from produce and remove the fiber, blenders retain all of the content by simply mashing everything together. Fiber aside, the blender versus juicer debate might come down to a matter of taste: drinking celery juice mixed with carrot juice will probably taste better than drinking a celery and carrot smoothie.
Don’t Juice Fruit
Fruit has way too much sugar to be used for juicing. You can get a very quick high from juicing fruit as your sugar levels escalate but this puts heavy demands on your hormonal system. What starts out as a boost of energy will soon turn into an energy crash. Juicing fruit is a very quick way to pile on fat as your body stores excess sugar in your liver and fat cells. If you are diabetic or struggle with your insulin levels then juicing fruit is especially dangerous.
Have you ever cut an apple in half and left it for 15 minutes? Goes brown right? This reaction is called oxidation, it’s the fruit reacting with oxygen. This is the reason why most foods are stored in air tight containers. So when you juice your vegetables make sure you consume the juice as quickly as possible to ensure you absorb all that goodness.
If you’re careful, you can store it for up to 24 hours with only moderate nutritional decline. This is really helpful if you are bringing your juice to work with you so you can consume it during the day. Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. Immediately store it in the fridge and consume it when you are ready. It is best to drink it as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours of juicing.
Most people juice in the morning, but if that does not work out well for your schedule, please feel free to choose whatever meal works best for your lifestyle.
It Gives Digestion A Break
We all eat far too much for our needs. Having a juice now and again gives our digestive system a break and time to recover from digestion overload. Juicing is often used for cleansing as well as part of a fasting diet. The principles of fasting and cleansing are all based around giving the digestive system time to catch up and recover.
Only Juice Organic
I know there are a lot of non-believers out there who don’t buy into Organic food but juicing should be one exception. Organic foods are not covered in chemicals that when juiced you are drinking. Toxic juice drinks will take more nutrients out of your body than you can put in. Plus, vegetables grown in good organic soil provide more nutrient dense veggies.
Remember you are what you eat, carrots eat soil nutrients, just the way we eat carrots. Healthy soil is the source of all healthy foods including meats.
Use The Vegetable Pulp
After you have juiced your vegetable you will be left with a considerable amount of pulp. The pulp still contains nutrients and lots of fibre. You can use this pulp to add to other meals like a vegetable hash with eggs, or save the carrot pulp for making Gluten Free Carrot Cake.
Buy A Good Juicer
Do your research before you buy. Many juicers can be hard to clean and others do not extract that much juice from your vegetables. If a juicer takes longer than 10 minutes to clean, we’ll find excuses not to juice at all. Using an old toothbrush works well to clean any metal grater. If you buy a high-quality juicer, the whole process should only take about 5 minutes.
Whatever you do, you need to clean your juicer immediately after you juice to prevent any remnants from contaminating the juicer with mold growth.
If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add lemons and limes, cranberries or fresh ginger. The latter is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it, it gives your juice a little “kick”! There are plenty of good recipes online to suit your taste.