How To Juice Your Produce!
Tips from the Nutrition Consultant
What is green juice?
Green juice is a drink (non-alcoholic, of course) made entirely of green vegetables and a small amount of fruit. "Juicing" is the act of creating a juice out of vegetables and fruits, and can involve a variety of colored vegetables, including greens, carrots, and beets.
Do you get enough green vegetables? Do you know you should be eating MORE green vegetables? Even if you aren't eating too many green vegetables, what about any of the other colored ones? Orange? Red? Does the thought of eating vegetables make you want to gag? it's okay, we have all been there.
I'm a health nut, but not to the point where I eat only raw carrots. I know a good deal when I see one though. One of those good deals come with the value of our health and drinking our produce. I believe that what comes from the ground is the source of good healing for our bodies. Vegetables are not everyone's favorite. Especially in times when fast foods and convenience foods are all the rage. It is hard to enjoy good vegetables when we've been raised on Twinkies and Fruit Loops!
However, it CAN be done! When you begin to understand the value of not just your vegetables, but juicing your vegetables, you start to see the need for prioritizing this in your life. There is strong meaning behind juicing. Do you have strong meaning behind eating an Oreo? Probably not.
Benefits to juicing?
There are tremendous benefits to juicing!
- Juicing supplies your cells with much needed antioxidants. With juicing, there is minimal digestion required, which allows the nutrients a clear path to cell health. The antioxidants repair and boost the health of the cells, as well as helps them build their defenses against free radicals (which bring on diseases and illnesses).
- With a direct path of antioxidants to your cells, you are also supporting the health of your liver, kidneys, and skin. When these organs (yes, your skin is technically an organ) receive powerful nutrients from the juice, they begin a detoxification process, freeing your body of nasty toxins. You will notice clearer skin, healthier nails, and brighter hair when you juice consistently.
- Your joints will receive a good dose of nutrients too when you juice your produce. These nutrients, including Vitamin C, help support cartilage health. Healthy cartilage allows joints to move more freely and less painfully.
- Consistent juicing promotes a more alkaline state. Vegetables are alkaline itself, and when we fire up our body with the power of juice, we reduce overall inflammation. Inflammation is known to be the source of almost all diseases and illnesses. When we keep our bodies more alkaline, we are minimizing our inflammation and chances of problems later on.
The 1st Step: Getting a Juicer!
A good juicer is the key to a good juice. There are several different kinds of juicers out there and really, it is all about what works best for you; however, I can make some recommendations:
- Do not purchase the cheapest juicer; you will get what you pay for, including something that will most likely break within a few weeks, or not produce good enough juice.
- Do not purchase the most expensive juicer either! Often, so many "features" on the expensive juicer are not even used. On top of this, usually more expensive ones have more parts and are more difficult to clean (not to mention time consuming!)
- It is best to go the "middle ground" when finding a juicer. My personal juicer is a Breville, which cost me around $125. The prices change often, and I got this juicer in 2010. It has not given me any problems in the 3 years that I've owned it!
- Find a juicer that has an easy to follow pattern. For example, the produce goes in the "tube" to be grinded and "juiced." The juice comes out one end, while the pulp comes out the other end. The easier the pattern means there are fewer parts, which are fewer parts to clean.
- Manual juicers are okay and work well if you only plan to juice once a week or so. Electric juicers (like the one I have) are good for making larger batches, which are good for a few days.
The Next Step: Selecting Your Produce!
There are so many vegetables and fruits you can juice, I cannot even list them all here! For a good green juice though, I recommend some specifics:
- Cucumbers and celery provide a good "base" for your juice, along with plenty of nutrients! Be sure that both of these vegetables are either home grown or bought organic, since they tend to be on the high pesticide side. I usually go for 1-2 cucumbers and about 4-6 celery stalks.
- Other good greens to add are romaine lettuce (usually 4 large leaves), kale (4-6 leaves), spinach, broccoli stems, and parsley.
- Some non-green juicing vegetables are carrots and beets.
- Best juicing fruits are green apples and pears.
- Good "additions" are lemons, ginger, and wheatgrass powder.
I have a juice recipe that I consider my "staple" recipe. I make it about two times a week, which provides me one juice a day for about 5-6 days a week. I can always up my intake by drinking two juices a day for 3-4 days a week. The following is my "staple:"**
- 2 cucumbers
- 4-6 celery stalks
- 5-6 kale leaves (stems and all)
- 5-6 romaine leaves
- Handful of parsley
- 1-2 green apples
Once I juice the above ingredients, I pour them into a large glass jar and add about 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass powder (which is a great protein source, by the way). In addition to this, I squeeze in the juice of a lemon as well. I close the jar with a nice air tight lid and shake well. I drink about 12 ounces of the juice immediately and store the rest in the fridge.
I've also tried several other good juices too. Some included carrots (which make the juice sweeter).
There are several juice recipes out there to try!
**Please note that I have adapted my staple from the Kris Karr's book (Crazy Sexy Diet) and made the amounts to my own liking. There are plenty of ideas found in her book that I highly recommend!
A few more thoughts on juicing.....
It is important to experiment with your juices to find which ones work best for you! For example, I tried to juice Swiss Chard in with my "staple" juice and wanted to vomit each time I drank it! It is okay to change things around!
Remember to keep your fruit juice at a lower ratio than your vegetable juice. This way, you are not downing a lot of sugar (even though it is natural sugar), it is best to keep your juice on the milder side. Along with this, always store leftover juice in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days! The freshest juice is best!
Also keep in mind, that juicing is different than blending. Blending is great too, because it provides the nutrients and fiber of your produce; however, juicing gets the nutrients directly to your cells, where blended produce has to be digested first.
Finally, you will find yourself going through a lot of produce! It is worth the health benefits though! In addition, the leftover "pulp" can be used in compost! (And I've heard some people use it in recipes too!).
Here's to your health!