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Guess what?! I’m talking about juicing again. I know. I’m on a serious kick here. I’ve never thought this much about kale and grapefruit before in my life. In my defense, however, I did test this out for over three months to make sure I was a true believer. I’m definitely walking a thin line between believer and nut. So, let’s just dive in together.
After last week’s post, I received several questions about the difference between high-powered blenders, like the Vitamix, and juicers. I seriously debated between the two myself. I opted for the juicer for two reasons: cost and purpose. My Breville juicer, while limited to just one function, fit my budget better.
Also, after testing out my parent’s juicer, I found that a juice can pack more of a produce punch per ounce than a smoothie. This might not be true for everyone, but my body has responded better to juices than it ever did to smoothies. I think it just comes down to the quantity of raw fruits & vegetables per glass.
For example, in one 16-ounce raw juice, I can get 1 apple, 5 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 1/2 lemon, and a piece of ginger. I personally prefer the consistency of drinking this as a juice vs. a smoothie.
Could I eat all of that on a plate and get the benefit of the fiber? Yes. Would I? Not likely. By drinking one raw juice a day, I can gain the benefits of all of that produce, as well as eating other fruits & vegetables. Juicing has easily tripled my daily fruit & vegetable intake.
If you are the happy owner of a Vitamix (or similar machine), I will stifle my envy long enough to say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you love your smoothies or are straining them to make juices, then blend away! You own a high quality, versatile machine.
For more on this topic, you could check out online forums. There are pros and cons on both sides. I think it’s just one of those personal preference things.
If you go the juicing route, here are a few things I’ve learned. The first step is to wash and prep all fruits and vegetables you are planning to use. I pile them onto a rimmed baking sheet. I have never followed an official juice recipe before, but there are tons out there. Check out websites or the library for recipe resources (Two books I found helpful were The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies: 365 Natural Blends for Health and Vitality Every Day and Power Juices: A Pyramid Health Paperback (Pyramid Health Paperbacks) — Amazon).
While it is tempting to stick with the sweet fruit juices, my goal is to hit around 30% fruit and 70% vegetables in each juice. It is still super tasty, but I am getting the benefit of the vegetables, many that I wouldn’t work into my daily diet otherwise.
When you start juicing regularly, you will figure out what flavor combinations taste good together. It is faster to go by personal preference and cheaper to go by what is in season and on sale, anyway.
Go easy on the stronger flavors. A little goes a long way. Mustard greens, beets, bell peppers, and ginger are all good candidates for smaller amounts.
Try juicing by color. I usually mix & match to get a higher ratio of vegetables to fruit, but every now and then I like to juice by color. The final color & flavor are nice and bright.
Reds & Purples: beets, chard, berries, grapes, apples
Greens: kale, spinach, cabbage, apples, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, parsley, lime
Yellows & Oranges: pineapple, oranges, carrots, apples, grapefruit, lemon, ginger
Add a kick. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I think all juice tastes better when it has some zing to it. Try adding a little ginger, bell peppers, citrus fruit, or cranberries to your juice.
Next, you press the fruits & vegetables down the feed tube.
My centrifugal juicer has two settings: low for softer fruit and high for harder produce in order to get as much juice out of them as possible. The juice pours into the container on the right, and the pulp spins into the container on the left.
Last week, I talked about how one of my main objections to juicing was losing all that fiber from the pulp. I have realized, though, that I can have my fruits & vegetables and drink them, too. I still get plenty of fiber by eating raw produce at other meals.
Also, perhaps the best benefit of juicing is that all those nutrients — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, etc. are delivered much faster to your body in liquid form. Natalie Savona writes in The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies: 365 Natural Blends for Health and Vitality Every Day (Amazon):
“Juices provide nutrients at top speed – our bodies absorb their goodness with maximum efficiency, unhindered by any need to break down and digest bulkier foodstuffs. The lack of any fiber (left behind in the juicing process) means that our bodies can assimilate the nutrients from a juice in a matter of minutes rather than hours.”
The dry pulp can be composted or used for other purposes. I have yet to do this step, but I know people who slip it into muffins or meatloaf. I’m so curious about Tami’s cracker recipe (see comments section from Juicing on a Budget, Part 1). Definitely on my list of things-to-try soon.
I don’t own any pets, but I’m also curious if animals like dogs or chickens would eat this mixed in with their regular feed? Any animal lovers have an opinion on this one?
Some of you asked last week if the clean-up process is time consuming. At the beginning, it feels like a hassle to disassemble the machine and clean the parts. Now that I’m in the rhythm of making a daily juice, I don’t even notice. It’s just part of the process, kind of like cleaning out my coffee press in the morning.
1. Find a machine that is easy to take apart & clean. If it’s too labor intensive, odds are you won’t use it.
2. Clean the parts immediately, before even drinking your juice. Then it’s just a simple step of rinsing everything off. Most parts are also dishwasher-safe.
I even checked the clock yesterday. To rinse the parts, wipe down the machine, and dump the pulp took a total of 2 minutes. That’s it. You could easily add this to a busy morning routine, especially if you have the produce prepped ahead of time.
Mmmm…. fresh juice. Grab a straw!
Find more juicing posts here.