New to our Juicing on a Budget series? Start here.
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!
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Yep. I give my dogs some of the pulp. They love it.
Do you clean the parts in between different juices or just wait until the end?
Angela Davis says
Just wait until the end of that juicing session!
Perfect!! Thank you…that might just make it much easier on me! I was cleaning the machine after each juice, thinking it would alter the taste for the next juice!! Many thanks!
Oh my goodness, perhaps someone else mentioned this but one can’t reference “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” without directing EVERYONE to Joe Cross’ webpage for a wealth of information and recipes – he’s the master! http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/rebooting/
Hi! I hvnt read all of the comments…so I don’t know if anyone has spoken about this yet…but…
Grapes will KILL your dog. So please ask your vet before you feed your dog even the “healthy” stuff…just bc it’s good for us doesn’t mean it is for them too.
My parents started juicing and coudln’t figure out what to do with all the pulp and skin left over. My mom decided she would put it in her blender and make a smoothie! They juice and have smoothies. If it is to much she freezes it and uses it when she is low on veggies and fruits to juice. Just add some pulp and whatever else is left over with a bit of water and blend all!
We put the pulp in our horse’s feed bucket and sometimes give it to the chickens. Beet pulp will help make the yolks a deeper yellow. And what horse wouldn’t love apple and carrot pulp!? Our sheep and goats would probably like it too.
What is the shelf life of raw juice in the fridge?
I often store leftover juice in the fridge. We usually drink it within 12-24 hours, though, so I’m not sure what its maximum shelf life would be. The fresher the juice, the better the quality and flavor. Hope that helps!
Kurt Gross says
I own a VitaMix and a Jack LaLanne juicer. I prefer the VitaMix for these reasons:
1. The juicer is much more trouble on cleanup.
2. I felt like I was throwing away much of the food when tossing out the pulp.
3. I tried various methods of using the pulp for other things but found it both a bother and I couldn’t come up with enough ways. The pulp was piling up and just ended up in tossed into the garden.
4. I was spending more money on food because I had to go through more of it with the juicer to get what I wanted.
5. I could make many more healthy things with the VitaMix like ice cream, bread, almond butter, etc.
6. I can get my juice at the store buying Bolthouse juices. Maybe not as fresh but reality is that convenience sometimes enables me to achieve my goal whereas if I attempt to juice it myself I tend to skip it altogether so convenience at least let’s me get close to perfect vs. missing the juice product completely.
I hope this helps.
Kurt in Tennessee
http:/grossinternational.com/vitamix (I have become an affiliate for VItaMix because I believe in the product and I’ve always been the Entrepreneurial type anyway.)
Love your site! It is so well-written and the printing options are the best I have ever used. Working in the veterinary field, I just wanted to add my advice about feeding the fiber to your pets. Some human foods can be toxic to them, (not all quantities are known), but avoid feeding them grapes, raisins, garlic, and onions.
The pulp could be used as a face pack.. additional vitamins and minerals added to the body and will make you feel great.. but probably avoid beets.. don’t want to be red faced all day long..
After watching Fat Sick & Nearly Dead last year (I streamed it via netflix thinking it was a comedy…) I went on a 60-day juice fest (not fast!) It feels GREAT! I use an inexpensive hamilton beach wide mouth juicer and dump the pulp right into the veggie & flower beds, its already so broken up, no need to compost it. if you’d like to check out my juicing recipes here’s a link: http://reclaimmylife.wordpress.com/recipes/juicing/
My grocery bill dropped 43%, my dress size dropped 4 sizes, and more than pounds I dropped inches (who cares about pounds when you can wear what you want & look gooood!)
– spread the word – juicing is beneficial on sooooo many levels! Looking forward to hearing more of your experiences!
Can you do another post on your favorite juices to give us some ideas?
You know, thinking about it from the other direction – I buy a lot of kale, beets, broccoli, cauliflower to eat. With the kale, I often strip the leaves and I don’t do much with the stalks (except feed it to the rabbit). Similarly with broccoli – my husband likes the florets, but doesn’t care for the stalks. And if there were beet greens available, I would saute them, but lately I’ve found that the grocer removes them leaving just the beets and the stalks. Rather than trying to figure out what to do with the pulp after juicing, I was thinking that it would make a lot of sense to make juice from the parts of the veg that the family doesn’t like to eat: Juice the kale stalks, beet stalks, and broccoli stems if you have them. Eat the rest of the veg roasted or in soups or whatever 🙂 Then take the leftover fiber and transform it into some high-fiber meatballs, muffins, or crackers 🙂
Yes! I’ll be talking more about this in Thursday’s post, but juicing is definitely the best way to use up the entire fruit or vegetable. I never even thought about how much usable produce I was wasting until I got into juicing! Thanks for the comment.
Jeanette s. says
After you posted, I decided to try using my blender to make a drink of carrots, apples, orange juice, and yogurt. It was surprisingly good! My kids were even able to force it down!! Thanks for the encouragement!! Next I need to try some different vegetables!! Poor kids!! 🙂
Ha! Such a great way to get kids to consume things they wouldn’t normally touch. I couldn’t get my son interested in vegetables until I introduced him to green juice. It’s a start…
I call my green juice “Shrek Juice,” and I have never had a kid turn it down. I do make sure it’s a mild green juice though, because once they decide it’s bad you would be hard pressed to get them to try it again.
I am so diggin’ this and have been thinking about getting a juicer for awhile, while researching after reading the first post I am completely overwhelmed by the number of options out there. Masticating vs centrifugal, juicer vs blender, fiber, ect. I want to do this to increase the amount of raw food I consume, probably as a replacement for my coffee+granola bar at breakfast. I don’t mind spending $100-150. I would like to get the most into what I’m drinking as possible and plan to use whatever pulp is left (maybe for those crackers? so intrigued by that) A gal at work might be willing to sell me her Jack Lamone, we haven’t discussed price. I want to know what brands people have used, what you thought about it, please?
You can find lots of discussion boards online. I found a good way to compare juicers was by reading reviews on websites like Amazon or Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Also, I kept reading that, like many things, you get what you pay for. Typically, the more expensive the juicer the better they are at extracting more juice and lasting longer. I’m sure there are always exceptions, but I would just find the best machine in your price range. My family (we now have 5 juicers between my siblings, parents, and I!) have been happy with the Breville brand.
Also, depending on how you juice (if you do all your veggies at once) here is an awesome recipe for baked “chips” using your left over pulp. http://www.choosingraw.com/choosing-raw-juice-pulp-crackers/
Yes, chickens will eat the pulp! We take ours out for them daily after juicing. They love it!
Our chickens loved getting the pulp everyday. We’ve slowed down our juicing due to the higher cost of produce, but it was a great way to feed the chickens something additional plus get the vitamins we needed. Their yolks were amazing!
Angela R. says
As far as juicing vs. Vitamix, I do think it’s all about why/how you do it. For me, my green smoothies are in my instance replacing meals, so I’m happy to be able to throw things I don’t know that you could in a juicer – like raw cocoa powder or flax seeds. My parents have used a Vitamix for over 20 years so I have seen the benefit so it was worth saving on for us! 😉
You make a good point on strong-tasting veggies and fruits. Beets for instance – I don’t use more than 1/3 of a beet in my smoothie, it’s THAT strong. I’ve also discovered the nutritional benefits of throwing parsley in my green smoothies. But I do half and half with spinach to temper the peppery taste. Hubby has been throwing in red pepper and I find the whole thing ends up tasting like red pepper if too much gets thrown in.
Thanks for the great observations! Yes, beets are strong. I have found them to be an acquired taste. A little at a time… 🙂 The sweetness of berries seems to be a good match to tone the beet flavor down a bit, too.
Wow! I didn’t even know the Vitamix had been around that long. I agree also with the strong veggies. Peppers are way to strong for me. I also don’t like, no wait…detest celery, so I never put that in my smoothies either. I think some people give up to quickly because they put in too strong of flavors. I also agree with the 30% fruit and 70% veggies, but I also think you need to work your way into it. Don’t make it so strong the first few times you give up.
Great post again!!!
Pulp would be great for feeding to chickens, if you have chickens. Some dogs may tolerate pulp being added to their food, but be careful about what you feed them: Grapes can kill dogs, and other fruits and veggies can have some serious effects as well.
what kind of grapes kill dogs?? When I was a kid, my dog loved grapes. We fed him grapes all the time! My dog now likes grapes, and my Dad said he feeds grapes and strawberries to his little yorkie.
Here is some information on grape/raisin toxicity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grape_and_raisin_toxicity_in_dogs
A few other things to be aware of:
Onions (or garlic – foods in the onion family)
Apple seeds (apples themselves are fine, just the seeds)
After reading Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead recently (and doing a lot of further research) I have been completely compelled to jump on the juicing train. This series is preparing me for my soon-to-arrive juicer and new healthy lifestyle it will cause. So excited- thanks for your knowledge and suggestions!
I’m so excited about these posts! I just decided to start juicing because I feel so run down all the time and am just not getting the veggies I need. Thank you and I look forward to more on this!
You could cook up the veggie pulp with chicken and rice for the pets.
Rachel S says
i have appreciated this series. we have a brand new juice man juicer that i’ve never used and was about to get rid of. i’m interested to see the next post and break out my juicer!
This is a great post and I’m looking forward to the next installment. I own an older waring juicer that my dad bought used for around $20 and then fixed. Anyhow, I haven’t used that juicer in years and your post inspired me to start juicing again. Cleaning was always a hassle and then someone last week (who posted about lilikoi, I believe) said to scrape out the fiber before washing and using a brush on the filter and it really makes a difference. Cleanup is so much faster now. I didn’t have a lot of produce when I started a few days back so I was limited to carrots and apples on hand at home. I took the leftover fiber from the carrots and re-purposed it in salmon cakes (using a small amount of lightly sauteed onions, leftover broiled salmon, a little mayo, some dijon mustard, a few ritz crackers, salt and pepper and a small pinch of sugar). It was really good! The carrot and apple fiber can be put into carrot cake, muffins, meatloaf. And I am almost positive that when Odwalla started making their snack/fruit bars many years ago it was well after they had started selling their juices – I’d bet anything that those fiber bars were a result of them utilizing their “waste” stream of fiber from their juice line. I am trying to get a higher ratio of veg into the juice stream and juiced a couple of big leaves of swiss chard last night. Admittedly, swiss chard isn’t particularly juicy, but you do get enough to drive the color of your juice to a deep green and the flavor isn’t so strong that it’s unpalatable.
Summer Womack says
I don’t know if you already do this, or not…but I have found that a toothbrush is the BEST/EASIEST way for me to clean the metal mesh/strainer/blade compartment. AMAZING how easy it made it for me!
When I started juicing I began mixing the pulp in my mini aussie’s dry dog food, he absolutely loved it!! Unfortunately a couple of weeks later he developed some hot spots on his back near his rear, he is 5 years old and had never had a hot spot before, I still don’t know if I fed him something that caused it but I discontinued sharing my pulp with him after that 🙁
Also, to add to your comment about the temptation to juice fruits, another reason to use a higher ratio of veggies and a lower ratio of fruits is because without the fiber your body gets all of the nutrients from the juice immediately without having to process it (as you mention) unfortunately this also includes SUGAR. You can spike your insulin levels pretty high of you are drinking straight fruit juices and all of that sugar isn’t good for you which defeats the purpose of juicing.
I add the pulp to muffins, pancakes and cookies. Nobody has ever complained. I even added it to our spaghetti sauce once and could not even tell it was there.
Great post, but we till seem to be missing the main ingredient which was the topic, (juicing on a budget).
On the other hand i have ben juicing for years and the benefitsare remarkable! Leftover pulp (if not too citrusy) is excellent for a red worm compost bin. They eat right through it and i made plenty of it for them on a daily basis. Theyre compost went straight into my herb and vegetable garden so the benefit was neverending.
Emily will address that on Thursday. Best to explain the “why” before getting to the “how”. As someone who is interested in possibly pursuing this, I needed the first 2 posts to gain an understanding of why I would even want to do it. Now I’m ready to hear how she does it.