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I started juicing over 10 years ago—I was fresh out of college and adapting to life as a working professional and I needed to develop better eating habits than I had in college. I was living in Los Angeles and working in Marina del Rey, surrounded by health-conscious coworkers. I was in pretty good shape as I spent my college life as an athlete, but I knew I would quickly fall out of shape if I didn’t change my eating habits.
I had many conversations with my coworkers about healthy options I could incorporate into my life and diet. I knew how to work out and I understood what my body needed to thrive. However, I spent most of my college life eating like crap and I was ready for a change as I embarked upon a new stage in my life. One of my coworkers was a raw vegan and she was willing to help me start my journey toward a healthier me. I knew I did not want to become a raw vegan like my coworker, but I knew she could help guide me toward a healthier lifestyle. She introduced me to the world of juicing and gave me so much help and guidance along the way—now here we are more than 10 years later, I am still juicing, and I hope to help you as you start on your own juicing journey.
Let’s dive into the basics…
WHAT IS JUICING?
Juicing extracts the liquid portion of whole fruits and vegetables from their pulp/fiber and you are left with a thin liquid that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that are quickly and easily absorbed by our bodies.
The typical American diet does not include enough fruits or vegetables required for optimal health so juicing is a great way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake in a form that tastes much better than eating them in their whole form (which I also do by the way).
WHAT JUICING IS NOT?
I do not and I am not promoting juicing as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet that is comprised of a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Instead, I am encouraging juicing as a supplement to your diet that can enhance your overall health.
I do not think that juicing should be a meal replacement unless you are specifically doing a juice fast/cleanse (which I will talk about in another post). I like to enjoy my juice as the first thing I consume in the morning. It gets my body going and energized as I begin my day. The best time to consume the juice is in the morning as your body has typically fasted throughout the night and is most receptive to absorbing all of the great nutrients. I typically wait at least 15 minutes before I consume anything else—which for me is my morning coffee. If consuming juice first thing in the morning is not optimal for your lifestyle or schedule don’t worry you can consume it anytime and it is still beneficial!
Ok, now that I have you super excited about all the wonderful things juicing can do for you let’s talk about how you can get started…
LET’S TALK JUICERS
The two main types of juicers you will see on the market are Centrifugal Juicers or Masticating Juicers (also known as Cold Press Juicers). The major difference between these two types of juicers is the method by which they break down the plant product placed in them to extract the liquid or juice.
Whole fruits and vegetables are forced against a metal strainer by use of centrifugal force. A fast-spinning metal blade at the bottom of this strainer cuts the produce and juice and pulp are separated and exited through different containers.
The centrifugal juicier creates heat during the extraction process and can oxidize and destroy some of the nutrients in the resulting juice.
Typically cost less than a masticating juicer if you are not looking to spend the extra cash.
Whole fruits and vegetables are crushed and then pressed as they pass through the juicier chute—this is typically done by an auger. A mesh strainer then separates the juice from the pulp and they are exited through different containers.
The masticating juicer does not produce much if any heat and in turn preserves more of the nutrients in the resulting juice.
They can be used to extract juice from all fruits, vegetables, and grass, but can be very intimidating for someone who is new to juicing.
They are more expensive than centrifugal juicers and tend to have many more pieces (which means more to clean).
WHAT DO I RECOMMEND?
I see so many websites promoting super expensive masticating juicers, but I honestly don’t think that most people have the money to invest in a luxury small appliance that is not really a necessity in their home. I believe the most important reason that you or anyone is looking to incorporate juicing into their life is to increase their nutrient intake from fruits and mainly vegetables—any juicer will help you to accomplish that. No matter which juicer you use, the simple fact you are juicing fruits and vegetables is going to yield more nutrients in your body than if you hadn’t changed anything at all! So if you are new to this please do not go out and buy a $300 or more juicer when you are unsure whether or not this is something you are going to stick within your life.
For those of you who are just starting out, I would say go with a centrifugal juicer—the increased nutrient benefits of the masticating are not great enough to outweigh the increased time and effort of using it for a beginner. As I said stated earlier, at the end of the day the reason why you are considering juicing is to increase your nutrient intake from fruits and vegetables and you will get that out of both types of juicers so why not spend a little less to do it.
Here is the juicer I started with and the one I had for the first 7 years of my juicing journey. I highly recommend it and believe it is a great investment.
Ok, what if you don’t want to drop $100 on something you’re not really sure about just yet. My mom and sister just started on their juicing journey and they both have the following juicer and love it. It is half the cost but will still provide you with delicious and nutritious juice.
This is the juicer I currently own. It is a masticating juicer and does so many things (even makes nut milk and tofu!!) but I honestly would not recommend this juicer or any masticating juicer to a beginner as they can be very overwhelming when you are just starting out.
THE RECIPE I STARTED WITH…
The following recipe was given to me by my coworker, but it is originally sourced from the website Reboot with Joe. This guy has a documentary where he takes you on his incredible weight loss journey by juice fasting. He lost a ton of weight and drastically changed his health for the better.
Mean Green Juice
- 6 Kale Leaves
- 1 Cucumber
- 4 Celery Stalks
- 2 Green Apples
- 1/2 Lemon
- 1- inch piece of ginger
- Clean fruit and vegetables properly.
- Cut everything up into chunks that fit into your juicier chute and peel the lemon.
- Feed all ingredients into juicier and consume the juice immediately or refrigerate immediately and consume within 72 hours.
You will read in a lot of places that if you don’t consume the juice within 15-20 minutes that you are not getting much benefit, but that is simply not true! Yes, the nutrients will degrade the longer you have the juice, but we are simply trying to up our nutrient intake and you are going to be doing that whether you drink it right away or 24 hours later (when the juice is immediately stored in the fridge). The optimal nutrient output comes from a masticating juicer because it does not produce the heat that a centrifugal juicer does and the maximum input of nutrients into your body comes from drinking the juice immediately after making it and I totally understand and agree with both of those notions. However, let’s be honest with ourselves most people just don’t have the time make fresh juice every single morning…trying to do this can seem as daunting of a task as actually consuming that many whole fruits and vegetables. I am trying to help you add juicing to your life in a realistic way that you can maintain for a lifetime—not something you will do for a few weeks and end up quitting because it was just too much work for you. At the end of the day, you will have an increase to the nutrients you intake from fruits and vegetables (even if it is not the maximum) and that is what we are trying to do here!
Seriously, guys the sky is the limit with juicing—once you get the hang of it, juice anything your heart desires. I no longer follow any given recipe and as long as I have a dark leafy vegetable and a fruit or two (to cut the bitterness) I am good to go. I also always put a piece of ginger in my juices—be careful with this though…about a 1-inch piece is all you need for the wonderful benefits of ginger, any more than that and you will end up drinking a cup full of ginger flavored juice (trust me it’s hard to get down).
I also want to make sure that you don’t go into this thinking you will drink juice for a week and your life will be forever changed. Natural solutions do not work like western medicine (i.e. you have a headache you take a Motrin and 1 hour later the headache is gone). You will not get this kind of quick change by juicing. Natural solutions take time and you have to give your body time to adjust to it. Remember that consistency is the key. Your body can take a couple of weeks or months to fully feel the benefits, but once you have the nutrients in your system and you start to reap the benefits, you will be thanking yourself for sticking with it. If you have tried juicing and after following my tips, you still feel that juicing is not something you can consistently add to your life, please check out my other posts as there are many other ways to increase your fruit and vegetable servings and improve your health!