Congratulations on your decision to take a step in the direction of a healthier lifestyle by opting to implement juicing into your diet. Think of this page as your one stop resource to get started with juicing.
What is juicing?
Juicing consists of taking raw vegetables and fruits and running them through a juicer that either pulverizes it or crushes and squeezes the juice out of it. The type of juicer you use will determine the total amount of vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes. Fresh juice will always taste better and provide more nutrients than the bottled versions from the store. It provides many life-changing health benefits, such as boosting your immune system to help ward off certain cancers and heart diseases.
Why juice, why not just consume raw fruits and vegetables?
When you juice, you are able to get more variety into your diet. Think about it, if you were to consume three to four cups of kale, three large carrots, one green apple, a few celery stalks, and a cup or two of spinach leaves—you would probably feel a little sick after eating it. However, you can juice those same items and easily drink it in one to two servings.
Are smoothies healthier than juices?
There difference between juicing and blending all boils down to the pulp content. If you want to take advantage of insoluble fibers then smoothies are the way to go but if you simply want to complement a healthy drink for your meal then you need a glass of freshly pressed juice. You can still get fibers with it the form of soluble fibers. Soluble fiber aids our system by absorbing water and turning into more of a gel-like substance. It moderates blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol by binding the fatty acids together to slow the total digestion time.
Both practices are equally healthy and the best part is you can do both. If you want to learn more about the difference between the two, read my article on juicing vs blending.
How to juice?
Everyone can benefit from juicing in two ways—juice feast or juice fasting.
Juice feast simply means you’ll include a healthy glass of fresh juice with your usual meal. This increases your nutritional intake of vitamins and antioxidants that provide boosts to your energy levels, strengthens your immune system, and helps you maintain your weight. Antioxidants slow and repair oxidative damage from the free radicals affecting our bodies. The health issues that arise from these radicals include heart disease, cancer, diabetes and macular degeneration and a long list of other diseases.
Juice fast (a.k.a. juice cleanse or juice detox) helps you flush out the buildup of toxins in your body and waste from your digestive system. There are 3-day, 5-day, 7-day, and 10-day juice cleanse plans out there that you can follow, however you need consult your doctor as it’s contraindicated for pregnant mothers and diabetics. The good news is juice feasting is for everyone.
What You need
Before you can start juicing you’ll need these 4 basic stuff.
1. A Good Juicer
The best type of juicer should be able to process a wide variety of produce such as soft fruits, hard vegetables, leafy greens including wheatgrass and it’s a plus if it can help you prepare soy and almond milk. Cold press juicers can do just that. If you need help on choosing the best juicer then read my juicer buying guide.
2. Juicing Recipes
You can’t throw a bunch of stuff together and expect it to taste delicious. That’s where recipes come into play. You also have to remember that some items juice better than others. Soon I’ll be curating juice recipes based on healing properties and ingredients, and I also have plans on developing a juicing app to make juicing even more easier.
To maintain the freshness and taste of your juice you’ll also be needing a decent container unless you’ll drink it right away. Airtight glass containers are the best option because it doesn’t contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic substance found in plastic. For more information on your storage options read my article on how to store freshly pressed juices.
Last but not the least you have to be motivated and willing to make the necessary changes to your life in order to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It takes time, patience, and discipline. Discipline is the most important. There will be days when you don’t feel like pulling everything out, washing and juicing the produce, then clean everything up. You may want to resort to an old habit because you want to be lazy that day, but as someone who has fallen off of the wagon before—it’s not worth it. One day turns into an entire week or longer. You will definitely feel more sluggish and less motivated when you are not taking in the nutrients you receive when you consume fresh juice. I like feeling energized and simply good overall.
- You’re better off peeling your carrots. Unpeeled carrots sometimes create a bitter taste to your juice.
- Try to use organic produce as much as possible.
- Always alternate harder produce with softer pieces.
- Remove the peeling from citrus.
- Remove large pits from items such as cherries. Also, it is best to remove apple seeds.
- Cut your produce into manageable sizes. Your juicer will thank you. For example, cut celery, carrots, and kale into smaller pieces so as not to overstrain the motor.
- You can add many spices, such as ginger, cardamom, pepper, parsley, and turmeric, to your fresh juices to give them a kick. Not only do they spice up your juice, they have additional health benefits.
- You cannot juice bananas or avocadoes, but you can blend it with your juice once you’re finished juicing.
- Drink your juice on an empty stomach and don’t forget to chew!
- When fasting, don’t go overboard in the exercising department.
- The taste of fresh juice versus bottled or canned juice will always be different.
Should I speak with my physician before I began juicing?
Any time you begin a new diet regimen, especially if you are planning on fasting, you should speak with your doctor. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from other serious health issues, always consult with your doctor before making any changes.
How much juice do I need to consume throughout the day?
It really depends on your goal. When fasting, you should drink about 24 ounces every couple of hours. However, as long as you’re sticking with mainly a green juice, then you can drink more if you want. Listen to your body and make sure to consume lots of water during your fast. If you’re supplementing by feasting, then feel free to drink between 10 to 24 ounces before each meal. This reduces the amount of food you eat during mealtime. If you are new and feel a little apprehensive, drink two or three servings of 10 to 16 ounces each day.
When should I drink my juice?
The best time to drink your juice is before a meal and on an empty stomach.
I’ve read that juicing is just a weight loss fad, is this true?
Juicing can help you with your weight loss goals, but it is not a miracle worker. You will have to throw an exercise routine in there. You begin to adopt a healthier lifestyle when you juice every day. You’ll become more conscious about your food choices, quantity of food you eat, and you will lose those cravings for unhealthy foods that cause many individuals to gain and retain weight. It’s not a fad because juicing leads you to a healthier way of living, but if you want to lose weight, you definitely have to work for it.
Which items should I avoid juicing?
Apple seeds, carrot tops, papaya peels, citrus (orange/grapefruit) rinds, and wild parsnips cannot be juiced.
I do not like pulp in my juice. How do I remove it?
Use a sieve to separate the remaining pulp from your juice. If your juicer did not come with one, run down to the local market and pick up one. Any type will work just fine.
What is the foam that forms at the top of my juice?
It is simply juice that has become fluffed up by mixing with the air. The faster the produce is juiced; the more foam tends to be produced. It’s harmless and you can simply strain it or scoop it off the top if you do not want to drink it.
Is it OK to mix vegetables and fruit?
Absolutely. In fact, it is recommended that you mix your recipes with both every day. Aim for all the colors of the rainbow.
Someone said that juicing could make you sick because of live parasites on raw food. Is this true?
While it is true that even organic raw foods can contain bacteria that might make you sick, you have to properly clean your produce prior to juicing it. Some use vegetable washes after soaking their produce. Others use bleach diluted in water. There are other options such as an ozone generator or an automatic produce washer. Honestly, a healthy person with a good immune system will be able to handle a few parasites and bacteria. If it still bothers you, then purchase a good parasite cleanser.
How long will my juice keep in the refrigerator?
This depends on the type of juicer you used and storage methods. Generally, slow juicers produce juice that can be kept up to 72 hours. Fast juicers produce juice that will break down within 24 hours. I normally drink my juices by the end of the day or the next morning, but definitely within 24 hours.
Can I freeze my juice?
Yes, but a great deal of essential nutrients and enzymes is lost in the freezing/thawing process. It is always best to drink your juice as soon as possible.
What is the best storage method for my juice?
Use an airtight glass container. Fill it to the brim to push out as much air from the container as possible. As soon as you pull it out and reopen it, drink it as soon as possible.
$200 for a juicer is currently out of my budget, any recommendations?
A cheap juicer is better than not having a juicer at all. Another tip, you can find many used juicers on places like Craigslist or eBay for really low prices. Sometimes, people are willing to part with them for lower than the listed price. Send them an offer. The worst that they can do is decline.
Can I replace eating with juicing permanently?
Of course you cannot replace eating with juicing permanently. Juicing is intended to supplement your diet and does not contain all of the nutrients you need to maintain optimal health levels. You need to eat a balanced diet with foods that contain fiber, fat, and protein, in order to achieve that. Maintaining a delicate balance is what living a healthy life is about and if you replace it entirely with juicing, then you are upsetting that balance.