If you’re reading this it’s because something has peaked your interest about juicing! But perhaps you don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re intimidated at all the possible juice combinations? Or it may be that you have picky kids and you’re trying to get them to eat their vegetables? Whatever the reason, you’ll be glad that you decided to add fresh vegetable (and fruit) juices to your diet!
If you’re new to juicing, you’ll want to start with fruits and vegetables that are a bit sweeter. Carrots and apples are a great way to start and an excellent base to build off of. An easy ratio to remember is:
one small apple and four carrots per person
This makes 8 ounces - a perfect drink to build on or to stop with. Even if you stop there, you’ll already have a healthy drink packed with essential nutrients like beta carotenes and vitamin C.
What are the benefits of making your own fresh fruit and vegetable juices versus buying one in the store?
Buying your own fresh produce and then juicing it delivers far more vitamins and minerals than a store-bought juice. There are plenty of reasons why juicing at home provides many health benefits to your body:
Fresh juice has a high nutritional and vitamin content. The juicer separates the pulp from the liquid. Part of the role of chewing and digestion is to change a solid food into liquid form so that the body can assimilate it. When you juice a fruit or vegetable, you drink the liquid form, which goes immediately into the bloodstream and body systems. Fresh juice nourishes your body with vitamin rich and easy to digest nutrition.
Fresh juice is not pasteurized. The FDA requires all drinks to be pasteurized (for our "protection") However the pasteurization process requires high temperatures which destroy the fragile enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are present in fresh produce.
Juicing is an easy way to get the amount of fruits and veggies a day that our bodies need. Most of us don’t get the recommended servings. Juicing, however, fills the gap and makes it possible for us to still get that much needed nutrition in a quick and easy (and tasty) fashion. It also helps to regulate body-weight and blood sugar.
Juicing is cleansing. Fresh juices are full of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies require that we sometimes don’t get. When our bodies are satisfied in their needs of proper nutrients, energy is freed up to cleanse the body of trapped toxins. This can also lead to weight-loss, more energy and a better overall mentality.
Juicing keeps us young. When you load up on all the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in a concentrated cup or two daily, it helps to fight wrinkles, eliminate free radicals, and add moisture and a glow to your skin.
Many people are now adding freshly prepared juices to their diet numerous times a week. I personally make a “green juice” every morning with organic produce straight from the garden. It’s much more energizing then the typical cup of joe, it hydrates the body and stimulates the release of toxins.
What Type of Juicer Should You Buy?
Ok, now you are convinced to add more fruit and vegetable juice to your diet but what type of juicer should you buy? There are three main types of juicers and they vary based on what you think you’ll be juicing most in your diet.
Centrifugal. Centrifugal juicers are generally the most common and usually the most affordable. They typically have an upright design in which food is pushed into a rapidly spinning mesh chamber with sharp teeth on its floor. The teeth shred the food into a pulp, and the centrifugal motion pulls the juice out of the pulp and through the mesh filter, where it is funneled out of the juicer via a spigot. The pulp is filtered into a separate compartment. Centrifugal juicers work best with soft and hard fruits and vegetables, but not quite as well with leafy greens like kale or spinach, or with wheatgrass.
Masticating. Masticating typically have a horizontal design in which a tube containing the auger extends out of motorized base. Pieces of fruits and vegetables are pushed into the top of the tube, and they are crushed and squeezed by the auger. Juice drains out of the underside of the tube, while the pulp is squeezed out at the end of the tube. Because of the slower crushing and squeezing action, masticating juicers can process leafy greens and wheatgrass, and the juice that they produce will last much longer than juice made in a centrifugal juicer,because it preserves more of the raw enzymes.
Slow Juicer (Upright). A new breed of juicers is emerging, the slow juicer or upright juicer. This type of juicer has an upright design similar to centrifugal juicers, but operates similar to the masticating juicer, with the auger or gear that crushes the food and presses out the juice. While pricey (around $350), these slow juicers are said to extract even more nutrients and juice than existing masticating models, and have the advantage of taking up less of a footprint on the counter than either of the other types of models. It also preserves the most amount of enzymes in the juice.
Some people partake on “Juice Feasts” where you imbibe nothing but freshly prepared fruit and vegetable juice (along with water and tea) for a certain period of time. A great mini-cleanse is to juice one day a week. This gives your digestive system a period of 24 hours to take a much-deserved break. I suggest picking a weekend day and consuming only juice the entire day. Trust me, it’s not as hard as it sounds! Once you get used to that, you may want to try longer cleanses of three, seven, or even up to 40 days! I wouldn’t suggest a 40 day Juice Feast for everyone, however. You’d always want to consult your primary physician before starting any type of cleansing regime. But trust me, if your body is healthy enough to do a 40 day cleanse, you will feel amazing afterwards! I, myself, just finished a 40 day Juice Feast and documented the entire process with photos, recipes and videos. Get more information here if it peaks your interest to learn more!
Erin Schumacher is a Certified Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition Practitioner (CNHP; CHNP) She specializes in detoxification programs, internal cleanses, and helping clients build strong immune systems. She also travels internationally to do raw food workshops, yoga retreats, and personal coaching. In addition, Erin is a Certified Power Yoga Instructor and a Certified Raw Food Chef from the SunKitchen. For more information, visit ErinSchumacher.net.