What’s All This Juice Talk About?
And is juicing good for your health? Unless you’ve been living under a rock or in a dark cave somewhere, you’ve surely heard the term juicing and probably know something about it. I’ve always been more of a smoothie gal myself but became more interested in juicing a while ago when I started working part-time at a juice and smoothie eatery near my house. I met the owner at an event I participated in and then several months later, began working at her eatery. I learned all about green juices, red juices, orange juices, yellow juices and juices of some other colors. Who knew there was anything outside of grape, apple, and orange?
Is Juicing Good for Your Health?
After working at the eatery for a few weeks and tasting the juices, I really became intrigued by this “juicing” thing. I decided to try a “3-day reset” to see what it was all about. I eat a fairly decent diet, some weeks are better than others but hey, I’m not a burgers and fries fast food kind of gal. I eat kale and spinach, I throw chia seeds and flax meal into my smoothies, so yeah, I’m pretty close to a health and nutrition expert, right? Um, not! There’s always room for improvement but I feel like I’m doing pretty well. I wanted to try this “juicing” for two reasons, to see if I could make it 3 days consuming just juice and water and to see if my body felt any different.
What Happened When I Did
A few things I learned from doing this “3-day reset”:
- I prefer celery in its whole food form
- my tongue feels wonky after drinking pineapple all day
- a juice can contain a smidge of beet but I prefer my beets roasted and on a salad with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- 2 days of just drinking my calories makes my jaw a bit out of sorts
- I can go for 3 days without consuming whole foods and not feel hungry
Making it through 3 days wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The reset calls for 5 juices per day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks. I wound up consuming only 4 juices and water each day and gave the 5th to my husband, I just couldn’t drink anymore liquid. By the end of the second day, I FELT THINNER. Hallelujah! Cutting out carbs, fats, meat, dairy, and all those inflammatory foods and basically flushing my system made me feel so “clean”. I just felt “cleaned out”. Once I started back on my typical diet, that lovely feeling went away, sigh! Until next time, body!
Is Juicing A Good Choice?
Seems the short answer is, the jury’s still at lunch. You know how being around something makes you want it more? That’s kinda what happened to me. Working at this smoothie and juice eatery made me want these juices even more. We already have a Blendtec at home for smoothies, soups, etc. but somehow, I couldn’t get my head around juice from a blender. How could it possibly be thin enough that I wouldn’t have to chew it? I know that the juicing process takes most of the fiber out and that fiber is good for our bodies but surely if enough reputable people are recommending juicing for good health, it must have some redeeming qualities. So, I started looking into juicing in general as well as the necessary equipment. I quickly discovered, as with anything you research on the internet, you will find just as many people in favor of something as opposed to it. Ultimately, you have to do your own research and come to your own conclusion.
Juices consisting mainly of fruit will be high in sugar so you’ll need to make sure you balance the fruit out with some vegetables. The first time I drank a “green” juice that included nothing but vegetables and a lime, I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish it but I was pleasantly surprised. It was actually quite good. My taste buds actually welcomed something that wasn’t sweet. I know, this shocked me just as much as anyone else.
Are You Eating a Rainbow?
Our family definitely lacks in consuming a rainbow of produce every day and if you need to eat a rainbow every day, juicing might just be the answer to filling in those gaps. A rainbow of produce helps with:
- liver detoxification
- fighting inflammation
- eye health
- heart health
- fighting cancer
- healthy circulatory system
- skin health
And many more health issues. All the antioxidants, nutrients, and phytocompounds are present in the juice, they are not lost in the juicing process.
What About The Pulp?
What about the pulp? Isn’t that where all the good fiber is? Seems like a lot of waste. The truth is, yes, it is a lot of waste but there are some things you can do with it that don’t involve putting it in the trash.
- mix into meatloaf or burgers
- add in when making breads and muffins
- freeze in ice cube trays to later use for flavoring water
- use in vegetable stock or soups
- add to smoothies
- give to a farmer
So far, I’ve made meatballs with some of the leftover pulp from my green juice as well as mixing a bit of that pulp into my marinara sauce. My kids had no idea! I also made muffins with some of the pulp leftovers from a fruit heavy juice I made. The juice I made contained beets so the muffins had a pink hue to them, perfect for Valentine’s Day! I could definitely taste the different fruits and it would be interesting to see how the flavor of the muffins changes depending on which fruits are in the pulp. I’ll have to gather up all the recipes I use and share them with you.
Which One to Buy?
Once I decided I wanted a juicing machine, I quickly became overwhelmed with all the choices out there. My juicer needed to be:
- reasonably priced (i.e one I can afford)
- easy to operate
- easy to clean
- good reviews
Juicers come in two types, centrifugal and masticating (cold press). With a centrifugal juicer, centrifugal force is used to separate the juice from the flesh by way of a fast spinning blade that spins against a mesh basket. Juice goes out one side, flesh (also known as pulp) goes out another. With a masticating juicer, the fruit/vegetables are pressed and crushed and the juice is extracted. The downside to the centrifugal juicer is that spinning blade generates heat which destroys some of the good enzymes in the produce. The downside to the masticating juicer is the higher cost. From my work experience, I also know the masticating juicer also takes longer to produce the juice.
I went to a few different juicing websites (heck, I figure these people should know what they’re talking about) to decide what I needed and a few brands/models to look at. Amazon was the last place to begin my process, I get overwhelmed very easily. Once I narrowed my list to 4, I went to Amazon to read reviews. I usually will look at the number of stars Amazon gives, pick out some of the good reviews and some of the bad reviews and then decide. I settled on the Breville Juice Fountain Cold and simply LOVE it. It sounds like a jet plane when it’s working but the juicing process doesn’t take long, the pieces come apart (and go back together) easily and it is SUPER EASY to clean. I rinse all the parts (especially the mesh basket) right after using it and then go back and wash them later. As long as the pulp doesn’t dry on there, cleaning is a breeze.
Now that you’ve chosen your juicer, you just need some produce. Juicing presents a good opportunity try varieties of produce you might not otherwise consume. Since you’re mixing different tastes together, you can afford to sneak in some produce that doesn’t normally appeal to you. When choosing my produce, I still follow my organic for the dirty dozen rule. You can read more about why I do that right here.
What’s Working For Our Family
Like I said, there are just as many good reasons to “juice” as there are not to so as with everything, you’ve got to decide if juicing is good for your health. I’m adding fresh juice to my family’s diet to fill in some of the nutritional gaps. I know my family doesn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, so if we continue on our current path, adding some fresh juice will benefit us. I view juicing as a supplement and not a substitute. As long as we are cognizant of the amount of fruit we add, I don’t see any downside to adding these extra nutrients. Heck, maybe my kids will develop a taste for beets! That would be a total win!
I am not a nutrition or juicing expert, I’m only sharing my opinions and what is working for my family. As with anything, you need to do your own research based on your own health situation to determine what’s right for you.
Are you juicing? I’d love for you to share your favorite recipe(s) with me. If you don’t juice, have you thought about it?