Juicing is a fun part of embarking a raw food diet. And even if you’re not embracing the raw diet, juicing can help you consume more nutrients and vitamins than you usually do by making your own refreshing concoctions with raw fruits and vegetables. Learn the basics about juicing here.
What is juicing?
Let’s start by defining what juicing really is. Juicing is a process that consists of taking raw vegetables and fruits and running them through a juicing equipment like juicer that crushes and squeezes the juice out of them, so you can drink them in juice form. In short, it’s “drinking your food.” These natural juice is extracted because they are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are good for the health. This way, you can consume all of them in one easy-to-sip, fresh hydrating drink.
The type of juicer you use can be crucial in determining the total amount of nutrients you are getting. But any fresh juice tastes better and has more nutrients compared to bottled versions that you can buy from the store, because even those labeled with “all-natural” can still contain artificial flavoring and preservatives so they can stay in the grocery shelves for longer. Juicing can help you take a step further to a healthier lifestyle.
Juices can help us cleanse our bodies from the many toxins we take in through our foods like processed foods and cooked foods. It’s also better than caffeine in giving you quick bursts of energy, because it also fuels your body up with all-natural energy with accompanied health benefits like digestive efficiency, radiant skin, lower cholesterol levels, mental clarity and more.
What can I juice?
Juicing opens you up to a greater opportunity of consuming fruits and vegetables, since it removes the dilemma of “What should I eat this with?” or “How do I prepare this?” Through juicing, you can consume the veggies you don’t even like to eat (and don’t know how to eat) so you can take advantage of their nutrients that you are missing.
The answer to “What can I juice?” is this: almost every fruit and vegetable. Yes, you can juice leafy greens, hard veggies, root crops and even wheatgrass. You can also juice their stalks, edible seeds, and some peels and rinds of fruits! You can make a juice out of a mixture of fruits, a mixture of veggies, and a mixture of both fruits and vegetables.
However, there are just some fruits and vegetables that just can’t be juiced, like avocados, bananas and figs. These are delicious, but they are better eaten whole or made as a blended smoothie because of their consistency. You can also add them as toppings to your juice or have them blended and mixed to your juice. There are also vegetables that are questionable whether they are safe and worth it to juice, like eggplant, leeks, rhubarb and winter squash. These are better eaten whole or cooked. So, besides these mentioned fruits and veggies, you can juice any produce.
A lot of juice cleanse recipes ask you to juice more vegetables – which are called green juices – and fruits are just mainly added for flavor (and of course their added nutrients, too). Why? It’s because vegetables are simply harder to eat raw than fruits. You can have a fresh fruit like apples or bananas as an everyday snack or dessert, but who eats raw beets or carrots regularly? Only vegans and vegetarians, probably. For most omnivores, a lot of vegetables they eat are cooked (except for fresh veggie salads), so juicing the vegetables can help people consume them raw.
For fruit juicing, the purpose is mostly to have a healthier and yummier alternative for a refreshment. But if you are already overweight, diabetic or have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, be careful about adding a lot of sweet fruits to your juices. Juicing removes the fiber. Fiber slows down the digestive process and doesn’t spike your insulin. So, if the fiber is removed, the sugars from the fruit can spike your insulin right away. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes condition, or heart disease, avoid juicing fruits and try making more green juice. For those with blood sugar-related illnesses, fruits are better eaten raw or blended, and better stay away from sweet fruits.
Why juice raw fruits and vegetables?
When you juice, you can be able to have more variety in your diet. Some are wondering, why juice the fruits and veggies? Why don’t we just eat them?
For many people, juicing the produce can help them take it all in because they can’t eat them. Most of us just don’t consume three cups of kale, a cup of spinach, two whole carrots, a green apple, and some celery stalks. But when they are juiced together, you can easily drink it in one to two servings. But if you can really eat a lot of vegetables and you love them so much, then probably you don’t need juicing!
How can I practice juicing?
Any person can benefit from juicing in two ways: juice feast or juice fasting.
This simply means you are including a healthy glass of fresh juice with your usual meal. You can make yourself a fresh juice more often if you’re on a raw food diet. This helps increase your nutritional intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help boost your energy levels, strengthen your immune system, repair cell damages and help ease symptoms of different diseases through proper diet.
Juice fast, also known as juice cleanse or juice detox, means taking juices only to help flush out the buildup of toxins in the body. It involves consuming only juice for a certain period of time, typically ranging from three to 10 days. There are many juice cleanse plans you can check out, but you need to consult your doctor first if it is good for you. This is usually not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, diabetics, and those taking medications that need to be taken with meals.
What’s the difference between juices and smoothies?
A juice and a smoothie is different from one another due to their pulp content. If you want to take advantage of the fibers from fruits and veggies, then go for smoothies, but if you simply want a healthy drink to take in and digest nutrients, then go for a freshly pressed juice. Juice still has fibers – in the form of soluble fibers, which help our system by absorbing water, moderating glucose levels and lowering cholesterol levels.
Since the pulp and other inedible fibers are removed, juices have a stronger and more pronounced flavor than smoothies. Juices can also help the body’s natural detoxification properties with its high amount of nutrients in a small volume. Meanwhile, smoothies are especially helpful for the digestive system because of its high fiber amounts. Smoothies also make you feel fuller compared to juices because of its thicker consistency.
Pressed, raw juices are best consumed after it is made. Depending on the juicer you use, it can only last for 48-72 hours when stored in the fridge. Meanwhile, smoothies can last a bit longer with storage, as it can still be consumed after four days.
What do you need for juicing?
A juicer can be able to process a wide variety of produce such as soft fruits and hard vegetables, and leafy greens even wheatgrass. You can choose from centrifugal juicers, masticating juicers, twin gear juicers and citrus juicers, depending on your budget, needs or preferences. Some juicers even double as food processors and help you prepare sorbets, soy, almond milk, grind nuts and seeds, and create baby food.
2. Juicing recipes
You can’t just throw a bunch of fruits and veggies, mix them together and expect it to taste delicious. This is why there are juice recipes you can try. Also keep in mind that some items juice better than others.
3. Storage containers
To keep your juice fresh, you need a decent container where you can store it unless you drink it right away. Airtight glass containers like bottles and jars are the best option for storing juice because they doesn’t contain toxic substances found in plastic.
Speaking of storage, it’s always best to drink your juice after it is freshly juiced. But for most people, using the juicer can’t be done every day, because you have limited time and you don’t want to deal with clean-up day after day. You can juice the night before and then drink your juice in the morning, as long as it’s stored in the fridge. Usually, juices (especially those made from slow juicers) can last up to 72 hours after it has been created. For juices made from fast juicers, the produce will break down within 24 hours. If you want to keep it longer than that, the juice may still taste fine, but it will have lost the enzymes and other nutrients that were present beforehand.
Before you commit to buying a juicer, you have to make sure that you are motivated to use it. You also have to be motivated to regularly drink juice to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Juicing takes time, patience and discipline, because otherwise, you’ll just be tempted to buy a ready-to-drink juice from the store. There might be days when you might not be feeling like juicing because you need to prepare and wash produce and then clean up the juicer afterwards. If you are serious and really motivated to be healthier, you will be able to move past these hassles to feel good about your body.
What do I need to know before I start juicing?
Here are some other important things you need to know before you start juicing.
1. How much juice can you drink in a day?
Perhaps there is no overdose with juice, because they are made of raw, healthy ingredients. But the volume of juice you need to consume depends on your goal. If you are doing a juice fast, drink about 24 ounces every couple of hours. As long as you’re drinking a green juice, you can always drink more. However, drinking too much fruit juice can be bad for you, since your insulin levels may spike.
If you are feasting, then it’s best to drink between 10 to 24 ounces of juice before each meal to reduce the amount you eat during meal time. If you are new to juicing, you can drink once every morning, or two to three servings of 10-16 ounces a day.
2. Start with green juices
As mentioned above, juicing is a great way for you to eat lots of vegetables in one sipping. Green juices can be bitter, especially if you are a sweet tooth and aren’t fond of eating them. But if you’re only starting out, you can sweeten the juice by adding apples, lemon, carrot or beetroot. This can help the juice be more palatable for most people. But once you are juicing for a few weeks, you can cut back to half the “sweetening agent” and then none at all. You don’t have to stress about this though, a green juice with fruits or carrots is better than no green juice at all.
3. Avoid sugar
Fruits have natural sugars in them, so you don’t need to add some sugar. But if you’re making green juices, avoid adding sweeteners. This will help you get the maximum health benefits from juicing. If you want your green juice to be sweeter, you can add a fruit in it for flavor.
4. Cut your produce
Even if your blender model is powerful and boasts of being able to cut through whole produce, it’s still best to slice your fruits and veggies. It will be a lot easier for your juicer, and this will help preserve the juicer so you can use it much longer. For instance, you can cut your carrots, kale, celery and apples to smaller pieces to not overstrain the motor.
5. Things to avoid when juicing
Before juicing, remove large pits from fruits and vegetables like cherries. Apple seeds, carrot skin and tops, papaya peels and citrus rinds must be removed before juicing. They can add bitter taste to your juice if not removed.
6. Don’t be afraid to add spices.
To add some kick to your fresh juices, you can add spices like ginger, turmeric, pepper, parsley and cardamom. They also have additional health benefits themselves.
7. Best time to drink juice
The best time to drink a fresh juice is in the morning on an empty stomach. But of course, it’s also great to drink them before a meal.
8. How to remove pulp
There are a lot of juicer models that automatically removes pulp, or gives an option to remove pulp through a sieve or screen. But if your juicer does not have this option, you can simply buy a sieve to separate the remaining pulp from your juice.
Foam is usually seen from juices made from centrifugal juicers, because the faster the produce is juiced, the more foam tends to build up. It’s totally safe and harmless as it’s still juice that became fluffed up by mixing with the air. If you don’t want it, you can strain it or scoop it off before drinking.
10. Is juicing a weight loss fad?
Weight loss is one of the amazing side-effects of juicing, but it’s not a miracle worker. You may see yourself getting lean and having less appetite for unhealthy foods that can cause weight gain. With juicing, you begin to adopt a healthier lifestyle and you become more conscious about your food choices and the quantity of food you eat. It’s not a fad because it’s more of a healthier way of living.
11. Can juice be frozen?
You can freeze your juice, but a lot of nutrients and enzymes can be lost in the freezing and thawing process. It’s always best to drink the juice at its original temperature as soon as possible.
12. Can I replace eating with juicing?
If you are on a juice cleanse or juice detox diet, you are allowed to consume only juices within days. But after your detox program, you must go back to eating real food and supplement it with juices. Juicing is generally intended as a supplement to diet, because you still need to eat balanced diet with enough protein, fat and fiber, which juices can’t provide.