Juicing 101, Part 1
Juicing 101, Part 1
So many people are interested in juicing these days. I couldn’t have guessed that when I started juicing 20+ years ago that this would be a big trend. My dad bought me my first “real” juicer at an auction for $5 about 25 years ago. It was a Champion and I was in love!. I still own that juicer, but I have added a few other juicers to my repertoire since then. My dad was an avid juicer at the time, he was even growing his own wheatgrass in trays at home. I couldn’t wait to get started. I began experimenting with juicing and fasting. Tada. A new life and work path was born.
After so many years of learning and teaching others about juicing, I want to share some juicing basics in this 3-part series to help you get started whether you are new to this gig, or you’re just another juice-geek like me. These provide a general overview of juicing, juicers, techniques, and some recipes for you. Please let me know what else you are interested in learning about juicing and I will be glad to blog more on it soon for you.
Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables provide us with a bounty of the vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, antioxidants, and enzymes that can be most easily absorbed in our bodies. It is sometimes even easier and superior to eating them raw. You can easily drink several servings of fruits or vegetables in a single glass, but it is difficult to eat 3-4 pounds of produce in a setting. Juices also taste great and are so easy to make once you get the hang of it. Juices provide great, sustainable energy all-day long and put you on the fast-track to better health. You can even enjoy a body cleanse with juices. For more on the benefits of juicing, see “Why Juice?”.
Juicing is more than a food preparation technique, it can be an entirely transformative and fundamental life practice to move you towards optimal wellness. Consider adding this health practice to your routine and enjoy a lifetime of beneficial juicing.
Choosing a Juicer
You may already own a juicer, so don’t feel like you need to go get a new juicer if you already have one. A juice made in any juicer is better than none. If you are in the market to purchase one, here is more info for you. My favorite is now the Omega 8006, although I am very interested to try their new Cube Juicer.
Cost savings: If you cannot afford the juicer you want to purchase, consider either buying it used (many of these such as the Omega have 15-year warranties) on Ebay, Craigslist, or even a pawn or thrift shop. Juicers are often left in the box, never touched, and can be picked up for a fraction of their original value.
Slow Speed Motor (masticating or gear juicer, such as Omega, Champion, or Green Star): If you use a slow-motor or low-speed juicer the slower motor speed will preserve more of the nutrients and enzymes because the extraction process does not destroy the cellular structure. These juices are refrigerator-stable for about 24-48 hours depending on the juicer. Ideally, they are stored in a fridge in a glass jar with minimal exposure to oxygen by filling the jar to the very top. Avoid light exposure also as this kills enzymes. My experience is that most of these slow-motor juicers are very quick to clean – which can be a key factor for many people.
These cost approximately $200-500.
Centrifugal (the “spinning” kind such as Breville, Hamilton Beach, Jack LaLanne, etc. ): With this very common and, often, less expensive juicer, the high-speed spinning causes exchange of +ve and -ve ions that rapidly oxidizes your juice. These juices need to be drank almost immediately and are not optimal for storing. These juicers can often take a little more time to clean than the slow-motor juicers.
These cost approximately $100-400. Breville Juicer
Press: This juicer produces a superior juice because it uses no heat, thus they last much longer in addition to containing more nutrients and enzymes initially compared to other types of juicers. However, these are not generally practical for home use, as they are very expensive, bulky, and more difficult to clean than most.
These cost approximately $3,000-$15,000.
When to Make and Consume Juices:
- The best time to drink your fresh juices is on an empty stomach—at least half an hour before a meal. Your digestive system is empty and primed to absorb all of the amazing nutrients juice has to offer at this time.
- Anytime is a good time to juice, but there are optimal times to get the most out of your juice. Juices begin to oxidize, nutrients are lost, and enzymes die off almost immediately when they are exposed to air depending on the type of juicer you use. In general, it is best to drink your juice as soon after juicing as possible as oxidization is not desirable.
- If the morning thing doesn’t work for you, consider juicing in the afternoon between meals for that afternoon “pick-me-up.”
- As a general rule, drink more fruit-based juices mostly in the first half of the day, or at the start of your day as it provides the complex carbohydrates to fuel energy.
- For the later part of the day, drink juices that are more vegetable and green-based, less sweet, like partial or full green juices. These juices contain more minerals that are better at rebuilding and calming the body and preparing it for rest in the evening.
Juicing takes about 15 minutes from start to finish depending on your equipment and your mad kitchen skills. Consider it like any meal prep, as most meals would take that long. At first, juicing can take longer as you get accustomed to preparing the produce, and cleaning up. You will get much faster at in very little time.
Making juices ahead:
If time is a huge factor for you, then you could consider juicing a whole bunch of juices for the week and freezing them. While frozen and thawed juices will purportedly lose approximately 20-25% of their enzymes and nutrients, it is still a great option to save time and ensure that juicing can be a regular part of your life. 75-80% of a whole bunch of amazing nutrients is WAY better than not at all!
Store the juices in mason jars with a full inch to spare at the top (I have learned this the hard way) as the juice will expand upon freezing. The juices take about 4-6 hours to defrost in the fridge. You can remove them the night before for morning juice or in the morning for afternoon juice.
Juicing 101, Part 2, I offer you tips on what to juice, how to juice, and offer new recipes!