I've been meaning to make a juicing post for a while now, especially considering some of my traffic has come from people interested in juicing.
I started juicing a few months ago in an attempt to trade out all of the coffee I consume with something nutrient dense and healthy. In other words, I was feeling guilty about spending $15/week on coffee. Plus, coffee was becoming a meal substitute. Instead of eating lunch, I would just drink coffee, and I decided that I should at least drink something nutritious if I was going to skip out on a meal altogether. What better switch than fresh juice?!!?!
So, I set out on my mission. First order of business: Buy a juicer.
The cheapest & easiest option would have been to go to Costco and buy a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. However, my old roommates used to have a Jack LaLanne, and it didn't handle leafy greens well, and leafy greens are where your super healthy, alkalizing phytonutrients are! Being a lover of spinach, I didn't want to juice if I couldn't include it. So I started researching the best and most economical juicer options that could handle my beloved and healthful spinach.
I ended up settling on the OMEGA 8004.
Worth it? Oh yeah.
This masticating juicer might be slower and more expensive than a centrifugal juicer like the Jack Lalanne, but it doesn't oxidize your juice as much by spinning it around so fast it heats up. Plus, you can store the juice it produces for a couple of days, without major nutrient and enzyme degradation.
After buying my juicer, I tracked the shipping like a crazy lady.
Still in transit
YES!!! Now, fruit and veg time.
I went to the grocery store and filled my cart with fresh produce. I didn't know what kind of juice I was gonna make, so I figured I would just buy a little bit of everything. After proudly checking out with my $48 in fruits and vegetables, and getting stared at by the fat couple in front of me with tons of processed snacks, I went home and got started.
My first juice, The Green Machine? YUCK. My second juice, random blend of stuff? Even worse.
I was starting to get worried. Maybe I should mail back the $260 waste-of-money that I just purchased. I tried choking down my nasty concoctions, gave up, and went to bed sad.
After much trial and error and a few thrown out batches of juice, I learned that there are just some things left better unjuiced. Like celery. I love to eat celery, but even the slightest bit ruins a juice for me completely. However, this may NOT be the case with you! Try celery, then if you don't like it, go for other watery, "filler" veggies like zucchini and cucumbers. I also started getting better at using the machine more optimally and getting a batch of juice made faster.
Did I stick to my initial plan of juice instead of coffee? NO. The coffee shop is just such a great atmosphere for homework and productivity, and I'm too addicted to coffee. I tried going to the library with my juice--on several occasions. It was freezing cold, though, and all I wanted to do was take a nap in the stacks. Furthermore, I don't know what it was about that juice and that library, but I was always starving!
Did I stick with juicing, however? YES. I'm not die hard or anything. But I do try to squeeze in some juice a couple times a week, just as an added source of nutrients. Some weeks are more ambitious than others.
Washed and ready to start chopping!
My Favorite Juice
2-3 cucumbers, peeled
3 apples, gala/fiji/pink lady
1/2 lemon or 1 lime
1/2 bag spinach, or several handfuls
Feeding some spinach through--clump it up and push it down with the plunger.
When this sieve starts to get full, rinse under running water. Otherwise, it will continue to get fuller and more blocked up, and you'll lose all of that juice yield.
Alternate your spinach with apples and cucumbers.
After one batch--one container full--this metal mesh gets clogged. To prevent the machine from getting backed up, it should be removed and rinsed clear.
Yes, much better!
This is a large jar--we're talking 32 oz. Usually, I'll split one batch like this into two days--just pour it over ice and drink it with breakfast or after classes. Keep in mind, I also eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Instead of processed snacks, I buy things like baby carrots, grapes, cherry tomatoes, clementines, cucumbers, bananas, etc. I believe that if you don't keep as many crappy foods in the house, you're much more likely to make healthier snack choices.
OTHER JUICING TIPS
1. Try not to juice "just fruits." I know a lot of people juice only fruit--strawberries, apples, peaches, raspberries, pears, pineapples, etc--in other words, lots of sweet fruits. While these juices are very delicious, by taking out the fiber, you increase their glycemic index dramatically. Basically, when you drink them, your blood sugar spikes, and over time you can actually increase your risk of getting diabetes. Don't believe me? HarvardGazette: Skip the Juice, Go for the Whole Fruit
Instead, eat the fruits that you love, in whole form with all of their fiber. Berries are like nature's candy, so eat them and enjoy them! I tend to prefer juicing the fruits that I don't like to eat as much--grapefruits, cranberries, and apples, or fruits that can stand alone in a juice with vegetables--pears, apples, oranges, etc.
2. Lemons and Limes are your friends. To cut the bitterness of any greens--I use mostly spinach and kale--lemons/limes work wonderfully! Plus, they are low in sugar, boost your immune system, have anti-oxidant & anti-biotic properties, and have an alkalizing effect when consumed.
3. Try Cabbage. I know, cabbage sounds a little funky. Especially in juice form. I was really hesitant to try it for a long time, but eventually, I made the leap and tried it. And, it wasn't half bad! Cabbage is especially helpful if you have digestive problems or, perhaps, ulcers. The last juice I made with cabbage also had carrots, an apple, and a cucumber.
4. Greens. I like buying spinach, kale, and the NuStar Cooking with Spinach Plus mixture of spinach/baby bok choy/baby chard/etc. I love how I can buy these all in a plastic bag, already washed and ready-to-go!
5. Don't store your juice longer than 48 hours. Just don't do it. Too much nutrient degradation and oxidation will occur if you store your juice more than a couple days.