This week, Fabio and I started juicing!
As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we decided to start juicing after watching the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and hearing how the nutrients in fresh juice help rejuvenate your body. The documentary explained that our cells are depleted from eating lots of processed junk food and not getting enough micronutrients that our bodies need. By consuming fresh juice, you are sending the micronutrients directly into your bloodstream, allowing for fast absorption and quick cell repair. This process has been known to increase energy levels, clear up skin, fight sickness, and just generally release toxins from the body. It sounded good to us!
Since I decided to start juicing I read up on it quite a bit, and I learned a ton! This post will dive deep into the process of juicing – from selecting a juicer, to the juicing process, to the cost and my overall thoughts. I have to warn you that this post is pretty long, but hopefully those of you who are thinking about juicing will find it helpful. Here we go!
Here are some of the key takeaways from my research that I thought you might be interested in:
- Smoothies vs. juice: It’s a good idea to include both smoothies and fresh juice in your diet. Smoothies contain the fiber from fruit and veggies, and are digested more slowly. Fresh juices don’t have any of the fiber, only the nutrients, and are digested right away. Based on my research, it seems like smoothies are better if you’re looking for meal replacements, and juices are better for people who are tired, sick, or just need a quick boost of energy. Personally, I have a blender and hardly ever use it. When I do make smoothies they are usually fruit and yogurt based with a few leaves of spinach tossed in. Having a juicer encourages me to branch out of my comfort zone and get the juice from produce like beets and ginger, which I would never put in a smoothie. While I still plan to use my blender to make smoothies now and then, I’m hoping to use the juicer on a weekly basis.
- Juice Fasts: The jury is still out on this one – I’ve done a lot of research and it looks like some people support juice fasting while others say it’s not a good idea. One thing experts do agree on is that a glass of juice should not act as a meal replacement unless you are on a controlled juice fast. So you wouldn’t want to skip breakfast all together in favor of juice, but rather have them both.
- When to drink your juice: I learned two important things about when to drink your juice. First, you should always drink fresh juice on an empty stomach. The point of the juice is to get digested right away, but if you already have food in your stomach it delays the process. Then you might as well have made a smoothie! If you’re planning to drink your juice in the morning, it’s recommended that you drink your juice and then wait 20 minutes before eating your regular breakfast. The other thing I learned is that the juice is most effective if you drink it right away. The longer the juice sits, the less effective the nutrients are. Of course it’s not always feasible/convenient to drink the juice right away, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting more than 2 or 3 days to drink your juice.
- How to drink your juice: One suggestion I read over and over again is to swish juice around in your mouth and pretend to chew it (!!) to get the digestive enzymes in your mouth going. Again, the reason you’re juicing is to get these nutrients in your body quickly, so getting the digestion started in your mouth helps speed up the process. Although I know this tip, I keep forgetting to do it! Ugh!
There’s a lot more I could share with you about what I learned, but I think those are the most important things to know. If you’d like to read more, here are the websites I found to be the most helpful:
- Clean & Delicious with Dani Spies – Juicing 101: A Beginners Guide To Juicing + Juicers (video)
- Food Babe – Are You Making These Common Juicing Mistakes
- Food Babe – Why Juice Fast
Once I did my research, it was time to get started!
Choosing a Juicer
There are two different types of juicers out there, centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers. Masticating juicers seem to be more efficient and effective, but they cost a LOT more and are probably not necessary for beginners. I wound up going with the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus (a centrifugal juicer) because it had very high ratings/reviews, it’s reasonably priced ($149), and my friend Megan had used it before and said it worked great. PLUS it was the juicer used in the documentary that inspired this whole process, so I figured we couldn’t go wrong. Tip: Don’t forget you can buy this at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon!
I was worried we wouldn’t have room for the juicer in our teeny, tiny kitchen, but it actually fits perfectly in the awkward nook behind our sink.
When it was time to juice, I pulled the juicer out from behind the sink and lined the pulp bin with a plastic bag (this is optional but helps with clean up).
Then I washed my produce and got it all ready! For our first juice, we made the “mean green juice” from the documentary. I don’t think we will always use recipes for our juice, but we thought it was a good idea for our first time. Here’s what was in it:
- 1 cucumber
- 4 celery stalks
- 2 apples
- 6-8 leaves of kale (we wound up using about half of the huge bunch pictured below)
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp ginger
Tip: Refrigerate your produce before you juice it so your juice is cold!
We didn’t wind up peeling any of this produce except for the lemon. The apples did need to get cut in half to fit down the shoot, but otherwise we left everything whole.
When selecting your produce to juice, here are some other tips:
- Make sure to include a couple of “watery” bases like cucumber or celery to yield more juice.
- Limit your use of sugary fruits and veggies. It’s ok to have a couple of sweet things like apples, pears, or carrots, but you don’t want to be consuming too much sugar.
- Switch up your greens – you don’t want to always use kale or spinach. Try arugula or watercress on occasion to get other nutrients.
- Add detox items like ginger, lemon, parsley and cilantro to help clear out toxins in your body.
Then it was time to juice! There are two speeds on the juicer – low and high – and the manual has a guide for which fruits and vegetables need which speed. All of these needed to be juiced on high, which made things easy. All we had to do was plug in the juicer, set it to high, and push the produce down the shoot!
It was so easy! Here I am being a goober; clearly I thought this whole juicing process was way too fun.
After just a few minutes, all our produce was juiced! I decided to clean the juicer right away, since I’ve read that if you leave the juicer for too long it can be really hard to clean. Everything came apart and was really easy to clean, especially since the juicer comes with a brush for cleaning the blades.
Then it was time to try the juice!
The pitcher has a lid which helpfully keeps the frothy top layer separate from the actual juice. If you like the froth all you have to do is take the lid off, but we opted to keep it separate.
Time to taste!
The result? It was delicious! You could definitely taste the celery and the ginger, but it wasn’t too strong. The apples gave the juice a bit of sweetness. Yum!
Cost and Final Thoughts
Ok so I’ve always thought you had to put all this expensive produce into your juicer, only to yield about 1/4 cup of juice. I could never justify that cost before because I knew I could eat the produce and get a few meals out of it, instead of drinking one measly cup of juice. When deciding to juice I thought I would suck up the cost/get over it, but it turns out I was totally wrong!
For this week’s juice, we bought two cucumbers, a big bunch of celery, a big bunch of kale, 1 lemon, and 2 pieces of ginger (we already had a bunch of apples). It didn’t wind up costing much at all, but I thought this would only make enough for two glasses of juice. Wrong! It actually made enough for eight glasses!
We juiced the first batch on Tuesday, and after pouring our glasses, we saw that there was enough juice leftover for the next day! We wound up storing it in a glass jar in the fridge until Wednesday morning. On Thursday I juiced again, and it gave me enough juice for Thursday and Friday! I was so surprised that I was able to get so much juice out of so little produce.
I guess that’s what happens when you make assumptions!
Overall, I will say that I am so, so happy we decided to start juicing. Fabio and I both agree that we feel better after consuming the fresh juice (just more energized and refreshed, plus hopefully it will keep us from getting sick) and I think this is something we can really incorporate into our weekly routine. The juicing process only took a few minutes, and it really didn’t cost a lot either! Woohoo!
Question of the day: Do you juice or make smoothies? If so, what are your favorite combinations? If not, why?