Benefits of Juicing:
Juicing is a great way to make sure you are getting enough nutrients in your diet, without adding a lot of bulk. Because juicing removes all or most of the fibers from the fruits and veggies, it makes it easier to consume large amounts of the nutrients without feeling really full. For example, take 1 large carrot. You could eat it raw, steamed or how ever you'd like. Diced, it is about a cup of solid veg. But if you were to juice it, you may come out with about 1/4 cup of carrot juice. Making it easier to consume more, without feeling really full. Juicing also helps the body assimlate the nutrients better. Without having to break down the fibers from the fruit/veg, your body gets instant access to the nutrient filled juice. Some fasts, cleanses or detox diets recommend juicing as a way to give the digestive system a break. Your still ingesting nutrient dense calories but without all of the work.
It's also great for anyone who may not have time to properly eat nutrient rich meals, who might not have access to a fully functioning kitchen or someone who may not know how to cook (well). College students immediately come to mind. Just because you don't have access to a stove, have a decent sized fridge or know how to cook doesn't mean you are bound to eating take out every day. Juicing is the simple solution to maknig sure you are getting everything your body needs - no excuses.
Juices can be made and drank at anytime of the day. I like to have my juices early in the morning. It helps my body break from the overnight fasting without upsetting my stomach, since I'm one of those people who can't eat immediately after waking up. The fresh juices I make in the morning help me wake up, give me energy and also kick my day off right. I know if I begin the day eating well, the rest of the day will follow. Plus, if I decide to indulge in something else later, I feel less guilt knowing I've had 5-8 servings of fruits and veggies already. Sometimes I will make a juice during the afternoon to keep me going (mid-day itis). Juices are portable, so making a bit extra and keep it in your stainless steel water bottle, makes it easy to have an instant refreshing energizing drink on hand.
What to Juice:
Any fruit, veggie, root, herb, etc. What's great about juicing is that there is no right or wrong way. It is all about experimentation, creativity and enjoying whatever you make. You can use the whole fruit/veg too. No need to peel anything, just cut it into piece that will allow it to fit into the juicer and done. Easy prep! My favorite ingredients to use in my juices are ginger, kale, carrots, parsley, beets, watermelon and apple. I like to keep my juices on the low sugar side and veggie filled.
I also want to stress using organic produce when juicing. Since you will be consuming large amount of fruit/veg, it is important to keep your pesticide exposure to a minimum. I tend to save pieces of my produce that I wouldn't use in my cooking (peels, ends, stems, etc.) and juice those. No need to waste the extra stuff - it's still nutrient packed! Those parlsey stems, carrot peels or celery leaves you always throw away are a small dose of extra goodness you could be adding to your next juice. It's a great way to maximize your dollar when you are spending a bit extra on organic produce.
How to use Juices:
Juices are very versatile! You could be a purist and drink it as is or use those juices in baking, cooking, etc. I personally love to juice fresh pineapple and use it in marinades or cooking rice in. You could also make a nice sangria or use the juice to sweeten your iced tea. Substituting juice for water in certain recipes can really make the dish come to life.
Juicing for Beginners - juice fruits and veggie you enjoy eating. I recommend starting out with more of a fruit based juice and gradually adding more vegetables over time. Since some vegetables can be bitter, adding a small bit at a time can let you know how much you can handle. Great starter fruits/veg are: spinach, apple, carrot, oranges, watermelon, cucumber, and pineapple.
- When you are cleaning out your juicer, use the pulp leftover for compost or adding to a stock pot when you are making veggie/chicken stock. And when you are rinsing the inside of the juice with fresh water - the excess water coming out is a watered down version on what you just juiced. Collect that water and use it to water your plants. It's so much better than those chemical plant foods you find at the store.
- I don't recommend juicing frozen fruits/veg. I find frozen produce doesn't juice efficiently - so stick with fresh.
I use a Hurom Juicer, which I HIGHLY recommend. I've had a few other juicers in the past but they were more of a pain or didn't juice very efficiently. This is gives out the max amount of juice in the produce - making it easier to use less.
Cheers to Juicing!