Poor Thalia of Backpacking (and eating) my way around the world was suffering with a nasty flu-like virus and we chatted about juicing to try to clear her sinuses.
(Here’s my daily Morning Glory juice to help prevent and treat colds and hayfever).
One thing that came out of the conversation was that she had got out of the habit of juicing since going on her travels and her juicer was away in a cupboard.
Thalia had broken the number 2 rule for juicing (see below) and so I thought I would revisit my Top Tips for Juicing. There are several posts in the blog Menu with tips for juicing success both as part of Juicing Programmes and for everyday juicing, but I thought I would try to condense it all into one post. So here goes:
- Choosing a juicer: if possible, ask a regular juicer what they recommend. Most regular juicers have started with a fairly cheap one to see how they get on with juicing and have progressed through the brands and prices, so will know the difference between a fast, centrifugal juicer and a slower, masticating or cold-pressed juicer. My advice is buy the best you can afford so you won’t be put off juicing from the start by a machine that breaks down/can’t manage celery/leaves or doesn’t extract enough juice. (See Which Juicer? and my review of the Retro Super Juicer for some suggestions).
- Always, Always keep your juicer readily accessible! If you have to get it out of a box/cupboard every time you need it and reassemble, it won’t get used. So not only have you wasted your money, you won’t get into the habit of juicing daily or reap the benefits of adding healthy juices to your menu. If you need to create space, get rid of the microwave/toasted sandwich-maker/ice-cream maker/ waffle maker.
- Read a Juicing Book/Watch a Juicing Film to inspire/motivate/help you understand why it is worth doing, how the food and pharmaceutical industries work to manipulate your food and health choices, how juicing works and to explode all the myths put out there by so-called ‘experts’. If your family or friends start questioning or making fun of your attempts to improve your health and fitness, you’ll be better equipped to rebuff their comments! I like Jason Vale’s books/apps and his SuperJuiceMe! documentary (click here to watch for free). He has a light, down-to-earth style, makes you laugh while you learn and has dealt with every question thrown at him by the sceptics by proving time after time that juicing works. (See How I Juiced My Skin Clear and Juicing: How To Begin to read my own experiences). Joe Cross aka Joe the Juicer also has books, juicing programmes and several inspiring films based on his own experiences of being ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’.
- To avoid any potential side effects like headaches, try not to jump into a full-on juice programme without preparing your body first. Spend a couple of weeks to a month cutting down, then cutting out, processed foods especially those laden with sugar and unhealthy fats – ready meals, takeaways etc. – fizzy drinks (even so-called energy drinks are usually chock full of sugar, chemicals, additives, artificial sweeteners and caffeine), coffee and of course, tobacco and other artificial stimulants. Introduce a juice a day and you’ll feel the benefits in no time at all. (See Do As I Say Not As I Did!)
- If possible and affordable, juice organic vegetables. If not, choose local produce where possible. Always wash and scrub well before using. Research the fruits and veg in your country that are the most highly sprayed with chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers, fungicides etc and try at least to buy organic versions of these. Grapes, strawberries and potatoes often fall into this category, for example. Above all, please don’t think juicing is a waste of time if you can’t buy organic. Any fruit and veg are better than no fruit and veg. Just make sure you wash before use.
- If organic, you can leave the peel on (except for oranges and grapefruit, and pineapples if you have a juicer that can’t manage the skin).
- If you peel citrus fruit, do it as thinly as possible leaving the pith where the micronutrients are.
- Don’t let excuses get in the way. If time is an issue, make your juice/s the night before and put it/them in the fridge for the following day. They are best used fresh but a few hours late is better than not at all.
- Keep juices in the fridge, preferably in glass or metal containers to keep them away from the light and from chemical-laden plastic, or in a cool box with ice packs if you need to transport them. If you’re going to drink them soon after making, glass jars are good to store them and you can drink from them too. We save jam jars for this.
- Keep hydrated. You still need to drink water/herbal/fruit teas in addition to juices. I made this mistake and suffered symptoms of dehydration during my first juice challenge.
- Metal Straws are great for drinking juices: no plastic or waxy chemicals, no landfill; they can be used over and over and go in the dishwasher. They come with a tiny brush to clean the inside.
- Try not to treat juicing as a form of dieting. It is all about adding healthy nutrients to your body in the most accessible and digestible form to optimise health, increase energy levels and improve chronic conditions. Weight loss is a bonus, it comes naturally when you introduce fresh home-made, nutritionally-balanced juices into your daily routine.
- All juices are not equal! When I write about juicing, unless I state otherwise, I am referring to freshly-made juices not commercially-produced juices bought in supermarkets. They have generally been pasteurised and stored, often contain added sugars and come in single-use plastic bottles. They don’t have the same nutritional content as home-made juice produced and consumed on the same day and shouldn’t be used as regular meal replacements or for longterm juice challenges.
- Beware of adding too much fruit to your juice. This is usual when new to juicing, but as you get used to the flavours and combinations you should gradually reduce the fruit in favour of more vegetable content, especially leafy greens, broccoli etc.
- Adding a slice of lemon to a juice helps slow down the oxidation and deterioration of the juice, improves the flavour of green juices and adds its own nutrient content of course.
- Rotate the leafy greens so you’re not consuming the same ones every day. This varies the nutrients but also ensures you don’t consume too many oxalates which can lead to kidney stones in those who are susceptible. I alternate kale, spinach etc with romaine and other kinds of lettuce. (Did you know that romaine has good protein content?)
- You don’t need to become a juice fanatic to be a juicer. Juice whenever you can. It’s not a competition. There’s no winning and losing, no succeeding or failing. If you miss a couple of days or even a few days, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Just don’t put your juicer away. Get right back on the juicing wagon as soon as you can.
- This is a contentious one: some say always wash your juicer straightaway (I am one of them), while others say, if you’re in a rush, leave it till you get home. For me, it’s a question of health and safety. If you leave it, the pulp dries and is really hard to remove properly. This can lead to harmful bacteria developing and the last thing you want from a healthy juicing regimen is food poisoning! Also, it can reduce the efficiency of your juicer, even damage it. At the very least, empty it and give it a quick rinse through or leave the parts soaking until you can get to it. For me, there is nothing worse than being faced with dirty pots several hours later.
- Try to use the pulp rather than throwing it away. You can use it for burgers, nut roasts and so on, we compost it and our daughter fed it to her chickens! It is full of fibre and still contains some of the original nutrients.
- Lead by example. Let your progress do the talking when confronted by naysayers. Don’t let them put you off doing something you find beneficial. I started juicing entirely on my own. It was suggested that it would harm my health, that I was losing too much weight, that neither the juicing nor the weight loss or health improvement were sustainable – that was 3 years ago. Everyone who sees me now compared with 5 years ago remarks on how well I look and how did I do it! Now all the family juice and many friends/acquaintances have bought juicers and not looked back. Here are some of my before and after photos:
- If you’re on your own and need some support, advice, inspiration, there are many groups on social media who will be happy to help and you may make some new like-minded friends as I have done.
- Jason Vale, Joe Cross, the guys from Food Matters TV and Neil Martin (Natural Juice Junkie) all do regular free juicing reboots/programs/challenges/detoxes if you’d like to join in, get free recipes, apps, coaching etc and share experiences with fellow juicers.
- If you want a more substantial juice, blend it with 1/4 avocado. This will add essential fats and make a more satisfying juice, you will feel fuller longer. It is not ‘cheating’, it is providing you with what your body needs and will help prevent random snacking on less healthy foods. Your body needs healthy fats to metabolise certain vitamins, balance hormones and keep your brain functioning healthily.
- If ‘super-juicing’ and you have a lot of weight to lose, adding avocado to your juice occasionally can help prevent loose skin.
- Finally, REMEMBER NOT ONLY TO USE YOUR JUICER, BUT ENJOY IT TOO. You are not being punished, you are not doing penance. Enjoy getting creative. Enjoy its benefits. You have spent time, energy and money researching your purchase, you made a commitment, it’s not there to decorate your counter or impress your friends and family! You resolved to take control of your diet and health.
Go on…Just do it!
Oh, ps Nutribullets and their ilk are not juicers, they are super-blenders, they do not extract juice.
Copyright: Chris McGowan