Juicing basics – getting started with juicing

Coleslaw juice white cabbage carrot apple gingerJuicing is easy to get started with. All you need to do is to take your favourite vegetables and put them through a juicer and off you go.
There is no doubt that eating more fruit and vegetables is good for you. There are countless of studies to prove this. Juicing is a good way to increase your intake.

I was sceptical to juicing to start with. The only thing i could think of was tomato juice, and i really dislike cold tomato juice. But, I love vegetables and vegetable juices are just like “drinking a sallad”. They really taste great. Try it!

Will juicing fix all my health problems?

There are some literature that advocates that juicing and juice fasts will cure anything from diabetes to cancer, bad eyesight and everything in between. This may well be true, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. If you have poor health use juicing as a compliment to a good diet, not as medication for a health issue. You don’t need to go on a juice fast to start juicing either, just add some vegetable juices to your ordinary diet – it will leave less space for unhealthy stuff.

Nutrients

The theory behind juicing is that since fibre and anything difficult to digest is removed nutrients can be easier absorbed by the body. You can also radically increase the amount of vegetables you consume and “flood your body” with vitamins. It will take some time to chew and eat 5 carrots or half a head of cabbage, but a glas of carrot or cabbage juice can be drunk in a minute or two.

Juice or smoothie?

A juice is the liquid pressed from vegetables. A smoothie contains all parts of the fruit; the juice, the peel and the “flesh”.

The difference in the content of juices and smoothies are the fibres. There are insoluble fibres which will be pulped in a smoothie and consumed. That is why smoothies are thicker. A juicer will push insoluble fibres to the pulp bin and only retain the soluble fibres.

To save time make juice for 2-3 days ahead. The juice will start to lose nutritions over time, but this is a very slow process. You can store your juice in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Can juicing be bad for you?

Some state that juicing is bad for your health. One argument for this is that by juicing you are able to consume large amount of fruit in very little time and fruit contain a lot of fruit sugar. Another argument is that  pressing removes the fibre that is beneficial to your digestive system (see note 1). Then there is the argument that’s some vitamins and important antioxidants we be removed when juicing, since there are contained within the fibre. There are plenty of other articles that argue the opposite, so the jury is still out on this one.

A solution to this is of course to make smoothies of fruit, press vegetables and cook with the “waste” that is left over.

Go eco

Since you are juicing or thinking about juicing I assume you are conscious about your heath. If you can afford it buy ecological produce avoiding bad chemicals. Also try to buy produce grown locally, since long transports means the foods have been stored for a long time. The vitamin content will decrease and it’s also better for the environment not to ship stuff across the planet.

What you need

You need a juicer. Not a blender. A blender will blend the vegetables and make a pulp – this is called pulping and is very nice for smoothies! A juicer will extract the juices – this is called juicing.
With a blender you can make smoothies which are yummy and healthy, but you can’t juice, believe me I*ve tried juicing with a blender and pushing the pulp though a sieve. It takes forever and does not work.

Different kinds of juicers

When buying a juicer you have to consider of course how much money you want to spend, but also look for a juicer that is easy to clean. If you are jucing regularly perhaps you don’t want to spend a lot of time on cleaning. There are a couple o different kind of juicers:

Centrifugal juicers

This is the most common juicer. It has knives that cut the vegetables and then separate the juice by spinning the pulp very fast at a high rpm (rotations per minute). You can get a cheap one, but watch out that it still does the job. If the pulp comes out very wet, then the juice has not been separated. They usually have a large chute making it easy to quickly add vegetables and they are usually quite easy to clean. The argument against one of these is that a masticating juicer is better at extracting the nutrients. I have not seen any scientific evidence of this though. The juice comes out with a little more froth than in a masticating juicer.

omega juicepressMasticating juicer

This type is moving slowly with a slow rpm (rotation per minute) and will squeeze, crunch and mash the vegetables and force them through a strainer. The advantages of this is that it will not heat the juice and destroy any nutrients. It is also easier to juice spinach and wheat grass with one of these. They are more expensive than centrifugal juicers, some take a bit longer to clean and some have a smaller chute so you have to cut the vegetables in smaller pieces.

There are also more expensive and advanced juicers ont he market, but these are usually for professional use.

Eat your fruits and drink your vegetables

My own personal preference is to juice vegetables since they are hard to break down and make smoothies from fruit and berries since a lot of the vitamins are contained in the peel and this will be lost when juicing. Smoothies also contain a lot of good vitamins, so make some of those too, check out these smoothie recipes:
EatMoreVegetarian.com/?s=smoothie&submit=Search
for some inspiration. The only vegetables i would not juice are avocados, they are great in smoothies, it gives it a creamy texture.

Some literature also claims that mixing fruit and vegetables will ferment the juice and make it difficult to break down. The only fruit that should be mixed with vegetables are apples, lemons, lime and perhaps and orange.

There is no need to remove the peel. Just clean the Fruit and vegetable with a hard brush to remove any soil. I usually cut the green top of carrots and such vegetables and remove the apple core. That’s it.

Getting started

So, now it’s nothing that can stop you. Go ahead and get a juicer. Start with a more inexpensive one to test if juicing is for you. If you decide that you want to make juicing a part of your life, then it is worth investing in a more expensive model.
Juice any vegetables you like and drink them.
Go to EatMoreVegetarian.com/category/vegetarian-recipes/recipes-juices-juicing/ for inspiration and when you get more confident, go ahead and experiment and find more recipes. There are plenty of recipes out there. Just try some. In most cases they taste great.

The pulp from juicing can be used to cook withWhat to do with the waste

I spend a lot of money on organic veggies and fruit, and I hate putting most of it in the bin in the pulp. So, I try to pair a food recipe with a juice recipe. The pulp that is left over when juicing can be used for thickening soups, as fillers in pie, to bake with and to make veggie burgers. No need to throw anything away!

Good luck!

Note 1: Telegraph.co.uk/news/health/10293417/Health-myth-of-the-juicing-craze.html
EatMoreVegetarian.com