Juicing has really caught on in health circles and smoothies are still all the rage, but for me it is actually fairly new! My journey into wellness and changing my lifestyle was kickstarted by juicing and all the benefits it has. I don’t personally like smoothies -- yes, I’m weird. So juicing to get all the nutrients that normally come from smoothies just made sense. I researched LIKE CRAZY - the equipment needed, recipes, best practices, benefits, and on and on. Here is a summary of my experience and how we do it!
I went round and round on the best way to juice. I didn’t want to break the bank, but also wanted to maximize the nutrient content. Technically a high-end, two stage juicer juicer like the one recommended by the Gerson Therapy is the very best, but they cost about $2k!!! Nope, not that one!!
The Vitamix seemed to be the best value for the power you get and the multi-functionality. My husband already makes Kefir smoothies every morning, so I knew it would get used...A LOT. And it better, for the price tag. I chose the low profile one because we had upper cabinets and it needed to fit on the counter top. HERE is the one we got (or the closest thing currently available on Amazon since there are so many different models - affiliate link). This thing kicks butt!! It just annihilates anything we put in it and we use it at least once a day. Clean up is SUPER fast and it makes the whole juicing / smoothie process less of a hassle.
Nut Milk Bag
When you use a blender to juice, you then have to strain out all the particulates. A regular strainer’s holes are too big, so you need to use a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. I chose the bag since you can just pour the juice into it, cinch shut and squeeze into a bowl. Then once all the liquid is out, I just rinse it and divide the juice into bottles for the day.
I store the juice in these bottles so I can grab them easily as a snack during the day or when I have to hop in the car and run someplace. They seal really well and we actually use them to bring water with us on the road as well.
My best friend chose to go the juicer route and got this Breville juicer. She has had great results and says the cleanup is very quick - which is the problem you often run into with the juicers. They can have a lot of parts that you have to take off to get clean, so watch out for that when you are shopping. If it is too much work, you won’t do it!!!
I have 2 recipes I use most often. They are totally designed to my own taste, but I absolutely love them. Honestly, I thought green juice that did not have a ton of sugar in it would be nasty, but I was so wrong!! If you do it right, it is delicious!!!
Both these recipes are similar and you can totally experiment with substitutes and flavors. These recipes were designed for use in a blender - and remember to put liquid in first, then leafy greens, then the harder things like apples and celery.
I use one of those “spudger” things (so technical) that pushes the greens down toward the blade and allows you to help move the greens around as they are blending so you get them well chopped. I blend for about a minute or until everything is liquified. Then pour the mixture into a nut milk bag and squeeze into a pitcher until all the moisture is removed.
Cilantro Lime Green Juice
Apple Cucumber Green Juice
The vitamins and enzymes in juice start to degrade pretty rapidly once they are removed from the whole food they originated in. So it is always best to drink juice as soon as possible after extraction. You can store the juice in the fridge for later, but I recommend not waiting more than 24 hours to consume it if you are looking to get the most nutrition. If you are just drinking it because it tastes awesome then you have 72 hours before it starts to get weird.
Drinking on an empty stomach ensures that the enzymes actually get into your system. I prefer to juice in the morning for breakfast. It is a great way to start your day!!! And if you pre-chop and prep everything the night before it can be done super fast in the morning.
If you can, be sure to use organic fruits and veggies. When you juice you are consuming a high concentration of the foods, so making sure they are as nutrient dense and clean of chemicals will get you the most benefit.
Everyone will have different reasons for seeking out juicing as part of their diet. I personally was looking for a way to nourish my body that would not be difficult for it to digest, since I have (or had before it improved!) IBS and stomach issues. Juice is very quick for your body to digest because all the work of chewing is done for you.
The antioxidants and detoxifiers in the juice help your body fight and remove inflammation - or at least that has been my experience!! I notice the difference in my arthritic joints when I am not juicing. I believe it has also helped as part of the rest of our healthy lifestyle in boosting my immune system, as I have immune deficiency and anything that I can do to help my body is huge!!
What has been your experience with juicing? Have any recipes you can’t get enough of? I would love to hear all about it!!! I hope this information is helpful, but keep in mind that I am not a dietitian, doctor, or scientist. I am just a woman who loves to experiment and try new things to help my body in any way I can. Happy juicing!!!