“Susan, Is juicing as easy as it sounds?”
“What needs to be considered to be able to juice perfectly?”
Those are questions I get constantly.
In recent years, the awareness about nutritional health and the zeal for fitness have grown exponentially.
Many of us (including me) aim to incorporate healthy meals and drinks in our regular diet. Fresh juices form part of most of the popular diet plans we seek to follow.
Fresh juices, from either fruits or vegetables, rejuvenate and refresh us. But to get that perfect taste and derive optimal health benefits, we need to know the correct way of doing it.
Which fruits or veggies to juice, when, how? Back in the day when technology was not so advanced, people used their hands and primitive tools to get the job done.
Today, there are many efficient juicers for greens and fruits available in the market with various functions and features that make juicing as easy as cutting a cake!
Of course, getting the right product that meets your needs and fits your budget is the very first step in the juicing journey.
Getting to know how this journey can be a life-changer is equally essential, and this guide will help you understand that.
The Benefits Of Juicing
Juicing has some significant benefits that you cannot overlook. In my experience, the following list summarizes its win-win characteristics:
Instead of buying canned juices from the market, juicing helps to keep away the mischievous preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and colors; no need to check the nutritional information for any harmful ingredients anymore.
A Complete Guide to Juicing
1. Assess your health as-is:
To know how long and difficult any journey is going to be, you need to identify the starting point, so you know how far you have to go. Before embarking on the juicing journey, it is vital that you assess your current health and fitness level.
If you have diabetes or have high sugar levels, avoiding fresh fruit juices is advisable. Diabetes medication can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be treated by drinking juices.
Consumption of fruit juices increases the blood sugar level, but it is not problematic for healthy people. Opting for vegetable juices is an alternative for people who need to stay away from sugar.
2. The initial effects of starting with juicing:
The initial phase of juicing will not be the best phase for you. As you begin the juice intake, your body has not consumed superior quality and nutrient-rich drinks. It is a buffer phase for your body as it starts eliminating the toxins and inferior tissues, replacing them with new ones.
Due to a high toxin level in your bloodstream, you may feel fatigued or have headaches until your body gets rid of all the junk. It is not a long phase and will probably last a couple of weeks at most.
Encountering these minor challenges is part and parcel of the juicing process, so don’t worry. Look at the bigger picture – your body is undergoing a cleansing and regeneration process to prepare for a healthier and better lifestyle.
3. When to drink juices?
An effective diet plan not only focuses on what you consume but also when you consume it. Healthy and nutritious meals and drinks are most beneficial if taken at proper times of the day. So, when is the best time to drink juices?
In my experience, drinking fruit juices in the morning on an empty stomach is the best, preferably half an hour before breakfast. Your digestive system is very active in the morning and whatever you eat or drink is digested rapidly.
As a rule of thumb, add citrus fruits to the mix after your stomach gets accustomed to drinking fruit juices in the morning.
4. Choosing the ingredients
It is essential that you take the juicing process slow and do not get too ahead of yourself. It takes time to develop an appetite for all kinds of juices, and your best bet is to start with the fruits you like to eat – maybe some apples, oranges or watermelons.
When you get used to this pure fruit juice, you can take the next step and add a vegetable. It would most likely take time to start liking the taste of vegetable juice, but it provides a plethora of health benefits – so keep your eyes on the prize.
To maximize nutritional value, add green and leafy veggies like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, and so on. Putting some lemon into your juice will make life easier as it adds taste and enhances your nutrient absorption by nearly five times.
5. Mix it up
Using the same ingredients over and over again will get boring, and the benefits you derive from juicing will also plateau.
Our bodies need a complex mix of vitamins, minerals, protein, fibers, water, essential amino acids, and carbohydrates to stay in perfect health. Using only fruits and vegetables does not provide everything our body needs.
Adding protein-rich foods like legumes, foods containing vitamin K like cod liver oil, foods containing vitamin B like chlorella, and various nuts and seeds will provide fantastic health benefits. These additions can be made to your juice in powder form or as supplements or eaten raw, as you prefer.
6. Concerns of consuming fruit juices
There are a couple of common questions that people have about fruit juices. These concerns are insignificant relative to the significant health benefits of fruit juices.
Can fruit juices make you diabetic? No, they cannot. Processed and high fat or fried foods are the culprits for diabetes. If you have diabetes, consuming fruit juices is not advisable as the sugar component in them does not get digested because of getting covered in fat.
Should only organic fruits be juiced? No, not all of us can have access to natural and pesticide-free fruits. I soak the fruits in a mixture of clean water, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of sea salt for about the ten minutes.
Soaking it like this removes the pesticides and fertilizers from the surface of commercially grown fruits. Cancer patients should strictly use only organically grown fruits.
7. Managing the pulp
Think of the pulp or fiber as the by-product of juicing. It is the leftover and includes peels, seeds, and fibers. Fibers can be soluble or insoluble; our bodies need both to be healthy. Fibers do not break down and pass on to the excretory system, helping to prevent constipation.
Consuming the pulp in some way is encouraged if you are not aiming for a speedy recovery from a particular ailment. Adding pulp to your diet slows down the digestion, reduces nutrient assimilation, and hence leads to slower healing.
Even if you do not want to slow down the health benefits by consuming the leftover pulp and peels, you need not necessarily throw these away. You can use some of it for other recipes and even for creating air fresheners.
Fruit and vegetable peel is biodegradable, so if you’re throwing it, you’re not harming the environment.
8. Pay attention to your body
Our bodies always tell us when something is wrong – first in subtly, and when left unaddressed, in more uncomfortable ways. The initial phase of juicing will be unpleasant, as I already explained but it should not be unbearable.
If your juicing experience is not pleasant and full of health benefits, you are probably taking an ingredient that does not suit your body. Try reducing the number of such ingredients and gradually increase it as your body gets comfortable with it.
Another cause for alarm could be improper quantities of juice consumption. Your body tells you when your stomach is full, and you should stop when it does. Any nauseating feeling or growling in your stomach is a hint for you to check what you’re putting in it.
9. Ensure immediate consumption
Any juice should ideally be consumed immediately after extraction. The longer it is kept unconsumed, the higher the chance of oxidization, and enzymes or nutrition loss due to exposure to air and light.
The process of juice extraction also affects how quickly oxidization happens. Using a centrifugal or commercial juicer that involves high-speed spinning rapidly oxidizes the juice. Using a low speed masticating or gear juicer preserves the nutritional value of the juice. The ingredients used in the juice also determine the storage time before consumption.
If I have to store any of the extracted juices, I pour it in an air-tight glass jar till the brim, close the lid, cover it with foil, and place it in the refrigerator. Never store any juice for more than 24 hours.
10. Cleaning and maintaining your juicer
An essential part of the overall juicing experience is your juicer – it should be easy to assemble, use, and clean. The better care you take while cleaning, the longer your juicer will last.
It is best to dismantle the parts and clean each under running tap water thoroughly. To clean the remnants out of the filter, use any old brush softly. Juicing citrus fruits might leave an oily residue which is easily cleaned using mild detergent (do not forget to rinse thoroughly).
I always clean my juicer immediately after consuming the juice. If the fruit and vegetable residues stay in the juicer for a considerable amount of time, it gets more difficult to clean it.
What is better – Juicing or Blending?
Blending leaves no waste – the entire fruit or vegetable goes into the drink. Naturally, blending gives a thicker, denser drink that contains the pulp, peel, and juice. It requires more work to digest the pulp, and the nutrient value diminishes.
Juicing leaves the fibers and pulp as waste – only the juice from the fruit or vegetable goes into the drink. Juicing gives a lighter liquid that is much easier to absorb, and our bodies easily digest juices.
To choose the better option for you, you need to focus on what you are trying to achieve – if you want to derive maximum health benefits soon, opt for juicing; if you’re going to focus on a slow and steady recovery from a specific ailment, go for blending.
Summing it Up
Juicing is an effective way to get a healthier lifestyle and become a better version of you. The health benefits you can derive from it are immense and diverse. It is not an overnight change and will require patience and dedication, but the result is worth the journey.
I’ve written this guide to help people understand how beneficial juicing can be and the factors you need to consider before starting.
Juicing has changed my life for the better, and I think it will change yours likewise.