I LOVE juicing. To be clear - I'm not talking about conventional store bought fruit juice which is often full of processed sugar, colors, and preservatives. I'm talking about homemade rich green veggie juice. Veggie juicing enlivens you, and your cells, and gives you an instant shot of nourishing energy and nutrition.
Freshly made juices are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids (building blocks for protein), enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
When you consume your veggies through juicing you not only consume WAY more veggies, but you also give your digestive system a rest from breaking food down. This allows the body to use energy that is normally for digestion in other ways, such as healing and regeneration.
Juicing veggies reduces inflammation, balances your pH, regulates bowel movements, and helps you feel and look youthful and vibrant. Because veggie juice is so packed with nutrition it is especially healing for our immune system. Its high antioxidant levels and alkalizing properties, among other components, also make it an incredibly detoxifying remedy. Start juicing and see for yourself how truly energizing it is!
I want to get juicing! Where do I start?
In the beginning try to integrate a green juice every other day into your routine. Drink it alone as liquid slows down your digestive fire (this goes for all liquid). Aim to use organic ingredients and if you're not able to use organic make sure you peel what you can (avoid wax and pesticides. yuk.).
Start every juice with a watery vegetable as a base. Cucumber, romaine lettuce, and celery are good choices as they have gentle flavors and provide lots of liquid. Get creative from there - I have tried everything! If you're new to the juicing game go slow as some of the following greens have especially strong flavors. You could try: dandelion, beet greens, parsley, cilantro, and kale. You could also try garlic or ginger for flavor and an extra punch. For some sweetness in your masterpiece you can add a small apple (apples that are less grainy are better), carrot, beet, or pear. The addition of lemon or citrus also helps to cut the bitter flavor of the greens.
What about the pulp?
Especially if you're using a less powerful juicer be sure to squeeze the pulp through the machine again to get more juice. If you're using a more powerful juicer like my lovely green star elite (upgrade!) then one time is probably enough. Once you have pulp that is fairly dry it can be saved and added to soup, you can make homemade crackers with it, or you can use it as compost.
What's the difference between juicing and smoothies?
When we juice we eliminate all of the insoluble fiber making the nutrition quickly and easily assimilated in the body. When making smoothies we consume the whole food by blending instead of straining out the fiber. In a smoothie you can also add extra high quality protein powders and fats. Generally smoothies are easier to make than juices but because they contain all the fiber they are also a heavier load on the digestive system. I generally recommend juicing more than smoothies but be sure to make it work for you. Something is better than nothing!
What about blood sugar?
It's true that your blood sugar does increase slightly when consuming juice. But this is highly dependent on what types of vegetables and fruit you are juicing. Fruit contains a fair amount of natural sugar which is manageable for the body when combined with the fibrous part of the fruit. But because all of the insoluble fiber is removed in the process of juicing, natural sugars are immediately available to your body. This is why it's important to mostly use veggies and use minimal carrots, beets and fruit as these foods will have a greater impact on your body and affect blood sugar.
To keep things in perspective, there are many other foods consumed daily which have a very deleterious affect on blood sugar and insulin resistance which do not contain nearly the same nutrition profile as fresh juice. If juicing is done in conjunction with an otherwise healthy whole foods based diet and with primarily green veggies the effect on blood sugar regulation is minimal especially for non-diabetics.
What kind of juicer should I buy?
There are many different factors to think about when purchasing a juicer. Centrifugal juicers tend to be the cheapest and easiest option but they also tend to break down veggies in way in which the nutrition of the juice breaks down quickly as well (the juice oxidizes). So you'll want to consume the juice immediately if using this type of juicer. Masticating juicers keep more nutrition intact in the juice because they move a little slower but they are usually a bit more expensive and still not very efficient. Finally the twin gear juicers are heavier and more work to make the juice and clean, but they produce more juice and juice which is nutritionally dense and lasts longer.
What about juice fasting and juice cleansing?
Because juicing provides such rich nutrition to our bodies it is one of the most ideal methods for deep cleansing we have available. There are many types of cleanses. If you want to dive into the world of cleansing you can visit my posts here and here.
During a cleanse or fast we are healing and detoxing in a more thorough way than we do ordinarily. By using specific techniques and practices we encourage the body to release toxins. Depending on your current diet simply increasing green juices in your daily routine might be cleansing and detoxifying enough. For others creating a 1-3 day juice fast may be appropriate. Women who are pregnant, or lactating, and those who have eating disorders, are chronically underweight, or have heart problems should not attempt a juice fast.
If you'd like to learn more about juice cleansing check out my upcoming yoga cleanse retreats where we integrate guided juice fasting in a supportive group in beautiful natural settings. I would love to have you <3
Hope you learned a thing of two about juicing! Let me know in the comments below if you've ever juiced and what your favorite ingredient is!