Whether it is just a fad or a trend that’s here to stay, juicing is extremely popular among health-conscious individuals. As more and more people experience the convenience and results associated with this healthy lifestyle choice, its popularity is expected to grow.
For most people, juicing can be easily incorporated into your daily life to increase your overall health and vitality. By increasing your daily intake of healthy fruits and vegetables, you’ll be giving your body the essential building blocks it needs. To get the most benefit out of juicing, you’ll want to educate yourself on some of the basics before you get started.
Why Do People Love Juicing?
Have you ever thought about why juicing has become such a huge part of the popular consciousness? The number one reason why people love juicing is because when you juice fruits and vegetables, you get a concentrated dose of the many of the nutrients that are found in the plants — only you can simply drink your nutrients on the go. This makes the nutrients found in the fruit easier for your body to absorb and possible for you to take a cup of nutrients anywhere with you. That’s a win-win.
Juice It or Eat It?
Eating whole fruits and vegetables is great; however, in today’s hectic world, many people don’t have or can’t make the time to sit and eat the recommended servings of fruits and veggies every day. Juicing may be a way to get around that fact in our daily lives. But there has been some discussion about eating vs juicing your fruits and vegetables. When you drink freshly-made juice, while you do get the nutrients, you typically lose much of the fiber contained in these foods. Some people say that that’s actually a benefit because your body it doesn’t have to contend with any of the fiber that’s in the food.
Missing out on fiber could be considered a problem. Fiber is important for cleansing the buildup of waste in your intestines. However, as long as you consume enough fiber during the rest of the week, you’ll be in pretty good shape in that department.
Juice it or Blend it?
We’ve discussed the benefits of blending in previous weeks. With blending, you maintain the fiber from the fruits and vegetables in the beverage you create. Another difference of blending is that the fiber can help you feel full, which could matter if you are trying to lose weight. However, juicing is a great alternative for those who dislike vegetables and avoid eating them whenever possible. For these individuals, a glass of delicious juice lightly sweetened with a bit of pineapple or pear is a welcome alternative to a plate of steamed veggies. Both techniques can be healthy and complimentary in a healthy diet.
Home Juicing Benefits
If you are new to juicing, you may find the process to be a bit of a hassle. However, once you start to see and experience the many benefits associated with juicing, you may wonder how you ever got along without it. So, commit to testing out your new lifestyle for at least several weeks before deciding if it is for you or not.
Ready-Made vs. Homemade Juice
Making a fresh juice drink is better than buying ready-made juice products as the store-bought drinks have to be treated and processed to extend their shelf life. Therefore, homemade juices are fresher, plus you have more control over what you are putting into the drinks and into your body.
When making your own homemade juices, however, it is important to consume the juice product as soon as you make it. Exposure to air degrades the nutrients in your juice, so the sooner you drink it, the better. Also, freshly-squeezed juice can develop harmful bacteria faster than ready-made juices; as noted in the previous paragraph, the ready-made juices are treated to prevent this. Your homemade juices will not be.
Conventional vs Organic
Fruits and vegetables that you buy from the store that aren’t organic usually have been sprayed with pesticides that can be harmful. There are a couple of ways to really avoid that produce completely –either avoid buying fruits and vegetables from those sources and buy from local farms or grow your own fruit and veggies.
If you aren’t currently growing a garden, if you’re on a budget, or don’t have markets that sell fresh organic fruits, then washing is your best option. The best way to do that in most situations would be to create a small produce bath using water and vinegar (some people suggest water alone). You can also use a veggie brush to help remove dirt and debris; however, you have to keep your brush very clean in between washes. Cleaning will help to neutralize much of the chemicals, so the food is safer to eat.
You may see fruit and vegetable washes advertised on TV and in the store. But, in many cases, they haven’t been found to be significantly better than washing with plain water, and they’re more expensive. Remember, the goal is to make sure you wash your produce well to protect yourself and your family.
When you start juicing, you will want to invest in a juicer powerful enough to handle the types of fruits and vegetables you plan to use. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank or make a huge financial commitment to test out your new lifestyle. There are several really good entry-level centrifugal juicers on the market for around $50 or $60. These models don’t offer all the bells and whistles of higher-end units, but they are certainly worthy of your consideration.
Regardless of what kind of juicer you choose, consider it an investment in your long-term health. Making your own juices at home is infinitely better for you than picking up processed juices in your local grocery store. By making your own juice at home, you can keep the integrity of juice blends intact.
Caring for your Juicing Gear
A lot of lists don’t mention this important step, but for obvious reasons, it’s a good idea to include it here. The cleanliness of your juicer will determine the quality of the product. No one want to eat food that comes from a messy old appliance. A juicer has very complex parts that allow it to extract the juices from the fruits and vegetables. The fibrous part of the plant is removed and stored for disposal in a separate compartment. Your instruction manual should have a detailed section on caring for your juicer.
Be sure to read and follow the directions in a very careful manner to avoid possible damage to the machine as a result of not understanding the limitations of the device. Remove all blades and clean and dry them very thoroughly. Proper cleaning can lower the risk of mold or harmful bacteria growing on an improperly cleaned juicer.
Remember to store the machine carefully and properly to avoid damaging the blades. You may also want to purchase a small tube of lubricant for the juicer to keep it running well – again check the instruction manual to make sure this would not cause damage to your investment. If you don’t follow these steps, you could possibly harm your machine.
What to Juice First
When you first being juicing, the most often consumed fruits should be the juices you begin with. Apples and carrots are among some of the most kind to the stomach of a person who is new to juicing, so you can start with those as a base. From there, began adding more adventurous items. Add more vegetables and try to increase the ratio of vegetables to fruits in your juicing regimen.
Once you have become accustomed to a larger proportion of veggies, you can even start experimenting with adding herbs to your juices. Herbs have their own benefits and can add interesting flavors to your juice. However, if you are on any medications prescribed by your doctor, there may be some herbs that might cause problems with your meds; it may be helpful to double-check with your physician first.
Rotate Your Juice Recipes
Here’s something that you might have not have considered. You will want to have a schedule for your juicing – having some variety is important. This will also prevent you from getting discouraged and bored with juicing every day.
There are tons of recipes available online to help you make delicious and creative juicing concoctions your whole family will love. When creating a collection of juice recipes you want to try, look for combinations that include both fruits and vegetables for the greatest health benefits.
Monitor the Sugar Content
It should also be noted that although fresh fruit juices are delicious and refreshing, be aware that many fruits are naturally high in sugar which can lead to unwanted weight gain and other unintended health issues. A better alternative is to combine complementary fruits and vegetables together to create healthy and delicious beverages. Combining vegetable-based juices with a healthy balanced diet will help you achieve the results you desire.
All in all, juicing is a marvelous way to get necessary nutrients, and it only takes a small amount of planning to make sure that you’re getting what you need. However, there are safety issues to be observed. It’s a good idea to be sure that your doctor is okay with you taking control of this part of your diet and health. If you’re diabetic, then it would be a good idea to stay away from high sugar drinks unless your doctor okays it. Making sure that your equipment is clean and in good working order is important. Also, having clean produce is another safety issue. Being aware of these issues can go a long way to making sure that you have a successful time learning to make juice drinks.
Next week, we will look at some specific juicing situations — specific reasons why people juice.
Loving Life–The Reboot
This publication is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Before making any major lifestyle change, be sure to consult your physician or other qualified medical professional.