The Gist of juicing - Pt 1

Updated: Aug 11, 2018

I get a lot of questions about juicing.

A lot.

They come in all forms and from all over the world via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (I cannot tell you how much that excites and inspires me!) It shows me there is an interest in overall health and wellness and moreover, that there has been a shift in the global collective consciousness towards a focus on health and personal development!

People just want to become a better versions of themselves and I am so grateful to assist anyone in making that transition. With that said, I've collected the most common juicing questions along with my answers. (In no particular order)

Q: What is juicing?

A: In very simple terms, juicing is the act of separating juice from plant tissue. Freshly made green juice really is the most powerful form of nutrition. By juicing veggies, we are able to separate the green goodness from the indigestible fiber and in doing so, we unleash an abundance of nutrients that literally feed and nourish us on a cellular level! The fact of the matter is that most people struggle to get their daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Juicing is a great way to ensure that you get everything you need! It is the quickest and most efficient method in which to get essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants like SOD (superoxide dismutase,) and phytonutrients directly into the bloodstream within minutes of consuming.

The bottom line: Why aren't you juicing already?

Q: What's better, juicing or blending (smoothies)?

A: Short answer? One is not better than the other. It all comes down to preference. For me, juicing wins for the sheer fact that I can take an entire large basket of veggies, run it through the juicer and then drink the entire contents of said basket. I could never eat all of that in one sitting, but I can drink it. WIth smoothies its different because you tend to get fuller faster from the fiber. Full disclosure: Juicing does take a commitment of time. There's prep involved (Washing, chopping, juicing and the cleanup) For me, the juice is worth the squeeze. (See what I did there?) Now having said all that, given the choice of smoothies or nothing....I'd gladly drink a smoothie. My kids love them for breakfast, and I'm ok with that!

The bottom line: I prefer juicing, but if you got a brand new Vitamix for Christmas...blend away!

Q: How long will my juices last?

A: This depends on the type of juicer that you have. When it comes to juicers, there are two common types: centrifugal and masticating. Centrifugal juicers are more common, and are the juicers that you are most likely to find at a department store. They have a larger chute at the top for fruit and veggies to enter and because of this, centrifugal juicers require less initial prep time. (You don't have to chop up much beforehand unless you plan on juicing an entire watermelon) These juicers have a large, fast-spinning blade that extracts the juice from the fiber at roughly 12,000 RPM. Because of this rapid process, juices made with centrifugal juicers tend to oxidize faster. My recommendation is to drink them within an 8 hour window to maximize the nutritional benefit.

Advantages of Centrifugal Juicers: Lower cost, minimal initial prep, instant juice.

Disadvantages of Centrifugal Juicers: Noisy, faster oxidation, Can't pre-make or prep juice.

Masticating juicers are different from centrifugal juicers in almost every way. They utilize a slow rotating auger to crush and extract juice from the produce at only 80 to 100 rpm instead of shredding produce with a rotating blade. Because of this, there is little to no oxidation that takes place. Juices made with this type of juicer can last for up to 72 hours in the refrigerator. The chute on masticating juicers is considerably smaller than centrifugal juicers, so there is more prep time involved chopping up fruits and veggies. The juice really is worth the squeeze with these juicers because they do really well with leafy vegetables and extract the most juice from them, unlike centrifugal juicers.

Advantages of Masticating Juicers: Longer lasting juice, higher yield, better quality

Disadvantages of Masticating Juicers: More prep time, significantly more expensive, more cleanup

The bottom line: Either juicer is better than no juicer!

Q: Does green juice taste bad?

A: I'm not going to lie to you. For beginners, juicing can be an (ahem)... acquired taste. Here's what I tell people - Think of it as medicine. People have no problem stomaching horrible tasting cough syrup or swallowing bitter pills, yet they shriek at the thought of eating broccoli. Hippocrates, the father of medicine once said "Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food." It's as true today as it was in 370 B.C.

While there is no specific rule regarding the amount of fruits to greens, I typically suggest starting off with a 60% - 40% fruit to leafy greens ratio. It's extremely important for a person's first juicing experience to be a good one. It simply has to be palatable in order for people to want to continue doing it! Once they get used to the taste, I recommend decreasing the amount of fruit and start incorporating more leafy greens and vegetables. My ratio now is 90% veggies and 10% fruit and let me tell you, I LOVE the taste!

The bottom line: It tastes like health. :)

Q: What juicer do you recommend?

A: The second most asked question that I get. When it comes to juicers, there are essentially two types: centrifugal and masticating. Centrifugal is by and large the most commonplace and the one you are most likely to see on store shelves. It has a circular blade that spins at a high rate of speed. When you shove vegetables down the chute, the blade separates the juice from the fiber. Because of the high-speed extraction process, the juice will oxidize faster, meaning it will lose nutrients over the course of a few hours. Masticating juicers are a completely different animal in terms that it literally squashes and grinds (much like how we chew food) the juice out of vegetables. Because it works at low speeds it produces more juice and oxidizes significantly slower. (Anywhere from 2 - 3 days)

Which do I recommend? That depends on your level of commitment in terms of time and money. Both have their benefits and drawbacks. While centrifugal juicers are more affordable, their juice has a shorter shelf life which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how fast you drink it. Centrifugal juicers are also more challenging to clean. (I've got it down to five minutes!) Masticating juicers are more expensive, but they are easier to clean and produce more juice which in the long-term, will save you money on organic produce. I originally started out 2 years ago with a Breville Juice Fountain Plus centrifugal juicer. I recently upgraded to an Omega masticating juicer. Again, both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The bottom line: They both make juice. Get one!

Q: Can I buy Juice somewhere and if so, which one is the best?

A: This is a tricky one as there are a lot of companies that claim to sell juice, but are really only selling nothing more than sugary green liquid. 'Naked', 'Odwalla' and 'Bottlehouse Farms' all sell multi-colored, sugary liquid that they proclaim to be juice. Don't fall for it.

There is a growing market for what I call "Convenience Juice" and it can be difficult to navigate through the murky sea of marketing madness! So how can you separate the junk from the juice? Read labels. When it comes to store-bought juice, there are four different types: Raw, Pasteurized, Flash Pasteurized and High Pressure Pasteurized.

Raw juice is the best, if you can find it. It has not been through any sort of pasteurization, which can kill vital nutrients. It's the same as if you made it fresh at home. You can find raw juice at your local juice bar or at some Whole Foods locations. (Ask for organic) Pasteurized juice is again, the multi-colored, sugary liquid that you'll find at your local gas station or grocery store. It has been fully heated and contains little to no nutrients. You might as well drink a can of Coke because that's basically what you're getting in terms of sugar content. Flash Pasteurization applies extreme degrees of heat for a shorter time and may still kill beneficial nutrients and enzymes found in the juice. High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) applies just that to the juice. While there is no heat involved, the HPP process still reduces the amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes found in raw juice. Having said all that, I'm going to be real with you. Have I had some HPP juice while traveling in a pinch? Yes. Do I feel bad about it? Absolutely not. I've got a "good, better, best" mentality about it. HPP juice is better than a soda, but raw juice is the best.

The bottom line: 'Naked' juice won't make you look better naked.

Q: How do I get my kids/family members to juice?

A: I was fortunate to be featured on the Juicing Radio podcast last month and the host asked about how I was able to transition my family to a healthier, clean eating lifestyle of which juicing is a staple. So how did I get my kids to drink juice? A couple of things:

1. Make them part of the process. From the very moment I brought the juicer home I included them. We opened and unpacked the box together, we went to the grocery store/farmer's market together to buy organic produce and we made juice together! Getting their buy in and making it a family affair goes a long way towards establishing long-term healthy habits.

2. Make it fun! We give names to our juices. My 4-year-old son, Alex is currently obsessed with the Incredible Hulk. He now likes to drink green "Hulk Juice" so he can grow up to be big and strong like his favorite superhero. There's also "Elvis Parsley" and who can forget about "House of Chards"? I also make it a habit to buy fun and interesting glasses to drink juice out of.

Referring back to my previous statement, making the juice palatable is the key here. Their first experience has to be a good one. Start off with a little more fruit and gradually reduce the amount over time.

The bottom line: Drink green juice or Hulk will SMASH! Just kidding.

Q: Are there any side effects from juicing?

A: Ah yes, the side effects. Yes, there are plenty. Side effects range from weight loss, increased energy and better concentration just to name a few!

The bottom line: Go get your juice on!


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