Thursday, May 3, 2012

Juicing Your Way to Health

So I jumped on the bandwagon. Yep, I did. I got a juicer. To me, they were always kind of intimidating. I guess that's why it took me so long. I didn't know how they worked or how they could actually extract the juice form the fruits and veggies. It seemed like such a mystery to me. I was afraid of all the mess and the clean up. As far as the recipes went, well I was clueless. I wasn't sure what kinds of veggies to use or how much. I didn't realize that its kind of "learn as you go". Experimentation is the key to good juicing!

From all of my research, I have learned some key things about juicers. Let me clear up some confusion for you. Many people think that a VitaMix will suffice as a juicer. This is false. A VitaMix, as amazing as it is at pulverizing anything and everything, will not be a good substitute for your juicer. The reason is that there is no way to extract the pulp or fibrous tissue from the mix. A VitaMix will work effectively for making healthy and delicious smoothies, sauces and blended drinks. But, you need a juicer to make the the real hard core healing potions that I will speak of next.

There are two kinds of juicers (well maybe more than two but I will speak of the 2 most common ones here), a centrifugal juicer and a masticating juicer. The centrifugal juicer will have blades that spin and pulverize the fruit/veggie and the juice will "spin" out of the juicer. A masticating juicer "chews" up the fruit/veggie in order to extract the juice. For things like wheat grass, a masticating juicer is necessary.  They tend to be more expensive as well.  However, they are more efficient at juicing and are worth the money if you plan in juicing everyday.

Since I got my juicer for free I wasn't able to choose what kind. I only had the choice of a centrifugal juicer and so far its been great. My next juicer will be a masticating one though. Anyway, I looked on-line for some juicing recipes and I found this blog . There are some really great recipes on here that help to detox your body. I noticed that cucumber and celery are the base for most of the recipes and there is good reason. These two veggies really give your colon a good cleansing.

My first juice was the following:
1/2 cucumber
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 apple
1 small beet

I realized quickly that it made way too much juice for me and decided to change it to this:
1/2 cucumber
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 apple
1/4 beet

This was more palatable and made just the right amount of juice to fill an 8oz glass.

Now I have started to add other veggies such as ginger and kale leaves. I change up my fruit from time to time for different flavors. Instead of an apple, I will use a mango or a kiwi and pineapple. the rule of thumb is not to juice more than 1 or two fruits. Most of your juice should contain veggies and have the fruit for flavoring - although kiwi's do have 3x the amount of calcium as an orange!  The problem is that fruit contains a lo more sugar than veggies so its wise to keep them to a minimum.

After about 2 days of juicing I felt the difference. Almost immediate results! I had tons more energy and my skin was looking great. The cucumber will really give you a clear complexion and that is why I add it to every juice I drink. The beets are another story, if you aren't aware that they will turn things red, become aware of it now. You aren't dying, its just the dye from the beet juice! Beets are a good source of iron and an immunity booster/cancer preventor. They are an important ingredient in any juice. I choose to add them sparingly though, just a personal taste.

After about 1 week of juicing my body began to crave it. Now I must have a juice everyday or I don't feel "myself". I guess my body was missing all these powerful superfoods for so long and now that it has had a taste of it, it just wants more.

I would be glad to share my recipes and tips for juicing to anyone interested. Happy Juicing!