OK. I Changed My Mind!
I used to think that juicing was silly, because I assumed that the fiber was removed during juicing. I thought it was better to make smoothies, which ground up the fruit and vegetables and kept the fiber. But I was so wrong! While smoothies are wonderful, I find that I really do like juicing better. Besides, the soluble fiber – for me, the more gentle form of fiber – is included in the juice.
So here I am, on the juicing bandwagon, and I want to introduce you to some of the benefits. After juicing for a few months now, I know how easy it is to do. However, my main reason for liking it is that I feel than I’ve felt in a long time without a lot of bother and expense. I’m a true believer!
1. Discovering an Inexpensive Workhorse Juicer
Juicing appliances, also known as “juicers”, don’t have to be expensive. The best juicer on the market – well, in my opinion – is the Breville . It’s less than $150 and has a reputation (with me, too!) as a real work horse. I compared prices with performance and read several reviews before deciding on this brand and model. I love how solid it is. It’s inexpensive as juicers go, and you start saving on your grocery bill right away when you start using it. The reviews of different juicers tend to agree with me. The more in-depth reviews have estimated that the Breville takes about 70% of the pulp and moisture out. I know it removes a lot of the liquids; the mass I see in the pulp container is wet, but not soggy at all. Its consistency reminds me of papier mache - only in pretty colors.
Also, for me, the woman who really dislikes doing dishes, this machine cleans beautifully in less than five minutes. All parts but the screen can be cleaned with soapy rinsing under hot water. The screen comes with its own brush and takes but a minute to lightly scrub inside and out and give a soapy rinse. Tada! It’s all clean.
This Is the Best Juicer for the Price
2. Juicing Is Not Expensive!
As a matter of fact, it’s probably less expensive than your current grocery bill. After watching my meat costs go drastically down, I can confidently say that a lot of fruits and vegetables can be purchased for that $4.99 to $8.99 pound of meat. If you buy meat cuts that include bones, you also get a lot more edible food with a prepared fruit or vegetable (after peeling, coring, etc.) than you get with the same pound of prepared and cooked meat.
You don't have to go overboard in preparing fruits and vegetables because you would not only lose some edible food, but you would make more work for yourself than necessary. For example, I don't peel cucumbers, zucchini or apples. Of course, all fruits and vegetables are washed, and, especially if they've been coated for shine, as non-organic apples and cucumbers tend to be, they should be scrubbed. (Vinegar as a produce cleaner is cheaper than cleaners on the market.)
3. You Can Have Prebiotics Without Buying Supplements
Prebiotics are different kinds of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Juicing provides prebiotics in every glass as soluble fiber to promote healthy digestion without taking pills. The probiotics (healthy digestive bacteria) in your gut feed on these prebiotics and that helps to keep your digestive tract healthy. If the soluble fiber is not eaten by probiotic bacteria, it passes through your gut without being digested. Some people tend to think of prebiotics as insoluble fiber. However, soluble fiber, which fruit and vegetable juicing does not remove, are also prebiotics.
4. Saves Vitamins and Enzymes
It provides the vitamins and enzymes that are found in raw food, many of which would be destroyed or leached out by cooking. This is especially important for the water soluble vitamins (all of the B vitamins). They are regularly leached out in many types of cooking.
5. Juicing Is Not Complicated
You can start with recipes - there are literally thousands online and in print - but if you cook at all, you can quickly abandon all recipes but a few favorites, and start making your own combinations. In my juicing, I have found that I can play with flavors by deciding which produce I want to include for adding tang or sweetness, including a sour note, tone down intense flavors by adding produce with a more neutral taste, and other adjustments. The quickest way to learn the different flavors is to juice one kind of produce into your juicer’s pitcher and taste it. After you know what cucumber or celery, pineapple or papaya juice tastes like, you can add it to a larger pitcher. (Don't be fooled by the flavors of processed juices. Different apples, e.g. Braeburn or Red Delicious have very different juice flavors.) Then juice and taste the next piece of produce. When you add the new juice to what’s already in the large pitcher, you can taste that combination to see the new flavor you’ve created. It won’t take long to know what you want. For example, I don’t like to add very much ginger at all, because I don’t like the heat that most recipes with ginger have. I like a fruit-vegetable balance that isn’t sweet, but is rather tangy.
You will develop your own preferences, and, even if you approach it with trepidation, you’ll soon find it fun! Also, don’t forget that you can juice raw herbs, such as garlic, dill or basil. (Note: some juicing recipes include salt or sugar. Avoid them! You don’t need either to make a tasty juice.)
6. Helps Regulate Bowel Activity
For anyone who suffers from chronic or intermittent constipation or diarrhea, this is a good answer. It may even allow reducing or stopping medication. The major remedies for constipation on the market – Citrucel, Metamucil, etc. – contain psyllium, a water soluble fiber. When you juice, your fresh combinations are loaded with soluble fiber. Why buy highly processed preparations that last forever on a shelf when you can use a juicer to make your own tasty and fresh fruit and vegetable combinations?
For those of us with Celiac disease, irritable bowel from Fibromyalgia and other systemic disorders this is so important! Some people suffer from pelvic floor pain, and juicing can help reduce that, too, by reducing the bulk that traverses the colon. The benefit to people with digestive problems, especially irritable bowel, is that soluble fiber is active mostly in the small intestine. That awful feeling of having pelvic floor pain in irritable bowel goes away! (I’ll discuss this more in my upcoming article on the benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber.)
7. Juicing Is Heart-Healthy
It promotes a large intake of soluble fiber, which is very good at reducing the total cholesterol amount, and especially the LDL and triglyceride counts.
As we have all heard over and over, eating more plant-based food and less animal-based food keeps the cardiovascular system more healthy in general. That not only keeps the plaque build-up lower in the blood vessels, but it also keeps them more flexible. That vessel flexibility keeps the blood pressure lower.
Fruits and vegetables are, of course, pretty well fat free; the produce that have oils, such as avocado and coconut aren’t really good juicing candidates. By-the-way, although bananas are also heart healthy because of their fiber and potassium content, they do not contain enough moisture to be used for juicing.
8. Slows Sugar Absorption
The high amount of soluble fiber in juicing also slows the absorption of sugar in the small intestine, helping to avoid the spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, especially important for people with diabetes, or who are pre-diabetic.
Looking at the carbohydrate content of fruits and vegetables can be confusing, because both soluble and insoluble fiber are included in the carbohydrate count. However, by creating a higher viscosity in the intestines, they slow the advance of sugar through the intestinal tract so it can be more slowly absorbed. So it's best to find the fiber content when looking at the amount of carbohydrates in fresh produce.
9. Encourages Eating Fewer and Leaner Calories
If you look at the calories list below, you’ll see the common juicing foods and their calorie counts. Unlike the calories in today’s processed drinks, you can drink a lot of juice and have a tasty treat that fills you up for quite a while. It also lacks that sugar rush that can be so damaging to your body.
When you're having fewer sugar highs and lows, and prepared juice is ready to easily quiet those hunger pangs, you're less often tempted to overeat.
10. Juicing Allows You to Easily Store Fresh Produce
When you pick or buy fresh fruits or vegetables in season, you’d love to be able to use them later during the cold months. To have them handy in winter, they have to be canned, dried or frozen. With juicing in mind, when you freeze fresh fruits and vegetables, you don’t need to worry about having mushy produce after thawing them out months later. You’re pulverizing them anyway in the juicer, so as long as you’ve protected them from freezer burn, you’re set.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Blueberries – for many years I’ve picked enough blueberries each summer to last until the next summer's harvest, because I know growers who don’t spray their berry bushes with pesticides. (I also love frozen blueberries as a snack and blueberry frozen dessert.) Because the berries aren’t contaminated in the field, I don’t need to rinse them before tossing them in a closed container and putting them in the freezer. When I’m ready to use them in juicing, I rinse the frozen berries very quickly in cool water, let them mostly thaw and toss them into the juicer. Easy!
- Peaches – I choose free-stone peaches for easy removal of the pit. I cut each peach in half (without peeling), take out the pit, then gently tie the two halves back together with a short piece of string. I toss them in the freezer in a bag and they’re fine – they freeze back together. When I take one out, I take the string off, rub the peach in my hands under running warm water, and the skin rolls right off. Set the frozen peach aside to thaw in a saucer, then toss it in the juicer. Fresh peach juice!
How to Begin
You can just dive right in with recipes and a little juicing here and there until you’re comfortable. Or, if you’re thinking about this to help yourself detox a bit, you can do it the way I did. I practiced a few times. Then I started juicing exclusively, eating no other foods. I’m not particularly crazy about going without my favorite foods, but I decided to do this anyway. And I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t set a time limit on it – only as long as I felt comfortable. I lasted 4 full days and most of the 5th. Then I had a nice supper.
Since that time, I’ve juiced for part of each day. I tend not to be a breakfast enthusiast, so most days I juice for the morning meal. That tends to last me into mid-afternoon. Then I have a snack – a banana and some nuts or some grapes - and eat a regular dinner.
However, some days, I do wake up hungry or a friend wants to go out for breakfast or lunch. On those days, I juice in the evening. And I’m always comfortable. I don’t deprive myself. If I feel hungry when I’m juicing in the evening, I open a can of soup or have a small piece of meat chopped into a dinner salad in the evening.
Sometimes, even though I’ve juiced in the morning, I like to have a small glass of my juicing mix in the evening. On the days I’ve made a particularly tasty mix, it’s a real treat.
When I make juice, I use a huge glass pitcher that handles twice the amount the Brevill juicing pitcher can hold, which is about 60 ounces. I prefer a squatter pitcher for stability on the work surface, with a wide mouth for easier filling. I make enough for two days at 30 ounces per day. I don’t want any leaching from plastic, so I store the juice in glass jars with stainless steel lids. This method is also very handy. I’ve found that I can throw these sturdy jars in my purse or backpack with no leaking and no breaking.
For gardeners, an additional benefit of juicing is that the pulp left over makes a very quick compost. I’m dumping it on my garden this winter, and am amazed at how quickly it dissipates into the soil. Of course, the peelings, cores and seeds go into my regular compost.
I highly recommend juicing. It has a small initial investment, which I’ve found is made up a little each month as I see a lower grocery bill. It is very easy to do, very easy to clean up afterward and healthy for your body.
Common Produce for Juicing and Calories
|Fruit or Vegetable||Amount||Calories|
I love These Sturdy Glass Bottles!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Karla Iverson