The Benefits of Juicing
The Benefits of Juicing is the topic for today. This health boosting, vitamin flooding and healing substance can only do glorious things for your diet.
However, I have not always thought this. I used to think (after years of slimming clubs) that juice was bad, it made you fat and it was a bit of a weird hippy drink. My first experience of fresh juice was when I was working with a street boys home in Mexico and the ‘grandma’ of the house presented us with some fresh carrot juice at 7am in the morning. It was slightly warm and I had just woken up so it was not a good start to my juicing relationship. The years past, but as I read more and more about the benefits of juice in the books I was reading I thought I would give it a go. I bought the cheapest juicer I could find (£30) and began to be romanced with juice.
Now I drink it most days and cart my machine round with me whenever we go away! I very rarely wake up in desperate need of food, so drinking juice eases me into the day and prepares me for the meals ahead!
Please note that when I talk about juice I do not mean shop bought juice, the stuff you dilute or anything that comes in a pre-made bottle; I am talking about grabbing vegetables, shoving them in a machine and then drinking the juice that comes out. Shop bought juices are normally from concentrate, are not fresh and therefore not live, active foods; they are often pasteurised (meaning they are heated up which kills all the beneficial elements) and mostly filled with sugars: natural or added.
What is Juice?
Freshly pressed juice is where a machine will extract all the juice from the vegetable or fruit and remove all the fibre. There are many different machines to choose from, I currently use a centrifugal machine but am aiming to get a masticating one (no idea what I am talking about? Read this).
Why Have Juice?
- Its an easy way to get fruit and veg into your body. We all know eating more fruit and veg is good for us but statistics show that most of us fail to do that. Drinking juice is a brilliant way to get a boost of loads of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
- Everyone agrees it is good. I have yet to find anything that says drinking juice made up of mostly vegetable is harmful on the body. Those with severe digestive problems need to work up to it and introduce it gradually, but for most people juice will only benefit your health. All the experts agree on this!
- Its easy to digest. Removing the fibre from the fruit and vegetables means that all the goodness held within can be absorbed straight into your body. It is kind to your stomach as very little needs to be digested. Think of juice as a shot of healthy goodness.
- It prevents food waste. Got some less then lovely looking carrots in the fridge? Well just juice them, I tend to buy the really cheap veg from the shop and make juice from it. I have been known to steal nearly mouldy veg from friends about to through it away, then put it my morning juice (after a thorough washing of course).
- Your body will like it. You will feel healthy and clean.
- Its alive. The idea of raw food is becoming more and more popular and I definitely agree that, if your body can handle it, raw food is beneficial.
Things to Bear in Mind
- We are talking vegetable juice. Because of the lack of fibre, any sugars in the juice will go straight into your blood stream and cause your blood sugar level to spike. So when I say drink juice I do not mean juice only apples and oranges each day, but make 80% of your juice from vegetables. Carrots have been my staple to but after reading that even they have a high sugar content I am moving towards more green-leaf veg like spinach, cucumber, fennel, romaine and lettuce.
- Juice is not a food replacement. I tend to drink juice once a day and maybe twice if I am hot or have done lots of exercise, as well as my normal meals. I have done juice detoxes before but after reading more about it I discovered that it can cause instability in your blood sugars, which in the long run will cause more weight gain. Sometimes I have only juice for breakfast but I will put in some raw organic egg yolk and kefir/soured cream to give it some protein to keep me going.
- Cleaning is a pain. The main downside of juicing is that you need to clean each element of the juicer straight away and it can take a few minutes. I have one you can put in the dishwasher but I find if I rinse it straight away it takes hardly any time and then once a week I put it in the dishwasher for a deep clean.
- Drink straight away. Antioxidants lose their potency when exposed to light and air so juice and drink straight away for maximum benefits.
- For maximum absorption don’t drink it with meals. I drink mine and then wait (get dressed, do exercise etc) before eating a meal as this means the quick digestion of the juice won’t be hindered.
How to Begin.
Well you first you need a juicer. On my Amazon shop (products costs the same for you but it means I get a tiny bit of commission to support the running of the website and helping me spread the natural health message) I have recommended two different types depending on your budget and needs.
There are some recipes below but I would begin with some good old fashioned experimentation. Go buy loads of fruit and veg and see what you like. Have a juice mocktail party one Saturday morning and see what you come up with! Or before you invest why not borrow a friend’s or buy the cheapest one you can find (they are now all about £50) or see what you can get 2nd hand (my friend got one at a car boot sale for a £10!)
Basic Juicing Vegetables/Fruit
Celery (although I cant bear it!)
Great when its hot!
a few handfuls of spinach
handful fresh mint is also lovely
New to juicing? Try this.
1/2 lemon juiced
small slice ginger
a handful of spinach/lettuce,
1/2 inch fresh ginger
add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you want an extra kick!
handful of spinach
1/2 raw beetroot (with stalks)
1/4 romaine lettuce
1/2 inch ginger
Some like it Pink.
Great for girly brunches!
1/2 raw beetroot (with stalks)
handful of spinach
*With all the recipe just place all the ingredients into your juicer in any more and then dilute with some water according to your liking! This is the juicer I use.
Feel free to add lots of celery, most juicing people do, I just dislike the taste! Once you have gotten used to having juice try to make sure your juice is mainly veg, then once you get used to that you can start to eek out the more sugar filled veg like carrots (my mission for the next few months) and replace with green leafy veg. But remember to take it one step at a time, beginning by just adding fresh juice to your diet is a massive step, so let yourself get used to that for a while.
How much veg to buy?
On average each week, to make myself a medium glass (2-300 ml) of juice each morning, I go through roughly 2 kg of carrot, 4 lemons, a bag of spinach, a romaine lettuce and some fresh ginger. My juices are currently very carrot based but will be transitioning over the next few months to greener juice (due to the reasons above) so I imagine the carrots with go down in quantity and the spinach and romaine will go up considerably.
Any please do leave any comments with questions or queries, why not make your self a juice and post a picture on my facebook page? Or have a mocktail party this weekend?
Juicers I have used but now I use the Froothie slow juicer and it works FAB check it out here and feel free to contact me with any juicing questions.