I have a juicer. It's old and ugly and permanently stained with bright orange streaks of fresh turmeric. But I love it nonetheless because it has churned out Mason jar after Mason jar of some of the most potent juices I've ever made. And I can make them at a fraction of the cost of store-bought juices. But the ingredients in my juices are short on one thing thing that makes or breaks the health benefits of juicing: sugar.
So in the last couple days, multiple people have mentioned to me that they're buying a juicer, starting to juice, going to buy a juicing program, or that they "made a great juice this morning." It's like an avalanche of juice comments, and there is no end in sight. Doesn't bother me one bit! I sincerely love hearing all of this. In some convoluted way, I think "The Rule of Threes" applies here. And here are my two cents:
I love juicing. I really really do. I wish I juiced every single day, but I'm happy with stock-piling juices two to three times a week. I have an Omega masticating juicer. It makes juice very slowly. This is different than a centrifugal juicer, like a Jack LaLanne, which spins the heck out of a fruit or vegetable at warp speed. The result of both is juice.
The difference between the two is the masticating juicer will typically get more juice out of what you're juicing, and the integrity of the enzymes of the fruit or vegetable will stay in tact. In my opinion, nutrition is greater. On the flip side, the centrifugal juicer is a lot less money. Both are a pain in the butt to clean. If you don't have a juicer yet, and are thinking about getting one, I recommend masticating juicers if you know you're going to commit to juicing. If you just want to juice here and there, or think juicing might be a seasonal fling, there might be a case for saving yourself a few bucks and going with the centrifugal type.
What's Healthy About Juicing?
Fruits and vegetables are naturally healthy. Juicing is great because you have the ability to concentrate the nutrients into a cup. The fruit or veggie in its juiced form is usually more digestible, too! When juice is fresh, all the enzymes and nutrients are available and ready-to-go. The longer the juice is exposed to air, light or heat, the quicker they diminish.
What's Unhealthy About Juicing?
I worked with a client years ago who started juicing. He was a lean enough man with two young kids and a busy, but successful business. He was intent on juicing. So he started juicing every fruit in site ever single morning. If memory serves, he drank a couple big glasses of fresh juice every day. The result: weight gain. My response: no shit.
Juicing involves so much more that fruit. Fruit is high in fructose, and to be honest, I don't think most of us need much more than a serving or two of fruit. Fructose - even if it's from fruit - can promote weight gain and elevate triglycerides if eaten in excess. When juicing, we should focus on veggies, and even some spices (see below).
A Good Rule of Thumb to Follow
The upside of fresh juicing is the nutrients are alive and available. Your body absorbs them and uses them, unlike store bought juices that have been sitting on shelf for months. The availability of vitamins is diminished and the enzymes are pretty much gone.
Most people start juicing because they enjoy fresh juice, and feel good about having something healthy in the morning. If possible, try to combine three parts vegetable to one part fruit. Instead of a sugar-laden juice like apple/pineapple/orange/raspberry which sounds great, but is pure sugar, try apple/spinach/carrot/celery instead. No, it won't be as sweet, but it will be lower in sugar.
What About Juicing Programs?
Home-delivered, or store bought juices can be (and often are) extremely healthy! After a fruit or vegetable is juiced, however, the nutrient level drops significantly within a few hours. After three days, the nutrients are a sliver of what they once were. If you're going to buy juice from a store or home-delivered service, drink it right away if possible. At the very least, drink it within a couple days.
My Favorite Juices
My absolute favorite juice doesn't involve fruits or vegetables at all, rather two spices - turmeric and ginger. Combined, they're really
great detoxers, they're loaded with nutrients, and as a bonus - they have anti-inflammatory properties [read: helps to get rid of aches and pains].
I also like to juice beets, carrots, spinach, kale, sometimes celery. When in season, I add cranberries. I don't really like juicing cucumber though. It's good for you, but I'm not a fan of the texture.
Great Vegetables to Juice
Great Fruits to Juices (3:1 ratio works best - 3 parts veg/1 part fruit)
There are hundreds of combinations you can come up with! Think of adding spices, like ginger or turmeric, or even healthy grasses, like wheat grass for an extra kick of nutrient. Juicing is great and can be really healthy. If you have any questions, ask away on my Facebook page, or leave a comment!
How can I help you reach your ideal weight, create a juicing plan or get you fit? Check out my weight loss and fitness coaching services and let me know.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.