We are a fan of juicing! If you are new to the idea of juicing, I want to tell you that if this mom of three small boys can juice in the morning on a school day AND get her boys to drink said juice, it's simple enough for you to do, too!
What You Will Need:
- A Juicer — Do not freak out about which one to buy! Simply head over to Amazon.com and search “juicer.” Narrow your search to juicers costing between $50-$100 and by ones that have reviews of 4 stars and up. Then pick one! To get started in juicing you just need one that will extract the juice and isn't a total bear to clean. By sticking with reviews four stars and higher, this is what you will find. Personally, we have an older version of this one. (Full disclosure: this is an affiliate link)
- Produce — The gold standard of juices starts with greens. That could be anything from kale to romaine to arugula (although this last one's a bit peppery and bitter as a base). Then you want to add some other green veggies. We like cucumber and celery for their hydrating effects. Next, add in some veggies that have other desired effects you're going for: carrot for some sweetness, beets for liver cleansing, herbs like parsley for overall detox. Last, select a fruit or two to add some pleasing flavor that will hook your kids or a new juice fanatic. This could be a green apple or a pear, pineapple or strawberries. Not too much fruit, though, or you will have the sugar equivalent of a soda. Not kidding. Have a look around the internet for some yummy recipes. Personally, we like one that combines a whole bunch of kale, three to four peeled carrots, a peeled cucumber, four ribs of celery, a handful of parsley, a green apple and about a third of a pineapple. This is a lot of sweet, but it gets my kids to drink the juice, which gets as much as two servings of veg into their diet. Veggies they might never eat at the dinner table, mind you.
- Strainer and Container — With a juicer in the $50-$100 range, you'll likely need to strain your juice after it comes out of the juicer. This will remove the foam and any smaller bits that got through. But if you don't mind a little bit of foam, you can skip this step. You'll need a container to juice into. But I want to caution you against juicing so much in one go that you have a lot left over. While it's safe to keep juice for a few days in the refrigerator, it's not recommended. Freshly made juice is the healthiest, most alive juice you can get. Enzymes and certain nutritional components stop being as robust as time passes. Drink the juice right away!
These are the most basic of basics. There are a few other things you may want to keep in mind when you juice:
- Organic is the best, but if you are on a tight budget I would suggest checking out Environmental Working Group's listing of most contaminated produce as well as their list of the cleanest. The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen.” Spend your money on organic for the dirty dozen and get the most bang for your buck!
- Juicing removes all the fiber from the produce. This means that the amount of sugar contained in this all liquid presentation can cause your insulin to spike. To avoid such a sugar rush you can always add a little bit of soluble fiber powder to the juice to slow things down. While you may think this is not an issue for you, if you juice and find that your bowel movements become very loose, or you are feeding juice to small kids and find their resultant diapers to be quite explosive, you may be a great candidate for adding soluble fiber to the juice.
- If you are concerned about thyroid issues you will want to consider greens other than kale (if you juice regularly). Certain produce has been shown to interfere with healthy thyroid function when consumed in large amounts. Kale is one such type of produce.
- One of the greatest benefits of juicing is the speed at which valuable nutrients can get into the cells of the body. For this reason, it's best to drink green juice on an empty stomach — 8-16 oz max should do it — and prepare yourself for a little energy burst!
- Juicing is also great for folks with sluggish or damaged digestive systems. Without the fibrous roughage of raw produce to digest, the digestive system can more easily assimilate the nutrients in the juice.
Now let us know in the comments below what your favorite juicing recipe is!