I had been wanting to splurge on a juicer since I watched Food Matters, and Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead during the summer of 2012. When a friend let me borrow her copy of the book Crazy, Sexy Diet, I made up my mind to give juicing a shot. I’d been a long-time advocate of the Primal Blueprint and Paleo diet, particularly when training in a gym with heavy weights – it supported my body’s needs for muscle growth and I’d always felt good eating this way… never stuffed or bloated after eating, but satisfied. Plus, I loved me a good burger or steak or juicy bite of pork belly. But learning more about yoga and karma and on top of that, changing the type of physical activity I was getting each day, I felt my body’s need to try something new. I am by no means an all-out vegan at this point, nor would I even call myself a vegetarian. I have, however, done my fair share of research on the benefits of juicing as well as reducing the amount of meat in my diet, and I’m happy to say that I enjoy a healthy balanced diet full of whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, the occasional whole grain (no gluten), and all the protein my body needs.
But we’re here to talk about juice, right? So let’s talk juice. But before we dive in, let me preface the FAQ’s with a little disclaimer: let’s not mistake juicing for the ol’ “squeeze 6 lemons into a jug of water and mix in a little maple syrup and cayenne pepper and call it a cleanse and just drink that for weeks until you pass out” business. I am by no means an advocate of the “Master Cleanse” or of using juicing as a “quick-fix-big-important-date-diet” or replacing all of your regular meals with juice for any extended period of time. So don’t starve yourself and blame it on me.
Here we go.
For starters, juicing is an easy and delicious way to increase your intake of the nutrients provided by fresh vegetables and fruits. Fresh juices provide the proteins, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients vital to good health. Add a juicing routine to your diet and you’ll reap a zillion benefits, not the least of which include increased energy, a strengthened immune system, reduced risk of disease, stronger bones, and a glowing complexion. Sign me up!
Why not just eat more vegetables?
If you would like to consume 3lbs of carrots in one sitting, by all means, go for it. Me, I’ll stick to my 16oz glass of juice (and get all the nutrients you’ll be getting, not to mention fit in a 90-minute hot yoga practice while you’re in the bathroom).
What about the fiber?
Notice, nowhere have I said, “stop eating vegetables all together and just drink your diet“. No. Keep eating your veggies and whole grains and you’ll get all the fiber you need. Juicing will simply give you a high dose of nutrients in easily-absorbable-by-your-body form. If you’re feeling guilty about dumping your pulp into the compost pile, save it, freeze it, and mix it into your next batch of quinoa for a high-fiber, high-protein power meal. Yum!
Why go to the trouble?
It’s hardly trouble. I keep my Breville Juice Fountain on the counter and, after each use, simply disassemble it, give it a quick rinse, and that’s that. It may seem like an intimidating piece of kitchen equipment with a lot of moving parts at first, but I assure you it’s not a big deal. Once you’re into a routine of using it, it will become easier than preparing anything else for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner).
Isn’t it expensive?
The juicer I bought was $150, and with a little help from a 20% off coupon, that price was even lower. As for the bounty of produce I go through… I don’t consider it wasteful. I receive a weekly organic produce share which at times is more than I can cook and Tim and I can consume in a week. Juicing actually gives me a break from cooking and helps me to get through the produce I’m paying for every week versus letting it wilt and rot and have to be tossed out.
Isn’t it wasteful?
As I mentioned above, there are plenty of things you can do with your juicer pulp, from composting to incorporating it into recipes for soups, salads, and even baked goods. One of my favorite resources when I began juicing was this article. If all else fails, a little pinterest search will always save the day and provide endless ideas to make your juice habit as guilt-free as ever.
What are your favorite recipes?
Most of my favorite combinations were learned through trial and error after haphazardly shoving every item in my crisper down the juicer hatch… which is what I suggest you try, with a little foresight to know what flavors you’ll be mixing. Check out my pinterest board for a collection of resources for getting started.