Wow, I received a lot of great juicing questions, so I will gladly oblige and continue the juicing discussion.
Does the juice taste good?
Most certainly, because my children would not drink it otherwise! Freshly squeezed pear juice is heavenly. You will never be able to gulp down a mouthful of Juicy Juice again.
Certain foods are good because they have powerful flavors which can override less desirable flavors. Carrots, pineapple, mango are good examples. Same with strawberries. You can always taste those flavors in juices. Apples are not as strong, but their sweet tartness does a great job mellowing things out. Cucumbers add a light freshness; lettuce the same.
If you go heavy on tropical ingredients--pineapple, papaya, mango--then the juice is quite sweet. If you are used to bottled sugared juice cocktails, or your kids are, then yes, it will take you a bit to get used to real juice.
Beets have a very "fresh" flavor. Cliff calls it "earthy" but I don't think it's nearly as earthy as rooibus tea (which I can barely get down). When added in smaller doses with stronger flavors, it adds beautiful color and incredible health benefits with little effect to the juice.
What kind of juicer do you have? Are they expensive?
Yes and no. You can get fairly cheap juicers at Target or Walmart. You won't get a lot of juice out of them, so there is a lot of wasted fruit.
I initially hoped to get a Breville juicer. They were available for a time with Cliff's Star Points program through work. Well, we didn't have enough Star Points, and then for a time, they were no longer available. They are around $175+, so to me, yes, that is very expensive.
I did purchase a Jack LaLane Power Juicer. Yes, he's the infomercial guy. But I did my research, and felt good about this decision. I watched prices, and through a small, local department store was able to purchase it for $72. It was originally $150, but it was last year's model, so it was then marked down to $99. I had a 20% off coupon, and then store 'bucks' after that. So, I was pleased with the end cost.
I am very happy with this as my first juicer. The two end products are: juice (in good quantity), and ground pulp so pulverized that it is absolutely dry. A fine pulp confetti (it's quite pretty with all the different colors), I toss it right into my backyard compost pile, where it decomposes and turns into gorgeous compost at warp speed. The fact that we either drink the end product or turn it into "black gold" (aka compost) means that truly there is no waste.
The downfall of the juicer is that it is quite piece-y, and is kind of a pain to take apart, wash, put back together again. I will use this one until it falls apart. Since I know that I truly love juicing and am hooked, I will save my pennies (or Star Points) and purchase a Breville next go-around.
Does it kill my grocery budget?
Not really. I stick to a pretty tight grocery budget, and have not found juicing to alter it greatly. I make the choice to purchase fruits and veggies over junk food. Yes, I know fruit can be pricey, but if you broke down the cost of Cheetos or Yo-Go's, I would bet that the cost of junk food per ounce is the same if not more than a lot of produce. I don't buy granola bars loaded with high fructose corn syrup--I make homemade ones here at home, with honey. We eat popcorn, baby carrots, fruits/veggies, pretzels or ice cream for snacks. I am a from-scratch baker probably 95% of the time.
So, there you have it. I think I answered most of the big questions. I urge everyone who has been thinking about it to give it a try. We have noticed positive improvement in our energy levels, digestive tract health and complexions. And I'm hoping in the cholesterol department as well.