Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Juicing 101

I've received a lot of questions about juicing lately, so I thought I'd respond with a new juicing post.

I've been using a Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer for nearly 4 or so years now (with daily use for roughly 2.5 years of that, give or take.) It's still going strong. As far as juicers go, it's not an expensive one, and it produces a lot of juice with pretty dry pulp.

The LaLanne's Power Juicer is an centrifugal juicer, where the produce is first mashed and then pushed through a sharp-ish straining revolving at a high rpm. If and when the Power Juicer crashes, I will likely purchase a Breville juicer. Or, if I am lucky, a previously owned masticating juicer on eBay. But, I personally would not spend the money on a Breville until I knew I am committing to juicing and have fit it into my lifestyle (which I have, but it was a rocky start for a while.)

I juice two times a day. On occasion I will run two types of juice through the juicer once a day and refrigerate it, but the longer juice sits the more the nutrients break down (although, really, 4-hour old juice is better than no fresh juice at all, so no high horse is necessary here.) I rather enjoy the process of juicing, so twice a day is no biggie.

This is my typical morning juice (which gives the Mister and myself two Large servings of juice-- I serve ours in two quart-sized canning jars, with ice, and Hatfield a tall glass of juice)

4 - 6 oranges/grapefruit combo (whatever you like, or what's in the fridge), peels removed
4 - 6 carrots, greens removed (never juice carrot greens!)
2 beets, with greens (always juice the greens of beets)
1 lime, peeled
Strawberries, handful
Kale (1/2 bunch) and/or
Chard (1/2 bunch) and/or
Spinach, 2 - 3 handfuls
1 - 2 cups cold water to run through machine to get all juice out (savor EVERY drop)

The result?

A beautifully vibrant morning juice, aka The Red Rooster.

A word about Beet Juice: Beets stain like the dickens.

Your hands. Your counters. Your juicer. USE AN APRON. And, not to be gross but it's not something you'll find in many of your juicing books: your bowel movements will have a pretty ruby hue to it. If you drank a ton of beet juice and find yourself flipping out later that day thinking you have a bleeding colon or are losing your innards, take a deep breath. You're not. You just drank nature's permanent marker.

For an afternoon energy burst, I make Green Juice.

3 - 4 apples
2 cucumbers
2 stalks broccoli (I buy the stalked broccoli in the store, and save the stalks for juicing) OR
15 stalks asparagus
Parsley, 1/2 bunch
Kale (1/2 bunch) and/or
Chard (1/2 bunch) and/or
Spinach, 2 - 3 handfuls
1 inch ginger root (start small- a little ginger goes a long way. I LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE ginger so I use a LOT. Too much for Hatfield's taste, so I pour hers before I add ginger to the rest of it.)
Radishes- handful

A note about using broccoli or asparagus: these are pungent/strong tastes, but Nutritional Power Houses. The sweetness of the apples and cucumbers or carrots cuts down those tastes. Start small and add accordingly.

Instead of loading up on apples (which I think are too sweet), I like to cut down the strong tastes with the fresh zing of parsley and ginger and radishes.

The results:

GREEN juice. Really.

A few more questions:

* "Do you eat meals when you juice?"

I do, while the Mister does not and uses it as a fast (2 meals juice, 1 meal + snacks like nuts/veggies.) I eat oatmeal for breakfast and I make a pot of vegetarian soup on Sunday and eat the for lunch througout the week.

* Is there a big change to your grocery budget?

Honestly, there was not a huge change, especially when it is used as a fast vs. a supplement. However, I feel like we should add the caveats that 1) I'm a stay-at-home mom who makes nearly everything from scratch; 2) I don't buy much processed foods (some cereal and graham crackers, and yogurt) and 3) I don't buy any meat, and a vegetarian diet tends to be less expensive than a diet with meat and processed foods.

and one criticism:

* Juicing takes all the fiber out of the food, which is a huge waste and therefore stupid and a waste of time and money.

Well, no $h*t Sherlock. That's the point. Fiber, which is highly beneficial, also slows down the digestive process, which slows down/impairs the absorption of nutrients.

Most Americans are nutrient deficient. Juicing is a great way to get a huge, readily-absorbed blast of natural nutrients in a form that cannot be replicated by science. All of that hits your insides, is absorbed quickly, and actually cleans out your bowels without fiber.

If you eat healthy, whole-grain, non-refined meals with fruits and veggies outside of your juicing, you have no need to worry about the lack of fiber in juicing because you are getting plenty of it regardless.

If you are juicing and then the rest of the time you are eating processed, refined crap, then yes, you need to be worried about fiber. But, even in that case, it's not the juicing that is your problem. It's all the other crap that you are putting into your body and what it's lacking there that is your fiber problem.

*How do I know what will taste good?

There are literally thousands of juicing combinations you can make. I'm betting that your local library has no fewer than a dozen books about juicing in their cooking section, and while many hail from the 60s and 70s, the recipes are still good even if their nutritional facts are a bit outdated. I've picked up many a juicing book at estate sales, garage sales and Goodwill.

Here is the trailer to the documentary film, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The film made a HUGE impact on the Mister, who up until seeing this film and Forks Over Knives, was a bit resistant to the juicing movement/vegetarian lifestyle. No longer.


Corey said...

Thank you for this! I bought myself a Jack Lalenne today to celebrate my 40th birthday.. My gift to ME!

steph said...

this is great! thanks! to the best of your knowledge is there one kitchen appliance that does everything? food processor and juicer and blender? I have really limited space but would love something I could leave on the counter

Anonymous said...

My Dearest Wife,

Great post, great topic. I found the movie to be effective- it opened my mind to the idea of trying it out (juicing) and I think it has been a change for the better.

I think the pulp/fiber point was important to address and, for those who want the fiber, you can use a ninja (or something like that) to shred the whole shebang. Nothing to stop you from doing that, except maybe the end product itself (I did it once, just once, and will opt to juice and eat fruit or salad instead). Liquified broccoli is soooooo yummy!! :)


Sarah said...

@Steph- I don't think so. A juicer removes pulp/extracts juice. A blender and food processor just blends it all up.

We have a Ninja,which I love, because I was not willing to shell out the bucks for a Vitamix. Most fruits taste awesome and make a great smoothie all mixed together. Veggies, however, turn to the consistency of. . . wet cement at best. Really, really hard to choke down, IMHO.

Sometimes if I want a smoothie I will juice some veggies and then throw that into the blender with fruit or easy-to-blend-yet-still-swallowable veggies like spinach or kale.

HTH :)

steph said...

yes that helps! I saw that new Ninja at target, the whole system...is that what you have? which do you have? i am looking at juicers on amazon and my eyes are crossing. there is a good ole champion juicer on craigslist for 120 i bet i could get it for 100. i think for me, having to clean pulp out of the machine more than once to get a bunch of juice would be bad for me. although there's only me and G so i should just relax!! LOL

steph said...

one more thing sarah, do you give any juice to the littles? or just hatfield?

Lindsay Mama to Nine said...

Awesome post Sarah! Good luck with the hooping..and I need to get back on board with the juicing.
Thank for the recipes!

Rai said...

The bowel movements tip is hilarious! I kind of want to try just to see...