Earlier this month, I turned another year older (and wiser, I hope). Instead of blowing my birthday cash on clothes and shoes, I decided to invest in a juicer. I’ve been on the fence about purchasing one because I didn’t know if I would use it enough. Would I make one batch of juice and be over it? Would it be too complicated, time-consuming and expensive? Is juice really that beneficial? Why is everyone juicing anyway?
The best way I’ve heard it explained is this: When you remove the fiber from fruits/veggies/greens, you’re left with juice, which the body absorbs much quicker. All of those vitamins, minerals nutrients get sucked into the bloodstream right away, boosting overall health. Because your body isn’t using the energy to digest the fiber, it can use that energy to repair cells, detoxify and burn fat. When your body has all the liquid it can hold, it flushes out the excess by way of urination, which rids the body of toxins and fat. I am not a doctor, nurse or nutritionist, so this is only my interpretation of what I’ve read/been told. But I think you get the gist of it.
A lot of people assume that vegans eat a very healthy diet. Truth be told, you can be vegan and still eat a pretty rotten diet. Oreos are vegan, you know. Hubs and I had been eating out pretty often over the past few weeks (french fries are my weakness), then there was my birthday…and well, you know how it is. Suddenly I was craving sugar all the time and couldn’t get enough to eat. Time to hit the RESET button!!! (I wish there was such a thing.) Juicing is a great way to reboot your system. Today is my 7th day of drinking fresh vegetable/fruit juice. In the past seven days, I’ve eaten two meals (one meal every third day), some fruit and the rest has all been juice. To the non-juicers out there, I’m sure that sounds miserable. It’s really not that bad. Day one sucked, day two got easier and by day three, my body was used to it. It’s actually kind of nice not having to cook! Hence, the lack of blog post material over the past week.
Guess what? It’s working! Cravings are gone, I feel satisfied, my bloated belly has receded and…
The great thing about it (besides all the good it does for your body) is the energy boost. A couple of days ago, I had enough juice left for the morning and that was it (I’ve been making it ahead in batches because it’s such a process). I went grocery shopping that afternoon and by that time, I was getting hungry. When I got home, I was really hungry and super tired. I ate a piece of fruit, but I barely had the energy to make another batch of juice. After all, it involves washing all the produce, chopping it up, juicing it and then kitchen clean-up. Fortunately, Hubs was there to help which made it go a little faster. I gulped down a quart of juice and before you know it, my battery was recharged. I cleaned up the kitchen, watered all the flowers and took the dogs for a walk…with energy to spare. The key to juicing is to drink a LOT of juice. Don’t drink eight ounces for breakfast and expect to stay full and energized. Drink until you’re full and when you get hungry, drink more!
I’d be lying if I told you the weight loss factor isn’t a big motivator. So far, it has come off quickly. I’m sure it’s mostly water weight, but I am happy to see numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen in a while. Not to mention, my clothes are fitting better.
I haven’t been following any sort of recipe, I basically just try to balance out the veggies, greens and fruits the best I can to have a decent-tasting juice. I’m not to the point yet where I can do mostly veggies/greens and then throw in an apple–that’s still way too green for me. It’s definitely an acquired taste. I prefer that the taste of the greens be disguised by the sweetness of the fruit. Things I’ve been juicing: herbs, kale, rainbow chard, bok choy, broccoli, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, LOTS of carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, ginger, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, watermelon, strawberries, mangos, and pineapple. I don’t use all of those at once, but I’ve used them in different combinations.
If you research juicers, you’ll find that selecting the right juicer for you can be overwhelming. Some are fast, some are slow. Some make high-quality juice, some make lower-quality. Some make juice that can be stored for a few days, with others it is recommended to drink the juice right away. Some are great at juicing everything, others are great for greens and others are better at fruits. Some are very expensive, others are relatively cheap. Some have long warranties, others short. Some take up a lot of room, others are more compact. Some are hard to clean, others are easier. You get what I’m saying here?? It’s a difficult choice.
My main factors were price, quality of juice and size (my kitchen cupboards are busting at the seams). I finally settled on the Omega VRT350 because (1) I was able to buy a factory reconditioned model and save $100 (you can, too!), (2) it’s a masticating style which is slower but produces higher quality juice, and (3) it’s fairly compact. I would have preferred the newer model (VRT400), but again, I just wasn’t sure how much I would use a juicer. There’s not that much difference between the two models, but there are a few slight improvements on the 400.
I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I am really pleased with it so far! If I had not watched a bunch of YouTube videos before buying my produce and attempting to juice, it may have been a different story. The juicer comes with very little instruction. Fortunately, this YouTube channel was a HUGE help. I found specific videos for my model and learned which kinds of produce work best, how to prepare the produce (very important) and how to rotate produce during the process.
I also learned the very handy tip of placing a fine mesh strainer on top of my juice-collecting bowl in order to strain out the pulp. This juicer does produce a somewhat pulpy juice, but it can easily be strained during or after the process. I prefer to do both–during and after. I pour it through the strainer one more time because I’m not a fan of pulp. Here’s a little tip from yours truly: when the strainer is full of foam, pulp and juice, use a spoon to quickly stir the mixture while scraping the strainer with the spoon. If you continue to do this for 30 seconds or so, the juice will seep through and you’ll be left with a thick pulp, which you can pour through the juicer again and/or discard/compost/use in baked goods. Then rinse the strainer and you’re good to go again.
I’ve been making about 5 quarts at a time, which lasts me about 3 days. I store it in the fridge in canning jars and glass water bottles. The less room you leave in the container, the less air there will be to oxidize the juice–so fill it up right to the brim, adding a little water if necessary. The juice tends to separate when stored, so just make sure to shake it up or stir it before you drink.
And that, my friends, is my juicing low-down. Hopefully it answered some of your juicing questions/concerns. Anyone out there have a favorite juicer, juice recipe or juicing resource? Please share by commenting below!