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Juice 101

I started making juice when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I can't think of a time before that where I ever had fresh juice other than orange juice. I started doing it because I remembered seeing an episode of Oprah 10 years before my diagnosis with a young woman named Kris Carr. She had been diagnosed with a rare cancer and a scary prognosis. She changed her lifestyle and that included juice. I remember thinking to myself that if I was ever in her position, I'd juice and change my diet too. Funny how things work out, huh? So I hopped on the internet, found her website and began researching. I found so many promising things and knew I had to try it for myself!

I actually started with smoothies. My dad and step-mom graciously gifted me a Vitamix blender when I was sick and they found out I was interested in juice and smoothies. My older sister let me borrow a juicer she had shortly after that. It wasn't a super fancy juicer, but it got the job done!

Since then, I've gone through periods of my life where I drink juice regularly and periods of my life where I don't drink it at all, and what I've found is I feel so much better when I am drinking it.

There is a lot of info out there about juicing so I'm going to break it all down in case you want to try it for yourself :)

First things first: you may have a juice bar near you where you can pop in and just buy a freshly made juice, which is super nice and convenient, but can be pretty pricey. It is much cheaper to make juice yourself, but as a treat, when you're traveling, or when you just don't feel like making your own, this is a bonus to have! Or if you've never tried juice, this is a good way to just try different combinations and find what you like before taking the plunge to buy a juicer.

If you don't have a juicer, but you do have a blender, you can make juice this way! It's a little more labor intensive, but it does save you from having to buy a new machine. After you blend up whatever concoction you like with some water (or coconut water for added electrolytes!), strain it through a nut milk bag. You can get one of these relatively cheap online. You can also find YouTube videos of people doing this if you are a visual person :)

Ok, so let's say you want to buy a juicer. You hop online and there you get all confused because there are several different types of juicers at different price points. How do you know which one is for you? Let's see if I can help you!

1. Centrifugal Juicers: These are typically your cheapest option. This is also where I started. I got my first juicer on Amazon for less than $100. I can't remember the exact model but it was similar to this juicer. The pros to this juicer: cost effective, large chute so you don't have to cut most fruits or veggies. The cons: This type of juicer was harder for me to clean than the one I have currently (masticating juicer), it produces less juice, and because of the high speed spinning, it slightly heats the juice with makes it less nutrient dense and it doesn't last as long in the fridge (you don't notice the heat when drinking or if you touch the juice. It's minimal in that sense). So making huge batches ahead of time will be problematic, if that's your goal. It only lasts about 24 hours, tops. However, I wouldn't completely dismiss this juicer especially if the cost of a juicer is what is stopping you! It's a great starter juicer.

2. Masticating Juicers: This is the type of juicer I currently have. Mine is an Omega Juicer. These are usually the middle of road type of juicers as far as cost. The one I currently have was around $300. I won some money in Vegas and treated myself :) Anyway, the reason why I went ahead and purchased this juicer was because it juices your fruits and veggies slower so there is less heat and more nutrients. Plus that means the juice lasts longer! 2-3 days. I prefer to make enough for 2-3 days because I do not want to juice every day. This process takes me about 20-30 minutes, including clean up. If I was just making a glass of juice, it would be significantly less time... like maybe 10 minutes? This juicer is easier for me to clean as well. Honestly, though, either juicer is easier to clean if you just rinse it immediately after you're done making juice. I also put the pieces of my juicer in the dishwasher after rinsing on the top rack. I don't remember if the instructions recommended this or not, but I've had this juicer awhile and haven't had any problems. This juicer also has the ability to make sorbets and whatnot, but I've never tried this before.

3. Cold Press Juicers. This type of juicer is my dream juicer, but they're more expensive. I've seen them well over $2,000. You'll will get the most juice from one of these. The pulp is super dry, or so I've been told. Also, no heat so the most nutrient dense. I've honestly never personally used this kind of juicer. I've only read about them and seen them used online. The juice from one of these can last up to a week! So quite a bit longer. All that being said, I still don't think this is a necessity. I've gotten by just fine with both a centrifugal juicer and a masticating juicer. I mean, if you wanna get fancy, I get it :)

Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about what to juice. I, personally, don't juice a lot of fruit. Most of the time, it's just apples and lemons. The reason for this is because I don't want all the sugar in fruit to be separated from the fiber, which is what juicing does. When you remove the fiber, the nutrients are able to get to the bloodstream quicker, but so is the sugar. Typically for an entire pitcher of juice, I'll only add 1-3 apples depending on their size, and green if I have them. They have a lower glycemic index. And usually only 1/2-1 lemon. Also, I don't know about you, but I can sit and eat way more fruit than I can vegetables, and I really like vegetables. I like kale if it's prepared right, but just raw and on it's own really just isn't my favorite. I do love the nutrition that comes with kale though, so I can get more, faster by juicing it!

Another important point here is that you should definitely juice organic fruits and veggies. If organic isn't an option for you, then you have to make that judgement call yourself. Is it better to have the juice even if it isn't organic? That's for you to decide. I'm fortunate enough to have organic produce available to me so that's all I juice. (I have a bit of a different stance on whether you should eat organic vs. conventional but that's for another time.) By juicing non-organic fruits and veg, you're also juicing the chemicals used on that produce and then drinking it. Some argue that it concentrates the chemicals, just like the nutrients or sugar. But if all you have available to you is non-organic produce, what do you do? I'm very conflicted here.

Why not just have smoothies? There is nothing wrong with smoothies! Actually, I love those too, and I'm not sure I could pick which is my favorite. The differences for me are that I could use a smoothie as a meal, but I wouldn't drink juice as a meal. I know some people might, but that's not me. Smoothies still have the fiber so they're more filling, and I feel a bit more comfortable blending fruit rather than juicing it. But you're still getting a lot of nutrients!

So, I hope this helps and fixes any confusion you might have! Happy juicing :)

Here's a bonus juice recipe that I make regularly!

My Favorite Green Juice

2 cucumbers

1-3 apples (depending on size)

1 bunch kale

1 Romaine heart

2 handfuls spinach

1/2-1 bunch celery

1/2 lemon

1-2 inch piece of ginger

(Optional: 1 beet to add the red color! This makes my boys more likely to drink it)

***If I'm the only one drinking it, this will last me 2-4 days, depending on how much I feel like drinking :)


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