Juicing: The Basics

I'm not an expert. I've been juicing for almost a year and I've tried a lot of different things - some successfully and some not so successfully (like that time I made spinach / strawberry juice because I love strawberries in my spinach salad. Spinach (green) + strawberries (red) = brown juice. Brown juice looks like poop.You're welcome.)

These "basics" are my basics. I don't mean to sound like I'm an authority on anything, I just get a lot of questions about juicing and I thought I'd write something down to try to demystify juicing somewhat. I used to be very intimidated by juicing and now, almost a year later, I'm so glad I took the plunge and just started (that's always the hardest part for me - the starting, the biting the bullet and just doing instead of thinking.) 

So! First things first. If you want to juice, you need a juicer. There are different kinds of juicers (centrifugal vs masticating) and different brands. I use an Omega J8006, which is a masticating juicer. I chose masticating over centrifugal because centrifugal juicers can heat the juice due to their high speed (which then speeds up the breakdown of enzymes.) There are pros and cons to both kinds of juicers and I'm not educated / experienced enough to say that one is better than the other. If you're going to put down a whack of cash on a juicer, I recommend spending a bit of time to research which kind better suits your lifestyle / needs. 

That right there --> Is an Amazon Affiliate link. Just FYI. If you buy an Omega J8006 through that link, I get some cold hard cash. Full disclosure. 

Now! Let's get juicing. When it comes to making juice blends, there is a lot of trial and error involved. Everyone has different tastes and different fruits and veg take to juicing differently. I love bell peppers but I hate juiced bell peppers. Cannot stand it. It took time and experimentation to find the different combos that worked for us. With that being said, there are a few general rules that I follow to make juicing more enjoyable. 

  • Colour! I try to stay within a colour family when I juice. So I'll juice green stuff and yellow stuff together but I won't juice green stuff with red or orange stuff (see brown poop juice example above.) 
     
  • Balance! I love citrus fruits but fresh juice made entirely from citrus is going to give me a stomach ache. I like to balance my juice with something citrus, something sweet , and something grassy / bitter / healthy-tasting.
     
  • Speed! I wash, prep, juice, and drink my fruit / veg all in one go. I used to wash everything when I got home from the market, and for a time I was chopping large amounts of fruit / veg and storing them in the fridge for faster juicing sessions, but to maintain the most enzymes, vitamins, nutrients, whatever it's best to do it all at once. Masticating juicers (like the Omega I use) claim that you can keep your fresh juice in the fridge for up to 36 hours and still reap some benefits but the faster you drink it, the better. 
     
  • Temperature! I don't love cold beverages. (Unless we're talking gin.) I drink room-temperature water. I choose warm drinks over cold drinks nine times out of ten. Except when it comes to fresh juice. Fresh juice tastes a hundred times better when it's served over ice. I don't know why but it's true for every single fresh juice I've ever tasted. 
     
  • Caution! Juicing fruits and veg concentrates the good stuff but can also affect some people negatively. Go slow. Listen to your body. Do your research. And get help from qualified people if you have any questions. Herbs (like mint and parsley) can affect milk production in breastfeeding mothers. Some people react poorly to celery juice. People with thyroid problems need to be careful with cruciferous vegetables (like kale!) 

Juicing doesn't have to be a lifestyle (insert eye roll here) choice. You don't have to wear hemp clothes or believe in the magic of crystals or dance under full moons to enjoy it (though I won't laugh if you do. Whatever does it for you, man. I love my full moon ritual - but that's another topic for another time.) I use juicing as a way to supplement my diet with fresh, healthy vitamins and nutrients so I don't feel guilty about drinking wine and eating copious amounts of baked goods. I'm not curing my cancer with juice. I'm trying to make healthier choices to offset my less-than-healthy habits (that I'm unwilling to give up because I cannot live a life void of cake. I just can't.)

Do you juice? Do you roll your eyes at people who juice? Can I (try to) answer any juicing questions for you?