You may have heard about juicing before or seen ads about the latest juicing cleanse on social media. Before writing off this practice as another fad diet scheme having it's 15 minutes of fame, take a closer look. Whether you're trying to lose weight, are healing your body after illness or simply wanting to improve your overall health, juicing can help you achieve your goals.
What is Juicing?
Juicing is one of the simplest ways of giving your body a massive boost of nutrition. All it involves is the use of a juicer to extract the juice of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits. Using higher quality produce will give you the purer juice. The juicer you use will also play a factor in the quality of your juice, depending on whether the appliance squeezes or pulverizes. Slow juicers which include masticating and twin gear juicer squeezes your produce, while a centrifugal juicer pulverizes your produce. Squeezing or cold pressing is a more favorable manner of juice extraction since it minimizes the amount oxidation or degradation of nutrients and minerals in your juice.
Why Not Just Consume Raw Fruits and Vegetables?
One of the most common questions regarding juicing is, "Why should I juice when I can just eat my veggies and fruits?" The major advantage of juicing is it allows you to consume more of a variety of produce than what you could from just eating.
Consider this - the average juicing recipe may include as much as a few handfuls of kale, a handful of parsley, a cucumber, an apple, some spinach and maybe a few celery stalks or carrots. Even more basic juicing recipes use such a large quantity of vegetables and fruit that most wouldn't be able to sit down and eat it the same in whole form.
By juicing, you are able to not only get more of the nutrients and antioxidants, but also a wider range of vitamins and minerals since you can add in produce you may not have a taste for normally. For this reason, those who have a difficult time eating the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables can benefit from juicing.
Are Smoothies Healthier than Juices?
When it comes to smoothies vs juices, there really is no winner because both drinks offer different benefits. The major difference between the two is the pulp content. Pulp content translates to the fiber each type of beverage offers. Smoothies have a higher pulp content and contain insoluble fiber. Juices have a low pulp content but still contain some soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber is important for digestive and bowel health but soluble fiber is also necessary. The soluble fiber in juices helps the body keep blood glucose levels at a healthy level. It also plays an important role in keeping cholesterol at a healthy level since this type of fiber binds to unhealthy blood cholesterol, taking it out of the body during the digestive process.
Everyone can benefit from adding smoothies and juices to their diet but juicing is perfect as a beverage to have with a meal. It is also a nice pick me up drink to have during the day when you want a boost of energy.
How Do You Do It?
Juicing is so easy, anyone can take advantage of its amazing health benefits. There are two types of juicing practices: feasting and fasting.
- Juice feasting is simply adding juices to your normal diet
- Juice fasting is a diet fast combined with juicing to flush the body
Juice fasting is a popular method, but one that unfortunately has given juicing a bad rap as a fad diet. Sometimes referred to as a cleanse, detox or flush, proper juice fasting is a valuable tool and a great way to kickstart a new healthy lifestyle. Typically, you will follow a program which will last anywhere from a few days up to two weeks.
This type of fasting can be incredibly beneficial but it does pose a shock to the system so it is necessary to consult a doctor before beginning.
Juice feasting is another option. Typically, you will have a few glasses of juice throughout the day, with most people choosing to have a big glass at breakfast to kickstart their body and mind in the morning. By having a daily juicing feast, you will begin to see your energy levels increase, as well as improved mental clarity. Coupled with a healthy diet, you will get sick less often and get over illness faster, if it does occur.
Most people will choose to start with a fast but if your doctor advises against it, going straight to feasting will stay be extremely beneficial, though it may take a little longer to start seeing a difference.
Is Juicing for Everyone?
The answer is a resounding yes! Juicing is appropriate for everyone, unless you happen to be on a restrictive diet for health reasons. Kids and the elderly can benefit from juice feasting, as can pregnant women. However, juice fasting should only be reserved for healthy adults who have been cleared by their physician.
Kids in particular can really enjoy juicing, and their parents will surely find that going this route is a great way to instill the importance of fruits and vegetables. Since kids often go through phases of picky eating, often at the expense of skipping vegetables, juicing is a way for parents to insure their child is getting all the nutrition they need during these difficult times.
Senior citizens will also find that juicing is a way they can still get all the produce they need without upsetting their digestive system. Dental problems or dentures that prevent full chewing strength will no longer be an issue since it is easier to drink juice.
All in all, the entire family can enjoy the nutritional power of juices.
What You Need
There are only four things you need to begin your juicing journey.
1. A Juicer
Before you can start juicing you will need to invest in a quality juicer. There are two major types of juicers - centrifugal and cold press. Both types work well but the cold press is the better option.
Centrifugal juicers are more popular but oxidation is a huge trade-off which breaks down nutrition. They also aren't as efficient when it comes to juicing leafy greens, and they lack versatility when it comes to making nut butters. Cold press juicers keep maximum nutrition and are ideal for making green juices. They are also more quiet and retain more pulp. They are more expensive, but they are well worth the extra cost if it's within your budget.
2. Basic Recipes
It's tempting to want to start experimenting with different juices right away but this isn't the best way to go about it. Instead, you should look up some basic recipes to start off with. The potency and strong flavor of green juices in particular take some getting used to so it's worth it to begin with fruit-heavy recipes to begin with. Once you've had success with following recipes you can start trying out your own ideas.
3. Storage Containers
It's easier to make a large batch of juice in the morning and have several servings ready throughout the day. If you go this route, you'll need special storage containers for the juice. The health of the juice you make is based on its freshness, so your container must preserve the juice by blocking all air. Glass containers are the best, but if you're using plastic, ensure it is BPA-free.
One of the most important things you will need for juicing is motivation and determination! Daily juicing is a habit, and just like any other new health habit it can be easy to lose motivation. Set daily reminders on your phone or email to remind you, and try to join a juicing challenge group on social media for support. Don't lose hope if you find you aren't seeing renewed vitality right away. Keep drinking your juices everyday and before you know it you'll feel better than ever.
Juicing doesn't take a lot of time out your day yet can do more for your health than most other diet changes. Even if you aren't a fan of vegetables, you'll find that green juices combined with tasty fruits is a surprisingly delicious way of getting all the nutrients your body requires.
Zoey is a part-time blogger and a full-time nurse. She is the founder and editor of juicingjournal.com an avenue for sharing her passion about juicing, plant-based diet and living a healthier lifestyle.
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