Juicing has become very popular lately. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear some celebrity trumpeting his or her juice cleanse. It’s not the celebrity endorsements, however, that are important. The fact is, juicing can make a serious difference in how you feel.
The glitterati aren’t the only ones benefiting from juicing. Athletes, Olympians, and weekend warriors are improving their performance by adding fresh juice to their diet. Green in your diet builds red blood cells in your body, which leads to higher endurance and better athletic performance. Athletes need more than juice to stay in the game, but healthy juices are seen by many as an additional boost that can make or break athletic success.
Juicing does have some amazing benefits. It can provide an abundance of vitamins, minerals in concentrate form that you wouldn’t get otherwise, thus increasing your energy and general health. Fruit and vegetable juices also deliver antioxidants that can prevent serious diseases. Juicing can provide you with more energy, protect you from common toxins, and make your skin glow. The fact is, you should definitely be juicing. But you should be juicing the right way. Juicing works best as a part of a healthy lifestyle, not a quick fix to health problems.
It’s been known for a long time that fruits and vegetables are necessary for a healthy diet and in the prevention of chronic diseases. But getting those recommended five to six servings every day isn’t easy, if not close to impossible. That’s an entire bag of apples!
Many of us are lucky to munch on two pieces of fruit a day. Most of us are getting less than that. That’s where juicing can come to the rescue. By condensing four to five helpings of produce into a single glass of juice, you’re greatly increasing those needed nutrients on a manageable level.
But many people rely on juicing alone as the answer to their health woes, and that is a huge mistake. Juice to supplement your healthy diet, not replace it. A diet of just juice, regardless of how nutrient-packed, can lead to extreme hunger, which can cause severe binging.
If juicing is approached incorrectly, it can cause health problems instead of preventing them. Before you start juicing and enjoy all the great benefits, you need to be aware of the pitfalls and mistakes people can make when starting to juice. Yes, juicing is better than not juicing. Your body craves those fresh fruits and vegetables. But let’s start off right and do it correctly for maximum juicing benefits.
Start juicing slowly, with one glass of concentrated juice each day, then gradually add a second, then a third glass. This will get your body used to the additional boost of nutrients. If you start in full-blown, your body can release toxins into the bloodstream too quickly. Start your juicing regimen gradually, and allow your body to adapt in a healthier way. This is especially important for someone who is used to a bad diet and has accumulated an abundance of toxins. Too much of a good thing too quickly can cause your body to protest. Imagine starting a new exercise regime by running a marathon!
The best way to get started is with four to six ounces of concentrated juice daily for up to a week. Then just add four ounces each subsequent week until you reach 32 ounces, which should be enough to provide plenty of needed nutrition when incorporated into a healthy diet.
This post is designed to help you avoid the serious pitfalls made by many beginning and eager juicers. Juicing done right can improve your health in so many ways. So let’s get started talking about the 5 major things to NOT do, LOL.
No. 1 Drinking Too Much Sugar
Juicing provides plenty of nutrients fast and directly into your bloodstream. It can act very quickly because it is absorbed directly into the blood stream instead of digestive tract, so you feel the effects immediately. One big mistake people make when starting to juice is using too many fruits and too few vegetables. Yes, that freshly squeezed orange or apple sure tastes great. And you’re getting an instant boost of energy. What you are also getting is a large amount of fruit sugar called fructose.
We all know the hazards of too much sugar. It can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. That fact doesn’t change when the sugar comes from an excess of healthy fruits. The body will process most sugars the same way, whether they come from a cake or an apple.
The best ratio of vegetables to fruit when juicing is 80/20. That provides you with plenty of sweetness as you enjoy the health benefits of vegetables you might not otherwise eat. Many people try to improve the taste of their green juices by adding too many fruits. What they are adding, instead, is too much sugar. This will cause your blood sugar level to rise to dangerously high levels.
Sweet fruit juices can be addictive, like any other sugary product. While juicers may bask in their healthy habits, all that fructose can lead to serious obesity. Consider the following: one or two apples a day are a great health benefit. When you start juicing six, seven or more for one glass of juice, you’re overloading your body with many additional calories without the fiber necessary for slow digestion. The body turns fructose into FFAs (free fatty acids), most of which gets stored in the liver as fat. This can easily turn into Type 2 diabetes. If you consume 120 calories in fructose form, 40 of those calories remain in your liver as fatty cells.
A glass of juice in the morning can start your day off right. If you continue juicing fruit throughout the day, you are risking serious weight gain. For the remainder of the day, be sure to juice plenty of green, leafy vegetables and add just a bit of fruit as a sweetener. The best juices are green in color.
Fruits with a heavy sugar content are plums, pineapple, oranges, kiwi, and pears.
Fruits with a low sugar content are berries, lemons, and rhubarb.
Even vegetables aren’t immune to high sugar content. Take a 16 oz. glass of delicious carrot juice. It contains 41 grams of sugar! And carrots aren’t even the most sugary vegetable. A 16 oz. glass of beet juice contains 64 grams of sugar.
This certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be juicing. It means you need to become an educated juicer. The best vegetables for juicing will always be green. These are the ones highest in nutrients and lowest in sugar. Think cucumbers, broccoli, cabbage, celery, kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard. These greens should form the basis of most of your juices. You can basically consume an unlimited amount of them.
Vegetables with the highest sugar content tend to be root vegetables such as yams, beets, carrots and potatoes. These vegetables do have other, obvious health benefits, so don’t omit them from your diet altogether.
All vegetables are good for you. This list is merely a juicing guide when you are watching your sugar intake.
If you’re juicing, eating some whole, fresh fruit in addition to the juice will provide you with the fiber necessary to help your body process all that additional sugar. Therefore, consider fruit juices an enhancement to fresh fruit, not a replacement.
No. 2 Dangers of Prolonged Juice Cleanse
Juice cleanses are frequently recommended for quick weight loss, and many people embrace it as a get-bikini-ready in a hurry solution. Celebrities are quick to laud the benefit of their latest cleanse. However, all those “Lose 10 Pounds in a Week” ads can turn into a “How to Become a Millionaire in Six Months” health scheme. As with any quick solutions, you need to be careful.
A short, three-day cleanse can provide you with the motivation to start on a healthy eating regimen. While you get enough vitamins and minerals for a few days, your liquid diet will be lacking in protein, fiber and other needed nutrients. Anything longer can have serious side effects.
In addition to help you start losing weight, juice cleanses rid the body of the toxins we accumulate each day. Processed foods, unhealthy fats, and smoking are just a few of the major villains. Detoxing is a very healthy thing to do for yourself, but doing it wrong can simply add to your health problems. A cleanse should be a jump-start, not a method.
A juice cleanse will severely restrict your calorie intake. Some daily cleanses contain less than 1000 calories. Before you start to cheer and think, “That’s what I want,” understand that cutting your calories in half in neither safe nor healthy. Nor will you enjoy any long-term benefits. With this type of dietary restriction, you will gain back the weight as soon as you start to eat normally again. This type of calorie restriction can slow down your metabolism and make it even harder to lose weight.
When you deprive your body of protein for any length of time, it starts to use muscle tissue. This means on a prolonged juice cleanse, you can lose muscle instead of fat. Instead of becoming healthier, you are becoming weaker.
If you are looking at juicing as a magic bullet to slim down, it won’t work. Incorporating green juices into your diet and developing healthy eating habits may not sound as glamorous, but it will get you results. In addition to two to three glasses of juice each day, concentrate on fresh produce in their original form, with all the healthy fiber, and make sure you get enough protein. If you are abstaining from meat, complex carbohydrates such as beans and legumes are an excellent substitute. You didn’t gain the weight overnight, so it’s a bad idea to try and lose it that way. Slow and easy will always get you to the finish line.
The above warning about cleanses doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a short-term green cleanse. The good thing is you’ll be providing your body with a greater variety of nutrients than you ordinarily would, and those nutrients are in a powerfully concentrated form. A few days of this will make you feel much cleaner from the inside out.
In general, your short-term cleanse should consist mostly of the color green. Spinach, Romain lettuce, kale, and collard greens are all power foods and should be the mainstay of your cleanse. They won’t be adding sugar but will truly rid your body of toxins. Keep in mind not all vegetables are created equal. While carrots and beets are certainly good for you, they are also high in sugar and can cause an insulin spike, so use them moderately. Just add a piece of fruit to your green juice for sweetness.
To derive the greatest benefit from your juice, enjoy it on an empty stomach. This will give your body a chance to absorb the nutrients quickly.
No. 3 Not Buying the Right Juicer
Once people are convinced of the benefits of juicing, they can become exited and eager to get started. Enthusiasm is always good, but it’s a serious mistake to jump into the fray and order the first juicer from an enticing infomercial before getting all the necessary information.
Juicing extracts juice from produce and gets rid of the pulp. However, not all juicers work the same. There are a number of juicers on the market, and there are factors other than price that can determine which one is the best for you. If price is an issue and you are planning to save up, you might want to settle for an inexpensive model for a while. It’s only temporary, and at least you will be juicing.
Before you decide on the best juicer in general, think about what is best for you, personally. A juicer that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle or kitchen will remain unused and will serve as an excuse to skip juicing. Here’s what to look for:
- How many parts does the juicer have? Fewer parts mean easier cleaning. On the other hands, a simpler machine will have fewer functions. Some juicers have attachments for pasta and grinding. Decide what is crucial to you.
- The size of the feeding tube can be important. It will determine how large (or small) the pieces of produce need to be before getting juiced. A small feeding tube can mean you’ll spend a lot more time dicing and chopping. Most large feeding tubes can take whole small fruits or large fruits cut in half. Also, a large feeding tube will clog less readily and frequently.
- Different juicers juice at different speeds, and it does make a difference. If you’re in a hurry and want that juice now, a high-speed juice will comply, but it will create higher temperatures while processing the produce. The extra temperature means that some vitamins and other nutrients will be destroyed.
- Consider the noise level of your juicer and if it could become an issue.
- The size is an important consideration. Will it fit on your counter, or will you need to move it around every time you juice?
- Make sure your juicer has a warranty. If it doesn’t, it probably is not a reputable product.
- Your juicer should have at least 400 watts of power. Leafy greens can be difficult to juice, and you’ll need that power to properly process those greens.
The above may not seem all that crucial when you buy your juicer, but the wrong one can really provide you with excuses for not juicing. Bad idea.
Let’s discuss the two types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating. The centrifugal can be less expensive, but the masticating may ultimately be a better juicer and worth the money. (BTW, if you are indeed saving up for your perfect juicer, using a small personal juicer such as the Magic Bullet (click to see example) in the meantime is a great idea.)
The Breville Juice Extractor (click to see example) is a very popular one. It runs anywhere from $100 to $300 plus, depending on where and when you get it. It’s one of the more popular and reliable centrifugal juice extractors on the market.
The masticating juicer is slower, but that means it is working harder to get every last drop of juice out of the produce. Omega makes a good masticating juicer (click to see example) that’s very popular and runs under $300 in many places. Buying the fruits and vegetables necessary for juicing can be expensive, so you don’t want to waste money. A masticating juicer gives you more juice for your bucks. A centrifugal juicer will retain a lot of the juice in the toss-away pulp.
On the downside, the feeding tubes on masticating juicers may be smaller, thus requiring more cutting and chopping. You may have to compromise on some features, but it’s important that you choose your juicer wisely so that you will look forward to using it every day.
No. 4 Not Drinking Juice Immediately After Juicing
Many juicers forget that the juice they are juicing is not pasteurized and will collect bacteria very quickly. Once you have juiced all that deliciousness, you need to drink it immediately upon squeezing in order to avoid contamination. It just takes a few minutes to juice two or three times a day.
Be sure not to juice the fruits and vegetables until you are ready to drink it fresh. Many juicers prepare “extra” to be enjoyed later in the day, or another day. Unless the juice is consumed immediately, it can develop bacteria, even when refrigerated. One of the differences between juicing your own and buying juice is that store-bought juices have been pasteurized, i.e., processed. They aren’t bad, but store-bought is never your best option.
In addition to the lack of pasteurization, oxidation happens quickly when the juice is exposed to air. Think of apple or avocado slices left on the counter for less than an hour and exposed to the elements. They turn brown very fast. This happens to fresh juice, as well. It’s not dangerous, but it can be unappealing. Also, nutrients can deteriorate in less than half an hour when you leave your juice sitting at room temperature. A few drops of lemon juice can slow down the process of oxidation, but it won’t eliminate it. One of the advantages of the masticating juicers discussed above is that the slow speed produces a higher quality juice than can, if absolutely necessary, be refrigerated for three days.
No. 5 Your Fruits and Vegetables Aren’t Clean
You buy fruits and vegetables to eat healthy, and you juice to get the maximum health benefits from your produce. If you are juicing, you are consuming a pound of fruit per glass. This can greatly increase the amount of chemicals, bacteria and parasites to which you are being exposed. The risk with organic produce is somewhat less, but it still exists.
This is not pleasant to think about. But facts are facts. Salmonella affects 1.2 million people in the US each year, and 25 percent of those illnesses are attributable to infected fruits and vegetables.
The obvious solution is to wash your produce properly, including the produce you eat whole. Since the source of contamination isn’t always clear, this includes the produce you grow in your own garden. Better safe than sorry.
Here are some tips to ensure that your produce is clean and healthy:
- Make sure your work area is spotless. Wipe that countertop or cutting board before you chop your fruits and vegetables. Make sure you wash your hands, as well. Doing this should be a regular habit, and it will remove most of the dangerous elements from your produce.
- For root vegetables, a vegetable brush is a great way to remove dirt. Do this even you’re going to peel them.
- Hold the fruits and vegetables under running water.
- A mix of a cup of water with a tablespoon of cider vinegar makes a great vegetable wash. You can add a bit of salt to boost the effectiveness of this wash. Simply soak the vegetables for a few minutes. This can work especially well on leafy greens, which are difficult or impossible to brush. Never use detergents or other household cleaners.
Some fruits and vegetables are more pesticide-free than others. Organic produce generally is safer, but there are no guaranties.
Produce with the highest pesticide risk (so wash especially carefully at all times) are apples, bell peppers, cherries, peaches, celery, strawberries, and spinach.
Produce with the lowest pesticide risk are bananas, broccoli, asparagus, mango, cabbage, pineapple, and avocados.
Getting the Most Out of Juicing
You bought your juicer to improve your health, and juicing will go a long way toward that goal. However, what about the rest of your diet? If your spending money and effort on consuming fresh, concentrated juice every day, yet still fill up on fast-food burgers, pizzas, and chips, don’t you feel you’re wasting your money? You’ll get some benefits, and that’s good. But for overall improved health, you want more.
One of the problems with the typical American diet is that we consumer far too much processed sugars, grains, and bad fats. It’s become a crisis. We are a nation overfed and undernourished. The more processed and fatty foods we ingest, the less wholesome grains, beans, legumes and lean meats we consume. As a nation, we suffer from heart diseases, diabetes, digestive problems, high blood pressure and a wide range of cancers like never before.
This is not the way it has to be. One of the worst juicing mistakes you could be making is consuming healthy juice while disregarding the rest of your diet.
Use a glass of juice to replace one meal a day. For the rest, add as many healthy ingredients to your meals as you can. And don’t forget to munch on whole fresh fruits and vegetables to get the benefit of fiber.
Instead of reaching for a carbonated drink or a beer, reach for a glass of juice as a natural pick-me-up. Different juicing combination will provide you with specific benefits. For example, oranges will provide you with a burst of Vitamin C. Kale and broccoli contain as much calcium as milk. Try out different combinations to get the most out of your juicer. Try those exotic fruits and vegetables that you’ve usually ignored at the market for a new taste sensation.
The more appealing your juice recipes, the more likely you are to stick with your juicing regime. That’s why experimenting with a variety of flavors and combination is important. A juicing book that provides you with some excellent ideas would be a good investment.
Make sure you always have plenty of fresh produce in stock. Your refrigerator should be filled with lots of fresh choices to keep you from getting bored. Get into the habit of going to the market regularly, at least once or twice a week. Avoid the “I don’t have any vegetables in the crisper” excuse to skip even a day of juicing.
A few green vegetables, such as kale, aren’t to everyone’s taste. However, they are filled to the brim with nutrition. The best thing about juicing is that you can enjoy a vegetable like kale while disguising its taste with the addition of celery or an apple. Remember, when juicing, fruit should remain an “add-on,” not the main ingredient.
Even if your current budget doesn’t allow it, make plans to invest in a top-of-the-line juicer in the future. A good juicer will produce better juice, thus encouraging you to continue your juice journey. Poor quality juices can turn you off from juicing and finally make you to stop altogether.
Remember that juices have calories. Adjust the rest of your diet accordingly.
To help you get into a juice routine, buy a small, portable container to enable you to enjoy juice on the go during your commute. You can drink your juice anywhere.
To Sum It All Up…
Before you start to juice, learn all the relevant facts before juicing. The reason juicing is so popular is that it does have so many benefits to offer. You benefit from a burst of vitamins and enzymes, your body is getting rid of accumulated toxins, and your digestive system is getting a much-needed rest, since it doesn’t need to work as hard. Just avoid some of the more common juicing mistakes mentioned in this book, and you will be good to go.
Before you start, be sure and check with your doctor for any specific guidance. He or she is likely to do a few blood tests to check for pre-diabetic or diabetic conditions. You should also follow-up every three months to determine any general health improvements. You are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the power of juicing.
If you’re having difficulty finding the time to juice, in addition to your regular juicer, get a portable Magic Bullet (click to see example). You can carry it with you anywhere, along with some fresh fruits and vegetables. This means you can juice just about any place – at the office, at a friend’s house, or simply on the go. The mixer is also your convenient drinking container. Even more convenient, the Magic Bullet can be used to chop and dice other ingredients, so it’s an extremely handy addition to your kitchen.
When you get good at juicing, don’t be afraid to use additional ingredients that can add both flavor and more nutrition. Many herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, rosemary, ginger and garlic can be a wonderful “extra” in your juice. They have many health benefits and can elevate your healthy juice to something really special. Ginger is especially good for your digestive system. Experiment a bit to see what works best for you. Now that you’ve decided to juice, you should really make the most of it. Better health, more energy, and clearer skin are all within your reach. And it won’t take you long to feel the difference juicing can make in your life.