That’s my rig there to the left, along with the makings of one of my favorite go-to recipes.
When I was 16 years old I worked at a health food cafe, and people would come in all day long and do crazy things like spend $5.00 for a shot glass full of wheatgrass. Yes, we literally had section of sod on the counter where I would cut off a big handful and put it through a juicer. Folks loved it and swore by it. At 16 though I really couldn’t conceive spending $$$ on a cup of grass juice. The owner of the place I worked at swore that it saved his life during a health crisis, which compelled him to open a shop to help others. But I was still skeptical, even though I happily cashed my paycheck every week.
For the next few years I did what most early college age kids do, I drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of fast food. I worked full time, took a full class load, and some nights never even went to sleep. Over time that lifestyle wore me down.
Then at 22 yrs old I saw a late night infomercial by a guy with some incredibly large eyebrows named Jay Kordich (check him out). He was incredibly passionate about fresh juices, and like my old boss claimed, he swore that these juices saved his life. His pitch was that our body had 100 Trillion cells which are always reproducing and copying themselves, and that fresh juice nutrients absorbed straight into the system would boost energy, immunity, and vitality. He said that the juices are able to penetrate directly through the intestinal walls to invigorate the bloodstream with antioxidents and nutrients.
I gave it a shot, and I found that fresh juices also made me feel really good. Unlike any other vitamin or dietary change, juicing was something I could actually feel the benefits of. So like my boss and good old Jay Kordich, I am now among those who promote juicing with a full endorsement. I have nothing to sell you though, just to pass along how it has been such a benefit in my life.
Here are some tips if you decide to give it a try:
* Buy a good juicer, preferably one with minimal parts and dual speeds. I’ve used the Juiceman II and the Breville Juice Fountain which are both great. But these days I like the Omega masticating slow speed juicer. Others such as the Breville have super high speed and can juice whole apples, but I am now of the opinion that those types get too hot and oxidize / overheat the nutrients beyond their ideal levels for nutrition (and they’re super loud too!). I came across this little video showing how the one I own and use these days works if you’re curious.
* Keep in mind, a juicer is different than a squeezer or blender like you would use with oranges or bananas. A juicer spins very quickly and shreds the micro-nutrients from the fiber to provide a powerful drink without all that extra fiber. The idea is that you could never get that volume of nutrients if you had to eat all of that fiber.
* Lots of folks talk about starting with a juice cleanse. The idea is to get all the junk and toxins out of the body so the new healthy lifestyle can provide the most benefits. I’ve done both, where I would take a cleanse period, or just a multi-day fast with nothing but water to reset my system. You can probably just find what works well for you.
* You’ll want to come up with a system for storing and cleaning the juicer, as well as for buying and preparing the veggy’s. This can seem daunting at first, but if you stick with it you will find a system that develops and everything moves much faster. At first it will be a lot going on and you may question how storing and dealing with all that produce will be sustainable, but it gets a lot easier once you find a rhythm.
* Chew your juice. I heard this from Jay Kordich back in the beginning. Our bodies require saliva to break down and digest the nutrients, and if you just pound your drink down it will put all those live nutrients right to your stomach without much aid in digestion, which can cause some stomach cramps or less than ideal absorption. I drink mine at about the pace most people would drink a glass of wine. And I chew every sip for a couple seconds (just try it, you’ll see what I mean).
* My favorite juice is 1 x Apple, 4 x Carrots, 3 x Celery Stalks, and a generous hand full of Spinach. A squirt of lemon or lime is also nice sometimes. If it looks like swamp muck you’ve gotten it right 🙂
* Vary the juices so you get a variety of nutrients. Many folks have a go-to drink that they have almost every day, but it’s fun and beneficial to mix it up. Juicing too many carrots for instance could theoretically turn your skin a tinge of orange. It never happened to me but I’ve heard of it happening. I don’t think it’s harmful but no one wants to look like an Oompa Loompa…
* Go organic when you can. Even though you wash everything you juice thoroughly, it’s good to minimize pesticides and GMO’s along the way.
A couple other key things to remember:
* Apple seeds contain cyanide, so you should remove them prior to juicing.
* The grean leaves on the ends of some veggy’s have toxicity, such as carrots or rhubarb greens. I would refrain from juicing those parts.
* The skins of oranges and grapefruits also contain toxic substances, so it is not wise to juice them (however, the white, pithy part just below the skin contains very valuable bioflavonoids and vitamin C, so make sure you don’t peel that away). The skins of fruits such as kiwi and papaya should also be removed before juicing.
* Be sure to wash everything thoroughly to remove any waxes, sediments, and pesticides. All pits, such as plum pits and peach pits should be removed.
* Drink it right away when possible. Unfortunately, most research shows that light and oxygen kill the essential nutrients pretty quickly, so its just not as good to make a big pitcher and drink on it for a few days, or even in a few hours. Experts agree to drink juice within 30 minutes of juicing for maximum benefits.
There it is. I hope you have fun with it if you try it.