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You’ve probably heard it a thousand times. We all know we need to get our servings of fruits and veggies. In fact, it has become such a well-known bit of common knowledge that many of us don’t even think about it. Despite our knowledge, many of us consume far less fruits and vegetables than recommended. In one study adult women reported eating almost five servings of fruits and veggies daily; in reality they consumed just two. Experts recommend 5-9 servings per day, which may help prevent diseases; such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even certain cancers.
If you are like most people, you probably find it difficult to incorporate all the recommended servings into your diet each day. Perhaps you have a busy work schedule that requires you to eat out or you have limited time for cooking nutritious meals. Juicing, the extraction of juice from fresh produce, may be a good, convenient way to up your daily consumption of fruits and veggies. Fruit and vegetable juices produced by correct juicing techniques (not highly sweetened fruit flavored beverages sold in supermarkets) contain beneficial vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Furthermore, the minimal time requirement for juicing may encourage sustainable increased consumption of these healthful gems. In this post, I will provide some basic guidelines to help you get started.
What You Will Need
- Juicing machine (i.e. juice extractor) – As juicing has become more popular, the available options have exploded. Juicers range from around $50 to $300+ and come in all shapes and sizes. If you are new to juicing, you may be tempted to choose a cheaper option. However, a good quality gear juicer or “masticating” juicer will likely improve your juicing experience and encourage you to stick with it. Look for a juicer that uses a low speed between 40 – 160 rpm to prevent oxidation and preserve nutrients and enzymes. Also look for a machine that will be easy for you to disassemble and clean regularly. You will not regret it! If you need some help picking a specific machine check out for some helpful reviews. Also, if you are interested in juicing with a blender, check out this quick video on how to juice without a juicer.
- Cutting board and knife – This is pretty self-explanatory. It would be difficult to fit a whole melon or cucumber into any juicing machine that we know of!
- Jars/bottles – After extracting, you will need a container to pour your fresh juice into. It is best to consume your juice right after extracting it, but you can store the juice for up to 72 hours in a clean, air-tight container.
- Fruits and veggies – Ideally, you should look for a variety of organic, fresh fruits and veggies. Feel free to experiment with herbs and green leafy vegetables as these can provide exceptional nutritious properties. While fruits; such as berries, apples, kiwi, and papaya, are great options, be wary of large amounts of fruits high in sugar; such as mangos or grapes. Also be cautious with certain green veggies; such as cabbage and broccoli, which may be hard on digestion. Some great options for beginners are cucumbers, spinach, kale, carrots, apples, berries, kiwi, parsley, and cilantro.
Step by Step Instructions
- Wash fruits and veggies – Thoroughly scrub and rinse all produce. Using a vegetable brush can speed up the process and remove any remaining dirt or debris.
- Remove peel if necessary – It is perfectly fine to leave the peel of apples, carrots, or cucumbers while juicing. You may want to remove the peel of certain fruits; such as lemons and tangerines (although you may try leaving some of the peel on, as they are nutrient dense). Some vegetables with extremely hard peels; such as large squashes, may need to be peeled before juicing.
- Chop into pieces – Use a sharp knife to quickly chop your produce. The pieces do not need to be uniform in size, they simply need to fit into the opening of the juicer!
- Load the juicer – Following the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific juicer, load your prepared fruits and veggies into the neck of the juicer. Place a glass or bottle beneath the spout to catch the juice. Turn the juicer on and, if necessary, use the appropriate plunger to push the produce through the machine. Catch the juice in a container of your choice.
- Enjoy and store – Enjoy your juice fresh for optimal health benefits. Any remaining juice can be stored in a clean, airtight container for 72 hours in the refrigerator.
- Clean up – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific juicer to remove the pulp and clean your device.
- Repeat – Prepare various juices as often as you like. Remember to use a variety of fruits and vegetables, preferably those lower in sugar.
You now have the knowledge you need to begin experimenting with juicing! Hopefully, juicing can provide you with a relatively easy option to increase vegetable consumption and reap the health benefits. Remember, it may take some trial and error to find the style of juicing that is right for you. Have fun experimenting to see what fits best with your lifestyle and nutrient needs.
If you have any questions or comments about this post, please share them in the comment box below. I would love to hear about your experiences with juicing.
Looking to take juicing to the next level? For a more in-depth guide, including recipes, check out our ultimate guide to juicing.