In my last post, I mentioned how juicing is now becoming part of my regular routine. I'm glad to hear that some of you are also interested in the art of fruit and vegetable juicing as well. I'll start by saying that I got into juicing near the end of 2010. Prior to that I blended green smoothies with powders, almond milk, and frozen fruits. While I do believe that green smoothies are a healthy morning practice, I was floored when I found out about the possible benefits of juicing vs blending.
Don't get me wrong, blending is great! I loved the convenience of buying frozen fruits and enjoying a banana flavored smoothies first thing in the morning. Ultimately though, I was intrigued by the idea of taking in the highly nutritious goodness of the fruit and vegetables directly into my bloodstream. Plus I also felt that juicing could offer the possibilities of adding much more variety to my drink mix. Blending works really well with strawberries, bananas and other fruits but it gets kinda tricky when I tried adding spinach and other leafy greens. My blender didn't do a great job breaking up the spinach leaves in small enough pieces. So when I drank my smoothie, I had to interrupt my drinking with chewing spinach chunks. Not pleasant at all.
So then I began to research juicing and immediately was attracted to the possibilities of introducing spinach, kale, carrots, parsley, etc into my drink mix. Instead of adding powdered nutritional supplements into my smoothie, I could now enjoy the richness of vitamins and minerals directly from the source! What else excited me was the greater absorption rate of those nutrients when I juiced compared to eating the vegetable raw or blending. Because there's no digestion involved in the process, the body doesn't have to use nutrient stores to break down the food. Hence, your body gets a potent shot of super-food from the moment it enters you.
I have Jack LaLanne (RIP) juicer. I paid $99 dollars for it at Wal-Mart. My first juicer cost me around $40 but I soon returned it once I saw how little juice I was getting per fruit/vegetable. For now, I'm pretty happy with my purchase. It's really easy to use and does a pretty decent job of extracting juice from my fruit. There is clean-up involved with every use. At first I was turned off by having to take it apart and clean it each morning. I even went as far as trying to convince myself not to juice daily because "it would take to much time." Then one day I actually timed myself from start to finish with an egg timer. The entire process of pulling veggies out of the fridge, juicing, and clean-up took me only 15 minutes. From that day forward, I vowed that I could never use time as an excuse not to juice. There's no reason I should ever not juice because I couldn't dedicate 15 minutes to my well-being. Don't get me wrong, I still use other excuses. "I don't feel like" it is still a valid excuse I use (for now). Even with the excuses I still manage to juice 4-5 days a week. There's a part of me that hates the idea of throwing away wilted organic greens just because I was too lazy to juice. I use that as motivation to keep me pretty consistent for the most part.
One of the concerns most people have when they consider going into juicing is the cost. The idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a regular basis freaks most people out. I'm happy to say that, for me, juicing hasn't been as expensive as I first thought. Generally, my budget for fresh fruits and veggies is around $20-$25 week. I get my organic apples, carrots, and celery at Wal-Mart for the lowest price possible. When I'm at Publix or Target, I get organic cucumbers, beets, and kale. Recently, I've made a trip or two to Whole Foods for parsley and other hard to find organic greens. There are also times when I get "conventional" (non-organic) veggies as well. I just try to make sure more of what I'm drinking is pesticide free.
As far as recipes are concerns I don't really have them. I do have some staples I always include in my mix. Apples, celery, cucumbers, carrots, ginger, spinach and beets are pretty standard for me. Lately though, I've become a little more adventurous in my ingredient choices. I know the greatest power lies in the leafy greens. So now I go for kale leaves, parsley, red cabbage, and cilantro. I pretty much go for anything bright green or red. The sky's the limit! It's quite exciting actually, I love walking through the grocery aisle with my blackberry Googling the nutritional benefits of juicing whatever produce is currently in season.
So for those of you who are curious about getting into the practice of juicing, I say go for it! There's just so much benefit for your body at the cellular level. If cost is an issue, I suggest starting with blending green smoothies and working your way to fresh juices when funds are available. I do want to challenge you to think about whether a $20 weekly expense is possible for you. That $20 goes somewhere. Why not allocate it towards something as powerful as juicing? It's good for you.