I often get questions about the different types of diets and exercises I do to maintain my health. But my approach to health and fitness is actually quite simple; try to move everyday, eat everything in moderation, avoid foods that come in cans, and try to eat greens with every meal. And although I am not a big fan of fad diets and fitness trends, I am definitely on the juicing wagon. Although I have not gone on a pure juicing cleanse, I have juiced sporadically to supplement my weight cuts. In this article, I will attempt to summarize all that a beginner needs to start juicing.
Benefits of Juicing
Juicing offers loads of benefits to the human body. And although the marketing of juicing makes it sound like godsend, the benefits of juicing are much more grounded. The actual and real benefits of juicing include:
- Get nutrition out of food without all the extra fluff (such as pulp). When you juice, you are able to get all the nutrients from your veggies and fruits without all the extra calories and insoluble stuff.
- Juicing (in place of a meal) reduces the load on your digestive system. Gulping down liquids cause less stress on your digestive system than breaking down food because juicing removes insoluble fibers. This is why some people experience feeling less gassy and bloated after juicing.
- It’s great meal complement for weight loss. Because juicing is extremely nutritious but cuts out all the extra calories, you can get all your nutrition while controlling caloric intake. The mistake that most people make with juicing for weight loss is that they go 100% juice and do not supplement the regimen with a healthy diet so the weight comes back. Although there are too many variables to count exact calories in juicing, we can estimate that juicing will cut down 30-50% of the calories when compared to eating the full vegetable/fruit.
- It’s great for “detox.” A lot of people start juicing for this exact reason—to cleanse the body from years of buildup. And while the buildup in your body may not be toxic in the traditional sense, it can make you feel fatigued, sluggish, and unwell because of adverse reactions within the body. This is why so many people report an increased sense of mental clarity and energy after going on a juice cleanse. But don’t think of detox as getting toxic waste out of your system—that’s the liver’s job. Rather, think of detox as resetting your body by replenishing your body with the bare essentials so your body can thrive without adverse reactions.
- Juicing has been known to help people clear up their skin by increasing water consumption. Juicing has also been known to help people lessen symptoms of certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis. Certain skin conditions are an inflammatory skin response to foods eaten. By juicing, the human body is less exposed to foods that can cause an inflammatory response.
Sustainable Juicing Weight Loss Plan
Any juicing weight loss plan is going to have to fit in with the longstanding weight loss paradigm: expend more calories than you take in. Marketing campaigns pitch a juice cleanse where you completely cut food out of your diet and replace it with juice for a certain amount of time. Now here’s the thing about going 100% juice (and no solid foods) to lose weight—it’s not sustainable. Any weight shredded will be regained once you start eating again.
Any sustainable juicing weight loss plan mixes juicing with eating actual food. Yes. Food. This way you can still get your vital nutrients from fruits and vegetables and still get the rest of the nutrients your body needs from grains and meat.
Using juicing to supplement or replace your meals allow you to cut down your calories but not any of the vital nutrients. The fact is, a lot of the calories we eat on a daily basis serves no nutritional value.
Here are some delicious, healthy, and easy juice recipes in order for you to get started with a sustainable weight loss plan:
Recipe #1 (28-32 oz)
- 2 medium apples
- 4 stalks of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 thumb ginger root
- 6 leaves of kale
- 1/2 lemon
Recipe #2 (28-32 oz)
- 2 medium apples
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 5 leaves of kale
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 oranges
- 1 handful of parsley
Recipe #3 (18-20 oz)
- 2 medium apples
- 1 cucumber
- 4 leaves of kale
- 1 lemon
- 2 cups of spinach
Recipe #4 (10-12 oz)
- 1 beet
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 oranges
For some more recipes, go to JuiceRecipes.com.
Make Juicing More Affordable
By far the number one complaint of juicing is how expensive it is. And yes, it can get pretty expensive. But there are several cost-cutting techniques you can use to make juicing more affordable. Here are some ways you can make juicing more cost-friendly:
- Grow vegetables in your own garden. This is by far cheapest option. Vegetables are fairly easy to grow. You can grow it in your garden or in a greenhouse. My uncle built a greenhouse in his back yard and has access to free greens pretty much year-round.
- Find items on sale in real-time using technology. I use the app Favado to see where I can get the cheapest vegetables and fruits in the area. It will give the pricing of all the grocery stores nearby.
- Stick to the basics. Once you start juicing with stuff like berries, avacados, and mangoes, it can start getting pretty expensive. But if you stick to the basics like spinach, carrot, celery, kale, apple, orange, then it’s more affordable. With those five basics, you can whip up a nice 8 oz cup of juice for around $1.
- Join a co-op. A co-op is a collectively owned grocery store. Think of it as the credit unions of grocery stores—built to provide benefits to its members rather than to profit.
- Get produce in Chinatown. Chinatown is a great (and cheap) option for finding all kinds fruits and vegetables, many of which are not available in traditional grocery stores.
- Get produce from a CSA Farm. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and there are over 12,000 of them operating in the United States. You pay an annual fee and get your share of produce weekly. Your annual fee will probably get you about $25 worth of produce a week, which is sufficient for juicing twice a day.
Here are some more juicing recipes that are affordable. The recipe are for per 8-10 oz of juice.
Cheap Juice Recipe #1:
- 15 carrots
- 8 stalks of celery
- 2 apples
Cheap Juicing Recipe #2:
- 1 bunch of kale
- 3 apples
- 1 lemon
Cheap Juice Recipe 3:
- 10 carrots
- 2 apples
- 1 thumb of ginger
Cheap Juice Recipe 4:
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 2 apples
Best Juicer for a Beginner
If cheap is what you are going for, then get the Hamilton Beach Juice Extractor. It’s what I got for my brother a couple of years back. It is cheap and it gets the job done. However, there are two things I do not like about it. It’s bulky so makes cleaning up a bit bothersome. It’s also a bit loud.
If you really want to get the most juice out of your produce or need something a little more compact, the Breville JE98XL is perfect for you. It’s the best-seller in the juicing department right now on Amazon, and for good reason. It creates an 8 ounce cup of juice in just 5 seconds with its 850-watt dual-speed motor and stainless-steel cutting disc. The 5 seconds is a lot faster than the Hamilton Beach juicer. The juice output of this one is also going to be higher than the Hamilton Beach juicer, therefore it is going to cost you less to juice.
Juicing Vs. Blending: What’s the Difference?
There’s a difference between juicing and blending, although you may hear some people use it interchangeably. Blending is a process in which whole fruits and vegetables are blended into a smoothie. Juicing is a process in which the nutrition are extracted from the fruit or vegetable.
Blending is more filling, but it is also includes more calories, sometimes twice as many calories. But on a calorie per nutrient basis, juicing will pack more nutrients per calorie; on a per 8 oz basis, you will get more nutrients out of juicing than you will with blending.. Whereas when you are blending your produce, you are getting some of the nutrients but you are also getting content which has no nutritional value but has calories. So while both juicing and blending are viable and healthy options, those who want to avoid the extra calories may want to juice instead of blend. But the impact of the extra stuff in blending goes beyond than just calories. If you body has certain inflammatory responses to certain produces, juicing will either negate or lessen the inflammatory impact because your juice will not include much of the extra stuff. Lastly, the blending process breaks the fruit and vegetable fibers apart, which makes it easier to digest. But at the same time, it also means a slower release of nutrients when compared to juicing.
Good Foods for Juicing
There is really no “bad” produce to juice with, just good and better. Here are a list of produce that are good for juicing, with the less expensive produce on top and the more expensive produce at the bottom:
Leafy green vegetables contain many nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Great leafy green vegetables ideal for juicing include spinach, kale, beet greens, dandelion greens, and collard greens.
Carrots are great to mix with leafy greens and are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B, iron, and potassium.
Celery and cucumber are popular choices for juicing and are high in water content. Celery and cucumber are usually not used as standalone ingredients for juicing but are mixed with other leafy greens and fruits.
Apples are great for mixing with leafy greens and are the base of many juice recipes because they soften the bitterness of many vegetables. They are full of antioxidants and are great for the digestive system.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as lycopene—an antioxidant that has been known to have protective properties when dealing with certain types of cancers. Tomatoes make a good base for a variety of juices because its juice does not have the many other produce have.
Citrus like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes are great for adding flavor to your juice. They are a great source for vitamin C but also contain heaps of other essential nutrients like potassium, folate, calcium, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B (especially B6).
Pineapples are good to mix with greens because its sweetness can negate the bitterness found in some vegetables. Pineapples are a good source vitamin C and manganese. It is also has a fair amount of copper, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, and pantothenic acid.
Avocados are packed with essential fats that are important to keeping the body healthy. Avocados also has a decent amount of pantothenic acid, dietary fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Berries are packed with antioxidants that are important to promoting overall brain and immune health by fighting oxidative damage and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Berries are rich in vitamin C and fiber, while also providing folate and potassium . Cranberries are great for reducing urinary tract infections and preventing bacteria from adhering to cells on the lining of the bladder. Berries are expensive and can be sweet so make sure to not add too much to your juice.
Caveats of Juicing
While we have talked a lot about the pros of juicing, there are a few things you should be aware of before juicing. Here are some of the potential drawbacks of juicing:
- Juicing can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels if your juice contains too many fruits with high sugar content. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) in the short-term can cause the pancreas to release more insulin, and thus can cause a sugar crash, which makes you feel fatigued and drained. In the long-term hyperglycemia can cause damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs and lead to chronic health conditions. Some people have reported spikes in their A1C levels after juicing because they combine so many sweet produce into one juice.
- Juicing too much can cause you to miss out on other types of nutrition normally not found in your juice concoction. This includes fatty acids found in fish and nuts, and protein in soy and meats.
- Juicing is notorious low in fiber. That means the nutrition is absorbed faster into the body but it also makes you feel hungry faster. The first couple of days are especially hard as your body adjusts.
Save Clean Up Time and Effort Juicing
The most annoying part of juicing is the clean up and the effort of actually cutting up supplies for the juice. But this can be circumvented by preparing your supplies in bulk. Reddit user ben174 uses a standard 1 gallon ziplock bag and prepares his supplies in advance. As you can see from his picture below, he prepares the supplies for 6 juices, which will last 2-3 days depending on how often you juice. This is a great time-saver as you only need to cut and clean up once, instead of six times. This takes a big hassle out of juicing. Be sure to reuse the zip lock bags after you are done with them.
Some people claim that once you start cutting and storing fruits and vegetables, they start to lose some of its nutrients . The belief is that whenever produce is cut, the cells are wounded and they then trigger injury-based responses. And the longer fruits and vegetables are stored without eating, the longer the injury responses are–thus less nutritious the produce is. However, we must remember that when we chew on fruits and vegetables, we are also inducing an injury-based response. So although the belief may be somewhat true, the amount of nutritional decay is trivial and negligible at best and if you are going to eat it within a few days. Additionally, avoid cutting into smaller pieces or with a dull knife can avoid further nutrition loss.
Is Juicing for Me?
Now is juicing for everyone? I’m going to say yes. Everyone can benefit from juicing no matter your fitness level or level of health.
While juicing can certainly be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. If you stick to your basic greens and juice 1-2 times a day, your total cost for juicing will be around $50-80 a month. So if the price was what scared you from juicing, don’t be scared. Instead of spending $100 a month on meals that are loaded with meat, spend half of it buying produce instead.
As for cleansing with juice. Going on a 100% juice cleanse for a few days is okay. Juicing once a day to supplement your regular meals is better. But relying on juicing as your only source of calories in the long-term is not ideal because you are missing out on a lot of necessary nutrients the body needs. Remember, juicing is not a magical cure-all. It is something to adopt for a more healthy lifestyle. I know this is probably not what you want to hear—but I want to stay away from the marketing hype on this site because I don’t want to disseminate the wrong information.
Netflix enthusiast, horrible speller, jiujitsu hobbyist, weekend drinker, and occasional poker player. Favorite quote is “[o]ut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”