juicing 101

One of the perks of having a Myer Visa credit card is that you receive Myer gift cards every quarter. Now that I’m more of a “conscious shopper”, I find that these cards were building up in my wallet. However, I decided it was time to buy a juicer.

One of the benefits of juicing is that it is an extra serve (or 3) of nutrients that you would otherwise have to eat a lot of. Juicing often forms a part of a detox, but I personally would prefer to eat the majority of my meals as opposed to drinking them.

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Why I decided to give juicing a try

My reason for getting a juice was to boost my intake of nutrients. In order to digest that amount of nutrients, I would have to eat A LOT of veges, so by juicing the fibre is removed, allowing for a speedy intake of nutrients. When we are struggling with chronic stress, our bodies will burn through our nutrient stash very quickly, often leaving us somewhat nutrient deficient.

The second half of 2014 was quite stressful for me, and I have noticed that my skin and hair have become very dry, my fingernails are soft and bendy, and I’ve had a chronic case of blepharitis which I cannot seem to shake. While it’s most important for me to work on ways to handle the stress, I can give my body a better shot at health through upping the nutrient intake. As I already eat 2-3 serves of veges with every meal, I don’t have the stomach capacity to eat any more. Hence the juicer!

My concerns with juicing and some solutions

I’ve previously written about my concerns with juicing, so I do precede this new trend with a bit of caution. With the fibre removed, there can be worry that the juice can place a bit of a sugar dump, causing our blood sugar to spike. So here are my tips for enjoying a juice:

  • Juicing vegetables should not replace vegetables in your meals. I would recommend only have one juice per day.
  • Be mindful of what you choose to juice. Beetroot and carrot are quite sweet, so I would recommend just juice one or the other, or half and half.
  • Avoid juicing fruit, as this is quite a large sugar dump. If you find vege juice unpalatable, sweeten with half a green apple, and slowly wean yourself to vegetables only. You could also try sweetening with a whole lime or a piece of ginger.
  • Try to focus on juicing green vegetables. A cucumber packs a lot of liquid and can make your juice go further.
  • Remember that the absorption of nutrients from vegetables is maximised with fats, therefore I recommend having a tablespoon of a good quality Omega 3 oil, like flaxseed oil or Inca Inchi oil, with your juice.
  • Ensure you juice the whole vegetable, including the skin, as the skin is often the most nutritious part of the vegetable.
  • As I’ve written before, our stomachs need to heat up our food (and drink) before digestion can begin. Try leaving your vegetables out of the fridge to warm to room temperature before juicing.
  • Also to aid digestion, try “chewing” as you drink to stimulate saliva. Perhaps just do this one in the comfort of your own home, as you can look a bit unco drinking and chewing at the same time.
  • Try not to drink the glass in one go, but sip slowly over half an hour or so.
  • For an occasional dessert/treat, try freezing a peeled banana. Once frozen, pop through the juice to make banana ice cream. That’s it – just one ingredient!
IMG_1237A word on produce

As I’m sure you are aware, I am an organic advocate. I believe in voting with my dollar, and will continue to support organic farming from both an ethical and sustainability perspective, and also from a health perspective. Our livers have enough to deal with in our modern environment, so by eliminating pesticides we are doing our livers a huge favour.

However, the large quantities of vegetables required for juicing can mean that all organic produce can be quite expensive. Look for opportunities to buy direct from the farmer’s at markets and local grocers. Alternatively organic produce boxes can be delivered to most homes in Australia and can be relatively cheap.

Also, be aware of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen – the best and worst produce in terms of pesticide contamination and residue. That way you can shop for a mix of conventional and organic produce.

IMG_0110The leftovers

One of the other reasons I have concerns about juicing is the waste factor. There is a lot of good vegetable that is left behind as a result of the juicing process. This is the wonderful fibre that is essential to optimum health.

While this is a great addition to the vege patch (compost), there are actually plenty of ways that you can use this pulp.

Some suggestions include:

  • Adding it to bolognaise
  • Mixing it with raw kangaroo mince and giving to our puppy
  • Mixing with a few eggs to make vegetable patties or fritters
  • Cooking with filtered water to make vegetable stock
  • Adding it to soups to thicken
  • Mixing with a good quality natural yoghurt to make a vege dip
  • Mixing with cooked tomatoes and spice to make a salsa

 

IMG_1148Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free Vegetable Crackers.

My favourite is these amazing vege crackers! If you want this recipe, make sure you are signed up to my newsletter, as it will be featured in my January edition.

 

My juicer

When shopping for a juicer, look for a cold press juicer as opposed to a centrifugal juicer. The heat from the centrifuge can damage the nutrients. A cold press juicer will produce a greater quantity of juice, and will retain more vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

I ended up going with the Oscar Neo DA-1000. Read the full review here.

The outcome

Delicious, fresh and energising vegetable juice!

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