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Juicing - A Beginners Guide
You can spot a juicer a mile off at the supermarket or greengrocer. Apart from the huge number of carrots and apples they are loading into their trolley, they also have that slightly smug, see-how-healthy-I-am look about them. Or is that just me?! Actually, I don't buy a lot of carrots and apples any more, because (other than my indiscretion with a packet of shortbread this week) I've radically reduced the amount of sugar I take in. My juice of choice is a vegetable one, a green one - but more about that later, first let's ask...
Why is juicing so good?
In my article Enzymes and Raw Food, I explained why eating enzyme-rich food is so important. If you are buying cartons (or bottles) of juice, even many of those labelled 'freshly squeezed' you are almost certainly missing out on the enzymes. Why? Because they are likely to be pasteurised. There are different methods of pasteurisation, but all of them involve heating to temperatures a lot greater than 118F - which is the point at which enzymes are killed.
Fresh juices, on the other hand, are packed with enzymes, vitamins, minerals etc. and they taste a zillion times yummier too. Plus if you invest in a good juicing book, you can select your ingredients based on your immediate health needs too. I recommend Superjuice: Juicing for Healing and Health by Michael van Straten.
Do I need a juicer to juice?
Wel, yes and no. There are so many juicers on the market and the prices vary radically. I always recommend that you start with a mid-priced model that is easy to clean. This is important. If cleaning it is a right old pain, you will be put off using it which is no good at all.
The US market is probably quite different, but for UK readers, I use the Breville AWT JE3 which retails at just under a Ł100. It's by no means the best juicer on the market, but it is very good for the price and a doddle to clean. Plus the new model features two speeds, one for hard produce and one for soft fruits.
There is also the Magimix Le Duo which I understand to be better than the Breville AWT and is the same price.
If you are reluctant to invest in a juicer at the moment but you already have a blender, you could just stick to smoothies. Or for around Ł5, you could buy yourself a nylon sprout/nutmilk bag and simply strain the juice from the pulp to create your healthy drink. Make sure you chop up the produce and add some bottled water too.
What should I juice?
If you have acid reflux/heartburn problems, candidiasis, thrush, diabetes, IBS or an IBD, then you should avoid going overboard with fruit and sweet veg juices eg. carrots. (Actually this strategy will benefit anyone with any health issue!)
The irony is that the sweet juices may be the ones you are most drawn to, but sugar feeds microforms (like yeasts, fungus, molds, bacteria and viruses) which thank us by excreting acidic, toxins into our blood stream when they 'digest' the food we give them!
Your best bet is to stick to green juices which aklalise the body. I really struggled with this to start with as the flavour is a bit of an acquired taste but then I discovered lemons! My favourite juice now is...
Claire's Green Goddess
The lemon really does do something special to the flavour. For those who are concerned about the acidity of lemon, here's an interesting thing; lemon is only acid outside the body. Once it goes in, it alkalises. Same is true of white grapefruit and lime. But not oranges or ruby grapefruit whose higher sugar content makes them more acid inside the body.
If you have a sweet tooth and the lemon isn't working for you, you could try adding an apple instead, but aim to reduce the quantity over time.
Should I peel?
Obviously, you will want to peel some fruits and veg, eg. a pineapple. But using organic produce means you need only give the produce a good scrub rather than peeling it which is recommended for non-organic produce.
And one final tip...
If you want to add ginger to a juice and your juicer tends to spit the chunk of ginger out without really juicing it, put it through your garlic press and stir in to the finished juice! Happy juicing.
She publishes a free weekly eZine, In Essence and is compiling an eBook of Healthy Fast Food with 25% of the proceeds going to The Cancer Project, a charity set up by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and nutritionists to educate the public on the benefits of a healthy diet for cancer prevention and survival. If you have a recipe you would like to submit, visit http://www.LiveInEssence.com for further details. To book Claire to speak at your event, email her at Claire@LiveInEssence.com.
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