Guest post:Neil Martin
How to Start Juicing?
Juicing has been getting a lot of media attention recently and clearly this has been having an effect on the number of households owning a juicer. Lakeland, the kitchenware retailer, reported that juicer sales shot up by 4,000 per cent in a week following the screening of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Channel 5 and John Lewis have reported that sales have risen by 2,600 per cent compared with the same period last year.
So why juice?
Firstly, UK government figures published in 2012 suggest fewer than a third of adults and only one in 10 children are eating their recommended “five-a-day” of fruit and vegetables. Did you know in Japan the recommendation is 17 portions of vegetables and fruits per day? Freshly extracted juices are a quick and easy way to increase your intake beyond “five-a-day” and to deliver concentrated nutrients to your cells in around 15 minutes – a tiny fraction of the time it takes our bodies to digest a typical meal.
“It’s the Juice of the Fibre that feeds you”
One of the father’s of modern juicing, Jay Kordich, is famous for saying it is “the juice of the fibre that feeds you”. Put another way, it is not strictly true that we are what we eat. We are, in fact, what our cells manage to absorb from what we eat. Our bodies are constantly changing with 98% of the atoms in the body being replaced in less than a year. It is the nutrients we absorb from our food that are used to build those new cells.
Fresh vs Bottled?
It is important to know that bottled juices and smoothies are not the same as freshly extracted juices that you make yourself. Most bottled juices and smoothies have been heated and pasteurised. This process denatures the juice, killing off all its natural enzymes and massively reducing its vitamin and mineral content. Many bottled juices will also have preservatives, colours and artificial and refined sugars added to them.
Here’s a great guide to juicing from alisonsmith.com
Selecting a juicer
In order to start juicing at home you will need to get yourself a juicer. It is important to note that a juicer and a blender are not the same thing. A juicer separates the juice from the fibre of the plant, similar to the way our digestive systems work, whereas a blender simply “chews” the plant – a bit like our teeth.
There are many juicers on the market, but they essentially fall in to two main types: masticating & centrifugal.
The most commonly used juicers are centrifugal. These work by pushing the vegetables and fruits down a feed tube where they will reach a cutting blade that rapidly spins, slicing the produce, pushing the juice through a fine filter and the pulp into a waste container. Generally centrifugal juicers have large feed tubes making them quick and easy to use and enabling most fruits and vegetable to be juiced whole. The process of juice extraction will expose the juice to a small amount of heat and air and this can reduce the life of the juice.
Masticating juicers (also known as slow juicers) give a better quality juice than centrifugal juicers and because there is very little exposure to heat or oxygen the juice made in them will keep a lot longer. The exact times will vary between juicer models and the juice recipe being used, but typically I would advise juices made in a centrifugal juicer and drunk as quickly as possible and definitely within 12 hours. Juices made in a masticating juicer will typically stay fresh for 48-72 hours in the fridge, with minimal loss of nutrients. The downside to masticating juicers is that the feed tubes are smaller and hence the vegetables and fruits need to be cut in to smaller pieces prior to juicing. Often they are also a bit more time consuming to clean.
Adding juices to your day
There are many great juicing programs and recipes available, but before you rush off and start an extended juice reboot, detox or cleanse, where you spend a period of time on juice only, you might want to begin by introducing 1 or 2 juices per day in to your life.
Depending on your current diet and lifestyle, switching to just freshly extracted juices may cause you to have withdrawal symptoms from things like refined sugars and caffeine. By gradually introducing juicing into your life you will most likely find you also reduce the “bad” foods and this will make it much easier should you decide to do a juice only reboot.
If you’re after some recipes to make, have a squiz through my recipe archive for my juice recipes.
This is my favourite green juice recipe:
- 6 leaves cavalo nero (kale)
- 1 lemon
- chunk ginger
- 1/2 cucumber
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 apples
Connect with Neil Martin – Natural Juice Junkie