(Almost) Everything a Beginner Needs to Know About Juicing Vegetables

Why We Bought a Juicer and Why You Should Too

My fiance, Michelle, recently watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and she immediately proceeded to visit the official movie website and order one of their suggested juicers, the Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain. I didn’t know anything about juicing and when Michelle told me that she paid $200 for a juicer, I thought to myself “Wow, this must have been a convincing movie,” so I watched it too.

The movie was extremely inspiring.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead follows Joe Cross, an Australian man who was obese, eating unhealthy and was taking tons of medications to keep himself alive. He decided it was time to turn his life around, so he travelled to the U.S. where he would do a 60 day juice fast while his doctor regularly checked his blood levels. He then travelled across the nation and spoke to people along his journey about health issues around the world.

This is where the story gets inspiring. Along the journey, Joe met a truck driver who was in worse condition than he was. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but I think it’s safe to say that meeting Joe was probably the best thing that has ever happened to him. It’s stories like this that make me wish I went to school to become a nutritionist.

What You Need to Know About Juicing

The movie was focused on losing weight, but the benefits of juicing are about more than that. I don’t want to lose weight, so it’s all about the nutritional benefits for me.

There are some key things to keep in mind about juicing.

You typically don’t want to juice only fruits, because it removes fiber which results in a high concentration of sugar. When consuming fruits, you want the fiber to regulate suger into the blood stream, so that you don’t get a sugar rush. If you want an all-fruit (or mostly fruit) drink, consider making a smoothie in your blender instead.

You should be juicing mainly veggies anyway. Most people have problems getting their daily recommended amount of vegetables, so if you’re going to use a juicer, use it in the way it will benefit you the most. Admittedly, an all-veggie juice doesn’t typically result in the tastiest drink (unless you use carrots or beets), so it’s fine to throw in an apple or an orange for some sweetness. I actually made a straight green juice with no fruits on my second juicing experience ever and what a mistake that was (the picture at the top of this article). It was super-healthy, but I didn’t have a taste for green juices yet, so it was tough to get through. I’ve heard that most people have a hard time with straight green juices at first, but the taste buds will eventually get used to it.

Juicing removes fiber, and that worried me a bit at first. Fiber is important isn’t it? It helps prevent constipation by moving foods through the digestive system. It has been known to lower risk of diabetes and heart disease by lowering cholesterol and glucose levels. It slows the absorption of sugar and it also makes meals feel fuller, which keep you from feeling hungry for a longer time.

In the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Joe went on a fast for 60 days, but from the research I’ve done, it doesn’t seem to be a sustainable diet. Eventually everyone needs to break their fast and go back to food. Nobody is going to go on a strict juice diet for the rest of their lives, so if you’re planning to go on a juice fast, you might be forgoing fiber for now, but it won’t be permanent. Personally, I probably won’t be replacing any my meals with juices, but instead just complimenting my meals, although I see no reason why someone wouldn’t want to replace meals, as long as they are getting enough calories to maintain energy levels.

Another great benefit of juicing is that since the fiber is separated from the juice, the body doesn’t need to break down any food. The body can’t digest or absorb fiber, so by consuming only the juice, you conserve energy and your body can assimilate the nutrients of the juice quickly. That is a huge benefit.

You should drink your juices immediately after juicing. Once the fruits and vegetables are pulverized by the juicer, the nutrients will begin to break down after coming into contact with the air. Some people suggest that you can store your juice for up to 24 hours if using a dark, air-tight container, but research suggests that nutrients will still be lost during that time. If you need to take your juices with you, don’t let the nutrient break-down deter you. It’s still very healthy. I’ve been looking for affordable portable juicers and this manual juicer from Lexen looks like the perfect juicer to take to work to avoid this problem. It has great reviews and is super-affordable.

Cleaning is a part of the process that many people probably don’t want to deal with but if you want your juicer to last a long time, you’re going to have to clean it regularly. Right now I’m cleaning the machine after each use, but if I start juicing more often throughout the day I might only do a quick clean of the filter after each use and then do one thorough clean of the whole machine at the end of the day. It’s really not that bad. I recorded myself cleaning the machine if you want to see what’s involved. It took me three minutes, but I’m sure that I could do it much faster now.

WARNING: I forget sometimes that my visitors might have kids nearby and I unintentionally added a song to this video which has explicit lyrics. Turn off the volume if your children are around 🙂

Before you buy a juicer, do research into the type of juicer you want. There are two main types; centrifugal and masticating. A centrifugal juicer, like the one we bought, is high powered and runs at fast RPMs. It’s great for juicing hard vegetables fast, but it isn’t so good at juicing leafy greens. A masticating juicer is perfect for leafy greens, but it’s slow, prone to jams and you’ll usually need to cut up your fruits and veggies into smaller pieces before running them through. Watch some videos on YouTube to get an idea of which you think is best. I’ll actually be posting an article going into more detail of the different types soon.

Also, as you might have seen from my cleaning video above, cleaning doesn’t take long for a centrifugal juicer and from some of the videos I’ve seen of masticating juicers, such as the Omega VRT330, all you need to do is pour in a little water while it’s running. It’s more of a rinse, but it seems to be good enough until you do a full clean at the end of the week. There seems to be a lot of benefits of using masticating juicers over centrifugal. I’d love to own one of each if I could afford it.

Here’s a video of us using the Breville we bought so that you can get an idea of how easy it is to juice.

A Quick Recap

  • Go watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 😉 Hulu (free) | Netflix (w/paid account)
  • Juicing removes pulp, but it’s not a big deal
  • Juices consisting of entirely fruit are not recommended
  • You should juice mostly vegetables
  • Juicing is an easy way to get your daily recommended dose of veggies
  • Your body doesn’t have to break down the food with juices
  • Nutrients are more easily assimilated in a juice
  • Juice should be consumed immediately after juicing
  • Cleaning is generally quick and easy
  • Do research on whether a centrifugal or masticating juicer is right for you

I absolutely love juicing. I’ve been searching for recipes all over the internet and I’ve been trying everything I can. What I like most about juicing is being able to take a cup of spinach, 3 carrots, an apple, and 2 stalks of celery, turn it into liquid and drink it for breakfast. That’s a pretty damn healthy breakfast don’t you think? I would have never taken the time to eat all of that for breakfast, but juicing allows me to get a large amount of healthy food quickly and easily.