Juicing 101…a guest post from Jaclyn Downs
I have long loved eating greens, but aside from my one make-ahead green smoothie recipe, have been hesitant to drink them! When I saw that Jaclyn Downs was offering a juicing workshop about a mile from my house, I signed up immediately. Jaclyn Downs has extensive education in the field of diet and nutrition, is a wellness coach, and teaches seminars that educate and inspire people as to how they can make gradual, lifelong changes in order to reach immediate and future health goals. I actually did not go into the workshop expecting to purchase a juicer, but I have heard more and more about the benefits of juicing recently and have a number of friends who swear by it. I saw this as a learning experience and a way for me to pass along helpful information to those who may be intrigued by the concept.
During the seminar, Jaclyn offered the basics for those new to juicing, which she shares below. Better yet, she juiced and provided lots of samples. It became readily apparent that there are endless combinations, some that I found quite delicious, others that I found less palatable. For instance, a little pineapple went a long way in providing sweetness and great taste to a juicer-full of broccoli and celery. Lemons, though a super healthy item to juice, were a bit too sour for me when juiced with kale alone. Beets, beet greens, and red pepper tasted just like cold, cooked beets, while a mix of cucumber, carrot, and celery was light and refreshing. It became apparent that experimenting with a variety of produce is the key, and that everyone had his or her own favorite combinations. As with food in general, preferences are a very individual thing.
Jaclyn also mentioned that green smoothies are a great way to ease into juicing. She made a green smoothie that I enjoyed so much, I stocked up on the necessary ingredients the very next day and have been enjoying a version of it almost daily since the workshop. I am growing greens in my garden and have found this smoothie (which I will share in the coming days) to be an excellent way to consume a generous amount of them in an easy, delicious way. (My kids tease me about the color, and we have a silly name for it, so get ready!)
In the meantime, I welcome Jaclyn to The Fountain Avenue Kitchen and encourage anyone with questions to comment below or contact Jaclyn directly. Her email is linked at the bottom of this post. So, without further adieu, here is Jaclyn….
Sometimes, when I hear someone talking about entrusting their health and/or weight loss goals into a magic pill, powder or potion, I want to hug them… after emphatically shaking those silly thoughts right out of their brains.
It’s rare, if even possible, that something formulated and processed in a lab can be the key to health, much less weight loss. Those creations are complex, involving machines, solvents, chemicals and thermometers.
There is a much more simple way to drastically boost the level of health within all systems of the body. Juicing! Juicing helps to enable our cells, organs, and glands to function efficiently, which creates a clear-cut path to our health goals, whatever they may be – losing weight, having more energy, sleeping better, and eliminating digestive complaints or the myriad of other common complaints that slow us down and make us feel crummy.
The benefits of juicing are tremendous! Juicing has proven to be phenomenal for:
- ridding the body of toxins
- enhancing nutrient absorption
- nourishing every cell in the body
- balancing acidity in the body that causes disease and inflammation
- boosting the immune system
- lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
- increasing energy
- clearing up skin disorders
- eliminating heartburn
- reducing body fat
If your health goal is to lose weight, juicing is a great way to get the body on track to lose weight and keep it off. I tell my clients that we don’t get healthy by losing weight, we lose weight by getting healthy. Juicing puts you on the fast-track to health!
I have found that many people are just as interested in juicing as they are intimidated by it. There are so many questions – Which juicer is right for my home? Are there any vegetables I shouldn’t juice? How often should I juice? How long can I store juice, if I can even store it?
There are certain things to consider if you are are new to juicing, which I address in my Juicing and Smoothie Workshop. Below are a few key points.
If you are looking to start juicing:
- Start slowly – Begin with vegetables and fruit that you know you like the taste of.
- Ease into it – Use foods that are friendly with your stomach. If your stomach makes its presence known shortly after juicing, you might want to use less of the potential offending food, or eliminate it for a while and revisit it again some time later.
- Use as much pesticide-free produce as you can. Pesticides are known neuroendocrine disruptors (they wreak havoc on brain cells and hormones). Each year the Environmental Working Group provides a list of the most and least contaminated produce. I base much of my grocery shopping on this list.
- Drink your juice as soon as possible. Many of the nutrients and live enzymes that make the juice so beneficial are delicate. Drinking your juice right away ensures maximum potency, although can be saved for later if stored properly.
- Clean your juicer right away – Any remnants can breed bacteria and/or mold. If I can’t clean my juicer right away, I disassemble and soak parts. Some juicers are easier to clean that others, which brings me to my next topic…
Types of Juicers
There are two main types of juicers, centrifugal and masticating. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks:
Centrifugal juicers are faster and less expensive than masticating juicers, however, they do not juice as efficiently, especially when it comes to leafy greens. Because they have a fast motor that can create heat from the friction, the juice can lose some of its nutritional value and begin to oxidize sooner than juice that was extracted with a masticating juicer.
Masticating juicers pulverize food. They spin at a much slower RPM, which makes the juicing process much slower, but preserves the nutrients and introduces less oxygen into the juice. Masticating juicers also juice more efficiently so that less veggies, in most instances, create more juice. Masticating juicers squeeze the foods you place into them, and some, like the Omega that I have, can also grind meat, coffee, and spices, as well as make baby food, nut butters and pasta.
There are about six common mistakes that people make when beginning to juice. Here are the three most common:
- Too much fruit – Yes, juicing fruit is delicious, but juicing too many fruits or root veggies can create a sugar overload and an unhealthy insulin response.
- Making the same juice all the time – People are creatures of habit. This is not good when it comes to consuming the same foods all the time. Not only are you making the nutritional scale imbalanced, you are putting your body at risk for developing food sensitivities. Change up your juicing ingredients to ensure a wide variety of nutrients for optimum health.
- Not allowing for optimal nutritional effects – Juicing is most beneficial on an empty stomach. Don’t drink juice with a meal, and wait at least 15 minutes after juicing to eat.
Also, I’ll happily come to your home or business to present my Juicing and Smoothie Workshop–for those living in the South Central Pennsylvania area–and show you how delicious juicing can be – even green juices!