I remember – vividly – my first experience with juicing. My college cross-country coach started the whole team drinking beet juice… and created a panic in the locker room.
Coach wanted us to have a “nutritional advantage,” so he announced one day he’d be providing us with a daily glass of raw juice – mostly beets – every day.
The panic hit that first night… when every single member of the team thought he’d discovered blood in his urine. It was just beet juice, but the experiment ended there.
Years later, I bought a juicer and decided I didn’t like it. The juice was okay, but the juicer tossed big chunks of fruit and veggies – unjuiced – into the pulp bin. And it was a pain to clean.
I’m smarter now, thanks to some serious detective work. So here are three secrets that will make juicing a whole lot easier – and healthier, too.
Secret #1: Buy the right juicer. My first juicer was a “centrifugal” type. These juicers use blades and a sort of conical screen that spins at high speeds to separate the juice from the pulp. They’re the least expensive juicers… and the least efficient.
Centrifugal juicers create a lot of waste. A lot of your produce can wind up in the pulp bin. And the pulp tends to be pretty wet, meaning a lot of good juice is going to waste.
Cleaning the screen is a pain in the neck, too. It takes forever to scrub out all the little shreds of produce.
“Masticating” juicers crush your produce using one or two large, slow-moving gears. They juice just as much produce just as quickly as a centrifugal model, but they do it with a lot less waste. You get a lot more juice out of the same amount of produce.
Masticating juicers will also juice produce centrifugal models simply can’t handle. Like greens. (This is important for me, since I can’t use tomatoes as a base for my juices.) They’re easier to clean, too.
Secret #2: Juice veggies, not fruit. Most fruit is high in sugar. The fiber in fruit helps your body absorb all that sugar more slowly. Fruit juice will put your blood sugar through the roof. So eat your fruit whole and stick to juicing veggies. It’s healthier.
Secret #3: Don’t be a tough guy. A lot of people get turned off to juicing because they try to go whole-hog right from the start. If you start with a 16-ounce glass of kale-beet juice for your first juicing adventure, you probably won’t stick with it.
Carrots, celery and tomatoes are good “starter” veggies. They have mild flavors that most people enjoy. Bitter greens – such as kale – are loaded with nutrition. But they’re also hard to handle in concentrated form. If you slowly introduce stronger flavors, you’ll have a much better experience.