You recently bought a juice machine? Now what?
There are many “juice wannabes” out there, and that's understandable. Juicing has many benefits, and mastering it is easy—just about as much so as learning to eat a bagel.
Juice machines have a simple but wonderful function. Juice is basically water that a plant contains, and a juicer separates that water from the encapsulated fibers of plants. Drinking juices is incredibly good for you: It's very healthy, and no one on the planet is lying in a hospital bed because they drank fresh vegetable or fruit juices.
The basic rules of juicing and juice machine operation and maintenance are simple—mostly, just that you can't run bananas or chicken and other flesh foods through them. And it's highly recommended that you always use organic produce when you make juices in order to avoid pesticides (which are toxic both to us as humans and to the planet itself) and GMOs.
Those who are first getting into juicing and want to make both smoothies and juices are advised to focus on juice making first and get a blender for making smoothies and smoothie bowls after they get some proficiency in juicing.
It bears repeating: Juicing is very good for you—as good for you as eating salad is. Perhaps you hate salad, and if so, juicing would be great for you because you'd get healthy vegetables without having to eat salad.
This begs the question, why do we need vegetables? We need vegetables because as humans we're designed to be carbohydrate-burning machines: We’re designed to process the good carbohydrates that are resident in plants.
All flesh-eating animals rely on plants, and the animals that they eat likely eat plants. We've all heard the expression, “You are what you eat,” but it's also true in the animal kingdom that you are what you eat eats! Yet we are equipped to consume things other than vegetables.
As humans, we are designed as omnivores (as are raccoons, rats, bears, humans, certain fish, and many other animals). We, like other omnivores, can subsist on plants, animals, or a mixture of the two. Our design makes us able to adapt to environmental conditions—weather and terrain—and the availability of food sources.
The eating patterns of animals are in accordance with their instincts. But the eating patterns of humans are more complex because we make dietary choices based on a number of factors. Two of those primary factors are psychological issues and consumerism.
Consumerism has changed everything in our society over the last 200 years. It's been a major driver of the current situation in which modern man has lost touch with food sources and no longer communicates with the earth. But such communication should be crucial. It should reflect a meaningful and profound journey encompassing planting, sharing, and gratitude. Tragically, this way of being has been lost and as a result we no longer can differentiate between food and poison.
That wasn't always the case. Long ago when we were closer to nature plants would in effect talk to us and tell us what to eat. And back then we were not drowning in an ocean of processed food. It's true: Before we became “civilized,” before the dawn of large-scale agriculture, people ate pure foods and drank clean water. And they ate in season because they had no choice to do otherwise.
For many reasons, we I have developed horrible eating patterns. We don't understand the difference between energy and stimulation. We eat too many meals, and we overeat when we eat those meals and eat in between them. We don't combine food groups properly. And for these and many other reasons we cause ourselves to have weight Issues, gas, mood issues, pain, inflammation, and problems that are even worse than those things.
How Juicing Can Help You
I repeat: Juice is good for you. It's the perfect clean food that should be a component of an overall clean diet. It may not be a “be all end all” detoxing solution to resort to after bingeing on unhealthy foods. But it is an efficient way to ensure that you get food that has plenty of vitamins and minerals (rather than synthesized food products that are developed in labs).
Juices have many extremely healthy components. They contain carbohydrates (of the good variety) which are our most precious source of energy. They have clean protein—protein that is of higher quality and that can be far more efficiently absorbed than protein that comes from flesh foods. And they have nutrients such as antioxidants that flesh foods are radically low in.
Regarding plant protein, it's lower in grams then animal protein is. Since that’s the case, plant protein might not serve the purpose of helping certain types of athletes gain rapid muscle mass for size and increase of strength. Having said that, though, there are side effects (such as pain and inflammation) to unhealthy dietary practices geared toward rapid strength increase and muscle mass gain.
One great benefit of juice is that because it is in a liquid format it gets into the bloodstream quickly. Solid foods, by contrast, need to be chemically and mechanically broken down within a person’s system. And another benefit of juice is that the sugars within the fruits and vegetables in it do not wreak havoc with blood sugar levels as processed sugars do.
Juice is refreshing, it provides calories for energy, and it’s great for hydration because it's filled with natural water from its plants.
Questions About Juicing
Most people who first buy a juicer have a lot of questions. They might think that their questions are complex or technical, but most of such common questions have fairly simple answers. Some of those questions are the following:
- What should I juice?
- Is a juice a meal replacement?
- What time of the day should I drink juice?
- Should I avoid fruit?
- Which are better—greens or fruits?
You can juice any fruits and vegetables other than bananas (for which you should use a blender). You should go to the local supermarket and take care to pick vegetables that are not rotten. Begin your lifestyle of juicing with fruits and vegetables that you like: When you do so, it will make it easier to make juicing a habit.
Start with the following items:
- Lemons (which need to be hand-squeezed after purchase)
If you’re pressed for time during your first week of your juicing regimen, buy ginger and celery. Try a concoction of celery and ginger. Try cucumber alone, or apple, kale, and ginger. Try three-ounce ginger shots diluted with lemon and honey.
A Juicing Process Suggestion
From the beginning, it’s good if you can turn your process of making juice into a Zen exercise. Organizing your machine and preparing produce can be a chore, but it’s so much better if you can make it become a meditation. When you do so, it helps bring knowledge, eating patterns, and your relationship with food into focus.
Set the machine up in a place in your kitchen with easy access. Next, let go of any psychological attachment you might have that suggests that certain pieces of produce do magical things. A better mindset is that anything that you're not allergic to, that’s available in a supermarket produce section, and that yields a juice is good. (One of the few exceptions to that rule might be an onion—onion juice would be disgusting.)
Juicing and Overall Health
Perhaps you bought a juicer because you were driven by health concerns about an ailment. If you're trying to cure a malady of some sort, start by eliminating all processed food. This takes time and is very difficult for some people, but it pays off tremendously. And embracing a plant-based diet is highly recommended as well. Those who do eat animal protein should limit their doing so to three days a week.
Some may wonder if diabetes can be exacerbated or even caused by drinking juices. Absolutely not!! People develop diabetes because of dietary dysfunction related to other causes: Those causes include eating many refined and processed foods as well as eating too much animal protein. To be blunt, but not meaning to be insensitive, diabetes is caused by shitty diets.
Perhaps you’re not at risk of diabetes but are still concerned about the amount of sugar you're taking in by drinking juice. If so, mix your juices with mostly greens and add things that are of lower glycemic index such as green apples. But you do need some fruit in your smoothies for both vitamins and antioxidants.
Greens are very beneficial because they contain lots of minerals and have unique compounds that are less available in fruits. For that reason, a mixture of greens and fruits is recommended. People with very high calorie diets who eat too much fruit could be adding to their caloric problems. Such people should limit their calories across the board, clean up their diets, and realize that if they’re very active that they will need fruit for energy.
Some who begin juicing wonder if they're getting enough fiber. They should be aware that juice actually contains fiber, though, unless the fiber is completely filtered out. A person does not need fiber at every meal, but those still concerned about it might consider eating two celery sticks for added fiber. And it so happens that the glycemic index of the celery sticks combined with the fruit juice will also average out one’s overall glycemic index.
It's certainly true that fiber is good for the system. But it's also true that juice cleansing is effective because some fiber from the juice has been removed. And because that’s the case, the juice hits the bloodstream quickly and gives a person’s chemistry a positive hit.
Juice is very cleansing for a number of reasons. One is that juice neutralizes carbonic acid. Another is that minerals in juice will bond to toxins in the bloodstream or inside of a cell wall. And yet another is that a lot of digestive force isn't necessary to assimilate juices into the bloodstream: That makes it possible for more energy to be used for daily tasks and bodily healing processes.
Some people may be fixated with considerable fear of fruit sugar because they’ve been told that too much of it is unhealthy. And although that basically is misinformation, such fear is nonetheless understandable. Those who have such concerns might consider diluting their juices with water and drinking them somewhat slowly throughout a given day.
An issue that some have is that they don't like drinking warm juice. Those who want to drink juice right at the moment that they make it can get past that by adding some ice cubes if they find colder drinks to be more palatable.
The assertion that cold beverages can be a shock to a person’s system is false. The only circumstance in which that could be the case would be if a person’s immune system was very weak and a colder drink temperature might lower the ambient body temperature and make them feel weaker. People in that situation probably should drink things at room temperature. And people who have weak immune systems but don't like drinking cold things can add a little bit of warm water to a juice to dilute it.
Juicing Then and Now
People in ancient cultures drank juice. They just didn't have the machinery that we have today and weren't able to extract juice in the same ways. People in tropical weather drink sugar cane juice, and it's remarkably healthy if the cane juice isn’t refined. Coconut water, a nectar, is also very good for one’s health. Some very healthy juices, including lemon juice, orange juice, and grapefruit juice, have a very high water content, so it has always been easy to extract liquid from them.
Before the advent of today's great juicing machines, people would make teas from various fruits and plants. Ginger is an example. Ginger has great health benefits, and it's simply made by boiling it in water. And those who want more potency from ginger tea can shred the fiber from the liquid, extract the liquid, and then drink it.
One item that people don't think of as a juice is coffee. Coffee technically is a fruit, and coffee liquid is essentially an extract. And wine can be viewed in the same way. Wine is basically fermented fruit juice. People have been making wine and coffee throughout history.
I mentioned coffee and wine just to make a certain point: Specifically, that the assertion that juicing is unnatural is false. Consider that the food that we eat doesn't just fly into our mouths, and the act of eating isn’t an unnatural event. The act of having to work to make money to buy our food can't be considered unnatural either.
Most of us no longer live in the jungle climbing trees for coconuts, papayas, and mangos. Most of us don't live on islands with trees with delicious leafy greens everywhere. Perhaps this is unfortunate, but it's the reality today. Yet it would be beneficial to us as a species if we made a more concerted effort to get back to using healthy plants for foods and medicines.
Many tout the benefits of juice fasting. Although I haven’t done scientific study per se on the practice, I have considerable experience both doing it myself and seeing the benefits that it brought to thousands of customers of my former retail chain. I've noted that of those thousands of people, not one of them experienced a negative outcome.
Some of those who participated in juice cleanses experienced remarkable results. One such client did a juice fast for 60 days (and did so under medical supervision). During that time, he weaned off three medications—one for high blood pressure, another for high cholesterol, and the third for depression. His juice fast consisted of one smoothie per day plus as much juice as he wanted to drink.
Another client, a New York Times writer, went on a 30-day juice only cleanse. She lost 18 pounds, gave up excessive drinking, and dumped her boyfriend during the 30-day period.
I firmly believe in the efficacy of juice fasts, and most people first engaging in the practice limit them to 3-5 days. (I have written about these fasts in more detail in other articles on this site and in other materials I’ve produced.)
To me, the trepidation that some experience regarding juice fasting indicates something that’s ironic. Specifically, that a great many people have this and similar concerns about dietary health products, yet they will eat unhealthy high protein diets and intoxicate themselves with alcohol and toxic processed foods.
In conclusion, juicing is a great health practice. My belief in it inspired me to start the Juice Press chain in 2010 and the goodsugar enterprise (which I believe has improved products and business practices) in 2022. If you’ve just begun to get into juicing, I applaud you for taking a great positive step towards health and wellness, and I believe that you will reap exponential benefits from doing so.