With a new year upon us many of my friends are trying out new diet regimes. I’ve had several tell me that they either bought a new juicer or want to buy one as part of their health goals this year. It’s not uncommon for my friends to message me and ask about specific juicer brands and how good they may be, as well as ask for some starter recipes. With all of that in mind, I thought I’d put together a few tips for those who want to add juicing to their health program.
8 Tips for Beginner Juicers
- Choose the Right Juicer – I really believe that choosing the right juicer will make all the difference in whether you continue juicing. The ease of both juicing and cleaning your juicer are the two key components to look at when making your choice. I, obviously, haven’t used every juicer on the market. In fact, I’ve only used two – the Jack LaLanne and the Breville Juicer (2 speed). The few days I spent using the Jack Lalaine were enough to tell me that I would not keep juicing regularly with that juicer. Amazon.com is great for reviews. If you find what you think might be a good deal onajuicer, compare it to Amazon’s price and then read the reviews on Amazon to see what others have said. Keep in mind that reallylow-endjuicers (under $75) are probably in a different class and likely haven’t been reviewed by anyone who has experienced anything better.
- Ease of Cleaning – The Breville (for me) is easier to clean, and does a better (faster) job of juicing the types of produce that I use. Your juicer should come apart easily and allow for cleaning between different areas.
- Ease of Juicing (Quality of Juice) – Juicing produce is a total waste if you get no juice and end up with a lot of pulp. Every juicer is going to be different. Higher end juicers will typically yield more juice. Masticating juicers chew the produce up and create even more juice. However, the price range on masticating juicers is a good bit higher.
- Start with flavors you already know. Don’t stick to just fruit juices or you’ll be defeating the purpose of adding juice to your diet. But, do stick to combinations that sound good to you, and items that you would normally consider eating. However, if you start juicing combinations you’d never consider eating, and don’t like them, it will deter you from continuing. If you don’t typically like tomato juice, then you probably still won’t like it (that’s me). However, as you juice more you get more adventurous.
- Sweeten your Greens – Green juice is one of the best reasons to juice. But, straight up greens can taste pretty gross. However, adding just an apple can make a huge difference. Add an apple and a lemon and you turn a gross looking green concoction into green lemonade.
- Find a good source for produce – When I started juicing my produce was terribly expensive because I didn’t know where to find the best produce for my money. CostCo and Sams are great for buying large amounts of produce at good prices (even some organics). I typically buy my celery and carrots at CostCo. Beyond that look for local produce stores or farmers markets for the best prices. We are lucky enough here to have a great produce/ vegan store where I get loads of produce for next to nothing. If there are CSAs available in your area, you may want to sign up for one (once you decide that you will be juicing and/or eating more veggies on a regular basis).
- Recycle & Reduce Cleaning – Recycle your produce bags by using them to line the pulp bin while juicing. This makes cleaning out the pulp a breeze. Just pull the bag out and toss it. No need to scrub your pulp bin.
- Clean Up – The longer you let your juicer sit dirty, the harder it will be to clean. I usually try to clean my juicer before I even drink my juice. As soon as I’m done making my juice I take the juicer apart and clean it up. The whole process (making juice and cleaning) only takes me about 10 minutes if I’m just making one juice. A little longer if I’m making a few. I wash the juicer by hand, and then about once a week I run it through the dishwasher, as well.
- Read the Directions – This goes to both the directions provided by your juicer and the directions on a recipe. If your juicer has multiple speeds it is quite helpful to use them appropriately. For a long time I never used my high-speed. I finally learned that not doing so was costing me (not just in speed of juicing, but in amount of juice). When it comes to recipes, it is often important to juice items in a particular order. Not so much for the juice but moreso because certain items are more likely to clog your juicer and make juicing other things more difficult. (example: the threads created from juicing pineapple will greatly decrease the amount of juice you get from anything juiced later).
- Storing Juice – One of the major benefits of juicing is all the nutrients you get from the produce that you lose when you cook the same items. Not to mention you can get way more of those nutrients in a juice than you would be able to eat. Unfortunately, those nutrients deteriorate as the juice is exposed to air. Recommendations vary from not storing your juice more than 24 hours to not storing it more than 72. If you do choose to store your juice choose air-tight glass containers, like Mason jars. I have these awesome glass water bottles that I use. You can also freeze juice to increase the life-span (just be sure not to fill your container all the way up since your liquid will expand as it freezes.
- Recipes – What good would this be if I didn’t get you started with some recipes. My favorite juices to get you started would be:
- Apple Pie:
1 piece of Ginger (about the size of the end of your thumb)
Juice Ginger first, then apples. Top with Cinnamon.
(Just thinking about this makes me want some).
- Get Well Juice:
1/4 Pineapple (large size, or 1/2 of the small ones).
1 piece Ginger (end of thumb size)
(juice Ginger, then Strawberries, Orange, and finally Pineapple). Add juice and banana to blender and blend. Never juice bananas. Alternatively, if fresh strawberries are not available, you can use frozen strawberries and just add them to the blender with the banana.
- Mean Green Juice:
4 leaves Kale (or 3 cups Spinach)
4 stalks celery
1 pc Ginger (end of thumb size)
Wrap ginger in the Kale, or Spinach. Pack Kale/Spinach intojuicer. Juice greens, then celery, then cucumber, apple & lemon.Each of these should make about 16oz of juice (I use the big red solo cups and they are usually full).
- Apple Pie: