In this article we share with you some tips that will make juicing easier, so that you can easily commit to juicing at home. With the approach of Christmas, now is a great time to consider including juicing into your life. Christmas for many people is about sharing time with family and friends, relaxing and of course indulging with food, drink or maybe both. If, after the holidays, you are left feeling sluggish and bloated (maybe because you enjoyed just one too many glasses of wine, portions of turkey or Christmas pudding!) a juice cleanse can offer you and your digestive system a much-desired relief.
But before we share our juicing tips, the first question you might want to ask is why juice? Let´s see below how juicing works and what are the key benefits.
Why is juicing good for you?
Freshly prepared juices help to provide your body with the nutrients and vitamins that it needs to be healthy. Juicing for a period of time can also serve as a catalyst for change in your diet. It gives you an opportunity to change your relationship with food and allows for experimentation with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, which are not usually eaten raw because of texture or flavour.
Juicing can also help you to lose weight. It is actually a great way to shed some pounds without starving yourself, because your body will get the nutrients that it needs, while your calorie intake can drop significantly.
The main benefit and the reason why many people choose juicing is that it helps your body to cleanse and heal. About 10% of the calories you ingest via solid food are spent on digesting, making that food bio-available, ready for your body to use. When you juice most of the “digestive” work is done for you – the fibre has been removed by the juicer and you are left with “liquidised” vitamins and minerals, which are easily absorbed by your body. As a result, your digestive system gets a break. Your body is left with spare energy, so it uses that energy to repair and rejuvenate cells. When you juice, you usually stop eating and drinking other things (like caffeine, alcohol, meat, dairy, processed foods that contain preservatives). The combination of extra vitamins and minerals, together with a reduction in these other items (like caffeine, for example) can start a cleansing process, sometimes also called detox. This detox process is where the body´s cells, tissues and organs let go of things that had been stored, so that the body can excrete them. Here, at La Crisalida Retreats, we recommend to juice for a minimum of three days to get the benefit of the detox and generally it is fine to continue up to a week to ten days.
Freshly prepared juices, due to them being alkaline, assist with restoring the pH balance of the body. In the long run this can help to combat some chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, crohn´s disease, eczema and maybe even cancer. For some more inspiration on juicing you might want to watch “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” (external link).
Now let´s have a look at some useful tips on how to make juicing easier at your own home.
Top tips to make juicing easier:
- Before investing in an expensive juicer, start with something cheaper that you can easily afford, to test if juicing works for you and if this is going to be something you would want to do on a regular basis. We suggest starting with a centrifugal juicer – you can pick up one of these for around 100 -150 Euros. These are generally faster, easier to assemble and clean than the more expensive masticating types. Try the machine in the shop – look for a machine that has only a few parts to assemble, a big chute (less chopping of fruit or vegetables) and a long cord, see how it fits together. It needs to have a minimum of 700 watts power. A juice container with fitting top is essential to keep your kitchen splash-free.
- Find a place in your kitchen, which becomes the “home” of the juicer. Leaving it on the surface will remind you to juice and make it easier when you want to juice. (Getting it out of a cupboard can take time!).
- Keep your machine clean! If you clean before or as soon as you drink your juice, you only have to do some brushing and rinsing. Use soap, rinse well and allow to air dry. However, if you leave the sticky pulp in your machine for a whole afternoon or day, it will harden and you will have a difficult time getting rid of it.
- Drink your juice as soon as you can to maximize nutrient intake. If you are planning to juice for a whole day, you can make a bigger batch in the morning for breakfast and lunch. Keep it in the fridge, in a closed glass container that is filled to the top (so no air gets in), and your juice will maintain good nutritional values for up to 4 to 6 hours.
- Remember safety and wash hands, fruits and veggies before using. Keep an eye out for (avoid) wax coating on lemons, apples etc. Prepare food items immediately before you start juicing them. Nutrients start to escape as soon as cutting begins.
- When building a juice, start with a base, like apples, pears, carrots or cucumbers, then add lemon, then add other veggies or fruits. Always use some lemon in your juice, you can keep the skin on for a nice zesty flavour. Lemons are great antioxidants and contribute to your juice being alkaline, which will assist your body to maintain its pH balance. Lemons also slow down the oxidation process (this is the process that breaks down and reduces the vitamin and mineral content).
- Use more vegetables than fruits. Here at La Crisalida Retreats we aim to make most of our juices 75% vegetables and 25% fruits.
- Don’t make your juice too complicated – 3 to 5 different fruits or vegetables are enough.
- When using leafy greens, roll them up into a tight package and sandwich them between harder items, like apples or courgettes to maximize the extraction of juices.
- Consider using the pulp in food recipes or compost. The remaining fibre is also a delicious treat for chickens.
- To maintain protein and fibre balance, you can blend avocado into your juice, or stir in some freshly ground flax or chia seeds.
- When you start a juice diet, get organised and make a plan. Figure out how many meals you want to replace with juicing and get your recipes together. Plan for a variety and make a list before going to the grocery store. We have lots of juice recipes on our blog page.
- Rotate and re-new. Try vegetables or fruits that are new for you and focus on what’s in season.
- Boost flavour with herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, cayenne, ginger, turmeric or cinnamon. We use ginger in this month´s juice recipe: ginger shots, for great taste, warmth and antioxidant boost. When using spices like cayenne or turmeric, use a teaspoon and sprinkle into the juice – you can use a hand blender to combine them better. Hand blenders are great for mixing in basil or mint too – some centrifugal juicers can not easily produce juice from small leaves like basil or mint, so if you try your juicer and it spits out the basil into the pulp bin, then try adding it directly into the juice glass and mixing with the hand blender.
- In between juices drink plenty of water.
Enjoyed in moderation, juicing is a quick and tasty way to obtain vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind that to maintain optimal health, the most efficient way is to eat a well-balanced, whole food, plant based diet, include regular exercise and enjoy life.