When improving our health and well-being, there are a myriad of choices we can make. So, why juice? Juicing offers a unique road to recovery that we’ll explore in detail below. For me, it’s a proven winning strategy. I’ve been on my juicing journey for many years and can attest to its power to heal and profoundly impact a person’s life.
In my Beginner’s Guide To Juicing, we’ll cover the basics: what juicing is, the benefits, how and what to juice, and how to incorporate juicing into your daily life. Sprinkled throughout are juicing tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Let’s dive in and get you started on your juicing journey!
What’s In This Article?
- What Is Juicing?
- The Benefits Of Juicing
- How to Juice
- Common Juice Questions
- OK! Let’s Get Juicing!
What Is Juicing?
Juicing is the physical process of separating the liquid (juice) from fresh, raw produce (fruits, vegetables, herbs, greens, and sprouts) while leaving behind the solids (pulp). Machines aptly called juicers, are the tools typically used to make fresh juice. There are several categories of juicers, each using a particular method to extract the juice.
While you can make juice using a blender, it’s not a method I recommend if you’re going to make juicing a regular part of your life. It’s honestly not the easiest or most efficient way to make juice and will cost you in the long run in poor juice yield and increased oxidation (a process that deteriorates nutrients while causing juice to go rancid more quickly).
The Benefits Of Juicing
By liberating the nutrient-dense juice from this fibrous mass, nutrition is concentrated into a much smaller package. This allows the person drinking this living juice to reap the benefits of far more fresh produce than could easily be consumed if it were whole.
The juice that is extracted from produce that you run through a juicer contains all the same nutrition that was contained in its original form. The difference is that the majority of the insoluble fiber has been removed. By separating this out, we transform produce into an easier form to physically consume and whose nutrients are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream. This gives us the ability to take in a very high amount of nutrition in a very easy way for the body to digest.
For example, it would be difficult to eat the following in their raw, solid form in a single day:
- 1 bundle of kale
- 1 bundle of chard
- 1 bundle of parsley
- 1 bundle of cilantro
- 4 apples
- 4 cucumbers
- 1 head of celery
- 1 knob of ginger
- 5 beets
- 1 lemon
But we can easily drink the juice extracted from this mountain of produce throughout the day with all its incredible nutrition. Here are some of the top benefits of juicing:
- Concentrates Nutrition – Turns large quantities of produce into a small, nutrient-dense package.
- Easy to Digest and Absorb – Liberating juice from insoluble fiber allows it to be easily digested and its nutrients absorbed into the body.
- Supports a Healthy Digestive System – Juice gives the digestive system a rest, allowing it to eliminate backed-up solid waste and promote beneficial microbiota (1).
- Promotes Restoration and Healing – By allowing the digestive system to rest and clean itself out, the body can refocus energy typically used for digestion on other areas of restoration and healing.
- Fights Inflammation – The concentrated phytonutrients in juices may significantly reduce inflammation (2).
- Boosts Immunity – Anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories found in fresh juice can boost immunity (3).
- Supports a Variety of Health Goals – The various phytonutrients in juice lower blood pressure and cholesterol (4), promote healthy weight (1), and protect and regenerate skin (5, 6).
How to Juice
To start juicing, you’ll need a few essential items: a juicer, a good beginner recipe, and some delicious fresh produce. But before you start, having a clear goal in mind for why you’re juicing will help make your juicing journey all the better.
Decide Your Reasons for Juicing
People get into juicing for a ton of different reasons, and those reasons help determine everything from what kind of juicer is best to what recipes to start with. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do I have a specific health condition I want to address?
- Am I interested in ways to support my overall health?
- Am I starting a juice feast/cleanse?
- How often do I plan on juicing: daily, weekly, or occasionally?
- Do I plan on juicing only one type of produce (citrus, celery, greens) or a wide variety?
Get Yourself a Juicer
Knowing your juicing goals will help guide you when shopping for a juicer. They come in an array of types, sizes, and capacities for both home and commercial use. For the home user, there are a large number of countertop models that lie on the spectrums of both performance and price.
When it comes to juicers, there is an entire set of terms to familiarize yourself with; masticating, cold-press, centrifugal, triturating, hydraulic press, single auger, twin gear, horizontal, vertical, and the list goes on. The key is knowing your goals for juicing, then picking the right juicer for you becomes much easier.
Juicer Test Kitchen Pro Tip: Before you buy a juicer, read my Juicer Buying Guide to make your decision easy. I’ve used a ton of juicers, and this guide not only teaches you the different types of juicers but gives you my recommendations for each category.
Start with a Simple Juice Recipe
If you’ve never juiced before, keep it simple. Juice the fruits and veggies that you enjoy. Don’t overcomplicate it. Start with basic, easy-to-find ingredients like carrots, apples, melons, cucumbers, and celery. They all make great-tasting and healthy juices.
Here is a simple juice to try. It’s the first juice recipe I’ve ever made!Print
Juicer Test Kitchen Pro Tip: For more amazingly tasty recipes, head to our Juice Recipes section for a plethora of recipes to satisfy every taste and personal health goal.
Pick Out Your Produce
Selecting produce for juicing is just like it is for cooking. Look for fresh, unblemished items, store them as you would normally (refrigerator, countertop, etc), and juice them quickly before they become wilted or bruised. Fresh is what you want for optimum nutrition and taste.
What produce you buy will depend on what recipes you’re using or what you want to experiment with. If you’re new to juicing, I advise going with some tried and true recipes (like the one above) that sound tastiest. Then, once you have some experience, start playing around with ingredients and develop your own combinations.
Keep Your Juicer Clean
One of the biggest gripes about juicing is cleaning the juicer. I’ve always been perplexed by this since it’s no different than cleaning your pots and pans after cooking a meal. Regardless, it’s still a thing.
While you might be tempted not to clean your juicer until the next day or the next juicing session, clean it immediately. Because we’re dealing with raw finished products (fresh juice), potential contamination is greater than cooked food. So cleaning is key.
The Nama J2 Juicer takes me right around 3 minutes 30 seconds to clean completely. I timed it!
If you don’t, the residual juice and pulp left on the juicer will grow yeast, mold, and bacteria. These critters will ultimately be transferred to your next round of fresh juices, which can cause the juice to spoil more rapidly and not be suitable to drink.
Most juicers really don’t take much longer than 5-10 minutes to clean; a short window of time to get it ready for the next juicing session. While cleaning the juicer, focus on how incredible, delicious, and life-giving the next juice you make will be, making the task more of a joy than a chore.
Common Juice Questions
How Much Juice Should I Drink a Day?
My recommendation as you get started is to listen to your body. Start slowly and ease your way into the juicy lifestyle. In theory, you should be able to drink unlimited juice. However, depending on your current dietary habits, it may take time for your body to process juice without discomfort. If your internal biome isn’t used to many fresh fruits and vegetables, you must build up those produce-loving microbes in your gut.
Nama J2 Juicer makes fresh watermelon juice FAST.
As you drink your juice, your digestive system should be calm without gurgling or churning. If you experience this, it’s a sign that your digestive system needs time to adapt to juicing. Start small; first, drink a few ounces, then gradually work your way up.
What About Fiber in Juice?
Fiber is fantastic for us; you get all the soluble and some insoluble fiber when juicing. So, contrary to popular belief, there is a notable amount of fiber in juice. Soluble fiber, the primary source of fiber in juice, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, improved blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol levels (7).
While fiber in solid food is important, our systems are rarely given a break from solid food. For many, we eat more than we need, often without the nutrition our bodies desperately need. In a nutshell, we’re overfed and undernourished, and our system is on overload trying to process our nonstop food intake.
The fibrous pulp left over from juicing.
It’s good to allow our digestive system to rest. This gives the body a chance to focus its energy elsewhere, like healing from illness and removing stored toxins. Juicing is great because it gives us the nutrition we need while allowing the body to clean up, heal, and support us to be our very best.
Juicing vs Blending Which is Better?
One common question that comes up with people new to juicing is the difference between juicing and blending. Most households have a blender or food processor, but having a juicer is not as common. So it’s understandable to think “Hey! I can use my blender for juicing!”. However, true juicing is difficult to do using a blender.
While blending fruits and veggies to make smoothies is a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, it has one main difference from juicing. Blending doesn’t remove the fiber, which we’ve established is the cornerstone of juicing. The nutrition concentration you get when juicing is achieved through simply breaking all that fiber down into liquid form. While fiber is an important part of an overall healthy diet, the goal of juicing is to deliver nutrition in a manner much easier on the digestive system.
Juicer Test Kitchen Pro Tip: For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, read my articles on Juicing vs Blending:
How Long Does Fresh Juice Last?
The quick, general rule of thumb is 3 days in the fridge. However, this is a far more involved question than you might think, with many different factors coming into play. Some types of juicers, for example, force a lot of air into the finished juice. This reduces the shelf life to around 24 hours. A few things that affect juice shelf life are:
- Juicer Type – Some juicers are better at keeping air out of the finished juice than others.
- Cleanliness – This includes the juicer, cutting board, knife, storage jars, and even your hands. Remember, we’re dealing with a raw, uncooked product so heat from cooking won’t kill any spoilage-inducing organisms.
- Temperature – For juice to have any shelf-life at all, it has to be refrigerated. That refrigerator must be set at a suitably low temperature (according to manufacturer directions).
Juicer Test Kitchen Pro Tip: Take a deep dive into the world of juice storage with my article How to Keep Fresh Juice Fresh.
Isn’t Sugar Bad for You?
Oh, that demon sugar! (Can you hear me chuckling?) It’s marked as the bane of all evil in much of pop health culture. When I tell someone how much juice I drink a day, and how much fruit I consume, many look at me in disbelieving horror.
“But isn’t all that fruit BAD for you?” or “You shouldn’t be eating so much fruit. That much sugar will make you sick!” They’re all so concerned about my health, but I’m the one with excellent blood tests, boundless energy, and a clean bill of health. The source of many of our modern-day health woes, including type-2 diabetes, isn’t sugar.
Making fresh tangerine juice on the Pure Juicer.
Rather than eating too much fruit, it’s the high fat, high protein, and high sodium content of the typical Western diet that leads to poor health (8). The combination of sugars with fats, in particular, is the dastardly duo causing rampant insulin resistance and clogged arteries. Sugar by itself is what the body runs on (9). Without it, we don’t function.
OK! Let’s Get Juicing!
I hope you have found this Beginner’s Guide To Juicing helpful! It may seem like a lot of info to process, but after you juice a few times, you’ll begin to get the hang of it! As you progress, make sure to come back to this guide and re-visit the basics. Each time you look over the Beginner’s Guide, you’ll get more and more out of it. Enjoy, and Stay Juicy!
Remember to leave me your comments and questions below. I love hearing from you – Stay Juicy!