Holistic health fans are loving juice! Juicing involves the extraction of juice from fresh fruits and vegetables to create a drinkable cocktail of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Juicing is a controversial subject in the nutrition world, especially since juice fasts and cleanses are currently a major dietary trend. Advocates for juicing claim it’s a fast and convenient way to get nutrients into our bodies, while opponents argue we miss out on important health benefits from the nutrient-rich skin and fiber that is extracted during the processing. Other experts caution against the use of juice detoxing, which means living for days or weeks on nothing but juices. As a holistic health coach, I am not an advocate of juice detoxes.
Regardless of your juicing stance, a glass of your favorite greens is still a better choice than a processed, sugar-laden snack. Follow these juicing tips to learn how you can safely incorporate juicing into a healthy, balanced diet.
JUICING: HOMEMADE OR STORE-BOUGHT?
Choosing the right juice can be confusing, especially since they all claim the same health benefits. Here is the low-down on how to spot the good juice from the bad.
STORE-BOUGHT PASTEURIZED JUICE Juices that sit on the supermarket shelf for weeks. These juices often contain artificial flavors, additives, and preservatives that are added to extend the shelf life. They contain little to no nutritional benefits and often contain as much sugar as a can of soda. Stay clear of these juice imposters! They are not a part of the holistic health lifestyle.
STORE-BOUGHT, PRE-PACKAGED RAW JUICE These juices are a great option when you are in a time crunch. Fresh juice can be purchased at health food stores or good supermarkets. If you need a healthy juice on-the-go, read labels carefully and choose words like raw, organic, and unpasteurized.
HOMEMADE OR FRESHLY MADE JUICE The best of the bunch – this is the freshest juice available. Juice bars are increasingly popping up in cities and in health food stores. Ask if the ingredients are organic. Homemade juice will save you money long-term, and allows you to get creative with your holistic health juice recipes.
When researching the right juicer, there are three to choose from – centrifugal, masticating, and twin-gear.
Centrifugal juicers are usually the cheapest and the easiest to clean, however the fast processing oxidizes nutrients faster, causing your juice to lose some of its sass before it gets to your glass.
Masticating juicers extract more juice because they operate at slower speeds, so you get more nutrition per glass. Also, nutrients don’t oxidize as quickly; therefore, juices can be stored in a well-sealed container for up to 24 hours.
Twin-gear juicers are the most powerful, and can be used to make nut butters and ice-cream, too. Juices stay fresh for up to 72 hours, once it’s refrigerated in a well-sealed container; however, they tend to be the most expensive option.
TIPS FOR JUICING
- Drink it fresh. Fresh juice can develop bacteria rather quickly, so to be safe, don’t wait. Vitamins and minerals can be destroyed with increased exposure to air and light, so in order to get the most from your juice, drink your juice right away.
- People cannot live on juice alone. Juicing is a great way to add extra nutrients and minerals into your diet, but there is typically little protein, fat, and fiber present. Your digestive system was created to work on your food. A rest now and again is fine, but just as the mind must be kept active in order to keep it working at a high level, the same goes for bodily processes like digestion.
- Make use of the pulp. It may be an inconvenience to clean your juicer, but instead of throwing away your leftover pulp, consider putting it to good use. Pulp can be added to garden compost, or recreated into your favorite dishes using some very creative recipes.
- Be adventurous with your produce selections. One of the biggest benefits of juicing is that it allows you to consume a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. The next time you shop, choose something you’ve never juiced before and try it out.
- Choose high quality produce. Going organic can be more expensive but it’s a holistic health investment that pays off long-term. Make savvy shopping decisions using the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists I provide at Holland Health Coaching.
- All juices are not created equal. Vegetable juices are nutrition powerhouses. Fruit juices, although an excellent source of vitamin C, are high in naturally occurring sugars and should be consumed less often. If you’re new to juicing, try adding apples, pears, lemon, or ginger to help make your vegetable juice more palatable. Slowly work towards a 3:1 ratio – three vegetables to one piece of fruit.