Friday, September 23, 2011

Juicing: Is it worth the squeeze?

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I recently became the proud owner of a juicer. It's so pretty.  I admire it every day as it sits gleaming on my kitchen counter. I think about all of the wonderful, nutritious, fortifying juice I'll be making and adjust my little "nutritional honor student" badge just in case anyone is looking.  And then, I decide to do that tomorrow.  The first batch of juice I made was so incredibly gross I've been afraid to make any more!

Granted, I didn't follow a recipe and I didn't put much thought into it. Like a kid on Christmas, I wanted to play with my new toy right away. So I opened the fridge and juiced what I had: a cucumber, some celery, and an apple. Woah. Ever drink a cucumber?  Yeah, don't.  I can actually still taste it just telling you about it now, and now my taste buds are ticked.

That was over a month ago, and since then I've gotten online and looked up some actual recipes.  It took a few more weeks for me to actually work up the nerve to try some. First I juiced an apple and gave it to my 5 year old, but he wasn't playing. He said he wants apple juice "from the store."  "This is from the store!" I said. "I bought this apple from the store." Not convinced, he went back to his Legos.

My next recipe was oranges and carrots, which tasted pretty good, but I added a peach to thicken it.  It was pretty darn good!  I would totally drink that.  But as I was happily sipping on my orange cocktail (which my kiddo did taste a tiny bit of and then spit out...into my husband's glass of water, ew) a thought occurred to me:

I am drinking two carrots, an orange, and a peach.  I could be eating two carrots, an orange, and a peach.  I could be chewing!

I call it the Chew Factor, and it's important to me.  I don't like to drink my calories. Shakes, coffee drinks, and most smoothies are a complete waste of calories to me because when they're gone, I don't feel like I really ate anything. If I am going to use my precious calories on something, I want to chew.  But I wasn't chewing. Suddenly my juicer wasn't looking so pretty.

I suspected there was some kind of science attached to juicing so I turned to one of my favorite sources for nutritional information: Joy McCarthy, Holistic Nutritionist. I asked her, what's so great about drinking veggies? Why should I drink them versus eat them?  She really helped me feel better about my penchant for chewing: while she recommends juicing (using an 80% veggie/20% fruit ratio for therapeutic purposes), it doesn't take the place of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.  Joy says the advantage of juicing is simply a, "mega-watt dose of enzymes, vitamins, and minerals."  She also referred me to this article she wrote on juicing, which I recommend you read, too!

Thanks Joy!

My license to chew restored, I've decided to keep trying out my juicer but focus on the fruits and veggies that I wouldn't normally chew anyway. Like, beets. Love 'em. Never eat 'em. Hey, I'll juice 'em!

And maybe turn them into a smoothie. :)

Do you juice? What's your favorite recipe?  Have you ever juiced a cucumber?  Don't.

I'll let you know how it goes.  And in the mean time...you know what I'm gonna say...get out there and get healthy!

5 comments:

Ellen said...

I've never juiced a cucumber, but I must say that chilled cucumber infused water is REALLY refreshing on a hot day. I enjoyed this in a hotel at which I stayed in Washington, D.C. several years ago. It was way over 90 degrees outside and that cold cucumber flavored water was a great break from the heat. :-)

Kim said...

I think this is the first time I have disagreed with my wellness guru! I am completely addicted to juicing now. My absolute go to juice recipe so far is cucumber, grapefruit, orange, carrot. I have one for breakfast nearly every morning. Apple and carrot is really good too just make sure you remove the seeds from the apple. They have small amounts of arsenic. If you add an orange or half a grapefruit, it will keep the apple juice from turning brown too.

Maybe the reason you hate cucumbers juiced is because of the skin. I tried that once and EEEEWWWW...very gross. I know you lose some nutrients by peeling but cucumbers are a good way to add volume to your juice without a bunch of calories. I also strain my juice because I can't stand pulp. I tried to drink it without straining because I know the pulp adds nutrients and fiber but I couldn't deal with the gunk.

I drink a large bottle full of juice most mornings and I think it is great that I can "eat" at my desk while working. I sip on it for an hour and it keeps me sated until lunch. My job is so demanding that "wasting" 20-30 minutes eating breakfast stresses me out. This helps gives me a healthy start to my day and to not freak out because I have lost productivity time. Plus, drinking juice is easier for your body to digest than in the food's natural state.

Now I am getting off my juice box. Let me know if you want more juicing recipes. I am a juicer for life! :)

Healthy Heather said...

Ellen, you are totally right about the cucumber in water. I love that. Kim, I would LOVE some of your recipes! Bring 'em on! I think it's great that you're juicing and I think you should continue...I just hope I can get there too! Pulp is one thing I actually like, so I want to find ways to make my juice more pulpy. I say go for it! Please do share recipes, too!

steena said...

lmao at your cucumber test! Hilarious.
I agree with you on the chew factor. I'd rather chew than sip. But, this would be handy when I get my braces tightened. A lot more hand than icecream is...heh.

ko0ty said...

I agree. I'd rather chew my calories too but once in a while if I'm craving for a sweet drink or treat, I'd turn to a shake or smoothie ... or in your case, a juicer. For example, I rarely take my proteins in powder form but occasionally I'd make a smoothie of vanilla protein powder, strawberries, banana and perhaps a scoop of whatever ice cream I have in the fridge [or just a sweetener if I don't want that extra fat]. It's still calories but it's a great and filling dessert... plus it has protein!