Vegetable Juice 101

There is a ton of information out there about the benefits of drinking fresh vegetable juice.  Not only does it give you added vitamins that are easier for your body to absorb, but it aids in digestion, increases your body’s immunity, and adds more vegetables to your diet.  I know from personal experience that I feel more energized and healthy when I drink fresh juice on a regular basis.  It also helps curb sugar cravings!

Juicing is very easy once you understand the basics, but it can be a little intimidating for those just getting started.  Hopefully this tutorial will inspire you to start making fresh juice on your own!

#1: The Juicer
There are a lot of different models out there, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a decent juicer.  I purchased Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer in 2008 and it still works great.  This is a great beginner model –very easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to find available online or in stores.

You want to find a model that only has a few parts (thus, quick and easy to clean) and with a wide chute that will allow to you insert different kinds of fruits and vegetables.  I would also recommend investing in a model that has a splash guard in the front (mine does not).  This keeps the juice from splashing you as it squirts out, and if you plan on juicing red beets it is definitely worth the investment.

#2: What to Juice?
Now that you have the juicer, what do you want to juice?  Primarily fruit juice?  Mostly vegetable juice?  I highly recommend a combination juice of fruit and vegetables to get started.  As you get used to drinking fresh juice, then you can increase the vegetables and decease the fruit.  Once you start experimenting, you can discover tasty combinations of your own.  Here are some of my favorite fruits and veggies to juice: 
 

Celery 
Lettuce
Carrots
Cucumber
Fennel
Kale
Beets
Garlic
Ginger
Lemon
Oranges
Grapefruit
Apple
Pear

#3: Tips and Tricks
Always wash your fruits and vegetables before juicing and use organic produce whenever possible.  The fresher your produce is, the fresher your juice will taste and the more vitamins and nutrients you will get from it.


When juicing, make sure you don’t overstuff the chute or veggies can get stuck.  Push items through slowly using the pusher.  Items with a bitter or thick peel should be peeled (e.g. lemon, oranges, limes, melons, etc), but thin and juicy peels are okay (e.g. apples).  When juicing leafy items like lettuce or kale, it will juice better when the leaves are tightly balled up and sandwiched between other fruits and vegetables.  I usually alternate kale or lettuce leaves with beets, lemon, carrots, or apple slices. 

 
#4: Drink Up!
Now you’ve succeeded in making a tasty, healthy juice for yourself!  Always drink juice immediately because it is at its peak when it is fresh.  The longer it sits, the more the vitamins begin to lose their potency.

However, you don’t want to chug it!  It is best to swish the juice around in your mouth or “chew” it because this helps it mix with your saliva and aids in better digestion and absorption of the nutrients.  I know it sounds a little weird, but it makes a difference.

If you want to get some of the health benefits of fresh juice without committing to a juicer of your own, you can find a local juice bar in your area instead.  Just note that it is more cost-efficient to purchase your own juicer and produce if you plan to consume fresh juice on a regular basis.  

Basic Juice Recipe
Makes 12 ounces

3 stalks celery
1 lemon, peeled
1/2 apple, sliced
3 carrots
1/2 fennel bulb
4 kale leaves
1 small piece of ginger

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