I've been juicing for a little over two years now. And unlike Smoothie King or your local Healthfood Supermarket juicebar, I use *actual* vegetables. The best you can get from a juice bar is a shot of wheatgrass in your calorie-heavy, insulin-raising fruit drink, and to me that's woefully inadequate. So let's learn how to do it right!
We looked into buying our own wheatgrass juicer because every place I've seen which sells wheatgrass announces that it contains a disproportionate amount of nutrients as compared to other juiced vegetables, and while it may contain more chlorophyll, 1 oz. of wheatgrass has the same amount of nutrients of 1 oz. of any other juiced green leafy vegetable. I'm not saying don't enjoy wheatgrass - I certainly do - just don't be fooled by marketing claims.
So how do you juice? I like to start with greens. Lots and lots of crisp, fresh leafy green stuff. The "what" doesn't really matter, unless you're using mustard greens - A mistake I will never make again!!! My favorite nutrient-heavy base in order of nom-factor is kale, turnip greens and collard greens. I juice fistfulls of this stuff (be sure to make it into a ball when putting leafy things in the juicer) for about half to three-quarters of a cup of juice. This will be your building block. Its also best to juice your greens first, because running other items through the juicer afterward will ensure you get all the leftover greens from the blades.
Juiced greens are very, very bitter. You'll want to cut them with something. I use root vegetables and fruits. The sweetest root vegetable is the beet, but I've also used carrots and celery root, and sometimes all three. But you must be careful with root vegetables, because an overload of highly concentrated juice from these items can greatly increase your insulin levels and give your pancreas a real work-out. But any of those and a chunk of ginger root, and you're golden. Don't be alarmed at the extremely overwhelming scent of ginger as it goes through the juicer - its quite aromatic - but do adjust for taste.
Root vegetables also provide a lot more juice than a fistfull of greens, so you should have nearly two cups by now. I follow this up with fruit. PEEL YOUR CITRUS FRUITS FIRST! While its entirely reasonable to juice citrus fruits whole and unpeeled, and probably more nutrient-advantageous, they are quite bitter and will not only undo what the ginger and roots have done to temper the greens, it will also leave a nasty aftertaste in your mouth. Ugh! Grapes are highly potent. Just a handful of red or green grapes can add much flavor to your eerily-colored concoction. I also prefer sharp, green apples like the Granny Smith, or a crisp red Mackintosh to the softer apples - they provide more flavor!
I don't use juicing 'recipes.' Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables gets expensive fast, so I just toss in whatever I have and drink what comes out. I'm not very picky, and always looking for new things to juice.
Some other things I've juiced:
- Cactus leaves
- Bok Choy
- Leeks (not recommended)
- All manner of pears
I stop at 4-cups. Yes. this is a lot, so experiment with portions. Be sure to spoon off the froth. Don't juice bananas, strawberries, kiwi, avocados or artichokes (yes, I tried to juice an artichoke). If you must, put your juice in a blender and mix those things in for a Smoothie King type drink. I never do because it makes too much of a mess and just adds sugars.
Once you've removed the froth, pour into a 32-oz. glass and bottoms up! Its recommended to drink fresh juice immediately, but 24-hours (refrigerated) is the maximum time to wait to retain most of the nutrients.
I add a little pomegranate juice to mine