Juicing with my trusty Angel (juicer) has become one of my most consistent health allies, and I do it on a near-daily basis. But just as it is not sufficient to say “drink more water”, “take more magnesium” or “eat more fruit” without further, more definitive explanations attached, it is not sufficient to say that if you want to live longer and look younger, “you must start juicing”.
The art of effective juicing is, of course, all about juicing the right stuff. Here are 5 tips to help you do it right.
1. Go easy on sweet juices. Fruits are water-rich anyway, and there is no profound need to juice them as chewing (aka mastication) does a pretty good job of extracting the juice from the fiber all on its own. An exception that comes to mind would be cashew nut fruit which can not be easily chewed. I also notice many of my clients have difficulty digesting pectin without some bloating or mild discomfort, so if you fall into this category, juicing an apple is better than eating one.
That said, for many people adding sweetness to a juice, a sweet fruit or two is perfectly fine in an otherwise vegetable-based drink as this simply approximates the simple sugar to fibre content ratio within the fruit itself. After a bout of exercise or sunbathing, blood sugar is lowered and your body can tolerate greater amounts of simple sugar without causing a blood sugar upheaval, so when juicing sweeter things, after such bouts is favourable. The same principles hold true for certain sweet root vegetables and wheatgrass, the latter often being sickly sweet depending upon how it is grown.
2. Go easy on certain vegetables you will only concentrate their toxins. Certain vegetables such as those in the Brassica family (think kale, broccoli, cabbage, mustard leaves) or the Amaranth family (think spinach, chard, beetroot and its leaves) contain a significant portion of herbivore-targeting anti-nutrients or goitrogens. By juicing them militantly, especially in a good juicer, you are in fact only potentiating the issue. Norman Walker of juicing fame certainly had his facts wrong on this matter.
Again, moderation and dilution is key.
A smallish amount of these plants in with other less taxing varieties such as grass, cucumber, celery and all manner of other herbs, roots, and plants is mostly fine. Note: consuming seaweeds helps offset at least some of the iodine-metabolism disturbances caused by goitrogenic foods.
3. Get interesting! Don’t just stick to the same 5 plants in your juice each time, explore and rotate, go seasonal, seek out the new and become adventurous. In so doing, not only are you significantly reducing the phytotoxin (including lectin) risk specific to a food or plant family, you are also achieving the inverse: a broader spectrum of phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins in the process. Not to mention, more interesting taste sensations.
4. Get medicinal. Historians of herbalism have long noted that for many plants, the most revered and potent way of taking a “herb” has been as an expressed juice (not surprising really). Plant “blood” (my preferred word for juice) is a potent, living elixir, that can impart an unparalleled host of a given plants’ medicinal constituents, mineral co-factors and enzymes to whoever is proactive enough to drink it. For years I have used a mix of different green herbs to replace many of the more problematic larger leafed greens discussed at point 2. Dill, coriander (cilantro), hemp, fennel, pine needles, grass, mint and basil are some of my faves. There are hundreds of options. Fresh turmeric, ginger, fresh peppercorns, lemongrass, and amla are other additions I regularly add to my juices, imparting them with a super-boosting array of less common chemicals you will unlikely get by any other means.
5. Add some fat. Whatever vegetation you use, without exception, a small to significant volume of fat-soluble vitamins will comprise your juice (Vitamins A, D, E and K). If you want to maximise their absorption (and increase the energy value of your juice at the same time) I suggest you add something bearing fat. My favourite fat-bearing food is sea buckthorn, and you can juice the fresh or thawed berries directly as part of your juice. Soaked nuts and seeds are another options. Depending upon your juicer, almonds, pumpkin seeds, moringa seeds, hazelnuts, fresh walnuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, even a few black seeds, to name a short few are all great choices. Other options include fresh coconut meat or jelly, or if you can get it, red palm fruit. At the very least, whisk (a fork is fine) 2-3 teaspoons of your fave cold-pressed oil into your glass of liquid vitality and drink immediately.