The juicing craze has gone nationwide and has spawned many home juicing enthusiasts. While juicing is a healthy option for everyone it can be a daunting task that quickly loses its luster for the ‘home juicer’. Mix-Master Matt, of Sutra’s Chop Shop Café, has been juicing for over 20 years and offers these simple tips to help the kitchen juicer.
Plan in advance: The easiest way to develop good juicing habits is to always be prepared. Having vegetables and fruits in the house when the urge to juice strikes will assist you in developing good habits. Keep the fridge stocked with items you can juice within 7-9 days from date of purchase.
Buy organic: Organic vegetables carry the least amount of risk for juicing. As a rule of thumb it is best to avoid any grocery store produce, including Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes. Farm fresh and local produce will provide an incomparable flavor when matched to grocery store produce.
Wash and soak: The best flavors will come out of your produce if it is thoroughly washed to remove any solids and dirt. Any residue can make your juice bitter and gritty.
Juice hungry: Juice only on an empty stomach, early AM and/or after a workout is best. Your body and easily and effectively absorb the nutrients when it is not distracted.
Finish it: The nutrients released when juicing are best when introduced to your body immediately. Preferably your juice should be consumed within 20 minutes of juicing, no more than an hour if refrigerated. Juicing in small quantities, as opposed to storing large portions in the fridge, presents the nutrients to your body while they are still in their optimal state.
Clean up quickly: Yes, clean-up is the worst. Many decisions to juice are not based on having time to juice, but rather on having time to clean-up. Unfortunately, this is a necessary must with home juicing and should be completed as quickly as possible. Nothing is more frustrating as grabbing your juicer to find hard, crusty, green gunk plastered to the inside.
Don’t panic: When first starting to juice you may find some very colorful and explosive displays taking place in the privacy of your bathroom. Do not worry, this is totally normal. Raw juice has the power to naturally detox the body and balance its needs. If your regular diet lacks fiber, for example, you may find yourself with a stomachache after juicing. These symptoms are not the cause of bad juice, but actually your body adjusting to a healthy transition. Symptoms pass within a few days of regular juicing.
Balance your greens: Green drinks seem to be all the rage these days. While a wonderfully healthy option, greens can pack a lot of punch. A good rule of thumb when working with dark, leafy greens (spinach, kale, parsley) is the 2/3 rule. Greens are naturally bitter and can be a shock to the body, by cutting your recipes with carrots, apples, or citrus your greens should only make up 2/3 of the juice. Easier to pallet and easier for your body to digest.
Be creative: Have fun, experiment, be creative. Mix different fruits and vegetables and play with flavor, play with color, and play with texture. A common misconception is that the healthiest juices are all brown in color, this is not true. An easy way to keep juicing fun and healthy is focus on colors; make green drinks in the morning, red juices in the afternoon, orange in the evening. Be bold!
Your juicer: Buying a juicer is like buying a car; no one really cares the make or model, the only thing that matters is how well it drives. Centrifugal, masticating, auger, and blending are all a very effective means to creating fresh, nutrient rich, raw juice. Find one that seems to fit easily with your goals and feel confident with your decision; it’s really not that big of a deal.
Have fun and keep on juicing!!