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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fresh Squeezed Juice

For optimum health and wellness the average woman, most men, teen girls and older children need 4 servings of vegetables a day and 3 servings of fruit. I think we all know this. I also think that the majority of Americans hope that the wimpy piece of iceberg lettuce and pale tomato on their lunchtime hamburger counts as two servings and the side of French fried potatoes as another serving. Nope. Not even close.

Even in my quest to be healthier I was struggling with meeting the numbers. So, I started reading about juicing. It’s a topic that is trending pretty heavily right now.

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So let’s talk pro’s and cons.

1. It’s an easy way to meet your daily requirements.

The main idea behind juicing is to take  1/2 to 1 pound or so of vegetables and fruits and squeeze out the maximum nutrients into one glass. In doing so it is easy to meet the daily recommended servings even if you have a small appetite or perhaps picky eaters.

2. Expense

You can find juicers at all price points. I even regularly see them at thrift stores. A good way to research a juicer is to log onto Amazon, type in the name of the juicer and read written customer reviews about it.

I went a step further. I have to admit that I have previously purchased small appliances only to have them languish in the dusty corners of my cabinets.  Wanting to make sure this would be a new habit we would stick with I borrowed a juicer from my good friend Kristina. After 2 months I can say that I am committed and now ready to buy my own juicer.

I would juice everyday but for two factors. The first sadly is cost. The amount of greens, cucumbers, citrus, apples and beets shown here would make about four 6- 8 ounce glasses of juice.  Yep, that’s it. Because of the cost our family can afford to juice only about three times a week. But that is still better than not doing it.

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Some of the cost stems from my belief that it is really important to use organic produce for juicing as I do not want the toxic pesticides from regular produce in my families juice. I had previously shared The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen regarding produce with the highest pesticide levels.

TIP: By shopping sales and purchasing what is in season I am actually now finding organic produce in the same price range as regular produce.

3. Prep Work and Clean Up

I am not going to lie. If I am peeling, chopping, juicing and cleaning up all by myself it takes about 30 minutes. But, it is totally worth it. I can’t believe how much better I am feeling. My daughter would eagerly echo my sentiments. Mr. D├ęcor often helps out during the weekends and the process goes much faster.

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4. You have to look beyond color.

I am still a beginner juicer. I have found a lot of juicing recipes via the internet and pinterest. Some have failed in the taste testing department. We drink them anyway as the nutrients are still there even if the flavor isn’t. For Sweet Guy I have found that if the juice is served in a solid cup versus a clear glass and topped with a fun straw he will drink it.

Because sometimes even a tasty juice will look like this:

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5. It becomes a family affair.

This kind of echoes what I said under the prep category. I subscribe to the theory that many hands do make light work. But I have also found that Sweet Guy is more apt to drink the juice if he goes with me to the farmers market to pick out the ingredients and then helps out with the juicing. 

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Lastly…another tip.

One of the first things that crossed my mind was just making an entire weeks worth of juice in one session.

Alas, I continued reading and learned that most fresh juices only retain their maximum nutrients for about 15 minutes. Which means you need to juice and drink it NOW!

Air is also a big factor. When you are not cooking juice down, pasteurizing, concentrating it or adding artificial preservatives most fresh juice will spoil fairly quickly. Think of apple slices left out. They head to brown town. Refrigeration helps. Also citrus based juices last a bit longer (a day or so). I store mine in the refrigerator in pretty blue mason jars.

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If you would like to learn more about juice that is sold in cartons/cans at the grocery store here is an an article that I found helpful in explaining all the terms in a straightforward manner and also has documentation to back its findings.

http://foodbabe.com/2013/11/10/juice-labels/

Fresh apple juice here I come!

Laura

8 comments :

Blackberry Lane said...

A very interesting and helpful post. I have hesitated to buy a juicer because many times I've bought a small appliance and never used it. I think I'll browse the thrift stores for one. I like that each of you are feeling better. Great advice - thanks, Laura.

Kelly_Deal said...

Great post Laura. I've been interested in the whole juice thing too after I saw an informercial one night for the Ninja! Want that thing so bad!

WoodsofBellTrees said...

I miss real fresh orange juice! There is nothing like fresh juice in flavor and in nutrients!

Susan said...

Hi Laura...So interesting that your post was on juicing. I have recently bought a juicer and am doing mainly beet/celery/ginger juice as I read it could help lower blood pressure.

I find getting the grater part OUT of the machine for washing is a challenge. Don't know what the secret is.

Glad you are feeling more energy. Susan

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

We have been considering a juicer ... thanks for the info Laura!!!!

Blondie's Journal said...

Thanks for the info, Laura. I have only heard good things about juicing...except well, some of them don't taste too great. Right now I am going very low carb so fruit is a no no for me. I do take a multi vitamin so I'm good. But this is so very interesting and you might have inspired a few ladies to give it a shot!

Get back to me on the date you choose for the Favorite 5. I'm sorry I have been so flakey about it!!

XO,
Jane

Maureen Wyatt said...

I haven't used commercial juice in a few years, after I found out how they preserved it. It's sad that we have to pay a premium for healthy food, when it should all be produced in a safe and healthy manner.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

My sons always used ours for carrot juice and then protein added drinks. I like the idea but haven't gotten the hang of it. I like to munch more than drink. lol Great info my friend! Thanks!