You may have read something about juicing in the press recently? Or maybe you have seen the juicing documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and witnessed the impact doing a “juice reboot” or “juice fast” had on Joe Cross and Phil Staples? Regardless of your reason for being on this webpage, this is the first part of a short series of articles designed to help people who are new to juicing (and also offer some hints and tips that more experienced juicers may find useful).
Juicing has been getting a lot of media attention in the UK which has lead to a dramatic rise in the number of juicers being sold. For example, Lakeland, the UK kitchenware retailer, reported that juicer sales shot up by 4,000 per cent in a week following the screening of “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” on Channel 5 and John Lewis reported that sales have risen by 2,600 per cent compared with the same period last year.
So, what should you do if you would like to try juicing and what equipment will you need?
The first thing I think it is important to know is that bottled juices and smoothies are not the same as freshly extracted juices that you make yourself. Almost all bottled juices and smoothies that you can buy will have been heated and pasteurised. In other words, they are cooked. It is well documented that cooking fruits and vegetables reducing their nutritional value and pasteurising juices is no different. Pasteurisation denatures the juice, killing off ALL its natural enzymes and massively reducing its vitamin and mineral content. Many bottled juices will also have preservatives, colours and artificial and refined sugars added to them. To get the true benefits juicing can provide you will need to either make your own juices or purchase freshly extracted juices from a juice bar. There are also an increasing number of companies offering fresh or frozen, non-pasteurised, juices delivered to your door.
Juicing at home – which juicer should I buy?
In order to start juicing at home you will need to get yourself a juicer. For a number of juicing programs, including the ones featured on this website, you will also need a blender. It is important to note that a juicer and a blender are not the same thing. A blender simply chews the fruits and vegetables – a bit like letting a machine replace the function of our teeth. A juicer, however, separates the juice from the fibre of the fruits and vegetables, similar to the way our digestive systems work, providing liquid nutrients directly to our cells.
“Juicing is the 15 minute nutrient express to health!” Jason Vale
There are many juicers on the market, but the most common ones fall in to two categories: centrifugal and masticating.
Centrifugal juicers work by pushing the vegetables and fruits down a feed tube where they will reach a cutting blade that rapidly spins, slicing the produce, pushing the juice through a fine filter and the pulp into a waste container. Most modern centrifugal juicers have large feed tubes, this is great for reducing preparation time as many fruits and vegetable can be juiced whole. Most centrifugal juicers are also dishwasher safe, which can help to speed up the cleaning process too! When using a centrifugal juicer, the process of juice extraction will expose the juice to a small amount of heat and air and this can reduce the life of the juice. Typically juices made in a centrifugal juicer will keep for between 12 and 24 hours when stored in the fridge in an airtight container, although I would advise trying to drink them as quickly as possible.
Common models include Sage Nutrijuicer (sold as the Breville Juice Fountain in the US), the Fusion Juicer, Philips HR1861 and Philips Avance.
Masticating juicers (also known as slow juicers) give a better quality juice than centrifugal juicers and because there is very little exposure to heat or oxygen the juice made in them will keep a lot longer. The exact times will vary between juicer models and the juice recipe being used, but juices made in a masticating juicer will typically stay fresh for 48-72 hours in the fridge, with minimal loss of nutrients. The downside to masticating juicers is that the feed tubes are smaller and hence the vegetables and fruits need to be cut in to smaller pieces prior to juicing. Often they are also a bit more time consuming to clean and many are not dishwasher safe.
Common models include Matstone, Champion, Omega and Greenstar. I have a Greenstar Elite and the quality of the juice is produces is probably the best I have ever tasted, in fact the only juice I have had of the same quality was from a Norwalk juicer and one of those will set you back £2000!
UPDATE: My favourite juicer!
Since I started juicing in early 2010 I’ve tried many different juicers. These have included entry level centrifugal juicers through to cold press, masticating juicers costing over £1000. Most recently I evaluated the Optimum 400 Cold Press Juicer and was so impressed I have now become a brand ambassador. To find out more about the Optimum 400 take a look at the comparison table on the UK distributor’s website.
Selecting a blender
Many juice programs, including my Budget Juice Reboot will also require you to own a blender (sometimes called a smoothie maker). Having a blender will enable you to include produce such as avocados and bananas that do not juice.
There are many blenders available and most will do the job. When I first started juicing I used an inexpensive Kenwood Smoothie 2GO (approx £20-£30). For the ultimate blending experience there are 2 stand out brands to look at. These are Blendtec and Vitamix, but be warned, you will need to pay £400+ for one of these machines.
UPDATE: Since I originally posted this article I have discovered the Optimum 9400 blender.
The Optimum 9400 is more powerful than both the Blendtec and the Vitamix, but significantly cheaper! You can find more details by clicking here.
Mark Beddoe, who experienced a 42 pound weight loss during his first 3 months of juicing and found juicing almost immediately stopped his gout pain, says “There are loads of deals for juicers and recipe books around and a wealth of information online. Everything you need is easily accessible, you just need to act.”
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