There’s a craze sweeping the nation- juicing. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, or perhaps you’ve heard of it but don’t fully understand it, then here’s a quick overview:
What Is Juicing?
Juicing is basically the process of extracting the juice from raw fruits and vegetables. Juicing machines are widely available for this process and are designed to extract the most amounts of juice from the least amount of vegetables / fruits. Some machines are more successful at this than others, so it pays to research what’s available and find a machine with a good extraction rate and one which maximizes the use of the pulp.
A masticating juicer uses an auger to compact and crush the fruits and veg into smaller pieces before squeezing out its juice along a static screen. The pulp is expelled through a separate outlet and the juice collected in a collection jar or glass.
Pulp is the bi-product of juicing, it’s the skin, peel, cores, etc which remains within the pulp catchment vessel after the juice has been extracted. Naysayers will be quick to point out that this discarded pulp is actually rich in vitamins etc, and the process is therefore flawed and less effective than just eating fruits and vegetables in the conventional way. More on that later.
What many people fail to realize when they embark on juicing is that it takes a lot of raw ingredient to create a worthwhile amount of juice. For example, it would take around 8 large carrots and two whole apples to produce around 6oz of juice.
Obviously we do it because it’s good for us, but so is eating fruit/veg in the conventional way, no?
The problem is that non-juicers tend not to eat a sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables hence they’re missing out on this important part of their daily diet. Juicing makes the task of ensuring we get the micro and macro nutrients we need, on a daily basis. It also takes the sting out of eating produce that we don’t necessarily care for in the taste department, like Kale, for example, which is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients.
It is thought that by juicing our raw fruits and vegetables we’re making the micro nutrients they contain more easily assimilated into the body by the digestive system. As part of a purging/cleansing program, we give our digestive system a rest by supplying it with liquid nutrients in this way, and the system is able to cleanse itself over a period of several days – so they say.
Also, many people who embark on a juicing diet do so to loose weight. There are many approaches to natural weight loss and juicing is certainly one of them, when done under close medical supervision. Most juicing diet plans deliver around 1800 to 2000 calories, so combined with exercise they can produce dramatic weight loss in a relatively short space of time. But as with all diets it’s important to introduce it as a lifestyle change and not just a way of shedding a few quick pounds then going back to your regular habits.
Supplement or Replace?
There are some people who’ve taken juicing to the extreme and have pretty much replaced their entire solids diet with juicing. They do this in short steps – called ‘cleansing’, where they replace their regular diets for 5, 7, 14, days or even longer (up to 60 days), and/or they replace a significant portion of their daily food intake with juice, as a total lifestyle change.
I don’t want to get into the pros and cons in this short article, just to point out a couple facts and useful tips. There’s plenty or research around the web, try bing.com for a quick search.
By no means am I a detractor. I’m about to start on my own juicing campaign and I’ve assembled all the information that I need to begin. But in researching this more fully, there are a couple of issues I’m not completely happy about.
Firstly, the discarded pulp from the juicing process is a complete waste of an essential component in our diets – fiber. Fiber is a key tool in the digestive process, and if you’re going to embark on a juicing diet, for either long or short term, you need the digestive process to be working optimally, you need that fiber.
So here’s what I’ll do. Do not discard the pulp, save it and use it. Firstly, run the pulp back through your juicer each time you use it, to ensure you’ve extracted the last ounce of juice. Then, place the pulp into a small zip-lock bag and freeze it. After a few days, you’ll have sufficient pulp to make a very nourishing soup, broth or stock. You can use it as a base, and add more fresh vegetables to the base to make a delicious soup. This might not fit into a conventional juicing diet, particularly a purging or cleansing diet where no other forms of food are permitted. But trust me, this isn’t going to break the diet it’s going to enhance it. And you can have at least one bowl/cup of hot and nutritious soup each day alongside your juice diet, thus alleviating a little of the pain and suffering 🙂
Secondly, any diet containing a high ratio of fruits and vegetables is going to be lacking in protein. So if you’re juicing initially to loose weight, you need to make sure you don’t loose too much muscle mass. If you follow a strict juicing diet for 5 days or more, as much as 30% of the weight you loose will be muscle.
To prevent this it’s sensible to add back in some protein, in a format which doesn’t tax the digestive system too much. Remember, one of the perceived benefits of juicing is that it’s an efficient way to get micro nutrients into our system without taxing the digestive system. So if we’re adding a protein we ideally want something which is water soluble and easy to digest. So I’m going to be using bee pollen. Yes, bee pollen is an excellent source of protein, it contains many vitamins, minerals and amino acids, in micro and macro form, and it seems to me to be the perfect compliment to a juicing diet. I can even use whole grain granules, as available here, semi-hydrate them in a little water, and pour them straight into the juicer. Furthermore, bee pollen is associated with weight loss, as discussed here. So since I’m going to be juicing to improve health, and loose some weight, it’s going to be a perfect fit.
Also, I’m going to add my ‘Total Bee Plus’ capsules direct to the finished juice. The Total Bee Plus capsules are in a 2-piece shell which can be pulled apart easily and the contents emptied into a cool drink. So I’ll be adding bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis and honey to my fruit/veg juices daily. You can learn more about Total Bee Plus here