Juicing - what I've learned so far

Hiya lovelies,

I wanted to talk about juicing and the things I've learned so far. I've only been using my juicer for 6 days but it's made such a huge difference to the way I feel and I'm addicted already.

But first, the boring disclaimer: I'm eating more fruit and veg because I want to. My weight will do what it will, and what matters is I feel better. I don't think I'm Mother effing Teresa because I have a belly full of fruit & veg juice, nor will I suddenly start making mung bean jam and collecting my menstrual blood and offering it to the patron saint of vaginas in weird ceremonies. I'm just a 40 year old woman with a load of (weight unrelated) health shiz going on, and the idea is to eat more nutrients, possibly feel better. So far it's working. I have no feelings about 'good' or 'bad' food, nor do I judge people by what they eat. Whether they eat 96 portions of fruit a day or have 11 pizzas daily (mmmm, pizza) it's got frig all to do with me. I'm not judging anyone, and I'm not going to turn into a effing great sanctimonious health bore, honest. I just want some more nutrients in my tum. End of.

I bought an Andrew James juicer from Amazon which cost me £39.99 but has now gone up to £44.99, which I still feel is a huge bargain as the nearest thing I could find to compare to this was an older model Philips juicer at £80.

Stock photo rather than one of mine as my counter is a mess

First - the difference between smoothies and juices is essentially that with smoothies you get all the pulp (the fibre) left in the drink, so it's more filling and takes longer to digest. With juices all the fibre is taken out, so you get the nutrients without the lengthy digestion, which can be helpful to people with IBS and other digestive issues. (This is what attracted me to juicing in the first place.) Another difference to note is that if you use a predominantly fruit mix in juices, you can have a spike in blood sugar, which will lead to a slump later on. If fruit is more your bag than veg, you'll probably be better off with a smoothie maker. Also, some fruit like bananas and avocados are a bit too stringy for a juicer, so if you have a blender you'll have to blend them separately and mix it in afterwards. With a smoothie maker you can add things like porridge and yoghurt as well so what you want to put in your machine will shape your choice. You can read more about the differences between smoothie makers and juicers here.

Things I've learned so far:

I feel GREAT after my daily juice. I feel more vital, more alive. I'm not bouncing off the walls, but there's definitely a feeling of having more oomph almost immediately after having a pint of juice.

You need a lot of fruit/veg to make a pint of juice. Some people might see it as a waste of money, but I see it as I'm getting the best bits from the fruit and veg.

This much food will give you maybe a pint, 1.25 pints of juice.

It doesn't have to be expensive. Fill up on relatively cheap apples, kale and carrots and add other things as you have them. I buy the carrots in kilo bags from Tesco at 80p each; the kale is £1 for a large bag which lasts me 3-4 days and I get 8 small apples for £1.30. My shopping bill hasn't gone up at all this week. 7 days juicing is 7 less other meals to make. If you have an Aldi or Lidl near you (or other cheap supermarket) even better, because you'll save even more money on your fresh produce. I haven't tried frozen fruit yet, but I imagine as long as I defrost it for about half an hour first it'll be fine.

You get a LOT of pulp left over.

This is just what stuck to the inside of the lid one day. You also have a bin on the side to collect the rest of the pulp (about the same amount of pulp again collects in the bin.) If you bake, you can use the pulp in your baking as it's quite moist, or if you have kiddies you can mix some of it in with their juice to make sure they get more fibre. (Dilute juices for kiddies with some water - too much juice might affect their digestion and/or affect their little teeth (particularly if you're using a lot of fruit and not a lot of veg.))

Just because the chute is big enough to accommodate whole apples, it doesn't mean the motor is quick enough to make light work of them (and other hard things like carrots/beets/sweet potatoes.) The smaller you chop things up, the quicker the juice will come together. I roughly chop apples into about 8 pieces and veg into about 2 inch chunks to make it faster. The first time I juiced I put whole fruit/veg in and it took about 10 minutes. Now it takes me about two minutes, plus a couple of minutes prep (washing and chopping) so all in all it's a great way to get nutrients in fast.

Experiment! So far I've used 2 kinds of apples, 2 kinds of tomatoes, celery, cucumber, sweet potato, mint, peppers, grapes, kale, beets and ginger. There are loads of different varieties of apples alone I will experiment with to see which gives the nicest juice. There are loads more things I'm going to try in the future - more herbs, exotic fruits, watermelon, broccoli, spinach, etc. I add a couple of things to the juice afterwards too.

A pint of juice fills me up for about 3 hours. After that time my stomach starts growling at me like it's never seen food before, but although I feel starving, I've found that when I do eat again, I eat less than I normally would. If you're finding you're hungry again too quickly for your liking you could mix some of the pulp in with your juice (make sure to keep stirring it, because it all settles.)

Flaxseed oil and chia seeds added

I've lost cravings. It sounds weird, but I don't really crave chocolate or crisps any more. It's like my body knows exactly what it should be getting now. I had 4 cookies the other day and felt sick as a dog afterwards. My body has quickly adjusted to liking great things.

Juice as it came out

Juice stirred

Another day's goodies

Make sure to drink your juice quickly, as it'll start to deteriorate within about 15 minutes in the light and air. I rinse all the washable parts of the juicer quickly before I drink it (with the exception of the mesh the produce is pushed through, as that takes a good scrub, so I leave that in soak to attack later.) It's always going to be better to wash the juicer parts while it's freshly done so it doesn't all stick, then nom that juice.

Prepare/juice apples last as they'll start to brown quickly.

Even though it's juice, it feels more like food than a drink, so I still need to drink lots of water. 

Any questions? Or maybe you've been juicing longer than me and have some tips?

I feel really happy to be getting extra fruit and veg in. They say people who eat their 7 a day or more are happier than those who don't. I know pizza can make me pretty damn happy too, but I have to say I feel a little bit more energetic on juices than I do other things, so I'll stick at it.

Thanks for reading!

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