Beginners guide to juicing
Many of us readily admit we don’t eat enough fruit and veg. The ‘5 A DAY’ mantra is ingrained in our psyche (if not necessarily adhered to in reality) but more recent research actually suggests that up to 10 portions of fruit and veg per day is best, and could lower the risk of chronic illness such as heart disease. We can hear the groans of despair as we write this, but it doesn’t have to mean eating meat and 5 veg, a salad for lunch, plus 3 fruit snacks per day; juicing can be a great way of getting additional healthy nutrients in one tasty drink.
The first thing you’ll need is a juicer. There are two main options for those starting out:
Centrifugal – the fruit and veg goes into a feed tube and has direct contact with the blades. The pulp and juice are separated. They’re fast, noisy, and quick to clean. The juice doesn’t store as well as from masticating juicers (see below) because more oxidation takes place during the juicing process, but this isn’t a problem if you’re drinking it straight away.
Masticating – these juicers masticate, or chew, the fruit and veg so they extract more juice and the pulp comes out drier. There is less oxidation during the process so more nutrients are preserved. They are slower and less noisy, but there are more parts to clean after use. Also, in most cases the feed tube is smaller than the centrifugal juicers so the fruit and veg needs to be cut into smaller pieces, adding to the preparation time.
Some tips for a long and healthy relationship with your juicer:
- Don’t be overwhelmed by all the juicing resources out there. Find half a dozen combinations of ingredients you like (there’s no end of suggestions on the web) and be creative depending on what you’ve got in the fridge.
- Add ginger, lemon or lime to give depth to the flavour and boost your immune system.
- You can stir in powdered ingredients such as spirulina and wheatgrass, or add a spoonful of chia seeds to boost the nutritional content. Large packets of these ‘superfoods’ will last you months.
- Don’t overdo the fruit content if you’re watching your sugar intake or your weight. You can add sweetness to a vegetable juice with one ripe banana or a few strawberries.
- Add kale or other green leafy vegetables to benefit from the amazing nutrients they offer.
- Wash up the equipment straight away before anything sticks to the plastic!
And don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t use your juicer as often as you’d hoped. Try to find a way to make it part of your daily routine. If at first you don’t succeed, perhaps try a different type of juicer or you could even use your kitchen blender to make delicious smoothies. It’s amazing what you can whizz up using a ripe avocado, a cup of green tea, a handful of rocket, a ripe banana, some red fruit and a few chia seeds!