Do we need to juice? Why? When? What kinds? How to make? How to drink? Pitfalls? Let’s explore!
Juicing in Perspective
Juicing is not natural—in Nature, of course, there are no juicers. But we make juice in our mouth when we chew fruits and vegetables, so why make juice in a machine? Let’s chew on more facts.
Our body is about 70 percent water, and we need to maintain hydration and an alkaline pH. Raw juices can help with that if we are, for some reason, out of balance or have special needs.
By weight, raw fruit and vegetable juices average 90 percent to 95 percent water, with the remaining nutrients being sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, minerals and a little bit of fiber.
The pH of the juices of all fruits and vegetables are, to varying degrees, in the acid range. All fruit and vegetable juices are alkalizing, however. That is, after they are metabolized in our cells, the resulting waste stream pH is alkaline by virtue of their characteristic predominating alkalizing minerals. A low-acid waste stream is healthy whereas a chronically high-acid waste stream (acidosis) is destructive to our health.
In some juicy fruits, the majority of the nutrients float freely inside the skin package while a small proportion of the nutrients are contained within the cells of the edible portions.
In firm and hard fibrous fruits and vegetables, the majority of nutrients are contained within the cells of the edible portions.
For breaking down solid juicy fruits and releasing the nutrients, the masticating action of our teeth is comparable with the masticating and pressing actions of juicers.
For fibrous fruits such as apples and vegetables such as carrots, the mechanical action of juicers does a better job of releasing the nutrients from the cells than does chewing. Obviously, the better we chew, the easier and more efficient will be the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
A juice “cleanse,” “feast” or “diet” is not a fast—there is no such thing as a “juice fast.” A fast is a complete physiological rest while living on purified water and air. A fast deeply rests the digestive organs and all bodily systems, enabling the most efficient and quickest healing. A juice “cleanse,” “feast” or “diet” does indeed rest the bowel to a high degree, but it supplies nutrients that keep the cells of the entire body and the organs working and consuming more energy than does a restive water fast. This reduces the amount of energy that is available for healing. Living on juices versus water are far different and should not be confused, but both are beneficial when properly conducted at the right time.
Why Juice and When to Juice?
Drink delicious juices for health—to nutrify, refresh, balance.
If your senses call for a particular juice, enjoy!
Drink juice if you are thirsty, need to assure hydration on warm and hot days, and need a fuel (sugar calorie) pick-me-up.
Juice if you are ailing, feel toxic and need a cleanse.
Juice if you need to lose weight.
Juice if you are constipated.
Juice for beauty—vegetable juices improve the skin, nails and hair best.
Juice if you want to give your body, especially the digestive and eliminative organs, a rest.
If you have dental problems and difficulty chewing, get your nutrients from juices and smoothies made with juice.
If you are malnourished and have inflammatory bowel disease (such as colitis or Crohn’s disease), strictures, prolapses or bowel and digestive disorders involving constipation, include nonacidic juices in your healing program. (Avoid oranges, tangerines, pineapples, lemons, limes, pomegranates and tomatoes.) Read my Self Healing Colitis & Crohn’s book to learn how to apply the Vegan Healing Diet Plan, which includes juicing. I am always available to guide health seekers. When I healed up severe ulcerative colitis 36 years ago, I fondly recall that my juicers were “my best friends.” I wore three inexpensive juicers out in two years before I eventually purchased the durable Champion juicer, which lasted 18 years!
What to Juice
Organically grown produce is always preferable over commercially grown and processed produce. Organic is more nutritious and generally free of unnatural poisons.
Drinking freshly made juices as opposed to those that have been refrigerated for a day or longer is preferable. Fresh juices are more nutritious and taste better.
Bottled juices are pasteurized to give them shelf life. This kills microbes to prevent fermentation; however, this destroys some of the nutrients and alters the flavor. Raw and fresh is best.
Sweet and subacid fruits (e.g. grapes, apples, pears, melons, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries) combine perfectly with the neutral (low-protein, low-fat and nonstarchy) green leafy vegetables (e.g. lettuce, kale, bok choy and cabbage), and celery and cucumber. Adding the green foods to the juice mix decreases the sugar concentration, mitigating the sugar rush of straight fruit juices and resulting in a more balanced feeling of wellness.
Any juicy fruits can be combined, and they can be juiced with any green leafy vegetables.
Acidic fruits (e.g., oranges, tangerines and pineapples) may be juiced with sweet and sub-acid fruits; however, straight acid fruit juices are preferred by most people.
Acidic fruits (e.g., oranges, tangerines and pineapples) may be juiced with greens; however, most people do not find those combinations appealing. Tomatoes are an exception.
Tomatoes, an acidic fruit, should not be juiced with carrots, beets and other semi-starchy and starchy vegetables. The acid will neutralize the alkaline salivary and pancreatic secretions that are needed to digest starch, resulting in fermentation and indigestion.
Any vegetables can be juiced together. Adding carrot and sweet peppers sweetens up the juice, if desired.
How to Drink Juices
Solid food and juices should not be drunk together because the juices will dilute digestive secretions, impairing digestion of the solid foods.
After drinking a juice, allow a half-hour before a meal of solid food.
After a meal of solid food, wait two or more hours before drinking a juice.
Do not drink carrot or beet juice, which are semi-starchy juices, before or after a meal of nuts or seeds (fatty protein foods). Drink and eat them on separate days to maintain optimum bowel cleanliness.
Do not drink sweet fruit juice after a meal of nuts or seeds. Wait until the next day to maintain optimum bowel cleanliness.
For best digestion, energy and internal cleanliness, follow this sequence: Drink fruit juices in the beginning and middle parts of the day, and then drink vegetable juices in the latter part of the day, after all fruit meals have been consumed.
Sip juices slowly, mixing them with your salivary secretions.
It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss in detail the different types of juicers. Slow-gear juicers and presses preserve most of the nutrients and produce the best-tasting juices. I prefer my high-speed Champion juicer, however, because it’s quick and durable. The amount of oxidation is insignificant, in my opinion. To get a juicer that will last at least several years, a $150 expenditure should do it. A Champion juicer is about twice that amount and should last about two decades.
If you can afford a $400 slow-gear juicer or $2,000 press juicer, enjoy! If you are cash-strapped, check out thrift stores, Facebook buy-sell-swap groups and Craigslist. A client of mine recently scored a decent juicer for $3 at a local thrift store!
When searching for a citrus juicer, avoid those with plastic and aluminum parts that contact the fruit and juice. Strong acids dissolve those toxic materials, so choose a glass cup-style citrus juicer. This kind of juicer is inert. Stainless steel is a better choice than plastic and aluminum; however, most stainless steels are alloyed with about 10 percent nickel, which is toxic, so it’s prudent to use a simple glass hand-squeeze juicer.
There are several pitfalls to avoid.
- Avoid drinking beyond satiation. Filling up your stomach with a great amount of liquid, where you have a heavy “melon belly” that sloshes around as you move, is highly undesirable. The stomach will stretch out like a water balloon, and you’ll feel poor.
- Again, to avoid a sugar rush that engenders fatigue and brain fog, add ample celery and greens when making your juice.
- To avoid fermentation and its effects (brain fog, fatigue, gas, bloating, inflammation and gut pains), cleanse your alimentary canal by drinking a glass of water before breakfast, practice perfect food combining and sequencing, and avoid overdrinking.
- Acidic juices must be used with extreme caution. Lemons, limes, cranberries and pomegranates are extremely acidic and, thus, corrosive to the teeth and tissues in the alimentary canal. They should be used only sparingly such as diluted, to flavor other juices or salad dressings. Under-ripe and poorly grown acidic fruits feel harsh in the mouth and should be avoided. Again, if you have inflammatory bowel disease, avoid acidic juices.
- It is dangerous to do a long-term juice “cleanse,” “feast” or “diet” of all acid fruit juice. Some people apparently manage to escape damage from long-term orange juice cleanses; however, this is risky and has harmed some people for the following reasons: We can incur erosion of the teeth, painful cellular destruction and inflammation and ulcerations of the entire alimentary canal (the mouth, stomach and intestines). The mucosal lining of the alimentary canal provides only limited protection from acid deluges.
- A long-term juice “cleanse,” “feast” or “diet” is not a sound health strategy. Our bowel is designed to work optimally with solid food. Some people will do well on all juices for a few days or weeks, while others will suffer any of these consequences: diarrhea, extreme weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, fatigue and bowel atrophy and prolapses, leading to sluggish bowel motility when one resumes eating. Be safe—don’t overdo it!
My Favorite Juices
I rarely make juices, but, when I do, here are my favorites:
- White, green, purple or red grape + celery
- Apple + celery
- Pear + celery
- Cucumber (peeled)
- Cucumber (peeled) + sea asparagus (a small, slender, green, salty-tasting yet salt-free vegetable that naturally grows in tidal salt marshes and is farmed in Florida, California and Hawaii)
Cheers, sláinte, salud, alta salute, skål, prost, à votre santé, kanpai, badhai ho, ganbei, fe sahatek, prosit, l’chaim, to your vibrant health!