Juicing 101

I've posted some green smoothie recipes in the past. And if you follow me on Instagram, then you've definitely seen your fair share of smoothies and healthy food experiments. This morning I posted my first attempt at homemade, dairy free coffee creamer. But something I've been playing with since Christmas is JUICING. 

If you want to learn about the health benefits of juicing and smoothies, and what the differences are, I definitely recommend you do some reading. I think a lot of people assume smoothies are better for you because you aren't removing anything from the fruit or vegetable. With juicing, you remove the insoluble fiber... which is what makes you feel full. It's definitely nutritious and perfectly fine and healthy in your smoothies. But by removing it, you allow your body to better absorb the nutrition from the fruits and vegetables you're drinking. You absorb more nutrients and you do it faster.

Now, if you've never juiced before, you'll think I'm delusional for this paragraph. I would have before I tried it, so I won't hold it against you. But you WILL feel the effects of the juice immediately after. It's hard to describe and sounds so bizarre, but it's like there's a tingling of energy rushing through you. And I'm not that sensitive to things usually. For example, caffeine and medicine usually affect Erik very strongly. He feels a rush of energy from a soda or coffee. I've never felt that way and could care less if my drink is decaf at night. It doesn't matter. But the JUICE I can feel. Seriously. 

It's made me wonder how I would feel on a juice fast. I'm still hesitant to try one because I know it's going to be hard with Erik eating regularly and me sipping on some juice. I also want to make sure I have a stock of juicing recipes that I know I enjoy. I'll probably do it eventually and you can read all about the inevitable horror and joy when that occurs ;)

I figured I'd post a really basic juicing recipe that I've made consistently. So far I have two in particular I've really enjoyed and made multiple times. One is pineapple, spinach, mint, and a few other things. And then there's this one, which is just super easy.

By the way, I don't like celery. And I've made some juices with celery where it was super powerful and I did not enjoy it. But I've learned that the carrots can really balance it out. It's all about finding the right ratio for your palette. For Erik, there is no right ratio if celery is involved :)

So I had five carrots, four celery stalks, one apple, half a lemon, and two inches of ginger (I started with one and wanted more, so I added some).

Clean everything really well! I'm lazy about this step, dirt's never scared me, but I've realized it does make a big difference in taste. Don't judge me for my dirty veggies.

I use a Breville juicer. I've never owned anything else so I can't compare, but I really like it. I find it really easy to use and cleaning isn't bad at all. The key is definitely to clean the pieces right after you juice so nothing gets stuck on. And also, use a plastic bag to collect the pulp so you don't have another piece to clean. It also makes saving the pulp for other uses really easy to do!

In comparison to smoothie blending, I'd say that juicing involves more clean up and smoothies involve more prep. With juicing I don't peel anything or worry about my ratios of liquid, leafy, solid, frozen, etc. You just wash and throw it all in. 

I've started pouring my juice over ice because I realized I liked it colder. I freeze coconut juice because you know, just plain water is NOT good enough! 

And here's the pulp. I always save it in my fridge and either use it for smoothies, making crackers, or just throwing out. But I usually find something to do with it. 

Mad pouring/photographing skills up in here, y'all.

Do you see those spills? Nah, you don't see those...

This is a great starter juice. Not a lot of strong flavors. We did begin with mostly fruits. Oranges, apples, pineapple, carrots... all of these are pretty sweet. I've also learned that when you're juicing greens like kale or spinach, lemon and lime counteract the bitterness really well. I also really enjoy adding mint or ginger for extra flavor. It's all a lot of experimenting and I'm still working on it. 

Do you juice? If you have any tips or questions for me, please leave them in the comment section!