To Juice or Not to Juice

That is not THE question, but it is ‘A’ question.

One that I’ve struggled with for several reasons.

1) It’s yet another gadget to buy that sits on the counter and must be cleaned after use

2) It’s expensive to buy the gadget and the requisite pile of fresh fruits and veggies required to produce the Juice.

3) Isn’t it better to get the nutrients from the whole plant rather than just the juice?
Honestly, we have never been fruit juice drinkers perhaps due in part to the gallons of nasty frozen concentrated orange juice forced on me as a child.  (I know most people like OJ – I never really did).   Perhaps the orange juice tasted so bitter to me because I had placed 3 Tablespoons (an approximation) of sugar on my cold cereal and so ANYthing tasted bitter.  At any rate, fruit juice in my adult household has been used as an occasional treat or purely as a source of calories and taste when someone can’t keep any solid food down.  It seemed to me that smoothies made much more nutritional sense as they deliver the benefit of the whole plant.

So why am I now juicing?

Several things have changed my mind on this point but due to my stubborn-ness, or my increasingly inflexible knees that only allow me to bend so far… I found a compromise in the juicing that helped resolve objection #3.

The first thing that changed my mind was the film “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  This is a charming film that portrays the power of vegetable nutrition to change health in a big way.  The center of the film is a man who is not only overweight but struggles with an autoimmune skin disorder.  We’ve got skin stuff goin’ on in this house, so I was interested that he stopped suffering from this problem after changing his diet so dramatically, including juicing.

The second thing was that since we have been juicing I don’t need as much sleep and my skin looks brighter.

The third thing that happened was the realization that my vitamins may not be all they’re cracked up to be.  I mean, I read labels on everything else I buy but my tendency when purchasing supplements has been to read the nutritional content but not the source.  I had some chosen brands that I trusted to ‘do the right thing’ – will I never learn?  See post on Breyer’s frozen dairy dessert and decide that apparently it will take me a long time to learn!!   I want food not chemicals.  So shouldn’t I want food-based vitamins and not chemicals as well?

So in not reading or investigating the actual ingredients in my vitamins I have been consuming things that are probably better not consumed.  This is the article that got me feeling stupid about not reading the labels.  Now to be fair, I don’t know how good the science is behind their claims but they make too much sense for me to ignore.  When it comes to food I like to say, “If it wasn’t grown, raised and/or harvested from clean, natural conditions….  Don’t eat it!”  The same should go for my vitamins.  And do I really need vitamins if I am juicing?  (Still working on that but certainly I don’t need TOXIC vitamins.)

So enough about why I have begun… here’s my knee-saving compromise.

I juice and then use the juice to combine with some kale or spinach and berries and a little banana and make a powerful smoothie.  Jam packin’ the nutrients in there Baby!  You got your nutrient dense juice and you got your fiber-rich smoothie with even more nutrients.  Never thought I wanted to be dense (see above article about Breyer’s again), but in this case dense is great.

Here’s this morning’s pile of produce:

P1000698  There’s a lot of vitamins in that pile.   Have to throw in one apple to ease the bitter for my son.  He still doesn’t like the juice, but hey – health doesn’t always taste good goin’ down.

So, since my son prefers his juice naked – no extra kale.  I pour his glass off:

P1000702 Kapow!  One beet with greens is a whole lot of color going on.

Then I put 2 large handfuls of kale, some berries and 1 frozen banana in the blender.  Add the rest of the juice…

P1000700

P1000705And blend it into a powerful purple purveyor of plenitude.  Abbondanza!  Future supplements will be plant based – and most of them will be pourable as well.

P1000706

Most people juice tons of greens and I am looking forward to having lots of swiss chard from the garden to boost the amount of greens in the juice.  Guess that’ll combine with beets to make brown juice.  I will have to start working on alliterations with the letter ‘B’.

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24 responses

  1. I have an Omega masticating juicer, and a Breville blender. Both were pricey kitchen investments, but well worth the cost. My juicer also makes great “ice cream”, not really ice cream but real, frozen fruit “juiced” into what looks like ice cream. It totally rocks!! I’m going to check out the blog links in the body of your post. I love educating myself… sometimes the horrors of truth are more about keeping me on track than anything! Thanks for so much information! I truly appreciate it.

    • Ooooh – so do you just run frozen fruit through the juicer? That sounds very intriguing. Sorry about the article – and I’m glad you appreciate it. It’s the kind of info sometimes you wish you didn’t know, although you really do want to know!

  2. As a child I was always anemic, I was prescribed iron pills. They constipated me but never helped with the anemia. In my 20s I decided to become a vegetarian which meant eating new vegetables. Once I started eating raw spinach my blood work was normal for the first time ever. The conclusion I came to was that my body needed the real foods for proper assimilation and therefore never buy vitamins.

    I too have watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I had juiced off and on, but now want to see what a raw diet with juicing will do for me. I was like you, I figured a smoothie with all the fiber was better. I like your idea of combining the juice with a smoothie to get the best of both and will try it myself.

    • Wow – what a great story about anemia. Iron pills are lousy on the digestive system and apparently most of them are made from ferrous sulfate which isn’t very good for humans. Go figure. We are definitely re-thinking our supplements. Thanks for your comments :-)
      Let me know if you like the combo juice smoothie!

  3. Hi, Thanks for all the great info. I do the green smoothies too. Hate hate hate the celery though! I let fruit get very ripe so it is sweeter, and cut it up and freeze it. Pears are delicious with the greens. For a treat add avocado. It adds something special to the taste and texture. I’ve seen great improvement when my bloodwork comes back.

    • That is awesome. Avocado is a great idea. I threw some leftover cooked sweet potato into the smoothie part recently and that was also very nice – made it creamier. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. So I have a juicer and a blender and I rarely use the juicer (hate cleaning it) because of the whole fiber thing. But what you’ve said here makes sense and is a great way to get the best of both! Brilliant! PS read Whole by T. Colin Campbell if you want to be convinced to ditch vitamins altogether (except for D :-) ).

    • Thank you SO much for the reference book. I’ve been trying to decide what I do need to supplement with. Will check out T. Colin’s suggestions!

  5. So how long did you juice before your knee felt some change? My right knee has been a trouble for a few days now…had chalked it up to humidity,but not certain. Dontcha just love the vitamix?!!
    *anna

    • Oh my knees wobble now and then but with a little push they seem capable of bending a bit ;-) Hang in there with yours. Sometimes you just have to sit on the floor and let those puppies stretch out on a little hardwood reality!
      And indeed I DO love my vitamix!

  6. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I have been going back and forth about juicers for years now, for very similar reasons. I stopped taking supplements because I couldn’t pronounce about 75% of the “Ingredients” and half the ones that I could pronounce I had to google to find out what they where…I’ve switched over to smoothies since then, and have considered a Juicer off and on.
    Your article will help. So Thanks.

    • You are very welcome Ricki! So glad you found this helpful. I have been putting greater and greater amounts of kale in our morning smoothie along with the juiced veggies and some whole fruit and just loving it. I had some kiwi that was on the edge, peeled it and froze it and included it this morning. Very tasty!

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  8. I always wondered .Are there any fruit and vegatable combos that are a no-no ?I am starting the juice detox diet and I know you can feel a lil weird at first with the detox but i was wondering if there any that may lets say spike blood sugars too much or blood pressure? Thanks !

    • Hey Pam! I’m afraid I am not qualified to answer this question other than to say that I believe that fruit should be used minimally in the juicer because of the resultant high sugar levels that result. Putting fruit in the blender is better because you use the whole fruit, including fiber, etc. and don’t concentrate the sugar. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Thanks for the great article. These are all my concerns too. I have a juicer but make mostly smoothies. I have been planning on doing exactly what you are doing. I love carrot juice and beets, but you just can’t get them into a smoothie, so this is the best alternative). I am glad to hear it is helping with your sore knees. :)

    • I figured there were some other people out there ready to blend the smoothie and the juice. It works well for us! I love to juice the stalks from swiss chard as well, as I often think I’ll cook the stems in some clever way and they just end up yucky. Thanks for stopping by!

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