Matt and I recently bought a juicer and jumped into the world of freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. I really had no idea what I was doing at all! I just kept seeing people with full glasses of delicious and healthy-looking juice on Instagram and thought, how hard can this be? So we ordered one on Amazon, stocked up on every kind of produce at Kroger and started our juicing experiment. There was a definitely a learning curve that we did NOT anticipate (I had a headache for ten days straight!) so I wanted to share some tips and tricks, if you're looking to add a bit of healthy kick to your diet! And, to be clear, we just added juices to our already existing diet of three regular meals a day (sometimes more--oops!) There are full-on juice cleanses that many people do, but I wasn't interested in that. I simply wanted to pack some more fruits and veggies and vitamins and antioxidants into my diet without forgoing real food entirely.
Here are four important tips to make your first juicing experience better!
1. DRINK TONS OF WATER I think this may have contributed to my extended headache. I jumped into drinking 2 or 3 juices a day, and my body was rapidly ridding itself of the toxins, which is so good! But it's super important to aid that process by drinking tons of water. Basically, all of the good stuff in the fruits and vegetables puts your body into a sort of detox process, and it's pretty common to experience headaches or even flu-like symptoms for a week or so while your body adjusts. After all, even though it's good, your body probably is not used to the sheer amount of raw goodness it's now being fed! I normally drink 2-3 of my Camelbak water bottles in a day, but I had to step it up to 5, which equals 3.75 LITERS. Prepare to go to the bathroom a LOT!
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH I solicited some advice from friends via the reputable survey mechanism known as Facebook, and jumped into juicing by trying recipes that I was given. My first-ever juice was a dense green machine packed with spinach, kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger. Whew! It was pretty good, but it was INTENSE for a first drink. And then I learned that kale, being such a super-food, can cause some intense "detox" symptoms and you should really work up to it! I know it can be overwhelming looking up information regarding health--everyone seems to disagree--but try your best to read up and maybe even follow a juicing plan as you ease into it. Here's a handy website with lots of great tips!
3. PREP AHEAD OF TIME I quickly learned that juicing can be pretty time-consuming if I didn't prep my ingredients beforehand. Rinsing, scrubbing, coring, chopping, peeling, every. single. time? No thank you! Not to mention the cleanup time afterwards. Now, I rinse and prep my produce as soon as I get home from the store that way it takes me less than 5 minutes to actually whip up a juice when I get the urge. Here's a great vinegar soak to get your produce pesticide-free! Of course, it's always best to buy organic and/or local, but I know that budgets don't always allow for the extra expense.
4. DRINK IT RIGHT AWAY + CLEAN IT RIGHT AWAY
The thing that makes juicing so great is all the raw nutrients that you are absorbing straight into your body. When you don't drink your juice right away, and store it instead, a lot of those nutrients are lost and no longer active by the time you consume it. I know, I know, it's tough with busy schedules! Morning is the hardest for me, but I know those extra vitamins and anti-oxidants are worth it! It's super important to clean the juicer right away, too. We rinse and wash all the plastic parts, which goes pretty quickly, and then let the pulp collector soak in a bath of HOT water, Dawn dishsoap (no other brand works as well!) and a few squirts of lemon juice. The soak loosens up all the pulp and then it's super easy to clean with the brush that was included with our juicer. I'll throw it in the soak for ten or so minutes while I get something else done, like folding laundry or straightening my hair.
I hope that helps! And just for fun, here are three recipes to get you started (I recommend the yummy, fruity one first!)
2 green apples 2 kiwifruit 1/4 lemon with rind 1/4 lime with rind 2 oranges, peeled 1 pineapple 1 peach handful of berries
3 stalks celery
1 lemon with rind
3 green apples
1 handful kale
1 handful spinach
1 inch raw ginger, peeled
THE ORIGINAL V-8
3 celery stalks
2 handfuls of parsley
1/2 sweet green pepper
1 cup spinach
3 medium tomatoes