You might have some friends who’ve tried a juice fast or juice cleanse, especially after some indulgent eating. I’ve had friends who’ve paid a lot of money for cleansing plans. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself. I’ve experimented with juicing the last few years, but haven’t actually tried a strict juice fast or cleanse.
These days, you can find “fresh” juices in some stores, but these aren’t really fresh since the very nutrients and enzymes that you’re trying to capture from fresh juicing gets lost over time. Plus, they are super expensive. The best way to ensure you’re getting the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants from juices is to make your own juice.
Juicing isn’t a replacement for eating your fruits and vegetables, but it’s a great way to get a jump start and to supplement your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Whole fruits and vegetables provide fiber and additional nutrients from the flesh and pulp, so think of juicing as a supplement, not a replacement for eating whole fruits and vegetables. Unless, that is, you make soup or muffins out of the pulp.
There is one exception I might make to the paragraph above. A few years ago, I met a woman, Doris Sokosh, who is a cancer survivor in her 80’s, but was on her deathbed with metastatic breast cancer in her 40’s. The doctors had given up on her and her husband was looking for alternative therapies when he came across a non-profit organization called F.A.C.T. (Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy). Ruth Sackman, the founder of F.A.C.T., suggested starting Doris on juices, mainly carrot juice. Doris’ appetite and ability to digest food was very limited at the time, so whatever she was able to take in was of the highest quality for the maximum benefit. (You can read about Doris’ story, including how she made a remarkable recovery that started with juicing carrots in her book, Triumph Over Cancer , which includes whole food recipes that were essential to her recovery and good health.)
Vegetables are the best food to juice – they’re just as nutritious as fruit but have a lot less sugar and fewer calories than fruit juice. Pulpy vegetable juice is even better because it has fiber. Juice made with 100% vegetables might not be palatable to many people, so adding some fruit definitely sweetens the deal. You just want to be mindful of how much fruit juice you’re drinking since fruit juice is naturally high in sugar and calories.
- 1 romaine lettuce leaf = 1 calories, 0 grams sugar, 10% DV vitamin A, 2% DV vitamin C
- 1 cup kale = 33 calories, 0 grams sugar, 206% DV vitamin A, 134% DV vitamin C, 9% DV calcium, 6% DV iron
- 1 cup spinach = 7 calories, 0 grams sugar, 56% DV vitamin A, 14% DV vitamin C, 3% DV calcium, 5% DV iron
- 1 medium stalk celery = 6 calories, 1 gram sugar, 4% DV vitamin A, 2% DV vitamin C, 2% DV calcium
- 1 medium cucumber = 24 calories, 3 grams sugar, 3% DV vitamin A, 11% DV vitamin C, 3% DV calcium, 2% DV iron
- 1 medium carrot = 25 calories, 3 grams sugar, 204% DV vitamin A, 6% DV vitamin C, 2% DV calcium, 1% DV iron
- 1 medium beet = 35 calories, 6 grams sugar, 1% DV vitamin A, 7% DV vitamin C, 1% DV calcium, 4% DV iron
- 1/2 cup pineapple = 41 calories, 8 grams sugar, 1% DV vitamin A, 65% vitamin C, 1% DV calcium, 1.5% DV iron
- 1 orange = 65 calories, 13 grams sugar, 6% DV vitamin A, 106% DV vitamin C, 6% DV calcium, 1% DV iron
- 1 medium apple = 77 calories, 16 grams sugar, 1% DV vitamin A, 11% DV vitamin C, 1% DV calcium, 1% DV iron
- 1 /2 cup grapes = 52 calories, 11.5 grams sugar, 1% DV vitamin A, 13.5% DV vitamin C, 1% DV calcium, 1.5% DV iron
If you’re drinking one glass of juice a day, make sure it’s a good one – one that has the biggest bang for the buck. Consider a green juice sweetened with a bit of fruit. As you can see, juice made with 100% fruit = a lot more calories and sugar than juice made with vegetables.
Recently, I received a Bella NutriPro Cold Press Juicer to try out – I was game since I’m still pretty new to juicing. I was curious about the two-stage cold press juicing technology (my inner geek is coming out) that this juicer uses to make fresh juice. This technology operates using a chewing method to produce juice from fruits and vegetables. There’s a juicing screw that mechanically crushes, compresses and squeezes the juice out. This method is supposed to extract more juice from fruits and vegetables than other conventional juicers that use fast-spinning blades that cut and pulverize fruits and vegetables, shredding and breaking open cell walls, exposing the juice to oxygen and affecting the integrity of the nutrients and enzymes. NutriPro says their no-blade, cold press technology minimizes oxidation since no heat is used, and therefore more nutrients and enzymes are preserved.
I have made juices using carrots, beets, apples, kale, spinach, lettuce and pineapple using the NutriPro Juicer. I’ve also made almond milk, soy milk, and tried making banana “ice cream” using it. This juicer did a fine job of juicing the fruits and vegetables I used, although I’ve noted some suggestions below that will help the new user. I was also able to make almond milk and soybean milk very easily using the juicer (both require soaking the nuts and soybeans overnight and using the strainer to remove excess pulp; I also cooked the soybean milk which is the traditional Chinese method). Although the instruction book says the NutriPro juicer can make sorbets from frozen fruit, the banana “ice cream” did not work out very well. Much of the frozen banana pieces ended up getting stuck inside the machine and yielded a small portion of frozen banana “ice cream.” relative to the amount of banana I fed into the machine. A strong blender would have been better for making sorbet out of frozen fruits.
This juicer is also supposed to be to juice wheatgrass, although I haven’t tried that yet. Wheatgrass is sometimes difficult to extract juice from juicers using fast spinning blade technology, so I am curious whether the cold press technology is capable of making wheatgrass juice successfully.
There are a few things potential users of this juicer should know. Due to the cold press technology, this juicer takes longer to juice than the fast-spinning blade juicers, and any hard vegetable (carrots, beets) and fruits need to cut into smaller pieces so they don’t jam in the machine. If the machine does jam, there is a reverse button on the machine. The juice extracted is also pulpier than what you might get from some other juicers.
The juicer comes with a strainer that fits nicely on top of the container that collects the juice. I would highly recommend this strainer if you make almond milk or soybean milk (you can also use cheesecloth or a nut milk bag). I liked the idea of having a little extra fiber left in the vegetable and fruit juices, so I did not use the strainer for these.
Like most juicers, this juicer requires some extra care cleaning the filter, but all parts are dishwasher safe. The only part I had trouble cleaning was the pulp spout which required some poking and prodding to clean (I used the back of the cleaning brush or a chopstick to remove the excess pulp).
There are a few tips that I can give anyone who is using the Bella NutriPro Juicer for the first time:
- Make sure hard vegetables and fruits are cut into smaller pieces; otherwise, they might get stuck in the juicer
- Alternate soft and harder vegetables and fruits
- Remove peel and pith of citrus fruits before juicing
For more juice recipe ideas, check out:
Disclosure: I received a Bella NutriPro juicer to review and my opinions expressed in this post are my own.