Juicing: An Easy Way to Increase Your Daily Nutrition Quotient
Juice bars seem to be popping up everywhere. You can find them in malls and on street corners, and they justify their sky-high prices by adding all sorts of supplements. You can just as easily create healthy juice drinks at home, with a few pieces of equipment and a bit of knowledge.
The most important thing you will need to start juicing at home is a juicer. There are three basic types, and the prices vary quite a bit. The least beneficial type is a juicer meant strictly for citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. This machine has a fluted top, and you simply hold the fruit on it while the top rotates and presses out the juice. The better choice is a centrifugal juicer. This costs more, but you can put just about any fruit or veggie in it and extract juice. The machine works somewhat like a food processor, and you feed fruits into a chute. Juice comes out one opening, and the pulp from the fruit comes out another. Some people use the fruit or vegetable pulp for recipes, such as carrot pancakes or raw food dishes. A masticating juicer is the most expensive and is probably not necessary unless juicing become a significant part of your life. These juicers extract juice more slowly, but get more of the juice and nutrients from each fruit or veggie.
You can juice just about any fruit or vegetable that appeals to you. Some need preparation, such as washing, peeling off skin and chopping into pieces that can fit into the juicer. Juices, including those from many vegetables, are naturally high in sugar. If you have concerns, choose fruits and veggies that are less sweet. Carrots are very sweet, and juicing concentrates the taste. Celery is less sweet and makes a great-tasting addition to any fruit or juice blend. Experiment with spinach, cilantro, apples, and any other fruit or veggie you happen to have laying around.
Using a juicer to make juice is the easiest part. Cleaning a juicer is a bit harder, because there are usually some parts that you need to disassemble to get to all the areas that need cleaning. However, once you get a routine down, cleaning the juicer is not a problem. As long as the juicer is kept clean and free of pulp and debris, it should remain in good working order with no other maintenance.
You can make up some interesting juice blends; be sure to track your ingredients so that you can repeat recipes that turn out exceptionally tasty. In addition to fruits and veggies, you can also add fresh ginger to the juicer, or add fresh, chopped ginger afterward. Lime juice adds a zesty touch, and Tabasco can spice up a veggie juice drink. If you choose, mix in supplements such as vitamin C powder, fish or flax oil, and any other supplements that do not have an overly strong taste.
There is no need to add any sugar to your juice blends. In fact, adding a refined sugar to something as unrefined and natural as pure fruit or vegetable juice may actually detract from the healthy value of the drink. Good, nutritious additives include cayenne, cumin, salt or pepper or yogurt. If you prefer to add more sweetness, use a natural sweetener such as stevia.
Experimenting with a juicer and a variety of fruits and vegetables will reward you with great-tasting beverages and a super-healthy addition to your daily diet. Try the tips above as you integrate juicing into your diet, and watch your health improve immensely.