Start your love affair with a juicer today

Amanda Greenthumb takes on a controversial subject in the world of nutrition.

Amanda Greenthumb

I have a serious love affair with my juicer.

I am not talking about store bought, sugar filled, fruit juices from concentrate. I am talking about fresh vegetable juice. Juicing is the extraction of juice from fresh fruits and vegetables, creating a delicious drink; jam packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

Juicing is a pretty controversial subject right now in the world of nutrition, especially since juice fasts, or cleanses, are such a hot topic right now.

Essentially the debate is this, on one side the advocates for juicing say it’s a fast and convenient way to get tons of nutrients into our bodies, and the other side is that juicing has no fiber or skin and that we are missing important health benefits from this.

Regardless of your opinion, a glass of fresh green juice is so much better for you than a processed, sugar-laden snack.

Choosing the right juice can be overwhelming, especially since they all claim to have the same health benefits. Here are some tips on how to find the good stuff:

Store-Bought pasteurized juice — These juices sit on the supermarket shelf for weeks, they contain artificial flavours, additives, and preservatives that are added so they can sit on the shelf this long without going bad. They contain little to no nutritional benefits and often have as much sugar as pop.

Store-bought pre-packaged juice — These are a great option when you are short on time. Fresh juices can be obtained at health food stores, and even some supermarkets. Read the labels carefully, you are looking for words like raw, organic, and unpasteurized.

Home-made juice — This is the best way to go, you know everything that is in it, and this juice will be the freshest with the most amount of vitamins, minerals, and phtyonutrients. Making juices at home saves you money in the long term and lets you get creative with your recipes.

Why do I love juicing?

• quick and easy absorption of nutrients;

• increased energy;

• clear thinking;

• clear skin;

• strong hair and nails;

• healthy rest for digestive system;

• appetite control;

• strengthen immune system;

• improved ability to taste and smell;

•  getting raw vegetables into your diet you normally wouldn’t eat (i.e. raw collard green for breakfast).

Expert Tips:

1. Drink it fresh. Vitamins and minerals are slowly being destroyed with exposure to air and light, so to get the most out of your juice, drink it right away.

2. We cannot live on juice alone. There usually little amounts of protein, fat, and fiber in juices. Our digestive system is designed to work, a rest now and then is totally fine, but just like our minds, and it needs to be kept active to work at a high level.

3. Use the pulp. If you are short on time, freeze the pulp and deal with it later, or compost it. Throwing it away is such a waste, trust me your garden will love the pulp. There are lots of recipes online for juice pulp, get creative. I feed the pulp to my dogs mixed in with their food, keeping in mind the fruits and vegetables that dogs cannot eat, but they love it!

4. Juice everything. Maybe not everything, but try out new vegetables and fruits you’ve never had before. Variety is the spice of life, mix it up.

5. High quality produce. Organic is more expensive I know. Just think of it as an investment into your health, trust me the long term pay off will be worth it.

6. Get the vegetables in there. Vegetable juices are full of nutrition; fruit juices while a great source of vitamin C are high in natural sugars and should be consumed less often. If you are new to juicing start slow. Adding apple, lemon, and ginger will help to hide the “green” taste. Work towards a 3:1 ratio, three vegetables to one piece of fruit.

What not to Juice

1. Avocados – Trust me, it will get messy, and there’s very little juice in an avocado. I absolutely love blending my juice with an avocado; it is so creamy and delicious

2. Bananas – Same idea, huge mess, little juice. Just blend it after.

3. Citrus Peels – Although some can be juiced, in general they contain an indigestible oil that our bodies don’t love, just peel them.

Would you like to learn more about juicing and how to incorporate it into your diet? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary health history consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

Amanda Greenthumb is a certified health coach, vegetable gardener and workshop .

amandagreenthumb.com.