GETTING STARTED WITH JUICING
When I co-founded Radiance in 2009, the trend for juicing was a very niche business in the UK. Since then, it has become more wide spread although it still is a bit tough to know how exactly to get started with it and do it the ‘right way’. Of course, there isn’t a right or wrong way of juicing. There however, are some tips and tricks that can help you get more out of it and I’ve listed the top ones which I have learned through my experience below.
January is often the month in which our motivation levels are high and we are all inspired to schedule and follow new healthy habits. The “new year resolution” as many call it! I don’t deny a new year’s resolution at all. Infact that is what my business of juicing has been about! Admittedly it’s cold and getting a daily dose of juice requires a bit more commitment than in the sunny summer months. But it’s well worth following the routine for the innumerable benefits to your immune system. Not forgetting that this is also one of the best ways of consuming lots of fresh, raw fruit and vegetables when you are not inclined to do so on a daily basis for whatever reason – taste, texture etc!
Juices vs smoothies:
The first thing to know is to be clear about what you are making and to distinguish between juices and smoothies. A juice is a pure liquid extraction from fruit and vegetables and doesn’t contain any fibre. Smoothies on the other hand are made in a blender and are a much thicker drink that will contain fibre. I’m often asked: “which is better?” My personal view is that it does not really matter. Both serve different purposes and both can be nutritious additions to a balanced diet. I decided to take up the challenge of making juices and so that is what we shall look at, for today.
POINTS TO CONSIDER WHEN MAKING YOUR OWN JUICE
Low sugar content
Being fibre-free, juices are the most easily absorbed form of vitamins and minerals - thus making them especially good for anyone with digestive problems. However, the fact that they are so rapidly absorbed means you have to watch the natural sugar content so that you don’t unduly spike your blood sugar levels. With juices, therefore, you should be aiming for as high a vegetable content as you can tolerate and still be able to enjoy its taste! Try to avoid pure fruit juices and if you do, keep the quantity small and consume alongside a meal.
Keep it simple
When you first start juicing you don’t need to put lots of different ingredients into each juice. Carrot, apple and ginger, perhaps with a dash of lemon, has always been a favourite of mine. My young children love carrot, orange and beetroot. For a greener juice try apple, cucumber and spinach. If you try including too many ingredients it can be tricky to balance the flavours well and create something really delicious. Blends can be tougher to manage!
Get the right juicer
Broadly speaking there are two types of juicer, centrifugal and cold press. The latter will give you a higher quality of juice and can cope with leafy greens like spinach and kale as well as herbs such as basil or parsley. You can also store cold pressed juices in the fridge (in a sealed bottle) and they will keep for a day or two. However, these juicers are typically slow to operate and you have to chop produce up into small chunks, plus the good ones are quite expensive. Centrifugal juicers are cheaper, quicker and easier to clean. I would say be realistic and consider what type of juice you’ll be making most often. The best type of juicer is the one you’re actually going to use and not put away in a kitchen cupboard! I’d recommend UK Juicers as a good place to start with for choosing a new juicer.
As far as possible, stick to fruit and vegetables that are in season and buy organic where your budget allows. You can go through a lot of produce when making juices regularly, so it’s important to use what is most nutritious and lowest in pesticides. I get an Abel & Cole Super Juicing Box delivered weekly so that we always have organic, fresh and in-season produce in the fridge. There’s also a Green Juicing Box version of Abel & Cole but also other companies such as Riverford that have similar offerings. It’s well worth buying specific “juicing” oranges, apples and carrots etc rather than getting them from the supermarket. Firstly, they won’t come wrapped in unnecessary plastic and secondly, they are cheaper - you don’t need your apples to look pretty if they’re going straight into the juicer!
If you find there is too much to do, let someone else do it for you!
If you’ve got the right juicer and your fridge is well stocked then it’s really not a challenge to make a daily fresh juice or at least have one at the weekends. But if life is hectic enough already and you still want the benefits, then there are plenty of options. Obviously, there are home delivery services like the Radiance or you might have a local juice bar or cafe that stocks fresh juices. The things to check with ready-made juices are whether the product is: (i) Organic (check for the Soil Association symbol in the UK), (ii) Cold pressed ideally, (iii) Non HPP (High Pressure Processing, which is a technique to extend shelf life) and (iv) Not overly fruit centric. Most importantly…..Don’t be fooled by the label on the front of a bottled juice. Turn it over and you might read that although cold pressed it is not organic, made abroad (and then HPP’d and transported, reducing the nutrient content) and contains 85% apple despite listing cucumber, celery and spinach as ingredients on the front!
Enjoy juices not just for January but all year round! The improvements that will you notice in your skin, your digestion, your immunity system, your general mental and physical well being will surprise you….
Christina Agnew, Founder, www.radiancecleanse.com