to juice or not to juice?



apples galore

Getting your daily dosage of fruits and vegetables can be daunting. How many spinach leaves, beets and carrots can one person honestly eat each day? The pursuit of healthy living may be easy for some – for the rest of us, there’s the juicer. It's definitely a lifestyle choice that requires time and money. Is it worth it?

to juice...

We see it everywhere: people becoming increasingly aware of what they’re putting into their bodies. Want to eat raw, natural, and organic wherever possible? Whipping up homemade juice might be your healthy quick-fix. We asked and found there are tons of benefits to making your own juice at home.

You can take the market to go. If you're always on the move, toting a bottle of homemade juice in your bag is easier than juggling a basket brimming with fresh produce.

Variety is at your fingertips. Keep things fresh and try new combinations, especially if nothing on the market shelf satisfies your craving. (Beet-kale-apple juice, anyone?)

Prepping for your practice is easy. A tall glass of juice is the perfect companion for the commute to yoga. (Just don't down it too quickly right before class.)

You keep all nutrients by going raw. We all know that cooking means sacrificing nutritional value to some extent. Juicing keeps all vitamins and minerals intact.

Mother Earth gets a hug. Making your own juice keeps plastic bottles out of landfills and cuts back on food-waste coming from your kitchen.

carrots

What's up, doc? Why not drink your carrots?

...or not to juice

While many people have jumped on juicing, there are still plenty of reasons people avoid doing it at home. When we asked why people didn't juice, the answers were clear.

It's expensive to do it well. If you don't want a big mess, a big clean-up or a big pile of wasted produce, you're going to pay a bigger price. It's one of those lifestyle changes that requires you to invest a lot right off the top.

If you don't love it, you've wasted money on an appliance. Your juicer could end up being less of a health gateway and more of a dust magnet.

Your grocery bill may go up. You may not have access to inexpensive organic produce, and if you're consuming more of it, you do the math.

Of course, the alternative to juicing at home is hitting a juice bar. The convenience is great but paying premium dollars for juice is not on the top of everyone's list. (Those monthly expenses could translate into a sweet pair of shoes - or your very own juicer. I guess that would be the point.)

oranges, apples and broccoli?

Annika's Vitamix has changed her life (and her boyfriend's life) for the better

a word from the believers

It seems the pros outweigh the cons in these parts. The overwhelming response was that the investment, while hefty, was well worth it.

Karen, our Production Coordinator, is getting ready for a half marathon and balancing her training with lots of yoga. She's been the proud owner of a Breville juicer for the past year and is officially sold. Nothing in her kitchen is spared, from carrot ends to pulp. (Yes, you can even re-juice the pulp and then bake the rest into muffins or fruit bars.) “We’ve actually ended up saving a lot of money because you end up using everything you buy, so the food waste has gone down,” says Karen. “Our juicer has totally paid for itself.”

Annika, a Strategic Sales Account Manager, is heavy into snowboarding, yoga, and running. She knows all about being busy. She owns a Vitamix, which is less of a traditional juicer and more like a blender on steroids. It's on the higher end of the price scale, but she loves it because she can throw in everything – including an apple’s skin, seeds, and core, for example. She says it takes a little extra planning, but juicing is worth it to get that vitamin fix - she’s one step closer toward meeting her health goals.

Editor's note: Karen and Annika brought in some groceries to sell me on their juicing obsession. We used Annika's Vitamix and in minutes we made delicious - I repeat, delicious - juice. I have already started a savings fund to purchase my own machine.

apple-pear-banana-cucumber-kale juice

No, we did not tamper with the colour saturation. It really was this green.

a few good recipes

This is Karen's favourite concoction. She runs the following through her juicer and then tosses it into her blender with a banana and 3 cubes of frozen coconut milk.

  • 2 apples
  • 2 pears
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • small bunch of kale (3 leaves, torn)

Annika opts for a simple (and brightly coloured) juice, loaded with vitamin C.

  • 1 mango, pit removed
  • 2 oranges, peeled (the rind will make your juice bitter)
  • 1.5 carrots
  • 1 apple, quartered

before you buy

Consider your needs and ask yourself these questions as you do your research:

  • How often will I use it? Think about cost per use. (It's like investing in an expensive pair of jeans. If you use them every day, they pay for themselves.)
  • What will I be juicing? If you lean towards carrots, whole apples and other solid fruits and veggies, you'll want a powerful motor so you get the most out of your groceries.
  • Is a quick clean-up a priority? If so, look for something with few parts to remove and wash. (We literally rinsed two pieces when making our green concoction. So simple.)
  • Can I store a big appliance? If you want your juicer to be a regular fixture on your counter, it may not be an issue but if counter space is valuable, make sure it's compact enough for you.
  • What is the capacity? If you're on your own, you may not need a huge reservoir for juice.
  • What's the warranty and can I purchase replacement parts? Get these facts before you spend otherwise you may be spending lots more down the road.

Special thanks to Tannis for her work on this great post. We are convinced - are you?

read more related posts:

41 Comments »


I say JUICE!! Today’s juice: kale, spinach, apples, grapefruit, pea sprouts and broccoli. Weird: yes. Tasty: (surprisingly) yes. The Breville I purchased has MORE than paid for itself (the nearest juice bar is about $7.00 for the drink I like). Next challenge: cultivating wheatgrass on my patio!

Comment by erin m. {{well in l.a.}} — February 22, 2011 @ 7:00 pm


I really love this idea but I worry about going through produce so quickly. How many people did the juice you guys made serve?

Comment by Katie Daley — February 22, 2011 @ 9:11 pm


I’m obsessed with getting a Vitamix – this just sold me completely!! Happy Juicing!

Comment by Tracy — February 23, 2011 @ 7:03 am


YES! I bought a Vitamix blender last month and even my meat-and-potatoes loving husband enjoys his green smoothie every morning. I throw in some protein powder and flax oil as well…

Comment by mary — February 23, 2011 @ 7:13 am


I think Annika is one of the smartest ladies. And pretty. And pretty smart and now more healthy thanks to her beloved vitamix that has become part of her family. For more juice recipes- check out the ReBar Cookbook. They give recipes and all the reasons why they are awesome for you. To juice!!

Comment by Asha — February 23, 2011 @ 9:20 am


Hey!
I loved the article on “to juice or not to juice”. I personally am a HUGE fan of juicing..well, blending. I don’t have a juicer, so I use a blender and it does a great job. Every morning I drink a green shake! (looks just like the one in the picture). It’s delicious! Here’s what I do/use:

- Fill the blender with spinach (loosely packed..but still packed down a little bit)
- 1 banana
- 2 kiwi
- 1 cup of pineapple (or just a bit chunk)
- Fill the blender halfway with water

Blend and enjoy!

I actually find myself craving it, and if I go a couple of days without it, I really notice a difference.

Cheers!

Comment by Ashley Jones — February 23, 2011 @ 9:42 am


I LOVE my juicer! Actually it came in very handy for making baby food as well as my daily green juice. Yes, it was an expensive appliance, but we use it just about every day. And being able to experiment with flavors is always fun… didn’t realize how much I loved beets!

Comment by Racheal Cook — February 23, 2011 @ 10:55 am


I also own a Vitamix and I LOVE IT! It would be great to get into juicing more and I love the idea of being so economical by using the pulp in muffins and such, exactly what I would like to get more into!

Could you post more recipes from Annika? I would only buy a Breville juicer but I’m hesitant to invest in that when I have a perfectly good Vitamix. It would be great as a new juicer to get some idea from someone else who has and uses the Vitamix to make amazing delicious juice concoctions!

Comment by Kate — February 23, 2011 @ 11:05 am


Juicing is fun and healthy, thanks for the article.

http://www.tastentell.me

Comment by Jorin Cowley — February 23, 2011 @ 11:21 am


I just would rather take juice plus. You don’t have to go through the hassle of juicing everyday. The fruits and vegetables are picked at vine ripeness which we can’t get at the stores unless we grow it ourselves. Its backed up by independent clinical research and its free for kids ages 4-college for three years under our childrens health study.

Comment by Marcy Yarborough — February 23, 2011 @ 11:38 am


I prefer smoothies to juice, which is the main reason why I haven’t bought a juicer. I just don’t think it would be worth the cost.

Comment by Amber K — February 23, 2011 @ 11:45 am


I just got the Jack LaLanne juicer, at Kohl’s with the sales and coupon I only spent $59 and I was sold the first time I used it. I love it! It is great for the whole family, my toddler is a picky eater and has no idea when there are veggies in her juice. I was so excited to go to the market and pick up an assortment of fresh fruits and veggies and I look forward to baking and cooking with the left over pulp that I froze. The juice is so tasty, none of the added garbage they put in the bottled stuff which I dont drink for that reason. My only regret is that I wish I had purchased a juicer sooner.

Comment by Heather — February 23, 2011 @ 12:00 pm


JUICE on Weekends – when I have more time and paticence to clean the machine.

If it’s not fresh – mix with bubbled water. the taste is better and less calories.

Comment by Carolyne — February 23, 2011 @ 12:09 pm


I say BLEND! Technically to juice is to run fruits and vegetables through a juicer, getting all the pulp out and extracting pure juice. The problem with this is the loss of fibre and other nutritional benefits that come with eating the fruit/vegetable raw.

But i love my VitaMix blender, I throw everything and anything in there!

Todays smoothie: water, liquid chlorophyll, flax seed oil, chia seeds, maca powder, goji berries, strawberries, grapes, apple, cabbage, zucchini, carrot, and cinnamon. :)

Comment by Cardio Captain — February 23, 2011 @ 12:14 pm


Hey Kate, my friend Tannis who helped do the research and interviewing for this post stumbled across an awesome recipe source through Vitamix.com. It’s really cool. Check it out: http://www.vitamix.com/recipes/

Comment by Elissa Joy — February 23, 2011 @ 12:44 pm


I have a juicer and a vitamix and I use them both weekly. They live on my counter too which makes it easier. I love the juicer when I’m less hungry and don’t want all the fiber filling my belly but I still want a healthy enzyme filled drink that is easily digestable. I love smoothies after a hard workout.

Comment by Kathryn — February 23, 2011 @ 1:34 pm


A great morning juice is orange, carrot, and beets!

Comment by Niki — February 23, 2011 @ 1:57 pm


I’m in love with green monster smoothies! Alas i don’t own a vitamix but my kitchenaid blender does a great job blending my spinach into whatever frozen concoction i come up with for the day
Don’t forget to add some healthy chia seeds :)

Comment by Donna — February 23, 2011 @ 3:02 pm


I looooove juicing. I just started a juice feast today with a very perky dandelion, parsley, kale, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger and apple juice!

Comment by Sandy — February 23, 2011 @ 5:32 pm


JUICE + SMOOTHIES!!!
Fav juice recipe (I have an old school ACME supreme juicer) – apple, spinach, kale, cucumber, parsley + lemon.
Fave Green smoothie recipe (love my vitamix, worth every penny in my opinion)- Spinach, Ice, water, Pineapple, blueberries + flaxseed.

Comment by LobotoME {goods to keep ME sane} — February 23, 2011 @ 6:35 pm


i’m all for juicing and blending! whatever works for you! i do both!

here is dr. oz’s green drink – it’s awesome! http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/dr-ozs-green-drink

and here is dr. oz’s antiaging green monster drink – it’s awesome too! http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/anti-aging-green-monster-drink

my grandmother juiced religiously and she always had the most beautiful hair, skin and nails and she always kept her weight under control by juicing. she always added flaxseed oil and sometimes even hemp oil. all so good for you!

i’m curious to know if anyone out there has used juicing/blending to reach their weight loss goals? anyone?

Comment by Teres — February 23, 2011 @ 8:55 pm


I’m pretty sure apple seeds contain cyanide as do most fruit pits, and should not be added to your vitamix blender. Just because something is raw and natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat. These articles should be proofed by a dietician.

Comment by Jon — February 24, 2011 @ 11:15 am


Hi Katie (waaaaaaaaay up the page!). According to the blog author, this recipe served three thirsty (one pregnant) ladies!
~ Laura, GEC Online Community

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — March 2, 2011 @ 2:24 pm


Hi Lululemon;

I say JUICE all the way! I have been using juicers for a long time and there are multiple benefits to drinking fresh juices. nothing beats fresh juice for vitamin content!

Comment by Don's breville juice fountain elite 800jexl review — April 27, 2011 @ 4:56 pm


My husband is the juicemaster in our home. I am Lacto/ovo vegetarian…love love love my veggies any way I can get them (except fried or cooked to death) but not a big fruit eater. My husband had not had a particularly healthy diet and travels on business usually around 10 days a month. Anyway, he started juicing with our Jack LaLanne juicer he is just addicted! He has introduced vegetables into his daily diet he had never eaten in his life…after a good 6 weeks or so of this, his complexion is radiant and digestive issues have all but disappeared! So everybody wins: I get more fruit and he is becoming a picture of health. It’s so easy to clean that it’s not even an issue. I’m pretty sure he misses the juicer more than me when he’s on the road. ;-) Next challenge: Can someone help me work up the courage to try yoga?

Comment by Marilyn — May 12, 2011 @ 4:41 pm


Yes to Juicing! I just started juicing this year and have never felt better! I started with the Breville Compact and recently upgraded to the Omega 8006, that I totally love! Two very different juicers.. The Omega allows me to juice greens efficiently, which is great since I also started growing wheatgrass. I use my juicer at least once a day and I also use my Vitamix daily! Juicing is like drinking instant life force and energy… while the smoothies are my way of getting protein.. Fave Juice: Cucumber, Lime, Green Apple, Kale and Ginger.. Fave Smoothie: Almond Milk, Raw Almond Butter, Raw Cacao, Chia Seed, Maca, Flax Seed Oil, Hemp Seed, 2 Dates.
No longer have the need for any coffee or caffeine!

Comment by Kimberly — June 23, 2011 @ 8:09 pm


If you’re not juicing… you should be. Do yourself a favor for the flavor and get your juice on. Whether is for supplemental purposes or for juice cleansing, the benefits are incredible.
Your Energy and skin health will dramatically improve. Immediate uptake of so many great essential vitamins. A super convenient way to get all of your veggies in … drink them up. I mix primarily vegetables and ad in lemon for digestion. Too much fruit (although tastes great) can spike your blood sugar.
If you don’t have a juicer… yet. Stop by a whole foods or juice bar and get the veggies. I always make sure I have some Kale, cucumber, ginger, celery, carrots, beets, and even broccoli… add in lemon or scoop of naturally flavored vanilla plant protein.
Vitamix for blending smoothies, fruits with fiber, and soups… Breville juicer for the juicin!

Comment by Jason Sani — June 24, 2011 @ 6:02 pm


Helpful article and video here:
http://arizonahealthclub.com/2011/02/get-juiced/

Comment by Jason Sani — June 24, 2011 @ 6:03 pm


I don’t have a juicer but I love to use my blender for smoothies.

Comment by Chelley — June 25, 2011 @ 6:36 am


Karen’s green smoothie looks really good. I wonder if you could make that with a Ginsu blender. Great green color.

Comment by Michael D'Amico — July 11, 2011 @ 12:16 pm


Addicted to LULULEMON and JUICE!!!I have a Breville and love it, well worth the money. I also juice my own wheatgrass everyday with its own juicer a Samson. Although I juiced before I saw the documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” it was motivating and inspiring. I highly recommend everyone watch. Please add ginger to your juices it helps digest proteins. Favorite juice: 4 kale leaves, 2 carrots, half green apple, half orange, 1 inch of ginger, half cucumber and 1/4 of lemon. HAPPY JUICING!

Comment by Boogie — August 9, 2011 @ 9:33 pm


The Omega VRT 350 is another wonderful juicer. You can juice wheatgrass. Once gets about 1 shot for a tray of grass. It tastes a bit ‘odd’, but the benefits are worth it!

Comment by Jane — February 25, 2012 @ 5:46 pm


Can someone help settle a disagreement? My wife and I are undecided on which juicer to purchase. One wants the Montel Williams Healthmaster, the other wants the Omega 8006. Can someone help so we can move on?

Comment by Ed — February 28, 2012 @ 9:54 pm


Ed, did you make your decision? I got the Omega 800 in December and I LOVE it. I didn’t shop around as it was a gift from my wonderful hubby. I make a simple greens juice 3 – 5x per week:

-several large handfuls of organic greens (either swiss chard, rainbow chard, kale, dandelion, collard – whatever looks fresh and good at market)
plus 2 apples & 1/2 lemon

It’s the perfect. Can experiment with adding ginger, or mint, or parsely or cilantro or lime. YUM.

I find the Omega is easy to use and easy to clean and suits my needs perfectly. Good luck!

Comment by Carolyn — June 28, 2012 @ 7:50 pm


I’m thinking about trying juicing although I have two questions:

1. Do one of those recipes last the whole day? Do you only drink the juice and skip the food? Or do you also have meals, or dinner?

2. Would a normal blender work as a juicer? It has options such as puree and its brand new so if that works then I’d love to save some money.

Thanks!

Comment by Mel — September 30, 2012 @ 7:58 am


I sell juicers, so obviously I am a big fan of juicing. Well, in fact the business was a result of my passion for juicing.

I see some comments about how much juice you can expect to get from your produce. Well, centrifugal juicers are very popular for their low price and because they work fast, but Twin Gear Juicers can really give a much higher yield and better quality juice. The higher price pays itself off pretty quick.

Just the two cents of a ‘professional’.

Comment by Marcus — November 27, 2012 @ 6:12 pm


The thing I hear most from people who want to juice but don’t make that move to juice is that they are discouraged at how long they think it will take them to make their juice or that it’s a pain to clean the juicer. To them I always say it takes me about 5-10 minutes to prep my veggies, juice them, drink the juice, and clean the juicer. I always tell people to get a juicer that is very simple to take apart, clean, and put back together. If people spend a great amount of time cleaning their juicer, they’re going to get discouraged about it. Get a simple juicer to start, you can always upgrade later.

Comment by Don Toivola — December 4, 2012 @ 12:15 pm


As a nutritionist, I’m always recommending people who otherwise don’t consume a lot of fruit and vegetables to start juicing. It’s a great way of getting the essential nutrients and vitamins you need, and it can be fun inventing your own drinks as well.

Comment by James Freeman — January 10, 2013 @ 6:20 am


I LOVE to juice. I bought the Big Book of Juices of amazon. They have a ton of great recipes for juicing and smoothies. I feel a million times better when I juice. The amount of energy I get when I juice is unbelievable. I shop at Bj’s, a large wholesale club they have a great selection of organic produce and also I shop at Trader Joe’s a small chain, they are great if you live close to one! I know you get a lot of nutrients and vitamins which is great, but the number one benefit I feel within the first week or two of juicing is my energy levels. It DOESN’T take a lot of time and in my opinion, its worth it. You are what you eat! Take the time and invest in your health. My husband and I saved up and bought the Omega because it juiced greens like wheatgrass and celery really well. It is slow and takes more time but less to clean up compared to others. At work (nanny) I use Jack LaLanne stainless steel and its great, juices quick, produces a big yield (lots of juice!) And clean up isn’t THAT bad… maybe 5-7 minutes. Also if you are thinking about buying I suggest going to Bed Bath & Beyond and using one of their 20% off coupons or Kohls if you can find one there. Also if you garden the pulp extracted from the juicer is AMAZING for a compost, don’t let that golden goodness go to waste! Happy Juicing!

Cheers!

Comment by Megan Condrey — January 10, 2013 @ 3:36 pm


We say Juice and Blend!

We lost a combined 150 pounds when we started juicing and started jogging.

You can see the photos by clicking the website link.

After three years of juicing we recommend making juices and smoothies, a twin track approach guarantees you success.

Also try and start out with one juice a day as a breakfast replacement rather than launching straight into a fast.

Comment by Shane and Angie — January 22, 2013 @ 11:15 am


Great article! I have a blender and like it’s smoothies very much. I like the idea that I drink the whole fruits in my blender without wasting anything. The idea of juicer is good, but as you said there are more wastes and expenses then in blender. Anyway the carrot or beet juice I cannot do with my blender:) I think I’ll study what blenders exist and their benefits and buy one. Thanks for recommendation.

Comment by Dave — June 15, 2013 @ 6:31 am


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