Vegetable Juice — Juicing Vegetables
The following tables provides links to information about various vegetables. Below this table is an introduction to juicing vegetables which explains some of the basics do's and don'ts, amongst other things...
Fresh vegetable juice helps supply your body with readily available nutrition. Fresh vegetable juice not only tastes great, but it helps you eat, or in this case, drink more vegetables in a day than you normally would. While juicing allows you to easily consume more vegetables in a day than you would normally eat, you need to be aware that you do not go to the extreme and consume too much juice. Instead, we must be "responsible juicers".
It's a well known fact that your body needs optimal nutrition to be healthy. Nutrition is fuel for the body. Every action of your body requires nutrition. Your body requires nutrition in order for your organs, glands, bones and every other component of your body to be healthy.
Drinking fresh vegetable juice is not a cure all. Fresh vegetable juice is simply part of a healthy lifestyle.
Many people have obtained health benefits as a result of drinking fresh vegetable juice on a regular basis. This however, in my humble opinion, should not be your primary reason for drinking fresh vegetable juice.
Your primary reason should be because you enjoy fresh vegetable juice. The benefits you obtain from drinking fresh vegetable juice are just that — benefits.
Your best results will come from simplicity. With simplicity comes consistency. With consistency comes results. But if you focus solely on the results, then you will only experience disappointment.
By enjoying fresh vegetable juice, you help to ensure the consistency needed to obtain the long term benefits.
Juice because you love drinking fresh juice and let the rest take care of itself.
This page contains basic information about the do's and don'ts of juicing vegetables. To obtain specific dietary and health advice for yourself, please consult your medical doctor or naturopathic doctor.
Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, Candida, Etc
If you suffer from a sugar related health problem such as diabetes, hypoglycemia, candida (yeast problems), gout and so on, you should consult your health care professional before juicing vegetables that are higher in natural sugars.
For your benefit, I have added a nutritional analysis of each vegetable listed. This nutritional analysis is gathered from the US Department of Agriculture. The analysis shows how much sugar (in the analysis, the sugar content is mentioned as energy) there is per 100 grams of the vegetable.
If you suffer from a sugar related problem, consult your medical doctor or naturopathic doctor before juicing fruits and vegetables.
Kidney Stones and Other Kidney Related Problems
If you suffer from kidney stones, then you will definitely want to avoid juices made from vegetables such as spinach, beets, collard greens and some other vegetables. These vegetables are higher in oxalic acid .
If you do suffer from kidney stones or other kidney related problems, then consult your medical doctor or naturopathic doctor before juicing.
Children and Pregnant Women
If you are currently pregnant, preparing to get pregnant or are nursing, you should consult your doctor before juicing.
Certain vegetables or fruits can contain nutrients and minerals that are possibly not safe for a pregnant or nursing mother.
If you are planning on providing fresh vegetable or fruit juice to your child, then you should also consult your doctor or health care professional before providing fresh juice to your child.
Fresh juice is concentrated nutrition and therefore, it's advisable to get professional advice before you begin. Naturopathic doctors have good knowledge of juicing and therefore can make an excellent choice to get professional advice from.
You need to be more careful when using green juices such as broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, dandelion, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, kale and all other greens.
These juices tend to be more powerful and so you will want to start off slow and gradually increase. Ultimately, you never want more than ¼ of your juice to be green juice.
I never drink my green juices alone. Not only are they powerful in that they can cause loose bowel movements, but their taste can be rather strong. Green juices are usually mixed with apple, celery, cucumber or carrots.
Many beans such as kidney beans, white beans, navy beans, etc can be sprouted and then juiced and/or eaten. However, many beans contain toxins that can only be destroyed through the soaking of the beans and then the cooking of the beans. It's for this reason that I suggest you do not eat or juice bean sprouts. There are some exceptions to this rule such as mung bean sprouts. But for the most part, beans should be avoided when it comes to juicing.
Remember To Chew
Most people, when drinking fresh juice, will just drink it like a glass of water. But what you want to do is chew your vegetable juice. This does a few things. First it warms the juice to body temperature. This is important because most people store their vegatables in their refridgerator. Next, when you chew your juice, the vegetable juice mixes with your saliva which further helps your body absorb the nutrients in the juice faster.
Ideally, I prefer to leave my vegetables on the table for about an hour or so before I begin to juice. This helps bring the vegetables to room temperature. I do this because cold food shuts down digestive enzymes. This is why many feel awful after eating cold foods like ice cream. So when the food is warm, the digestive enzymes work more efficiently.
If you are new to juicing, then start slow and gradually introduce vegetable juice to your body.
Fresh vegetable juice is more concentrated than the vegetables you eat. In addition, the nutrition and benefits of the vegetables are released and made available to the body much faster than if your body were digesting a whole vegetable.
If you are new to juicing, then you will want to begin with more basic vegetables such as carrots, celery, parsnips, cucumber, etc. Then with time, gradually introduce the green vegetables such as dandelion leaves, parsley, beet greens, etc. Purslane and wheat grass are more powerful juices and should be introduce after juicing for a while.
Apples are the one fruit you can combine with your vegetable juice.
For the most part, vegetables require different enzymes for digestion than fruits. Therefore, we don't combine fruits and vegetables. But apples are the one fruit you can combine with your vegetables.
Apples add a very nice sweetness and flavor to your vegetable juices.
You Still Need To Eat
Fresh vegetable juice is great, but you are still going to need to eat your veggies too!
Your body is a natural juicer. As an example, when you eat a carrot your body begins to digest it. Essentially, your body extracts the juice from the carrot and then gathers the nutrition from the juice for its bodily functions. Then, the fiber passes through the colon and helps keep you regular.
The benefit of juicing is that you help your body by removing the step required to extract the juice from the vegetable. But in doing so, you also loose the all important fiber.
So continue eating your veggies to get the fiber you need to help maintain regularity.
Variety Variety Variety
I know you probably have your favorite vegetables that you like to juice. But variety is the spice of life and variety is important when juicing.
By constantly changing the vegetables you juice, you get a broad spectrum of nutrition. This means that while one vegetable may be low in a certain vitamin or mineral, another vegetable may not. By having variety, you smooth out the bumps so to speak.
Variety is also important because it is said that if you have the same food every day for more than 4 days in a row, then your body will create an allergic reaction to the food.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and some people who are sick, such as with cancer, may find themselves juicing carrots every day. In times of illness, etc, the body is able to identify what is "medicine" for the body. As a result, a person who is sick may not develop an allergic reaction to carrots even if they drink carrot juice every day. This is because the body needs the "medicine" found within the carrot or any other vegetable. But generally speaking, for general health and well being, do juice a variety of vegetables.
When possible it is best to use organically grown vegetables.
If you are not using organically vegetables, then you will always want to remove the peel of the vegetables. Unfortunately, a lot of the nutrients in vegetables are found within the peel or rind.
Organic vegetables are also important because juicing brings out the juice of the vegetable and unfortunately, when using non-organic ingredients, you are also getting some possible pesticide or other chemical residue in higher concentrations.
Buy Regional Produce
When possible buy produce that is locally grown or that is regional to your area. This helps to ensure you get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
When possible try growing your own vegetables.
Feng Shui Juicing — Seasonal Juicing
Feng shui juicing is the awareness that each vegetable (and fruit) has properties that are best suited to certain times of the year, different health problems or for certain benefits. Obviously, this approach incorporates traditional Chinese herbal medicine knowledge.
In the past, everyone ate vegetables that were only available at that time of year. Example, lettuce was only available in the summer and turnips were only available in the winter. But in today's world, lettuce is now available in the winter and turnipes available in the summer. But your body will do so much better when you juice (and even eat) vegetables that are traditionally grown and/or harvested in whatever season of year it currently is.
Vegetables that are traditionally harvested in the winter, as an example, generally speaking have the ability to provide your body with the sustenance needed to create the "heat" and "strength" you need to stay healthy in the winter allowing you to avoid colds. On the other hand, vegetables that are traditionally harvested in the summer will often have a "cooling" effect on the body that helps your body work with less effort so you stay cool and feeling refreshed in the summer heat.
This style of juicing could be called "feng shui juicing" due to the fact that summer vegetables tend to have more yin (cooling) energy while winter vegetables to tend to have more "yang" (warming) energies. When possible, the Chinese herbal properties for each vegetable (and fruit) is also provided.
Avoid combining fruit juices with vegetable juices. The only fruit that I combine with vegetable juice is apple.
When juicing tomatoes, it is best to not mix the tomato juice with other vegetables juices. Tomatoes are a special breed of vegetables because they are actually a fruit. Tomatoes do best by themselves.
Germs and Bugs
Blanching is a technique that can be used to both clean and sterilize vegetables. Plunging vegetables into boiling salted can help clean the vegetables of germs and bugs that cannot be removed by normal washing.
In traditional Chinese cooking, vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower are often blanched for this very reason.
Not all vegetables need to be blanched but those with tight florets are good candidates for blanching before juicing.
Of course, not everyone will want to do this because they will fear that the nutrition will disappear and certainly, some nutrition will leave. But not a significant amount to be concerned about.
Ultimately, whether you blanch or not is a personal choice but it is definitely a method to help kill germs and bug before juicing.
Two things that I do every now and then to add more flavor to my juices are to add some pure vanilla extract or stevia.
I find pure vanilla extract really helps to smooth the flavor of my juice and truth by known, I love vanilla! I use the pure vanilla extract which is more expensive, but I don't want to use artificial vanilla flavorings. You can get pure vanilla extract from your local health food store.
Of course, you can add any other extract that you like. My suggestion is to simply use pure extracts rather than artificial ones.
I also use stevia every now and then. Stevia is a natural sweetener that contains no sugar and does not affect insulin. With stevia, less is more. I usually add just 1 drop but sometimes 2 drops of stevia to my juice. Stevia is a nice replacement for apple juice and helps remove the bitterness of some the dark green vegetables.
You can get stevia from your local health food store.
Soft, Hard, Soft, Hard...
When juicing vegetables, it helps to alternate between soft and hard vegetables.
The benefit of juicing vegetables in this way is that the soft vegetables may not always release their juice as fast or as easily. Therefore, by juicing a harder vegetable after a soft vegetable, you help to flush the juice of the soft vegetable out of your juicer and into your glass.
Wrap Small Leaves
When juicing vegetables that have small leaves, like parsley, you can do one of two things.
You can either rap the leaves inside a bigger leaf vegetable such as kale, or you can roll the smaller leaves into a ball.
This helps your juicer get the most out of the smaller leaf vegetables.
Many people, including myself, tend to juice fruits less often than vegetables.
The reason why is simple. In most situations, fruits taste better than vegetables. As such, most people including myself, find it easier to eat fruits whole than to eat vegetables whole.
So when I juice, I primarily juice vegetables and have fruit juice less often.
I also juice fruits less often because it is harder to find organically grown fruits than organically grown vegetables.
I also juice fruits less often because of the higher sugar content.
I also prefer to juice vegetables more than fruits because vegetables are harder to digest than fruits. Therefore, juicing helps me get more nutrition from my vegetables.
I have easy access to organic apples which is good because I do like to add a small amount of apples to my vegetable juice.
Fruit juice is delicious, but if you are only juicing fruits, and never vegetables, then you are avoiding the main purpose of juicing which is to juice vegetables.
Yes, fruit juice tastes great, but fruit juice should be considered more of a treat than anything else. When you juice fruits you also miss out on some of the wonderful benefits that only whole fruits can provide.
As an example, a papaya is a really good bowel cleanser but when you juice the papaya, that bowel cleansing quality is gone.
Fruits are easy for your body to digest when eaten, so do eat more fruits than you juice and remember, fruits are the great cleansers of the body. Fruits can help to cleanse your blood, your lymphatic system and your colon; but, only when eaten. When you juice fruits, you begin to loose some of these very special qualities.
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