Why raw vegetable juicing?
I first starting raw vegetable juicing in 1999. I had started experimenting with vitamin supplements to treat my acne, and I was getting results. This raised a question – why was I not getting enough of the required vitamins from the food I ate?
I started digging online (Google had just started the year before!) and found out about depleted soils leading to less nutrients in the raw food to begin with, and food processing which reduced further or removed altogether these important nutrients. To deal with the latter problem first, I basically stopped consuming processed food, and began eating a largely raw diet. I was never a big fan of salads (up to that point, a salad for me consisted of lettuce, tomato and ham!), but I needed to find a way to get large amounts of raw vegetables and fruits into my diet. I read about vegetable juicing (from www.hacres.com, a site I highly recommend), and bought myself a small centrifugal juicer made by Braun from my local electrical shop. I used it to make a half pint of raw vegetable juice twice a day , starting with 4 ingredients – carrots, broccoli, radishes and apples. After a few weeks I had to take out the apple as it got too sweet, and I started to add other vegetables – celery, beets and kale. I did find my skin getting a bit dry in places, so I spoke to a friend about it who was qualified in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). He suggested that the raw juice would be quite “cooling” in TCM terms, which also meant drying, and suggested I add some “warming” ingredients such as peppers or ginger. I tried the ginger and loved it – it gives a lovely zing to the juice, and the dry skin cleared up so obviously my friend knew his stuff!
Why is raw vegetable juice so good?
I think there are 2 main benefits to raw vegetable juicing:
– there is very little digestion required to get at the nutrients
– the nutrients are concentrated (compare trying to eat a bag of carrots, and juicing that bag of carrots and drinking the juice)
I believe that vegetables and fruits are nature’s fast foods, and seeds and nuts are nature’s supplements. But when you juice your vegetables, you turn them into more of nature’s supplements, giving you a lot more of the vitamins and minerals than you would get from eating the vegetables whole.
So how to get started. As I said above, I started with a small centrifugal juicer, and I would advise anybody contemplating getting into juicing to do the same. The cost will be relatively small (I’ve seen them as low as €30 in Tesco), and it will give you a good indication of whether you are likely to continue it long term. If after using it for a few months you decide this is definitely for you, then I would advise looking at some of the bigger masticating juicers on the market. The one I bought, and one I highly recommend, is the Greenstar GS1000 (now called the GS2000) – they actually have 3 models in the range now. I bought mine in May 2000 (I still have the receipt!) and it’s still going strong, so they are definitely built to last.
The recipes I am consuming at the minute (the actual recipe varies a bit day by day), will include some or all of the following:
– organic carrots
– organic kale leaves (only 1 or 2 leaves per pint of juice, to keep the oxalates down)
– red cabbage
– organic broccoli
– organic celery
– raw root ginger
If you have never juiced before, I would suggest including an apple (Granny Smith and Pink Lady work well) in your recipes initially, until your taste buds adapt. If you find a whole apple too sweet, try half or quarter. Carrots and beets are actually quite sweet on their own, and I would still have carrots being about half of whatever juice I am making for myself.
If sugar (even natural vegetable sugar) is a problem for you (for example, if you have candida overgrowth), then I would remove the fruit and reduce the sweeter vegetables such as carrots and beets, focusing on the green vegetables such as celery and broccoli.