Fresh juice is one of the habits I retained from GAPS.
I never thought too much about juicing because it's proponents always seem to be sticking entire pineapples in a juicer and going on about juice fasts and as a diabetic, that sort of thing would utterly destroy my bG.
But GAPS convinced me to give it a shot for several reasons...
advantages to juicing
a big salad daily
I have many times arranged my life so as to make sure I was eating a large salad every day for lunch. But sooner or later, something happens and I quit. It can be as simple as working at my desk through lunchtime, salads being rather time-consuming to eat, I'd just wind up picking off the toppings. Or I'd have a busy weekend and just flat-out not have time to make the weekly salads. Eventually, I am not eating salads for lunch every day anymore.
On GAPS, I decided to just juice a big salad each day. Not do excessive juicing like most proponents seem to suggest, but just the equivalent of a big salad. Heck, hardly any of us really gets enough vegetables daily.
Juicing is an easy way to greatly increase your intake of plant-based nutrients.
juice is very digestible
Lots of folks make smoothies, including me, but juice is really not the same sort of thing. A smoothie is thick and filling, sort of a meal replacement. Mine often include coconut oil or egg yolks for the healthy fats. But juice is just fresh produce.
Juice also is missing the fiber. This is a good thing in that your body pretty much just absorbs all the fresh raw nutrients immediately no matter what GI issues you might have. But it also works because you can have it WITH a meal, rather than instead of one.
The equivalent of a big salad (3 cups packed veggies) juices down to 4-6 oz of juice for me. I mix a bit of elderberry syrup into my juice during cold and flu season and use it to wash down my probiotic powder (currently ThreeLac for Candida, previously GutPro for general health).
This is something you can do before breakfast without effecting your appetite much. Because it's not a meal replacement, but an add-on, I find it easier to stick to.
There are folks who use a heavy-duty blender like a Vitamix to juice, straining it afterwards. I see no reason that wouldn't work, but I am not a morning person and am not going to do something that complicated first thing each day!
So I looked for a juicer. Yes, the masticating juicers are better, but they're also several hundred bucks. It seems to me that juicers are like exercise bikes and treadmills, common at yard sales. They're bought with the best of intentions, then sit in attics or basements until the owner banishes them to relieve guilt. So I wanted a cheapo one on the theory that I didn't know if I'd really juice or not.
So I got a cheap centrifuging juicer, a Black and Decker model, and I've been using it for well over a year now. It works great! There's more details at my Amazon review, but suffice it to say it cleans up in about a minute, very important for those of us who just aren't morning people.
I prep my juice the previous evening during dinner chores/dishes; in the morning, I just run it through the juicer and spend a minute rinsing the bits and I'm done.
For just me, I use a 3-cup Pyrex container. Surprisingly, hubby likes fresh vegetable juice also, so when making a double batch, I use a 6-cup container. But for a single batch, it's 3 cups.
First in the container is 2 medium carrots, sliced if needed, and 1/4 of a large apple or 1/3 of a small one sliced. These go through the juicer last as they help push the greens through. If I have no fresh apples, I'm likely to add a handful of frozen pineapple instead.
Next comes the greens, which can be anything from spring mix, to 2-3 individual lettuces such as Boston, bibb, romaine, green leaf, red leaf. I usually add some dandelion greens or flat parsley also. If we happen to have some that needs using up, I'll add half a cucumber or some iceberg lettuce, but they only add to the volume of the juice and do little for the flavor.
Finally, I add about a tablespoon of ground ginger root and a teaspoon of ground turmeric root for their awesome anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When I buy the fresh root, I grind it in my food processor and freeze it flat so it's easy to break off a chunk as needed.
- There's lots of juice recipes online if you Google, but the basics are to add enough of sweet ingredients like carrots and apples to balance the bitter stuff, especially if your green choices tend towards arugula, radicchio and mustards.
- Juicing can be handy for using up leftovers that are threatening to go. I tend to throw things in my juice instead of giving them to the chickens (who get the pulp daily).
- If you don't LIKE the vegetable, you won't like the juice. Seems rather obvious, but when my friend started juicing she bought a big bunch of cilantro and I reminded her she didn't like it; and even after that experience, I did the same thing and bought beets for juicing though I dislike beets. Juice stuff that you like!
- Finally, be very careful with hot herbs. The first time I added ginger, it was about twice what I use now and it was REALLY hot, almost inedible. I ground the tiniest clove of garlic you ever saw in a double batch and it WAS inedible.
Enjoy your juice!
If you juice, please share your favorite recipe below.