If you’re interested in juicing but don’t know where to start – this post is for you. This is a collection of the first questions that often come up when someone is looking to get started juicing, with all the answers wrapped into one post.
What Kind of Juicer Should I Get?
There are basically two different styles of juicers out there: a Centrifugal Juicer (pictured above) or a Cold Press (Masticating) Juicer.
The two pros and cons that are most often compared between these two types of juicers are price and nutrition.
A Centrifugal Juicer is a cheaper, but because of the speed used to extract the juice from your vegetables and fruit, it generates some heat, and with that heat your juice loses some of it’s nutrition.
A Cold Press Juicer does not generate a lot of heat – it’s called a “masticating” juicer because it basically chews your produce for you and spits out the juice. (That’s a nice image.) It’s slower and is a more expensive juicer, but you don’t lose nutrients the same way you do with a centrifugal juicer.
Not sure what you want and need more info to help you decide?
Juicer Buying Guide (this article is helpful, but as a heads up – they really push the cold press juicer.)
Where Do I Buy a Juicer?
If you want to buy one locally from a Brick and Mortar store, our Breville juicer came from Bed, Bath and Beyond – but it’s also for sale on Amazon (with just about every other juicer under the sun). Obviously, stores and available juicers will vary by region, but it seems that most kitchen stores sell juicers these days. I’ve seen the Jack La Lanne Juicer (among others) at Target and Cuisinart brand juicers at Wegmans with general merchandise.
What’s the Difference Between Smoothies and Juicing?
A smoothie is typically made in a blender. It’s pureed fruits and/or vegetables, often with other ingredients too like water, milk, yogurt, sweeteners or supplements.
Juice is what’s made in a juicer (“Duh”, says Captain Obvious) by separating the fiber and the liquid of the fruit and vegetables you load into the chute.
(Stolen from my own post, A Few Juicy Details):
Although fresh juice lacks fiber, it is very nutrient dense. It takes more vegetables and fruit to make an 8 oz glass of juice than it would take to make an 8 oz smoothie. This means it’s more expensive to make juice, but you get more nutrition in a smaller package. With the pulp and fiber out of the way, you can take in more nutrients with less volume. Juicing is basically a very efficient way to consume and get the benefits from a boat load of vegetables without all the chewing.
Can I Make Juice with a Blender?
Yes and No.
If you use a blender, you are making a smoothie – unless you strain out the pulp with a nut milk bag or fine mesh sieve and remove the fiber yourself. I’ve never done it, but I’ve heard of more than one person (two?) who juices this way on a regular basis. I imagine it’s a little messy, but it could be a more affordable way to try juicing if you’re not sure that juicing is right for you – or until you’ve got the cash to fork over for a new small kitchen appliance.
Shorter answer: yes, you can make juice with a blender, but it’s not juice until you remove the pulp.
OK, I’ve Got My Juicer, Now I Need Juice Recipes!
When we started juicing a few years ago, we started with an old, old juicer from the 70′s that belonged to Zak’s grandfather. We made “Green Lemonade” from Natalia Rose’s Raw Food Detox Diet over and over again.
Classic Green Lemonade is so yummy even those Faint of the Leafy Green Vegetable Heart can enjoy this! (It’s made with romaine or kale – to my leafy green newbies, I suggest starting with romaine because it’s milder in flavor.)
A few more favorites:
Ginger is totally optional in all of these juice combos – we love ginger, but if you don’t, just leave it out!
One of the best sources I’ve come across for juice recipe ideas is Joe Cross’ reboot guides from the juicing documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. That site has links to the PDF’s for Joe’s various reboot plans, but each guide includes the same basic juice recipes for “Red Juice”, “Green Juice”, “Orange Juice” and “Purple Juice”. All of his juice recipes are simple and not-at-all-scary places to start.
You’ll probably find that you’ll naturally start experimenting and expanding your juice ingredient repertoire as you get into the swing of juicing.
More Good Reference Material
The Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko is another good, fast read. It’s not about juicing per se, but is loaded with inspiring info on drinking your greens!
A Quick Update on Zak
He’s still avoiding dairy, gluten and sugar. He’s eating meat again now too after a decade of being a vegetarian. (It’s been a long time coming and was not a decision he made lightly, but after reading Deep Nutrition during his fast, his meat free days are over.)
That’s a Juicy Wrap
Any other first questions that I missed? If you’ve recently started juicing – tell us how it’s going! What juicer did you buy? What’s your favorite juice recipe so far? Get started now and you’ll be drinking beet juice before you know it!
(Stock photo circa 2009.)