Sunday, December 11, 2011

To juice or not to juice (and no, I don't mean using steroids)

Do any of you guys have a juicer? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you perceive to be the health benefits, good juicer brands, etc.  I am thinking about getting one, primarily because so many vegan bloggers post these awesome, incredibly healthy looking juices. I also think Mr. Stacy would be way more likely to drink a tasty juice than a smoothie.  However, I have some reservations. Namely:

1. I bought a crummy juicer about 15 years ago and never used it because clean-up was, frankly, a bitch.  But maybe there have been advances in juicer technology since then???

2. Our kitchen is pretty small, and figuring out where to put another bulky appliance is not an exciting prospect.

3. I eat a LOT of veggies and probably don't need to drink juice to get those vitamins. Plus I worry about missing out on the fiber that non-juiced veggies deliver.

4. Do most people skip a meal and have juice instead? I'm not sure I could do that.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!


  1. I have a Breville centrifugal juicer that I use pretty much everyday. Clean up is easy, but someday I want to get a masticating juicer, which are substantially more expensive.

    The Breville works pretty well, but forget about things like sprouts and wheatgrass. It juices greens ok if you put a stack of them together, roll them up and fold them into a bundle that you push through all at once...if you try to put individual leaves through...forget it.

    I usually do 4 collard greens and 4 chard or kale leaves, half a cucumber, a carrot, and a stalk of celery, sometimes add a beet. It makes a nice green juice...tastes like veggies though, no fruited up juice for me. I think drinking juice first thing in the morning gives your body a rush of nutrients. I always eat a few raw nuts with it too. But, I never do juice in place of a meal; I'd be starving!

    I also have a wheatgrass juicer, which is painstaking! It takes so much grass and so much turning to get 2oz of juice! I'm still looking for a better way...I think it will involve many $$$ though to get a truly efficient wheatgrass juicer. As it is, I spent ~ $100 on the one I have. It's all stainless steel and seems like a good one, but maybe I"m just a crappy wheatgrass juicer person, because I get very little joy from it.

    I do smoothies sometimes...usually sprouts, avocado, spinach, and cucumber.

    All in all, I prefer the juice to smoothies; I have a crappy blender and the smoothies come out like milkshakes...takes too long to eat in the morning.

    Anyway, that's my input. Let us know what you decide!

  2. Rose, this is so detailed and helpful.....thank you!
    I'm not really interested in doing wheatgrass or sprouts, but greens are a must--like you, I want green juice, not fruit juice. I like the idea of a nice nutrient "boost" first thing in the day.

  3. I have absolutely no input on this because we don't have a juicer and don't intend on getting one, but I had to comment to say I love the title of this post! lol

  4. I can climb to the top of our cupboards to check what kind we have but I think that sort of says how we feel about our juicer. We used it once about a year and a half ago.
    That said, I felt an amazing burst of energy following the juice. Also, we're missing a part which is the biggest reason we don't use it more. I guess cleanup just takes an extra 15 minutes or so in the morning, no big deal.
    I have fasted and had only juice days and I'm pretty confident you can get the nutrition (and even calories) you need without additional food but sometimes the need to chew triumphs.
    Yes, do keep us posted. And I will let you know if G and I do the cleanse! I had a dream about juicing last night, even, so it might be a sign :)

  5. I have a juicer at my house; it's a Jack Lalanne (sp?). It's actually my dad's, but I kind of took it over. I always just made juice for both of us at his house; I don't think he'd made it without me, so I just took it to my house. I say all of that to say - I never researched juicers so I don't know what the best kind is. This was just an affordable one he picked up somewhere. And I have no complaints about it, other than yes, clean-up is not fun. I've thought before that if I ever wanted to do a fast/cleanse, maybe I could put the juicer in the fridge after I use it, then I wouldn't have to wash it before the next meal?? I'd have to have room in my fridge, of course. The clean-up process is the ONLY reason I don't juice every day.

    Whenever I juice, I usually do carrot for sure then whatever else I have - I hear great things about cucumber, celery, beet, etc. (I've also used parsley or other extra things like that I don't want to go to waste.) I usually throw in an orange or apple for taste. I always made a great big glass, then it's so filling, there's no way I'd be able to eat something. I can barely finish the glass. Sometimes we just make apple/orange/grape, etc. fruit juice just because it tastes so good. And when my dad had a surplus of cucumbers in his garden, I made cucumber juice a lot because I think it's really good for you.

    I do think there are health benefits to juicing rather than eating the whole thing. It's giving you so many nutrients that you wouldn't be able to consume at a regular meal. As long as you're getting your fiber otherwise. And for kids I think it's good because their little bellies get full too quickly from fiber, vegetable juice is another way to get more nutrients.

    I think it all boils down to the clean up. If you think you'll be motivated to clean it everyday. And if you can find one that has good reviews for that factor.

  6. Hey Molly, the joke was actually Mr. Stacy's. I kept saying I was thinking about juicing and he kept saying I had enough muscle tone. Way to ruin a perfectly good phrase.

    Maud, thank you. Very very helpful. WRT your missing juicer part, sometimes you can buy spare parts for various appliances on the internerds, but you probably tried that already. You are lucky that G would go along with a juice fast. Once I tried to do a modified cleanse that entailed a light soup for dinner, and Mr Stacy was like "WTF?!?" I tell him he's like a wild animal that I started feeding, and now he has completely forgotten how to fend for himself. It's kind of true. Having said that, he does totally go along with the vegan thing, just not the vegan fasting thing.

    Jenny, WOW!!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!!! You don't usually post juices on your blog, so I had no idea. I do think I probably get more than enough fiber. At least, that's what my horrible farts say (sorry, that is definitely TMI but it is sadly true). Your juice combos sound amazing. I would definitely go the carrot route. But then again, I eat 2-3 raw carrots/day already. Anyhow, I clearly have some thinking to do.

  7. I always wanted a Breville juicer like Rose has, but never bought one. I got lucky with a juicer though. A friend of mine got her mom a Jack Lalanne juicer for Christms one year, but her mom never used it. I bought it from her for $25...good deal huh? Anyway, I do like using it, when I have time. I would love to have juice in the mornings and then maybe eat a mid morning snack like oatmeal, but I don't have enough time to make juice in the morning, because I'm always in a rush and that would mean getting up 30 minutes earlier (not going to happen). The clean up is the worst part for me. It only takes like 10-15 min, but that's a pain in the mornings to have to deal with.

    I've never done this, but someone told me you can make juice out of your blender a lot faster, by throwing your veggies in it and adding a little water if you need to. If it's too chunky then you can pour it through a nut bag or cheese cloth and strain it. I need to try that, but actually I forgot about it until just now. :o)

    Oh, when I do juice, which would only be on the weekends, I make a little extra so Tony can have about half a glass. This is the only way he will eat (drink) veggies. He can hold his nose and down it. ha I think it taste good, but he dislikes most veggies.

    It's so healthy. I just wish I was more motivated to juice more often.

  8. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I do have a Breville juicer (did the research and that seemed to be the best brand) that I bought earlier this year, happily on sale, because they're very pricy. Rose is right, they're great for carrots, beets, apples, fennel, and the like but don't do loose leaves very well, though you can pack them in with a beet on top. Ours are also not specifically citrus juicers, which means that you have to peel citrus fruits and chuck them in as you would a beet or a carrot rather than pressing citrus halves onto a rotating citrus juicer.

    All that said, you'll be interested to note that I was inspired to buy mine because I was eating a lot of vegetables and ingesting way too much fiber and wanted to find a way to get my veggie goodness without the gas. works! And the juice does fill you up--so my idea is to have a nice glass of juice while I cook, and then eat less total vegetable mass in the meal. You can make up your own recipes, but the ones in the back of the Rebar cookbook are the ones I keep coming back to, they're so delicious.

    Finally, juicers are large and heavy, too large for me at least with my very limited counter space to leave out. So it goes in a cupboard, whence I have to retrieve it every time I want a glass of juice. I suspect issues like this, and having so many parts to clean (with the Brevilles cleanup isn't hard, but there are unavoidably two containers, a lid, a vegetable chute, and a blade attachment to wash up every time) are what keep most people's juicers (including mine) *in* the cupboard a lot of the time.

  9. Michelle and Zoa, adding to the informed and knowledgeable juicer post comments--you guys are terrific!!!

    Michelle, your situation sounds a lot like the sort I find myself in all the time: I somehow snag myself a cheapy version of a (typically) expensive appliance, and end up not using it all that often. I then end up wondering whether the pricier version would get used more if it is more "user-friendly." In this case, though, it sounds like even the expensive versions of juicers are a PITA to clean up. I can tell you right now there's no way I would bother straining blended veggies--I'd just call it a smoothie and be done with it!

    Zoa, hmmmmmm....the fiber angle is important. I was using one of those online calorie counters at one point, and the one thing I often got way too much of was fiber. Now, I don't think getting "too much" fiber hurts you in any way, except perhaps in polite company, if you know what I mean, and I think that you do :). Anyhow, it'd be good to have a way to get my veg in without the unwanted side effects. BTW, I really do think Canadian homes tend to have TINY kitchens. What is up with that?!?!

  10. We paid $350 for an Omega juicer over ten years ago. We specifically wanted the one used at the Vegetarian restaurant we frequented because we knew it was good and we wanted something reliable.

    Since then, we've used it on average about twice a year to make Carrot Juice. The purchase is not something I regret though and I would recommend the Omega brand. That's really saying something.

    Something I'm Saying: Juice. You know you wanna.

  11. That's some high praise, Shen!

  12. PS thank you all for these detailed comments/advice on juicers. I think I am going to "spring" for one, but not until spring, the reason being that there isn't really enough green stuff around here for juicing over the next few months (see my next post in which I boringly and obsessively ponder eating locally). I think I will probably get a Breville as it seems several of you have had good experiences with them and the Amazon reviews are pretty positive, too. So thanks again!!!