Have you ever played ‘Desert Island Food?’ It’s simple. Just sit around with a bunch of people and ask each one what they’d select if they could only eat one thing for the rest of their life (assuming they were to be stranded forever on a desert island). My answer is always the same: salad. I know – that seems a little boring, but I really, really love salad. I guess that’s because I really, really love fresh fruits and vegetables.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I’ve recently become an avid juicer. I’d wanted to explore the wonderful world of juicing for some time, and when I got my hands on the fabulous Omega VERT juicer, I instantly became a juice-a-holic! I can easily drink double the amount – or more – of fresh, raw produce each day than I could possibly eat and it leaves me feeling happy, clean and super-energized. Had I known how fantastic having fresh juice every day would be, I would have jumped into the world of juicing a long time ago.
My first couple of batches of juice were made in haste because I just couldn’t wait to get started. I used whatever produce I had on hand without much thought about combining nutrients or flavours, so they were a little odd in colour but I loved their fresh, wholesome taste. The best thing I discovered was that having fresh veggie and fruit juices in the fridge kept me from wanting to snack on other items – one cheerful glass of juice and I was satisfied for hours.
While I am really loving my fresh green and red veggie juices (I make a kale-cucumber-spinach-pear-lemon blend and a beet-carrot-apple-ginger blend every other day), the rest of the family seems to prefer the fruit combos. We’ve gone through a lot of oranges, apples, lemons, cantaloupes, watermelon, strawberries and pineapples in the last few weeks! The great thing is, they have no idea I’m sneaking a bunch of carrots and a little kale into their fruit juices.
Pros of home juicing: I find my Omega VERT juicer really easy to operate and the machine is surprisingly quiet (so I can run it very early in the morning without waking my household). When I have a lot of produce to use up, I can make bigger batches, since freshly made juice keeps its nutritional strength and flavour for up to 72 hours (I store it in the fridge in canning jars). A special bonus for us is that I can accommodate all of our family’s fruit allergies, something that can be tricky with purchased juice blends.
Cons: If you are juicing for several people, it takes a LOT of produce, and hence a fair bit of chopping. Plus, the machine takes about 10 minutes to clean after you’re done juicing. I did figure out one time-saving tip which is to reassemble the machine right away after I’ve cleaned and dried the components – it’s one less thing to do the next morning when getting ready to make the next batch.
A few words about juicers: On the advice of my friend Alexa Spas, aka Flexi Lexi, who runs a fabulous culinary nutrition and juice cleansing business (meaning she makes awesome juices for you!), I knew I wanted a masticating juicer. Also known as single gear or single auger juicers, they literally grind and chew fruit and vegetable fibres to break up plant cells, resulting in juices that contain more enzymes, vitamins, fibre and trace minerals. While they take a little longer than centrifugal juicers to do their thing, they are actually better at extracting juice so the yield is higher. As an added bonus, most masticating juicers can handle almost any fruit or vegetable, as well as leaves (spinach, kale, parsley, etc.), grasses (wheatgrass, anyone?) and nuts (I am so excited to try making almond mylk soon). Another important benefit of masticating juicers is that they run at lower RPMs (slower speeds) than centrifugal juicers, which means your produce doesn’t get nearly as oxidized so you get juice which is more nutritious and has a longer fridge storage life.
In my next juicing post, I’ll share some great tips and recipes from Flexi Lexi on how to get even juicier in the kitchen.
Disclaimer: While the nice folks at Omega were kind enough to supply the juicer, I have purchased, washed and chopped the mountains of produce all by myself.