Thursday, October 3, 2013

Juicing and Buying Juice Tips

I know some people would say it's not exactly preppy of me, but some days, we juice.

If one has seen the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, she knows that there are reportedly wonderful health benefits to juicing, but mainly I just like it as an easy way to use up the vegetables that are dangerously close to going bad, and to get more veggies into my diet.

I like almost all vegetables, but I can't stand kale in any other capacity than juice, and I feel almost as strongly about cauliflower. If carrots are not being used as vessel to carry peanut butter, I don't have much of a use for them.

Carrot juice, on the other hand, is amazing. Sweet and delicious, carrot juice was something I got excited about making in the huge and heavy juicer my father used when I was little. I'm pretty sure the only reason he pulled it out and went through the trouble of cleaning all the parts was because it was the only way I'd eat carrots without making a fuss.

Now, we usually use kale as the base for our juices, and we add in any other vegetables that happen to be in the fridge. There are recipes for juicing, but we find that as long as we also add in a carrot or half an apple for sweetness, the juice turns out to be pretty good.

We also learned a couple tips along the way: First, that using celery is a good way to keep from feeling dehydrated; and second, if one puts the vegetable waste back through the juicer, more juice can be extracted.

The only trouble is cleaning all those parts of the juicer! It is quite a hassle to make juice simply because cleaning up takes forever. And so sometimes, I buy a bottle of juice or stop at a store that makes fresh juice to order. The cost of a bottle or made-to-order juice is usually about $6 in NYC. I recently added up how expensive it is to make juice at home, and the cost came to about $3 for the same amount of juice. That's a huge convenience tax, but I find it to be worth it sometimes, because it takes so long to make juice and clean the juicer at home.

To keep these purchases healthy, I have a rule: The base cannot be a fruit. It is amazing how many bottles of juice one can easily find at the supermarket or deli, but when one looks at the ingredient list, it almost always starts with apples or oranges. These are very water-filled fruits, so it makes sense for the company to use them -- it brings their costs down. But it does not make sense for me to buy them, because I don't want all the sugar that 3 apples or oranges would give me. I have no trouble adding fruit to my diet, so I drink juice as a quick way to get more vegetables -- not more fruit.

Pictured is Evolution's Sweet Greens. It is my current favorite of the bottled juices, but it costs about $6 at Starbucks. Fairway and Westside Market also sell Evolution, but I haven't been able to find Sweet Greens among their offerings, seeing only fruit juices offered. For about $6, I can also get fresh juice made at many of the juicing places around the city, so if I have time, I prefer to get it made fresh.

Drinking vegetable juice certainly is a quick way to have a meal, if not entirely cost or time efficient to make or buy. But these are the things I've learned which make it a little better -- any tips you know about juicing that you would like to share? I'd love to hear!

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