The Benefits of Juicing (Plus a Green Juice Recipe)

Welcome to Week 12 of One Simple Change: my year-long series of holistic lifestyle tips!

Today I want to follow up on my discussion of Healthy Drinks and talk about the benefits of juicing. I also want to share a favorite green juice recipe with you.

I have been drinking fresh juice on and off for about 20 years. I started when I was in my early twenties: at that time, I was recovering from years of disordered eating and a slew of related health problems.

When I first started drinking fresh juice, I did not have my own juicer. I would buy it from a juice bar or health food store. I pretty much only drank carrot juice at that point, sometimes with beet or apple added to it. I enjoyed drinking fresh juice very much, and I felt that if it had healing properties too, then that was just the icing on the cake.

After a while, I decided to get my own juicer. I loved making my own juices, and got more creative with my recipes, but I hated cleaning the juicer. So I stopped making juice on a regular basis, and after not using the juicer for a while, I gave it away to a friend.

This pattern repeated itself a few more times through the years. I’d get really into juicing (I even did a 10 day juice fast in Hawaii once!) and then, somehow, my enthusiasm would wane completely. I have owned and subsequently given away at least 4 juicers as a result.

About 2 years ago, my husband and I started drinking juice again. We soon realized we were spending way too much money at our favorite local vegan juice joint so we decided to purchase a juicer once more (this is the one we got), and to commit ourselves to making juice only at home from then on. We’ve sort of stuck to this plan, though sometimes months go by and there’s no juicing. I am pleased to say, however, that we’re back on the juicing bandwagon, and I’m excited to share about juicing today for One Simple Change.

I could go on and on about why juicing is good for you here, but instead I am just going to keep it short and sweet. Basically, fresh juice is a raw, live food that’s high in enzymes, and it’s absolutely brimming with nutrients that are well absorbed by the body. The juicer does all the work if breaking down the fruits and veggies, so juicing is excellent for anyone with any sort of digestive issue. Juicing fruits and vegetables is a wonderful way to increase the amount of nutrients from raw foods in your diet, and fresh juice is super high in minerals that can be used by the body to reduce inflammation and potentially heal numerous ailments. Juicing helps the body rid itself of toxins so it can be a valuable addition to a weight loss program…it can also help improve the condition of your skin and hair. If you want to read more about the health benefits of juicing, I think the website of cancer survivor Kris Carr is a great resource. I have her Crazy Sexy Juices & Succulent Smoothies e-book and it’s terrific.

Be aware that even though fresh juice is fabulous for you, it does not have any fiber. So please don’t give up on eating your fruits and veggies whole. Also, as you get into juicing, it’s best not to only juice sweet fruits and/or carrots and beets like I used to do. These are quite high in natural sugars and you don’t want to consume large amounts of them juiced: you may throw your blood sugar out of whack. Balance is key, so make sure to add low-glycemic, high nutrient greens to your juices, as well. Organic produce is recommended for juicing; if you can’t buy organic, make sure to wash your fruits and veggies with an all natural produce rinse to remove any pesticide or other chemical residue.

Fresh juice should be consumed right after you make it (store-bought, packaged juices honestly don’t have a lot of value in terms of nutrients and/or healing properties), and I’ve always heard it’s best for your digestion to drink fresh juice 20-30 minutes before a meal. I’ve also always heard it’s best not to suck the juice down quickly, but to drink it slowly, and to sort of “chew” every mouthful. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to clean the juicer but think about how much good you are doing your body by incorporating the practice of juicing into your life.

I mentioned last week that I’d been sick with a bad cold and cough. Well this yucky sickness was still lingering so a few days ago, I decided I’d go on a two day juice fast. I have not done anything like this in many years, but it just felt right to me right now. I won’t lie and say it was a breeze- there were definitely some hunger pangs in between juices particularly on day 1- but I have to say that I felt quite good after completing the two days of juicing. From now on, I am going to try to fresh juice a few times a week (maybe even daily), and I am gearing up to do a longer juice fast (3-4 days) again next month.

The recipe below is what I made for breakfast on the two days I was juice fasting. I love how the lemon, ginger, and green apple offset the bitter greens and make it taste really good. If you are new to juicing, you might love this, but you might hate it. I personally think a combination of carrot, beet, apple, kale, and ginger might be a better place to start if you are brand new to juicing.

Green Juice recipe

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Green Juice Recipe

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Cucumber, Endive, Kale, Green Apple, Ginger, and Meyer Lemon Juice (Green Juice Recipe)

Prep Time10 mins

Ingredients

  • *1 organic cucumber
  • *1 head California endive ends trimmed off
  • *4 organic kale leaves
  • *2 organic green apples
  • *1 lemon preferably a Meyer lemon
  • *1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger

Instructions

  • 1. Slice ingredients so they will fit, then process through your juicer (I have this one). Stir to combine; the juice is best when served right away. If you want to store all or part of your juice for later in the day (or for 24 hours max), transfer it to a glass jar (an opaque jar is even better than a clear glass one), fill to the very top, and cover tightly. The less the juice is exposed to air, the better it will be preserved.

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48 thoughts on “The Benefits of Juicing (Plus a Green Juice Recipe)”

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  3. just Bought my Juicer yesterday and have used it 4 times already My Kiddo’s and Husband love the Juice as well… we are going to Continue on in our new Healthy Juicing adventure.

    Reply
  4. Hi! Indeed advice from an experienced juicer. I have an ulcer and would like to add a quart of cabbage juice to my diet to help heal it. But it made me gag! I tried adding carrots and celery but I couldn’t swallow any. Do you have any recommendations for me? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Trudy,
      If you are experiencing that strong of a negative reaction, I would not continue with the cabbage juice. What if you started with a very small amount, though, and diluted it with water?

  5. I’ve never done juicing, so I have to ask, Do you put the entire fruit/vegetable in the juicer? Like the lemon, just plunk the whole think in skin and all?

    Reply
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  7. I love juicing! Thank you for sharing this cool recipe. It’s so cleansing. Kale, lemon, apple, and ginger mix is one of my favorites.

    Reply
  8. I am all for getting fruit and vegetables in the form of juice.. I drink a green smoothie everday… But my concern with juicers is that they remove the pulp and thus the fiber…

    My choice is a vitamix where the blender has no problem making a smooth liquid out of any whole fruit or vegetable you include.. And it retains all of the pulp, which I would find a terrible waste to discard….

    Reply
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    • Hi Michelle,
      It should indeed say that I was compensated. I do some work with the company that markets endive and do get paid for that work. So I just wanted to mention that!

  10. Thank you for this juice – what I got was delicious, BUT, the kale went in, the kale came out…nearly in the same form. What can I do about the kale not processing? Regardless, this recipe will be featured at my sampling luncheon.

    Reply
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  12. also very important about juicing is the fact that with depleted supplies of nutrients in many foods, the only minerals that are considered organic and therefore with adequate absorptive properties, are found in vegetation or live foods. mineral supplements are inorganic for the most part, although some claim sources from vegetation which is disputable as to bioavailability because of the processing issues. i am about to embark on a juicing diet in order to supplement mineral requirements in lieu of capsulized mineral supplements. also some of the mineral supplements cannot provide any bioavailability to the body once removed from the vegetation host.

    thanks for a great blog!

    Reply
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  14. Yum! What are your feelings on Juicing v/s blender smoothies. I read an article that stated that juicing removes the fiber from the veggies/fruits and blending does not. ?? :)

    Reply
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  18. I’ve just recently discovered your site. This fits perfectly with the work I’m doing, and the Spring Cleaning mode I’m in. Cleaning the kitchen, mind and body!

    Reply
  19. Pingback: One Simple Change: How to Make a Healthy Smoothie | Healthy Green Kitchen
  20. Besides all the great information in this post, I have to tell you how impressed I am with how honest you are in this series. Your on again – off again turns at juicing, your mention of your past issues with healthy eating etc. It is part and parcel of what makes this such a wonderful series.

    I do have a question though. Re you stating that you went on a juice fast and plan on another, longer one. I’ve read a lot about others doing the same, that and cleanses. My question is, if one is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet then why do people think that they need to go on fasts and do the cleanses? I don’t understand what the fasting and the cleansing do and are they even healthy?

    Reply
    • Hey Paula! That’s a great question. There are lots of reasons to do fasts and cleanses: one of them is to rest your digestive system. I personally do very sporadic juice fasts to kind of reset my relationship to food…after a few days of juicing i appreciate eating (healthy) so much more.

  21. I love fresh juice, green juice being my favorite. I consume at least 1 qt a day. The health benefits I received from juicing is why I continue to do it everyday.

    One of my favorite Green juice recipes
    -Celery
    -Pineapple
    -Cilantro (Lots of Cilantro)
    -Ginger

    Reply
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  23. Hi Winnie,
    What do you think about a Vitamix vs. Juicer. I have a Vitamix and what I like about it that it pulverizes the fruit which means that I get the added benefits of the fiber.

    Reply
    • I have a blendtec which is similar, but drinking a “blended” juice is different than a “juiced” juice. When you process fruits and veggies through a juicer, they’re predigested so your digestive system doesn’t need to do any work. Both are good for you…just different.

  24. I’m an avid juicer–love these tips! I also fell into the “buying juice” trap at one point, so I’m glad I’ve also gotten back in the habit. And I love the sound of this recipe–on my weekend list! :)

    Reply
  25. Oh dear, I feel guilty. I gave away our juicer, a wedding gift. I make green smoothies in my new vitamix blender – do they count?

    Reply
    • Green smoothies are great, but not the same as juice. I think I’ll do a post about smoothies this week.

  26. Oh I wish I could like juice. I bought a juicer a few years ago but every juice I made literally made me gag. Keep thinking I may drag the juicer out and try again…

    Reply
    • Hmmm…I wonder why, Jayne? Maybe try again but dilute it with water and sip super slowly to get used to it?

  27. Winnie, our story is almost identical to yours–we’ve gotten into juicing, stopped, given the juicer away a few times as well. We bought a Breville juicer 3 years ago when my husband was getting ready to have back surgery–we juiced as part of the plan to support his immune system ahead of the surgery. (He’s doing great now, thanks.) Of course that juicer is now in the closet. But thanks for the inspiration–time to break out the juicer again now that spring is here!

    Reply
  28. Winnie, I must say I am a reluctant to come around juicer. I know it’s healthy and your photography with the vivid colors is so attractive but you can lead a horse to the….:) Maybe some day I will be enlightened. I could be stubborn that way. I am being childish and silly I should do it!

    Reply
  29. This is such a great tip, so much great information. I need to invest in either a juicer or a blender because I have come across so many great juice recipes lately. I love the sound of this one!

    Reply