I finally did it, I got myself a real juicer! I am absolutely loving it and so glad that I broke down and got one. Juicing is one of the healthiest things you can add to your diet. I thought I would have to pay several hundred dollars for a good one, so I never really put the investment on my wish list. Now I have great healthy juices, and super veggie crackers from the pulp!
I invested in a Vitamix Blender many years ago, and while I would occasionally make myself a healthy vegetable and fruit juice in it, a blender like the Vitamix (wonderful for everything else, including making soups , smoothies and ice cream!) doesn't separate the pulp from the juice, so a green drink can get very thick quickly. Sometimes you want a juice without the pulp.
If you're interested in getting a juicer and you expect to juice a lot of greens, your best buy is a masticating juicer. These juicers, such as the Omega 8006 or the Hunom 100, crush the food and then juice it, resulting in more juice. A centrifugal juicer is good for juicing if you are primarily juicing fruit. They will also work with greens, they just don't juice them as thoroughly.
I did some web surfing on a whim one day and realized that some of the more reasonably priced juicers, from $60.00 - $150.00 range, were actually getting some pretty good reviews. I settled on a centrifugal model ,the Hamilton Beach 67650 Big Mouth Pro .This juicer is everything I had hoped. Easy to put together, use and clean. Some reviewers were concerned about the noise, I don't think it's noisy at all. Of course I'm used to my Vitamix, which can sound like a jet taking off. So far I've juiced fruit and vegetables including carrots, greens and apples without any problem. The pulp that's extracted is very dry showing what a good job it does, and a great addition to my compost!The very best part is how healthy the juice is. Want to to diet? Replace a meal with low calorie, high vitamin and mineral juice (after consulting with your physician of course). Fighting a medical issue? Supplement your medical treatment with a juice recipe targeting your problem. Want to improve your general health? Infuse your body with easy to digest vitamins and minerals from fresh organic produce. Such a simple way to improve your health.
Juicing is a great way to use all the wonderful produce available at our summer farm markets. Juicing breaks down the food so the nutrients are more easily digested and absorbed. It's also a great way to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, especially if you normally have trouble fitting them into your daily diet. One study in 2006 at the University of South Florida showed people who drank three or more 4-ounce glasses of fruit or vegetable juice each week were 76 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who drank less. The high levels of antioxidants (in the form of polyphenols) found in fruits and vegetables may protect brain cells from the damage that's suspected of causing the disease, according to author Amy Borenstein, Ph.D
After tossing the pulp into my compost for a couple of weeks I was contemplating this great fine dry vegetable mix and the light bulb went off. Why not dry them to make crackers! So now I save the pulp and add a little sea salt and whatever spices I feel like that day, and dry it into little round crackers for virtually calorie free snacks. You can put them on a lightly oiled or non-stick cookie tray and put them in your oven for several hours. Two hours usually works in my oven. Here's some more information and a recipe.
A great place to start is Sandra Cabot's Raw Juices Can Save Your Life!: An A-Z Guide to Juicing. This great little book has recipes for specific health concerns such as headaches, weight loss and fibromyalgia. You can easily create your own recipes based on her chart showing the benefits of different fruits and vegetables.
Some people prefer a drink with the fiber of a healthy green smoothie rather than a juice. Dr. Oz is a proponent, as is Robyn Openshaw AKA Green Smoothie Girl. There's loads of information on her website. She also has a complete package to get you started on your road to green smoothie health, "12 Steps to Whole Foods Complete Course" including a Manual, Recipe Collection, Journal, CD's & DVD's.
Here are some other sites with more information and recipes:
The Best of Raw Foods
Living and Raw Foods Juicing
Energise for Life
Downloadable Green Smoothie Girl Recipes
NaturalJersey.com was created in order to have a place on the web where we can all share the great green & natural health resources in NJ. I hope you find it a never ending resource when you're looking for health-minded local businesses.