Probably the biggest problem with the standard American (or Western) diet isn’t just that we’re eating too much of bad, calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient foods; it’s that we’re NOT eating nearly enough micronutrient-rich (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals) foods. Guess what the most micronutrient-rich and nutrient-per-calorie dense foods are? That’s right, fruits and vegetables. Shocker.
So how do we get more of these nutrient dense foods into our diet? Well, besides making sure to eat almost a pound of raw and cooked vegetables every day, which would be ideal but is difficult for some people, JUICING your vegetables and some fruits is an excellent way to go. In fact, you can consume 5 times as many vegetables by juicing them as you would be able to consume by eating them, and the nutrients become more easily absorbed in juice form. Although you definitely need to eat solid vegetables to get the many benefits of plant food fibers, juicing is perfect for supplementing your diet and adding in tons of nutrients you’re not getting from the typical American diet.
I’ve been doing lots of research on the right kind of juicer to get for myself, since some juicers heat up the fruits and vegetables and therefore destroy their nutritional value, and some of the best juicers (like Norman Walker’s NorWalk Juicer) cost way too much ($2,000 +). After tons of reading and consulting with various people, I decided that the Breville Ikon Multi-Speed juicer would be the best option for me. The Breville is a centrifugal-force juicer, which means the vegetables are shredded and then spun around rapidly as the juice is separated from the fibers via a very thin mesh basket. Although this isn’t the optimal way to juice (masticating and then pressing the juice is best), centrifugal juicers are the next best technique and involve less moving parts than some of the more serious options. It’s also only $200 so it fits into most people’s budgets, especially considering the savings that add up by juicing everything yourself. So I ordered it.
It came in the mail yesterday, and after getting home I immediately set it up and tried it out. There are only about 5 parts to separate, clean, and assemble, and the whole machine is pretty compact. I juiced what I happened to have in my fridge, which was a head of romaine lettuce, carrots, celery, and an apple. This particular model has 5 speeds, so that leafy greens and soft fruits can be easily juiced at the lower speeds, and harder vegetables and fruits can be juiced at the higher levels. It was super easy to operate – I just put the leafy greens in first at the slowest speed and gradually worked my way up to the harder vegetables. It took me about 5 minutes to juice everything and 5 minutes to clean it all up. The pulp that fell into the waste basket was nearly dry, meaning that almost all of the vegetables were used efficiently. The juice was clean-tasting, pulp-free, and delicious. I’m looking forward to making it a daily part of my vegetable intake.
If you don’t have a juicer, live in LA, and would like to try some great fresh-made juice, head over to Pressed Juicery in Brentwood. Their juice is somewhat expensive, but they use the aforementioned NorWalk juicer and it’s the best quality juice you can possibly buy. I’m sure there are other juice places if you live in other parts of the country, especially New York. Try to make it part of your routine.