Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For What It's Worth*: My Thoughts On Juicing

Over the summer my in laws all started juicing, and I was intrigued. I usually think of juicers as granola-organic-hipster types. My in laws are not granola-organic-hipsters. I am not a granola-organic-hipster either, but I aspire to their sense of irony and their love of hummus. I was very interested to see how it went for my in laws, and I was contemplating getting a juicer myself.

Then, while vising my mother in law, she let me try some juice that she'd been drinking regularly made from juiced carrots, celery, apples, cucumbers, perhaps a few other things- I can't remember. But I do remember that it tasted only slightly better than vomit. I'm not knocking my mother in law here, she's aware of what I thought of that concoction. And I'm sure she's capable of making a delicious juice, but this one reminded me of a long night I spent retching over the toilet. (My mother in law, by the way, is the best mother in law anyone could ever hope to have! Hi, Diane!)

As I researched juicing, I decided that I'm better off just eating fruits and veggies. I'm sure juicing has it's place, but I don't like the idea that I would be missing a whole lot of nutrition from any given fruit or vegetable if I was just extracting the juice.

One thing that struck me when I watched my mother in law prepare that juice was how much was wasted. All of the pulp from the fruits and veggies (and there was a lot of it- I was surprised how much) accumulated in a canister attached to the juicer and was subsequently given to my in laws' pet rabbits. The pulp has additional nutrients and lots of fiber. Fiber, something which most Americans are lacking, is important for intestinal and heart health and also helps you to feel full. You miss all of those  benefits if you're just drinking juice. I've heard that you can save the pulp and bake it into something. But, to me it would be a lot easier to just eat the apple rather than juicing it and then baking the skins into chips (or whatever it is that people make.)

There is a caveat, though. If the only way you can manage to ingest any fruits and vegetables is to juice- then you should juice! I'm still intrigued by juicing, and some of the recipes I found on the web sounded delicious. Maybe I'll look into it again in the future. It's definitely not a bad habit, or unhealthy in any way. I just don't understand why, if health and nutrition is the point of juicing, you would throw away so much of the nutrients and fiber? Why not just eat fruits and vegetables?

 I feel that people are always trying to find creative ways to avoid eating fruits and vegetables while still capturing their nutritional benefits. My opinion is that there's really no good way to get around it: you just have to eat fruits and vegetables. With rare exceptions, you'll never match the nutrition of actual food through fake food, food supplements or, in this case, juice. If you could just, say, have an apple or some celery and peanut butter as a snack, I think you'll probably gain more nutrition and save yourself the trouble of having to bake a celery skin cake.

A possible alternative to juicing would be to mix vegetables and fruits into a smoothie. I think that is a much better way to preserve all of the nutrition in the fruits and vegetables and feel fuller for longer.

This is just my opinion. If you're a juicer, you're probably way healthier and cooler than I am anyway. So, just roll your eyes at me behind your black, thick-rimmed glasses and keep on juicing! And, if any juicers are reading this, tell me, why juice? And, what do you do with all that pulp besides provide a fantastic diet for your rabbits?

* Not much, I know!


Laura Stiller said...

I saw a demo for a Vitamix where the guy put oranges (with all of that stringy pulp), an avocado with part of the pit, half and apple with all the skin, etc. into a blender and made GREAT juice. I was convinced from there on out that I'd much rather make smoothies than juice because you can get nutrients from skin/seeds/etc!

Rachel said...

I am a former juicer. I was really into it for about 6 months after Annalise was born. I stopped juicing for all the reasons you stated. I got into smoothies after that, but now, I am lucky just to get a snack period. I just eat an apple or a larabar these days!

Leslie said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies!

And yes, I am also a fan of smoothies. I think that's a much better option. But, Rachel, I can see how eventually (with multiple kids and their various needs) you just have to eat whatever you can grab at any given moment!

Some days I wonder why I'm feeling so out of it around 1 pm when the kids go down for a nap and then I realize it's because I haven't eaten since 6 am!