Our crash course in juicing, the best juicers, and what, why and how to juice your way to the good life!
Here at the Feel Good Collective, we’re all juicer junkies, every last one of us. We’ve been juicing since before it was, you know, juicy!
Over the last few years, juicing has exploded from a kind of a cult practice among nutrition nerds like us to a super hip industry, with juice bars in every major city, and most good supermarkets carrying a brand or two of cold-pressed juice and coffee shops integrating juice into their menu.
We’ve been super excited to see juicing take off like this, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there these days. If you google “juicing”, you’re going to find dozens of articles arguing back and forth about whether juicing is actually a good thing to do.
Today, we’ll look at the arguments that are commonly made against juicing, and then make our case for why you should start juicing!
So, who’s behind all the attacks on juicing? A lot of the pushback comes from junk food companies like Coca Cola, who want to paint juicing brands as being roughly equal to soda when it comes to sugar intake. That’s simply not true. You’ll also find a lot of old-school nutritionists pushing back against it.
Let’s set the record straight: Is there any downside to juicing?
Here are a few of the arguments opponents make, and our responses.
First you’ll be told that when you drink juice, you miss out on all the fiber content of your fruits and vegetables. That’s true if you’re buying processed, filtered juice, but it’s much less of a problem with the sort of juice you’ll buy at a fresh juice bar or from cold-pressed companies. Sure, you’ll miss out on some of the pulp after the produce has been squeezed, but the vast majority gets broken down into the mix. As for what’s left, well, let’s face it: most of us weren’t going to eat that much raw produce anyway, so it’s bad logic to think that you’re “losing” fiber intake. You’re just not getting as much as is theoretically available. Don’t worry about fiber. After all, that’s not the point of drinking juice. Granola for breakfast and some whole grains throughout the day will more than cover your fiber needs.
Second, you’ll be told that there’s a sugar rush that comes from drinking juice, which is much the same as drinking soda. By juicing, these people argue, you’re consuming a lot of sugar, which isn’t very healthy at all. Now, let’s debunk that in a few stages. First off, most of us aren’t drinking “sugary” juices like apple, pear, or grape. Maybe we’ll use them in the mix, but juice from carrots, beets, or leafy greens contains far less sugar to begin with. Next, we should have some perspective here. Most soda contains cups of sugar per bottle, not tablespoons. Most fresh glasses of juice have a tablespoon or less of sugar content. That’s just not a good comparison. You be adding a bit of sugar to your diet by drinking juice, but it’s far less than you’d get from eating most granola bars or other more traditional snacks.
So, really, there aren’t any reasonable arguments to be made against juicing. It’s no substitute for eating vegetables at meals, but we wholeheartedly endorse it, and are thrilled that it’s become embraced by the mainstream.
Now that we’ve dealt with all the supposed “downsides” of juicing, let’s get into all the reasons we love it!
Number one, it diversifies your nutritional intake far more than most diets. No matter how much you try to incorporate different fruits and veggies throughout the day, the nature of a cohesive meal means you’re only using things that fit a certain flavor group, or texture profile. Juicing lets us combine pretty much everything! Greens, apples, carrots, you name it! It’s like having a meal that includes something from every group of produce!
Number two, it’s convenient. If you’re like us at all, you know how much of a struggle it is to find the time to make all the amazing, delicious, and nutritious food you dream of having in each meal. Juicing takes a lot of the stress out of planning lunch and dinner, because you can get a bunch of servings of produce all at once. For people like us who are always working or running around to different activities and functions, the convenience of juicing is probably the most appealing piece of the puzzle.
Number three, you can get it anywhere, even if you aren’t going to be lugging your juicer on the road with you (because, really, that would be insane). Nearly all of us here at the FGC travel for work, since we go to lots of nutrition conferences, wellness retreats, and writers’ workshops. You aren’t going to make juice on the go, but being able to find a good glass near your hotel is going to help you so, so much with jet lag, travel sickness, and the general stress of being away from home. Seriously. Restaurant salads are super expensive, and juice is a way more cost effective way to cover your dietary bases. And if you ever get motion sickness driving or flying, bringing a juice blend with fresh ginger will do literal wonders for your stomach! Storebought or juice bar juice is never going to be quite as satisfying as juice you’ve made yourself at home, but it can be an absolute relief when you need it.
Beyond all those reasons, there’s one other key thing that we think totally seals the deal. Juice is just amazing to drink. It tastes great, and you feel like literal sunshine after you drink it. And it’s not like coffee or alcohol where that feeling goes away and makes you crash. It’s just goodness, plain and simple.
Ready to get juicing? Try a few of our favorites!
Jack’s go-to: carrot, ginger, beet juice
Jack loves a thick, red juice, and this one is both zingy from the ginger and creamy from the beets. It’s great for winter and fall.
Kyra’s calming tonic: cucumber, mint, kale, apple
Kyra’s less of a fan of the heavier root drinks, and she’s perfected the refreshing green juice. This one is a great way to cool down in summer or unwind after an important meeting.
If you need help buying a juicer, we’re fans of startjuicing.org, which has reviews and recommendations in a bunch of different categories. We’re admittedly purists, so we’d point you to the masticating/triturating juicers that fall under the “slow” or “cold press” umbrella. But if you don’t have time for all the prep, you shouldn’t feel bad for using a fast juicer. Any juicing is better than no juicing!
Remember to mix it up and diversify, so you’re packing maximum nutrition into each glass. And don’t be afraid to get adventurous! Our favorite part of juicing is discovering two flavors that work well together which you would never have thought to combine in normal food!
Oh, and one last thing: juicing creates lots and lots of fibrous pulp. A lot of people consider it a waste product, but it’s one of the FGC’s most prized and versatile substances! What do you do with it? We like to add it to compost, since it’s simply amazing as a soil base. You can also use it to bake, if you need something fibrous to stretch out your bran muffin batter, for instance. Or you can use it to fertilize and mulch your flower beds! Whatever you do, don’t throw it away!
FGC recommends: the best wheatgrass juicer brands. Check them out!