To Juice or Not to Juice?

Juicing pros, cons, tips and recipes

Getting your daily dosage of fruits and vegetables can be daunting. How many spinach leaves, beets and carrots can one person honestly eat each day? The pursuit of healthy living may be easy for some – for the rest of us, there’s the juicer. It's definitely a lifestyle choice that requires time and money. Is it worth it?

To juice...

We see it everywhere: people becoming increasingly aware of what they’re putting into their bodies. Want to eat raw, natural, and organic wherever possible? Whipping up homemade juice might be your healthy quick-fix. We asked and found there are tons of benefits to making your own juice at home.

  • You can take the market to go. If you're always on the move, toting a bottle of homemade juice in your bag is easier than juggling a basket brimming with fresh produce.
  • Variety is at your fingertips. Keep things fresh and try new combinations, especially if nothing on the market shelf satisfies your craving. (Beet-kale-apple juice, anyone?)
  • Prepping for your practice is easy. A tall glass of juice is the perfect companion for the commute to yoga. (Just don't down it too quickly right before class.)
  • You keep all nutrients by going raw. We all know that cooking means sacrificing nutritional value to some extent. Juicing keeps all vitamins and minerals intact.
  • Mother Earth gets a hug. Making your own juice keeps plastic bottles out of landfills and cuts back on food-waste coming from your kitchen.

What's up, doc? Why not drink your carrots?

...or not to juice

While many people have jumped on juicing, there are still plenty of reasons people avoid doing it at home. When we asked why people didn't juice, the answers were clear.

  • It's expensive to do it well. If you don't want a big mess, a big clean-up or a big pile of wasted produce, you're going to pay a bigger price. It's one of those lifestyle changes that requires you to invest a lot right off the top.
  • If you don't love it, you've wasted money on an appliance. Your juicer could end up being less of a health gateway and more of a dust magnet.
  • Your grocery bill may go up. You may not have access to inexpensive organic produce, and if you're consuming more of it, you do the math.

Of course, the alternative to juicing at home is hitting a juice bar. The convenience is great but paying premium dollars for juice is not on the top of everyone's list. (Those monthly expenses could translate into a sweet pair of shoes - or your very own juicer. I guess that would be the point.)

A word from the believers

It seems the pros outweigh the cons in these parts. The overwhelming response was that the investment, while hefty, was well worth it.

Karen, our Production Coordinator, is getting ready for a half marathon and balancing her training with lots of yoga. She's been the proud owner of a Breville juicer for the past year and is officially sold. Nothing in her kitchen is spared, from carrot ends to pulp. (Yes, you can even re-juice the pulp and then bake the rest into muffins or fruit bars.) “We’ve actually ended up saving a lot of money because you end up using everything you buy, so the food waste has gone down,” says Karen. “Our juicer has totally paid for itself.”

Annika, a Strategic Sales Account Manager, is heavy into snowboarding, yoga, and running. She knows all about being busy. She owns a Vitamix, which is less of a traditional juicer and more like a blender on steroids. It's on the higher end of the price scale, but she loves it because she can throw in everything – including an apple’s skin, seeds, and core, for example. She says it takes a little extra planning, but juicing is worth it to get that vitamin fix - she’s one step closer toward meeting her health goals.

Editor's note: Karen and Annika brought in some groceries to sell me on their juicing obsession. We used Annika's Vitamix and in minutes we made delicious - I repeat, delicious - juice. I have already started a savings fund to purchase my own machine.

A few good recipes

This is Karen's favorite concoction. She runs the following through her juicer and then tosses it into her blender with a banana and 3 cubes of frozen coconut milk.

  • 2 apples
  • 2 pears
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • small bunch of kale (3 leaves, torn)

Annika opts for a simple (and brightly colored) juice, loaded with vitamin C.

  • 1 mango, pit removed
  • 2 oranges, peeled (the rind will make your juice bitter)
  • 1.5 carrots
  • 1 apple, quartered

Before you buy

Consider your needs and ask yourself these questions as you do your research:

  • How often will I use it? Think about cost per use. (It's like investing in an expensive pair of jeans. If you use them every day, they pay for themselves.)
  • What will I be juicing? If you lean towards carrots, whole apples and other solid fruits and veggies, you'll want a powerful motor so you get the most out of your groceries.
  • Is a quick clean-up a priority? If so, look for something with few parts to remove and wash. (We literally rinsed two pieces when making our green concoction. So simple.)
  • Can I store a big appliance? If you want your juicer to be a regular fixture on your counter, it may not be an issue but if counter space is valuable, make sure it's compact enough for you.
  • What is the capacity? If you're on your own, you may not need a huge reservoir for juice.
  • What's the warranty and can I purchase replacement parts? Get these facts before you spend otherwise you may be spending lots more down the road.

Special thanks to Tannis for her work on this great post.