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Considering Juicing? The Skinny on Liquid Nutrients without the Skin

My wife and I met up with a friend this past weekend who has been juicing for the past couple of months. He’s an Ironman triathlete and coaches other athletes, including ultra-runners.  So he knows a thing or two about what the body needs. And while he’s by no means overboard with his praise for juicing, he’s relatively pleased with the overall fruits of his labor thus far.

The thing about juicing though, he says, is that it takes some devotion. It sounds easy in theory: Put some fruit and veggies in a juicer and voila, a hearty, refreshing drink awaits. But there’s a lot that can go into it, including near-constant grocery shopping for fresh ingredients, blending, filtering, etc.

Those who swear by juicing say all the work is well worth it however.

The main arguments for juicing involve some pretty straight-forward things, one being that you can drink more fruit and veggies that you can eat. And two being that juicing allows your body to absorb vitamins and antioxidants more easily, while being more friendly to your digestive system.

Doctors and critics point out that there aren’t a whole lot of studies corroborating these assertions, but none can argue that fruit and veggies aren’t good for you. While juicing may not be better for you than eating raw fruit —you lose some of that healthy fiber in the juicing process — it still can definitely go a long way. And there are those who swear by it, solving everything from complexion issues to devastating diseases like cancer.

Assuming you want to give it a try, first thing to do would be to choose a juicer. (You could use a blender as well, though the pulp and rind of some foods will probably go down a little rough.) There are a number of options to choose from, with centrifugal juicers — which grind and strain produce at high speeds — being the most affordable. Then there are masticating juicers that “chew” produce and can create more juice out of the same amount of veggies, as well as triturating juicers, which are the most efficient (and expensive) and press produce while retaining more nutrients. Prices for juicers can range anywhere from $50 to $400.

Some things to be aware of, on the safety front, when juicing:

  • Don’t keep juice longer than a week. In fact, try and drink it the same day since freshly squeezed juice isn’t pasteurized and can quickly develop harmful bacteria.
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of sugar in your fruits and veggies.
  • Wash your hands before you start, clean your produce thoroughly, and use hot, soapy water to clean your juicer (use dishwasher sanitize cycle if safe for dishwasher).
  • Try not to live on juice alone; it still has healing effects when combined with a regular, healthy diet.

You don’t have to be an ultra-runner to enjoy the benefits of juicing. But like an ultra-runner, there’s a level of commitment needed to stick with juicing. It’s a lot easier than running 100 miles though, and probably quite a bit better for you to boot.

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