The Viva Vine: vol #1, no #5: November / December 1992
Juice on the Looseby Paul Lamarca

Recent interest in juicing has caused many people to think again about what people like me have been telling them for years. That juicing and being a vegetarian are good ideas that go together very well.

Juicing is a great way to get adequate quantities of organic water, raw enzymes, and vitamins and minerals, all necessary for health. And freshly made juice will contain less pesticides than the original fruit or vegetable it came from. Toxins are stored in the cellulose of the plant which will probably be discarded after juicing. So you get more of the good stuff, and less of the bad! Also, you get more nutrients in freshly made juice than in salad alone, and the nutrients are more easily digested and absorbed by the body.

It should be noted that when you change your diet suddenly, as one might going veggie, there is usually some discomfort. This is not a sign of trouble, but the symptoms of a cleansing process, similar to getting through a cold.

You should try to have your juice before you eat the rest of your meal because juice is absorbed quickly, and by the time you have prepared the rest of your meal, you will probably not feel full.

In the 6 years now that I have been juicing, I've found the Champion brand juicer to be my favorite. It is portable, durable and versatile. (I also use a Norwalk, but at $2,000 its not for everyone.) The Champion makes fruit and vegetable juice as well as frozen fruit desserts and nut butters. The orange juice it makes is especially good.

My usual routine for shopping is to take my backpack to the Korean grocery and load up for 4 or 5 days at a time. I bring my own plastic bags "saving a tree" while I'm at it.

Picking good vegetables and fruit is easy. For juicing, I buy large carrots, sometimes called "horse carrots," because they are the easiest to peel and juice, and since they don't come in a bag, you can pick the ones you want. Oranges should be firm by the navels, especially if you want to keep them for several days.

When I'm ready to juice, depending upon what I'm making, I get out my gear. For citrus juice, I use an orange peeler. This is a useful but hard to find item (unless you live in Florida) that cuts the peeling time of thin-skinned juice oranges in half. Sure, you can just squeeze the oranges in the conventional way. But with peeling and juicing you're getting the vitamin-rich pectin from the white pulp of the orange. I like to include grapefruit and lemon juices to my juicing diet too, because they offer different benefits that complement the orange juice.

If I'm juicing carrots and beets, I always peel them. I think they taste better this way. They also last longer if you're saving some for later.

I like to filter my vegetable juice through a cloth bag (made by Norwalk) to remove the grit from the juice. Most people use a strainer with a fine mesh.

A few practical tips: I try to alternate juicing the greens with that of carrot and beet to avoid clogging and overloading the juicer. I save the celery for last because of its stringy fiber. It has a tendency to clog the juicer faster than anything else. Make sure you cut the veggie pieces up so they will fit into your juicer's feed tube entirely and that the food pusher is completely covering the opening when you start. Otherwise, pulp may back up and shoot out of the feed tube. Also, feed vegetables steadily, not too fast, to avoid stalling the motor.

Always remove the pulp from the machine right away. Removing hard, packed in, dried up fiber from your juicer is something you never want to do. Always rinse your juicer with cold water to avoid mineralization. Mineral scale can deposit rapidly and coat the metal and plastic surfaces of your juicer, reducing its efficiency. If you follow a few rules of ongoing care, your juicer will continue working for you for a long time.

There are a lot of good juice books available for ideas and nutritional information. The one I read was by Dr. N. Walter, entitled Raw Vegetable Juice. Though originally written fifty years ago, it has some good juice recipes and information on what and why to eat and not to eat. It clarified a lot of conflicting information I was getting from a lot of different people.

When I started juicing, people I knew would say, "I heard you're on a liquid diet," which was ridiculous because I eat a lot of salad, fruit and nuts. Juice is only a part of a balanced diet, but an important one for vegetarians.

Ed. note: Thanks, Paul for your insight into juicing. Just about everyone I know has heard of, or is using the Champion juice extractor you prefer. But Consumer Reports in their Dec., '92 issue didn't even mention the model in their article evaluating juicers! The magazine also had a few derisive words for the fabulous claims about juicing in general. They agree you get necessary nutrition from fruits and vegetables, but that the nutritional value of freshly made juice, they say, is no better than that in commercial juices or from taking vitamins. My theory is that if you are "in to" juicing, you're probably in to health and exercise, and you probably consume more fruits and vegetables in general over animal foods too. So, you're going to be healthier. I know that the people who eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables have the greatest health of all. This is always apparent when I am with my raw food friends. How one takes those raw foods, though, is a matter of preference, I think. Taking them in juice form is undoubtedly lots of fun, very delicious and free from the salt, sugar and preservatives of commercial food. But personally, I believe that if you eat unjuiced raw veggies, in good quantities, you're still going to be pretty healthy.

In their article, Consumer Reports did give a good overview of the juice extractors and juicers that are out there from the standpoint of design, performance and convenience. By the way, to lump all of these products into the heading of "juicer," is not exactly accurate. Technically, a "juicer" is a machine that converts only citrus fruit into juice. It is basically only an electrified version of that roundish cone-ish contraption you bought at the 10cents store (although Consumer Reports features one product as an improvement on that non-electrical implement -- the hand powered Metrokane Mighty 0J 3501 for $35).

(There is a drawback from an ecological point of view to all of these juice machines. Aside from this one aberration -- the Metrokane -- they all run on electricity...)

So, what Paul wrote about above is really a "juice extractor." The Champion as well as the Panasonic MJ-65PR and Sanyo SJ3020 (the later two being those that Consumer Reports recommends as "best buys") do much more than just squeeze citrus fruit. They extract juice from just about anything. Aside from citrus fruit they also make juice out of kale, grapes, peaches, broccoli, watermelon (with rind), peanuts, beets, sprouts, kohlrabi, etc., etc. (Sounds fabulous; I wish I had one...!)

Make no mistake though. Many juice extractors and juicers are poorly designed and overpriced. You may get a product home and never use it because it is so bloody miserable to clean. Juice extractors can be especially exasperating with the pulp finding its way into every nook and cranny. Some models come with a pulp container that can be lined with a bag that can be disposed of making things a little more convenient. (Of course this is all the world needs is some more disposable plastic bags.) Some models virtually need to be entirely dismantled every time you want to dump a batch of pulp.

And what about the Juiceman? You've heard of him. Juiceman Jay Kordich has been showing his "infomercials" mostly on cable TV for over a year now. On his shows, the energetic septuagenarian makes juice out to be on the level of the second coming of Christ. I guess he has to. His product is probably the most overpriced of them all. Consumer Reports gives it quite a low grade. And when the two models noted above which Consumer Reports endorsed cost only $80 or $60, respectively, the $290 price tag on Kordich's model sounds like a rip-off. Still, from the standpoint of sheer media exposure, Kordich is getting the word out, in no uncertain terms, that people should edge out the animal products and welcome in the veggies; and raw at that! And that's great. And on one of his latest programs, I saw Kordich feature Dr. Neal Barnard, the head of Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, as an expert. PCRM, as has been mentioned in previous issues of "The VivaVine," is a tremendous group of 3000 physicians who are educating people about the tragedy of animal experimentation as well as the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. They're the group that put forth the "new four food groups," which includes no animal foods at all. They also, with the support of baby doctor Dr. Benjamin Spock, came out recently recommending that parents not necessarily feed cow's milk to their children.

One other important point Consumer Reports came out with in their article is that the cost of fresh juice, even when you make it yourself, costs more than that of commercial juice. Down the line: apple, orange, grape, tomato... etc., per pound, fresh juice you make yourself costs 30% (orange) to 1000% (tomato) more. A lot of people believe that the extra cost is worth it. Let's hear from you. The forum is open on juicing. I'm sure a lot of readers out there have some very strong opinions on the subject.

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