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A Very Short Rant About Juicing

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 18:34:50 PM PST

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UPDATE: This post should have had more nuance. See the comment below by Jalli. Yes, juice can be quite healthy if it isn't full of sugar. And apparently, some people are wise enough to do it that way.

"Do you juice?" I've been asked this many times over the years by health-minded people. No. No, I don't. And I don't think it's a good idea. And I find it stupid and irresponsible that so many people push the idea.

Juice is tasty. I'll give it that. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? Not really.

It depends on what you put in your health cocktail of course. If you're sticking to low-sugar green foods, you might sway me to think it's a healthy (albeit bad tasting) idea. But it took a lot of restraint to keep from writing a rude comment today on a Facebook post from a guy bragging about his "healthy" juice made from like 5 pears.

Would you ever sit down and eat 5 pears in one sitting? No. You'd eat one, maybe two. And you'd be full. You'd have a belly full of natural sugars, vitamins AND fiber. But when you chug down the juice of 5 pears, you're just getting the vitamins and the sugar. No fiber. And you consume much more sugar before your feel full.

Sugar is fine in small quantities but unhealthy when you eat too much. That goes for natural AND refined sugars. When you eat a fruit, the natural check on you consuming a huge shot of sugar all at once is the fiber. It fills you up and you stop eating. When you drink juice, you consume much more sugar but you don't get full. You remove the natural check on your sugar consumption (the fiber).

Does that mean you should NEVER drink juice? No. On Christmas Eve this year, my friends made spiced apple cider and mixed it with sugarcane-lime-ginger juice. It was AWESOME. I drank a bunch. Probably more than was good for me. I mean, it was freaking Christmas and it tasted good. Once in a while, you can go nuts.

If I feel I'm getting sick, I'll also drink small amounts (like 4 oz) kombucha with lemon, ginger, and/or elderberry juices in it. Often, I don't even sweeten it enough so that it tastes good. Typically, it's the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 inch of ginger, and/or 1-2 tbsp elderberry syrup. Lots of immune support without a lot of sugar.

It's the daily consumption of juice as a "health" fad that bugs me. Drink it because it tastes good, but don't tell yourself - or others - that it's healthy. Eat your fruits and veggies, don't drink them.

Jill Richardson :: A Very Short Rant About Juicing
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There's a Baseball Hall of Fame... (4.00 / 2)
"Do you juice?"

...(or a Schwarzenegger) joke in there somewhere.  Heh.

And totally o/t, but Bonds and Sosa and McGwire and Clemens (and Rose) should definitely be in there.  It's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Morally Upstanding Citizens.  And if it's the latter, then take Cobb and Ruth and all the spitballers and greenies-poppers, etc etc, out of the Hall, too.  To pretend that an entire generation of baseball never happened is insane.

Oops, pardon the digression.  Back on topic!

Facebook will drive you insane if you let it.  I only occasionally read things there now.  My sister is bragging about the monstrous new gas-guzzling truck she and her husband are gonna buy soon with their tax return.  In 2013.  And needless to say, they're not farmers or even construction workers.  Hard to believe we're related.  Then again, maybe not so hard.  Considering my mother thinks that 7-Up is a cold remedy.

Concur with the sentiment of your post.  And I had way too much apple cider over the past couple months!  But at least I didn't tell myself it was healthy...

oh god (4.00 / 2)
"my" kids (the kids I love who aren't actually mine) get Sprite when they are sick. That's the deal. No soda usually at Daddy's house (I don't know about their mom) but Sprite when they are sick.  

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I'm old enough to remember when the syrup came separate (4.00 / 2)
And Coke syrup was the cure when I was a kid.  

[ Parent ]
old fart (4.00 / 2)
when you coming to visit me again?

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
When I can afford it. (4.00 / 2)
I didn't book into my regular haunt at Laguna again this year but I did dig up and retouch an old photo lately and of course made a big story out of it.

The substance and the Light

Brown's Park is a magical but tiny place in the downtown section of North Laguna Beach. From the street the view appears as no more than a little walkway wedged between a few shops. I passed it by a few times before noticing this tucked away walk and then finally made the turn.

In this, one of my oldest digital photos, I find a reminder that turning and exploring a blind alley is not always a bad thing. Many years ago I memorized The Road Not Taken and those words immediately came to mind when I arrived at this view of Laguna's Main Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

But there is different poetry to be seen, one for the passing of the light;

In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
As promethean sunsets
Blossom blaze
And secede from splendor to mystery.

And another for the dreamer;

In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
As booming surf speaks its
Mystical passage across
The undreamed depths.

This peaceful little place is hidden right in plain sight, and many people walk right by this gem without even realizing it. A wonderful respite that was donated by a man named Joe Brown after his grandfather's beachfront home was destroyed by a winter storm. There is also a plaque with a poem by his grandfather.

Let me live in a house by the side of the sea,
Where men and women wander by
Where there is beauty and grace and excitement that's free
On the beach, in the sun let me lie
Let me listen to ocean's melodious roar
And its rhythm, so soothing to hear
As the foam-covered waves seem to reach for the shore
Under skies that are sunny and clear.
-Joseph E. Brown

[ Parent ]
Proof that I'm not normal (4.00 / 2)
"Would you ever sit down and eat 5 pears in one sitting?"

I would. Been there, done that. I just got finished eating a very large grapefruit and 2 large oranges.

But like I said, I ain't normal.

At least I ate the fruit, and not the juice, which I agree isn't as healthy as eating the fruit itself.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

you know what? (4.00 / 1)
if you were hungry for a ton of citrus all at once, then I'm sure it's just fine for you. Like you said, you got all the fiber too. You'll be less hungry later on, unlike you would be if you drank it as juice.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
yeah, that's what I figure. (4.00 / 2)
When I get a craving for something, I figure I'm probably low on one thing or another. I usually don't eat citrus very often, maybe 5 or 6 times a year I'll buy oranges or grapefruit. I'm really not much of a fruit eater unless there's something in season and ready to pick that I can go out an munch on.

When the berries are ripe I eat berries, when I've got apples I eat apples. I usually don't put up fruit much either.

Last year I put up 3 gallons of strawberries, but before I put them up, I at half a flat. After that, I didn't really want any more for quite a while.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
I juice carrots all the time (4.00 / 2)
I don't use one of those juicers that spits out all the good stuff either. I have a Vita-Mix and that thing could make juice out of lumber. Wouldn't that be a high fiber drink.

But as far as turning healthy fruit into calorie bombs, I have to admit that I have a huge weakness for orange juice. I make it myself during the time of year that juice oranges are cheap but i come home with a half gallon of Tropicana low-acid a week and even cutting it half and half with water sometimes I need another half gallon in less than a week. I'm addicted to that stuff.

But while I'm on addictions and juices, have you ever heard of MonaVie? If that stuff ever goes from pyramid scheme to mass market, I'll be in deep trouble. Lucky for me I'm too much of a cheapskate to pay the price the pusher is asking for the second fix but damn that first free bottle tasted good.  

oh a vitamix (4.00 / 2)
I want one of those sooooo badly. not gonna happen any year soon, but I can dream. I've got a tiny little cuisinart food processor and I make due.

BTW, I was meaning to tell you about this - have you heard of lobelia? Someone told me it's amazing at helping people quit smoking. He said it helped him quit.


"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
The only place I've heard of lobelia. (4.00 / 2)
Is in the New York Botanical Garden and I take lots of pictures. There is much mention of many medicinal uses and it is most often about cures for respiratory aliments but I've never heard anything about smoking cessation.

I'm doing Blu now.      

[ Parent ]
A VitaMix. Wow, I yearn for one of those. (4.00 / 3)
I don't, as a rule, drink juice. It doesn't seem like a good use of my calorie allotment. If I want fruit I'll eat fruit.

Still, I am interested in the whole green smoothie thing. And that requires a blender like a VitaMix. What appeals to me about the green smoothies is that they use kale and apples and all kinds of good stuff that has fiber. And they are not "juice". So, if I understand it correctly, a green smoothie will give all the nutrients and the fiber that I would get from eating the fruit-vegies whole, but just in the form of a smoothie. It makes sense to me to drink one of them for either breakfast or lunch.

Of course, unless I win the Powerball jackpot I can't see myself ever being able to spend $500 for a blender.  

[ Parent ]
There used to be a cart... (4.00 / 2)
...right out front of People's Coop in SE that did those kale and carrot-type smoothies, and wheatgrass shots and the like.  I only tried them once, a long time ago, but I don't remember what I had.  But speaking of kale, I do know I want one of those Dove Vivi-style kale salads again soon!  I really need to finally make that at home one of these years.

[ Parent ]
I want a vitamix for more than just smoothies (4.00 / 2)
like bread and hummus

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Oh, yeah, more than just smoothies. (4.00 / 2)
Is there anything a VitaMix cannot do? Hummus and all kinds of spreads. Soups. Breads. On and On.

Maybe I'll buy a Powerball ticket. Hmmm.

[ Parent ]
And soup (4.00 / 2)
With the reverse blade action and the impact of the sudden change in directions causes it creates so much heat that you can actually cook while you blend.  

[ Parent ]
yeah but (4.00 / 2)
imho i have pots and pans and a stove for that.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Truth is, the novelty wore off after a few years for me (4.00 / 2)
but as science projects go, cooking with centrifugal force was pretty cool and the more I did it the more interesting it got. Not real big on conventional soups but some very interesting experiences.

As I recall there were many good reasons to use a Vita-Mix to make soup. The first that comes to mind is less chopping, just make things small enough to fit into the Via-MIx. The second is that when it gets warm it is done, so there are less vitamins going up in steam. The third is that with many vegetable soups, the vegetables are more that just flavor and also act more as a thickener than conventional cooking.

But the biggest advantage to a vita-mix is that everything taste so much better that once you given a few of the soups in the book a try you become very inventive. For instance once when turnips were on sale, I invented turnip soup.

It's really hard to explain but with a method of making soup so quickly, you wind up in produce saying things to yourself like "I wonder what will happen if I mix that acorn squash with that soup green puree I made last week" and when it turns out that was not such a great idea, a few tomatoes later and you are sitting down to a delicious soup and salad that nobody had ever thought of before.

I was thinking of getting back into it but my Vita-Mix is over thirty years old and I can't seem to find the book. I went online to their soup page and found out that the buttons and speeds have changed over the years. None of it makes any sense to me now. But my old Vita_Mix is really cool, all stainless steel with a spigot like a coffer urn so you can taste as you go without having to upend the blender.        

[ Parent ]
I really didn't 'get it' about juice & fructose (4.00 / 2)
until I saw the long lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig he calls Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Don't know how I ever missed it, but only saw it a couple of weeks ago. It's an hour and a half long and has more than three million views. Remarkable!

I never did soda pop much in my life, and didn't do much bottled swill such as lemonade, but would do fresh orange juice from time to time.

But I've been such a good boy lately, no Hershey bars, no Snickers, no Nestlé Crunch because those fuckers donated millions to the No on Prop 37 campaign and I'm doing a personal boycott. I'm sure it's good for me. Dried fruit is my new dessert snack. Costs no more than those candy bars, except for those dried sour cherries. Lots of fiber in dried fruit.

nice one (4.00 / 1)
I've been eating very dark chocolate. for a while I was making my own but unfortunately I got really good at it after a few tries and it tasted so good I was eating quite a bit of it. So I'm back to the occasional splurge on an organic fair trade bar when I go to the store. Only this time I messed up and accidentally grabbed a bar of 85% cacao and that's slowed my chocolate consumption down quite a lot because it doesn't taste very good.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
I always look longingly... (4.00 / 1) the dried strawberries when I'm wandering Reading Terminal Market.  But at like $12 a pound, I always just end up passing them by for the cranberries or raisins.  There's too much added sugar in those, too, I'm sure, but I gotta have something sweet in my backpack to go with my peanuts or almonds at all times.

I miss hazelnuts, damnit!  They're too expensive here, and they're not as good as they were back in Oregon, of course...

[ Parent ]
you can probably get a dehydrator (4.00 / 1)
cheap from Craigslist. But the strawberries will cost a bundle even in season...

If I'm patient and persistent, I can get the fresh at about $1/pint if I buy an entire flat of them. Cheap enough to make jam. But they'll shrink up when you dehydrate them so it'll still cost a bunch.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Yup, (4.00 / 2)
it takes a lot of fresh to make the dried stuff.  

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
how expensive is "too"??? (4.00 / 1)

they're my regular here in Eugene. no idea what shipping costs. and they use PayPal, yuch. but do a shopping cart and see what the shipping would be, then compare.


[ Parent ]
You know what's funny... (0.00 / 0) I was just down in South Philly a few hours ago, and wandered through the Italian Market on my way home.  They had the fires going in the trash barrels on the street just like it was 1925, and the full Saturday tourist thing was going on.  I love Saturdays down there.  Anyway!

I noticed one of the vendors had hazelnuts still in the shell, for $3.50 a pound.  Have to look up how much that equates to once shelled.  I think that's the best (only?) way to roast them, is still in the shell?  Considering picking up a couple pounds there one day soon.  Though their origin isn't labeled.  Probably Turkey, would be my best (wild) guess?

Thanks for the tip, I'll look them up.  Freddy Guys from Monmouth, OR was my regular farmers' market hazelnut vendor back in Portland.

At Reading Terminal, they're generally more expensive than almonds.  Around $10 pound, or more, shelled, from the Amish vendors.  Iovine's sometimes has them a bit cheaper, but their stuff sits around for a while and isn't very high quality.

[ Parent ]
If ya roast 'em (4.00 / 2)
crack 'em first. One of the reasons people roast hazelnuts is to help get the brown skin off. I like the skin, but I grew up eating them raw with the skin on, although roasted hazelnuts are delish!

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
Juicing? (4.00 / 2)
I would never have made the connection between eating vs juicing.  Thanks.  

Here is something rather interesting:   (chemicals innocent until proven guilty)

The website has a lot of info
on small (tiny) housing and other ideas for a sensible and
sustainable life.

I'm going to be a terrorist (4.00 / 2)
I don't think there is anything we could do to add to
the stupid in DC:

geez (4.00 / 1)
at first I was worried if I needed to call the FBI because someone on my blog was sharing terrorist intentions. Until I clicked the link. Geez. If they would just treat the animals right they wouldn't have to worry about people exposing them for abusing animals.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Hey all (4.00 / 2)
 I used to post her a looong time ago. I think it was under an Eliza username but I couldn't find it and it must have been under another email because I couldn't find that either. I just re-registered.  :)

I'm going to have to disagree somewhat with juicing being so bad. I started juicing about a month ago and the changes in my  over all health have been pretty awesome. It came about after watching a couple of films and some lifestyle issues.  I'm on my own right now and have been working at eating properly.  For the most part it was pretty good, I cut out processed foods, most wheat and way down on meat but was finding it difficult to eat a lot vegetables.  It's not that I wasn't eating them, it just wasn't enough and I wasn't eating a good variety.  

I figured what the heck. I have a juicer gathering dust in my cupboard. So I went out and bought a ton of veggies, some apples and some pears.

I agree that if you just look at juice as being fruit juice then sugar is an issue. The juice things that I started however was majority veggies with fruit being the minority because of the issues with sugar and calories.  
It does not taste bad at all.  I know it sounds like a lot of it would taste gross but suprisingly it doesn't.  If people are just juicing fruit or using the majority fruit in juices then that is not good.
Most of the juicing info I've come across,especially some of the more popular ones are not about juicing fruit. It's all about veggies and some fruit.

I started with a green juice, kale, spinich, celerly, cucumber, parsley apple and ginger.  Just one apple is more then enough for a couple of glasses.  It was absolutely yummy!  It doesn't take a whole lot of fruit to make it taste sweet, nor do you really need to make it that sweet.    I added in carrots which makes the color rather blech (orange and green color don't mix well) looking but no change in taste.  I've found that a little bit of ginger kicks the taste buds into making it almost taste sweeter then it does.

I drank a glass or so for a couple of days and ended up getting the biggest cravings for it. Give me my kale juice!  
Now instead of morning coffee I have some sort of green juice.  It gets me going just like coffee does.

Another combo I tried which sounds just weird is cabbage, carrot and apple. Cabbage juice sounds disgusting. It's not at all.  I bought some beets today. I hate eating beets but supposedly beets in juice is good.

Now when sometimes when I'm thirsty I'll just juice a couple of carrots, celery, half and apple and ginger. It's easy and fast.  I've also found that my taste has changed and even less fruit is fine and it's still great.

It's not that I don't eat vegetables any more. I do. I also regularly eat things like beans and lentils and other high fiber foods so I'm not missing it.  I know about the connection with fiber and feeling full. I haven't however found that it's not being there with juice is an issue. Perhaps if a person was only drinking juice.   Since I've been juicing I've found that over all I'm eating less and desiring to eat less.  One of the things that could explain this is that some hunger comes from your body wanting to eat more because it wants more nutrients that it's not getting.  It's possible to be stuffed all the time but still starved nutrient wise if food is poor.  I dunno. It's just what I've experienced.

What I've found is that coupled with a decent diet the juicing is just getting a lot more veggie stuff and daily variety of veggie stuff into me in a way that quick, efficent and tasty.  Preparing all of those same veggies, every day does take work. With juicing there is no peeling or cooking, minimal cutting and I ended up using parts of vegetables I wouldn't necessary use before.  

I really think that these things are one of the reasons that people are taken by juicing. It can be especially good in cases where people are not used to eating so many veggies, in a way that's relatively easy and good way to get a nutritional kick fast and get a lot more veggie nutritional variety into a daily diet.

Since I've added this to my daily diet I've noticed so much difference. After a week my energy level spiked up and has stayed up.  My cravings for sugar and sweets and other junk pretty much disappeared.   A month ago I would get big cravings for things like chocolate most every day. It was something I regularly fought. That's gone. I haven't had chocolate in the house for two weeks and I don't miss it. Now I actually crave vegetables more and find eating whole vegetables easier because I actually want them more.   I was having an long term issue with dry, scaly red skin around my nose. That's gone now.  I've also found I've been sleeping better and more soundly. I feel more rested when I wake up.    I didn't start it for weight loss though I could lose some pounds and so far, just by adding one or two juices a day into my diet and not changing or at least it feel like I haven't  changed much anything I've lost 7 pounds.   I think that's pretty cool considering that a lot of supposed weight loss diets are about denying yourself types of food and amount of food.  

As for the waste, there is a lot of it but I've been using it for three things. I juice the veggies separate from any fruit and use that in soups.  My chickens are in heaven and I plunk a bit in with my dogs food.  It's also great for compost and will break down a lot quicker then regular veggie scraps as it's already ground up. The waste will feed all the kale I'll be growing next season. So none of if is really wasted.

Anyways, I just want to give my perspective. I don't think that juicing is the be all and end all of a good healthy diet but done properly (as in not juicing 5 pears) can be a good way to add to a diet, especially for people that should be eating more veggies but for a number of reasons don't.

My dad for instance who is border line diabetic and has been told that he really need to eat better is a good example. If it wasn't for my Mom he would barely eat vegetables and even with her making them for him every day he really should eat more. He just doesn't like eating them.  However much to my surprise when I told him about my juicing he said that he's been buying this green juice and he loves it. He hates eating broccoli but broccoli in his juice? No problem.  
Last time he came over I showed him how I made my juice. My Dad does not really cook. If he was on his own he would eat peanut butter and canned whatever. Maybe its a man thing but he got really into the mechanics of the juicer and said he actually found it fun to use.  He's now looking for a juicer to buy so he can make his own green stuff.  If you knew him you would understand how pretty amazing this is.  I can't see how this is bad thing health wise for him.  At this point anything that will get more nutrients from vegetables into him is a good thing.

I know you don't want me to tell myself that it's healthy. :D  I'm just going to have to agree to disagree because my experience says otherwise. I honestly haven't felt this good for a long time and compared to a lot of people my overall diet isn't really that bad.  I know would feel just as healthy if I actually ate the same amount and variety veggies every day but realistically that's not going to happen. Some days sure but I just can't see myself preparing and eating all of the veggies I'm drinking every single day.  

I just found myself! (4.00 / 1)

 Looks like it's been longer then I thought. I posted before as Elizajade. I found a comment from 2009! Where did the time go. Yowza.

Out of interest, I came across and article by Jill on Alternet and thought I haven't been there in forever.  Glad to see it's still going strong. :)

[ Parent ]
I remember you. Welcome back. (4.00 / 1)
Stay around for awhile. With gardening season coming up I am hoping for lots of posts and comments that will help me as I try to increase the amount of food I grow myself.

[ Parent ]
Well (4.00 / 2)

this years gardening for me is going to be different. I'm changing it up somewhat then what I've done before.  

Last year my shoulder went out in the winter. Not sure what happened but I could barely move my arm for a couple of months.  I decided to not try to do any gardening last year at all which in hindsight was a good choice.  My shoulder wasn't 100% until the fall and we had drought conditions so I would have had to struggle with my one arm with a lot of extra work.

This year I'm planning on focusing on fewer but easier to tend crops and work more on some other outdoor projects. I'm also going to be growing things like salad greens different then before.

I'll be sure to write about it.  

[ Parent ]
We'll be looking forward to it... (0.00 / 0)
And welcome back.

[ Parent ]
I hope you tell us about it (4.00 / 1)
and post pics if you can!

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Welcome back! (4.00 / 1)
I think the way you are doing it IS healthy. It's not 5 pears :) I'd be cautious on the carrots and beets due to sugar, but aside from that - well done!

I suppose I should have been more nuanced in my post. As you're doing it, it sounds fine. I'm just afraid too many people hear that juice is good and then go and stuff 5 pears into a juicer.

And congrats on the health benefits! That's great news!

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
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