Juicing is Actually Kind of Cool

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PHOTO: Bertholf, Creative Commons

Juicing: for some it’s old news, but after years of urging by numerous friends, I’ve finally gotten into it myself.

I’d been having some health issues, and I kept hearing the same thing: “It might be your diet”… “Change your eating habits”…and over, and Over, and OVER again, “Do you juice?”

I may have even avoided trying it for a while because I was so annoyed with hearing about it. I had a million excuses: I didn’t have time for it, I couldn’t afford it, I wasn’t so sure it was the cure for everything like some claim. If nothing else, I’m really good at being stubborn.

But I was also feeling like shit and it did seem to correlate at least a little bit with when and what I was eating. So I reluctantly decided to give it a shot.

The Kmart juicer.

The Kmart juicer.

I had a hard time rationalizing the idea of spending $300 on one of the fancy juicers my friends insisted on, so instead I opted for a $30 model at Kmart, figuring I could always upgrade someday if it wasn’t everything I hoped for. After Kmart, I went to a grocery store I generally avoid as it’s really out of my budget, and bought $50 or so worth of organic veggies: cucumbers, kale, spinach, ginger, and assorted exotic and appealing fruits.

Unfortunately, I came down with the flu the next day, and my bargain juicer sat unopened in its original box for weeks, while the fruits and veggies grew all kinds of interesting and exotic looking blossoms of rot. While I was miserable and homebound, a friend brought over some soup at my request, and also brought some green juice he’d made. He watched intently as I took a sip, gushing about his juiciness: “Isn’t it awesome? Look how green! So delicious!” His enthusiasm didn’t change the fact that it tasted like shit – or I suppose, more accurately like freshly mowed grass, and not in a good way. I became even less enthusiastic about making some myself.

But at the grocery store the other day, I felt compelled to return again to the produce section, where I admired the cucumbers, the fresh organic mangoes, and the little fuzzy kiwis. Kiwi juice? Yes, I can dig that. So once again, I got a huge basket of overpriced organicness, promising myself that if I was going to spend my entire food budget on the stuff, I’d damn well better use it.

And use it I have. Hardly an expert after one whole week of juicing, I have nonetheless made 10 significant observations that will come in handy for any newbie juicer:

#1. That shit is expensive. I thought I had so much fruit, but was dismayed by the meager output that ended up in my little collection cuppy. However, that brings me to #2…

#2. A little juice goes a long way. Fresh juice is intense. Starting out with small portions is a good thing.

#3. Cucumber tastes pretty much like nothing. And it’s relatively cheap, so use it a lot.

#4. Add enough coconut water, and you can make just about any juice taste good. It’s true; enough said.

#5. A cheap juicer works just fine. My $30 Kmart juicer, a small Black and Decker model, does a damn good job. I’d rather use the extra money for more fruits and veggies.

#6. Run your pulp through a few times for extra juiciness. Perhaps it’s just my cheap juicer, so I may have to amend #5 if I ever suck it up and get a better one, but if you run the discarded pulp through a few times, you can double or even triple your yield.

#7. Bananas are surprisingly juicy. Try juicing one yourself; you’ll be amazed.

Pocket gopher.

Pocket gopher.

#8. Pocket gophers love fruit and veggie pulp. The lucky little dude that lives in my garden cleaned up my waste in no time flat. Birds, bunnies, and squirrels probably like it too, if you don’t have your own pocket gopher.

#9. Your house will smell like lawnmower cuttings after a green juicing session. But the smell doesn’t linger all that long.

#10. I’m pretty cool with juicing after all. Give it a shot – you might find that you’re pretty cool with it too.