Top 7 Tips to Guarantee a Successful Juice Cleanse
by Tera Warner and Kelly Cleason
We’ve been discussing a lot about juice cleansing lately. If you’ve missed any of the other posts, you can check out the Gentle Juice Cleanse to receive all the messages, interviews, and support to guide you through a three to ten-day juice cleanse. In today’s post, we’ll be covering a few more juice cleansing basics; what do with extra juice pulp, how to get the most juice out of your veggies, keep mess to a minimum, as well as the best fruits and veggies to include, and which to avoid in order to have the best chance at a successful and empowering juice cleanse!
1. Drink your juice as soon as possible after making it.
It is best to drink juice as soon as possible to ensure enzyme health. Enzymes are extremely important substances for optimal health; but they are easily damaged by heating, freezing and aging. Juice is best when consumed immediately.
Extra juice can be stored in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours in a tightly sealed, glass container. This method of storage prevents further oxidation of the juices. Another option is to portion the juice and freeze it for days on the go. The enzymes in plant foods are activated when the juice is created. We can see enzymatic reactions in the browning of apples or bruising of fruit.
Keep excess juice in an airtight container to slow oxidation. The low temperature of the freezer halts the enzymatic breakdown, and frozen juices are great for days when we are on the go!
A great tip is to freeze juice in travel mugs for the days when you’re working or on the move. The juice stays chilled, and prepping ahead saves time in the morning.
2. Drink your juice on an empty stomach.
We recommend always drinking juice on an empty stomach for best absorption. Sip or drink your juice slowly. This also allows for better absorption.
Drink the juice alone, so it can be assimilated into the bloodstream. Because juice is a concentrated food (a meal in itself), taking it with solid food would make it enter the digestive system along with the food and thereby defeat the purpose of drinking it. Feel free to add water to your juice to dilute the taste.
Use green vegetables as your juice base (80%+), mixing in other vegetables and some fruits, as desired. When juicing with fruits, a good rule of thumb is to juice citrus with only other citrus, and do not combine melons with anything other than melons.
Wash your produce. Then, gently dry your greens, in order to help them stay fresh longer. A salad spinner works well for this step.
NOTE: Be flexible and patient with yourself.
Remember that the juice you are about to make will vary greatly in color, taste, consistency and yield. One pound of raw produce generally yields one cup or 8 ounces of juice. The juice that you prepare at home will look and taste different from juice purchased in a store.
Remember that your homemade juice contains no added colors or preservatives; the taste can be adjusted, even after juicing bitter greens, by adding fruits, herbs or water to fit your taste. A strong and unappealing juice can be altered, thus saving your time and money!
4. Go easy on your juice strainer and clean it regularly.
Clogging the pulp bowl can lead to damage of the juicer and loss of juice. Preparing your produce prior to juicing will help keep the juicing process moving smoothly and take some of the strain off your juicer. I find that quartering and coring apples (as opposed to cutting them in half) helps take the strain off the pulp bowl by eliminating the core.
When juicing leafy, green veggies, process in batches no larger than 2 pounds. At this point, stop the juicer to clean it, in order to prevent clogging of the strainer and pulp bowl.
Try to avoid the following:
- Pits of fruits, such as peaches, apricots or cherries
- Apple seeds and cores
- Citrus peels
- Carrot and rhubarb tops
- Whole fruits with tough skins, such as kiwi, pineapple or mangoes
- Remove pits and inedible seeds, such as in avocados.
- Skin from thick-skinned produce such as squashes.
Small seeds, such as those in berries, are not an issue!
You can reduce the foam with extra filtering. Filtering juice through a nut-milk bag, coffee filter or cheesecloth will remove foam from juicing.
We recommend straining all juices through a nut-milk bag before drinking to ensure that there is no fiber or pulp at all in your juice. This allows for maximum ease of absorption of the nutrients. We have included instructions on the way to prepare a nut-milk bag at the end of this program. Another great alternative to purchasing an expensive nut-milk bag is to visit your local hardware or paint store to ask for a couple 5-gallon, paint-strainer bags. These will do the trick at a cost between $2 to $6. You can also learn to make your own nut bag in under an hour here!
We don’t recommend that you re-juice pulp. Even if juice is produced from the pulp that appears to resemble prior juice, it will contain soluble and insoluble fibre. It may not be apparent at first, but if refrigerated, it will gel. It is not a pleasant surprise at the bottom of your mug!
5. Your juice should be 80% leafy greens and vegetables.
Extra greens can be added to any recipe, and this is a wonderful time for you to experiment with new produce!
For blood-sugar-related conditions, ensure that you are using 20% or less sweet veggies and fruit. Ideally, your juices should only be 10% carrot, beet, sweet potato or fruit.
One type of green can easily be substituted for another. Take your pick of the glorious goodies in your produce section. This is a great way to incorporate seasonal, local produce into your juices.
Take this opportunity to explore! Find a green, and get excited!
Juicing allows you to add greens to your diet that you may not normally try in a typical salad or vegetable dish. This new source of greens is a wonderful addition to your daily nutrition. Sometimes, it helps to start juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating. Large, fresh leaves are much easier to juice than baby leaves. When purchasing greens, especially spinach, be mindful of this.
Important tip: Rolling the leaves into balls or rolls before inserting them into the juicing chute helps to increase the amount of juice produced. Starting small is helpful for some first-time green juicers!
From there, you can branch out to mixed-green salad leaves, romaine lettuce, arugula or rocket for an extra-spicy kick and work up toward more bitter greens, such as kale or chard. An adventurous addition would be including wild, seasonal greens such as nettles, watercress and mustard greens.
These greens are nutrient-dense and as a result have a more bitter flavor, but the price is right! I save money seasonally by finding my own wild mint on the banks of the creeks in my area. When foraging, be mindful of what you are actually finding.
Also, be mindful to wash your foraged greens. Farm run-off is an unfortunate reality in our time. Provided that you’re in a normal blood sugar physiology, then you can add sweeter produce to your green vegetable juices to make them more palatable and add more calories.
Focus not only on taste preferences, but also on physical and emotional changes with juices. Take this time to become a “localvore” and experience the seasonal produce available to you in your area. If juicing is new to you, it may be easier to start off with mild greens, such as spinach and parsley. Spinach is mild, and parsley is energizing.
6. Add lemons and other fruits to your juice for flavour.
Adding lemon juice will keep your juice from becoming discoloured and help mask the bitterness of dark, leafy greens. Other items, such as herbs and fruits, can also be added to the greens for improved taste.
Some of my favourites are citrus fruits with bitter greens, ginger with cabbage or more sulfur-tasting greens, and fresh herbs with…well, everything!
Your favorite herbs for cooking make an excellent addition to your juicing. Cilantro with tomatoes makes a feisty fiesta-tasting juice, while mint with cucumber reminds me of summer salads at the lake. You can also add the juice of an apple, orange, seasonal berries, peaches or even coconut water.
Adding extra lemon or lime cuts down the bitterness of most greens and adds an amazing flavour combination to darker juices. A great trick that I have picked up is adding apples to my juices when experiencing constipation and bananas and water when experiencing the attack of the green plumber!
7. Consider other fun fruits in your juice cleanse recipes.
Cranberries are not just for the prevention of UTIs: They make a wonderful sour/ tart companion to dark, leafy greens and are chock full of healthy phytonutrients.
Fruit can be added fresh or in frozen (and thawed) form. Using frozen produce allows you to preserve seasonal treats while still retaining nutrients and saving on your juicing costs. Blueberries, raspberries, apples, lemons and limes, peaches, cherries (without the pit) and pineapples are all good to include in small amounts.
Strawberries are lovely treats can really change the flavour of a juice in an unappealing way!
Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew should be juiced alone. The only exception that I have found is melon with mint.
Pulpy fruits such as papaya, banana, durian, cherimoya and mango. These fruits create a juice with a different texture, and they tend to gum up the juicer basket, making them less cost-effective. If you do decide to use them for juicing, the pulp makes a wonderful baby food. For future reference, these fruits are great additions to smoothies!
Add ice or water can also be added to juice to fit your individual taste preference.
Your patience will be rewarded.
Green juice tastes delicious; however, this may be an acquired taste. You may wish to add some ingredients for flavour, as well as for other health benefits. After juicing for a few days, you will begin to notice a healthy craving for something a little different. Journaling through the juicing cleanse can be very beneficial to determine which of the ingredients you enjoyed and which you could do without.
Feel free to experiment with herbs at this point, as well. You can juice basil, oregano, peppermint, spearmint, cilantro, parsley, ginger and even garlic for their added flavours. It is a very enjoyable experience to try to recreate a favourite food in juice form! A personal favourite of mine is Pico de Gallo juice. My mouth waters just thinking about the spicy, tangy flavuors created by tomato, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, scallion, garlic and lime! Celery waters juice down and gives it a salty flavour.
Celery is an inexpensive way to add bulk to a juice, as well. “Celery is said to be four times as hydrating as water, as well as being a great source of organic sodium and other minerals,” according to Angela Stokes-Monarch in her book, A Juice Feaster’s Handbook. And there are other ways of making juice taste outstanding, such as adding cinnamon, cayenne, ginger or cilantro. Experiment with your spices and herbs!
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