Often times the first step is the hardest. It took me a few years to start juicing again. I had my excuses – juicer is too expensive, not enough time, don’t know what recipes to use, you name it I thought of it as an excuse. So I decided to just take action and start this journal to show you what I’ve learned during the first 10 days of juicing so you’ll know what to avoid and what to expect.
This is it, after a week of research I’ve finally decided to start juicing. It all started when my mom would juice carrots, apple and celery to help lower my cholesterol and improve overall health. Fast forward 4 years, I’m now married and have my own family but I stopped drinking fresh juice. Mom would always remind to juice but I’d always have an excuse not to. But mom was persistent, to give me additional incentive to juice, she gave me a juicer, an Oster centrifugal to be exact. Thanks mom!
For the first 10 days, I’ve decided to drink juice once a day, that’s before having breakfast. I did this for several reasons:
- To test how my taste buds (and my wife’s) would react to fresh juice which I haven’t drank for over a year.
- To see how much produce we can store in the fridge.
- To calculate how much we’d spend.
I wrote this to document the recipes I’ve tried and how it tasted, calculate the cost of produce and basically share with you my experience.
I got the recipes from Sean Carey of Raw Juice Cleanser Recipes but I had to tweak it a bit because some of the ingredients weren’t available here. What I love about his recipes is that didn’t require too many ingredients to make (which shortens the prep time) but it yielded a lot of juice!
Why I started juicing?
To give you a brief background on why I’m juicing, a few years ago while doing a routine blood test, I found out that I had excessive cholesterol in my system, over 260 to be exact (borderline is around 200 mg/dL). Doc then put me on a 20mg Crestor medication every other day to lower it and it worked! On my next check-up, it went down to 165 which was great.
The bad news is I had to take it as a maintenance drug to manage my cholesterol levels, if I stopped for an extended time it’ll go back up again close or even over the border. Plus Crestor isn’t good for our liver and has these side effects. So I wanted to try juicing to naturally lower my cholesterol or at least lessen my dependence on Crestor.
How much did I spend?
Expense is another roadblock for some so to give you a real world perspective I’ve computed how much I’ve spent during for the first 10 days. Take note that I’ll juice only once a day during this period.
Celery – $0.94
1 Pineapple – $1.71
6 Fuji Apples – $3.44
6 Fragrant pears – $3.67
Carrots (2.5Kgs) – $7.76 – I’m only using a small part (12 to 15 pcs) of this for juicing, the rest will be used for our meals
Beets and Greens (4 stalks) – $0.27
Mustard leaves – $1.08
Ginger (1 whole) – $0.55
Broccoli – $1.81
Bok Choi – $0.29
Spinach (2 packs) – $3.02
Asparagus (200g) – $2.84
Red Navel Orange (12 pcs) – $7.55
2 packs Strawberry (around 13pcs per pack) – $21.78
Romaine lettuce (2 packs) – $4.24
Zucchini (3pcs) – $1.06
Broccoli – $1.87
Cantaloupe – $1.64
Red Cabbage – $1.59
Sweet Potato – $1.36
Grand total: $68.47
Take note that this is for two people (me and my wife) so each of us roughly spent $34 for 10 days or $3.40/day. Most of the recipes I used needed only 3 or 4 ingredients so if you’re recipe has more or you’ll juice more than once, you’d obviously have to add to this total.
One great way to save is buying from a farmer’s market instead of going to a grocery. You’ll save a few bucks that way plus you’ll be able to buy fresher produce (just be early).
2 – Fuji Apples (remove the core)
2 – Stalks of Celery
2 – Stalks and Beet Greens
Using a centrifugal juicer it’ll yield around 16 ounces.
The original recipe called for 2 leaves of Bok Choi but unfortunately it was used in cooking soup so I had to look at possible replacements and found out that I could use stalks and beet greens. I ended up using only 2 stalks (that I purchased for another recipe) because I also had to make juice for my wife – the package I bought contained only 4 stalks.
You can see that the juice from a masticating juicer is frothy. This means that a lot of air has mixed in and you’ll need to drink this as soon as you can. If you’ll not drink it within 20 minutes put it in the refrigerator but don’t go past the 24 hour period.
I at first glance I thought that I’d struggle chugging this green juice down but surprisingly it tasted pretty good even though I replaced the Bok Choi with beets and greens. The apple masked the bitterness of the celery and earthy flavour of the beets and greens so I was able to enjoy my first homemade juice in over a year.
It was surprisingly filling. After I had my breakfast 20 minutes after, I was still full when lunch time came. My wife also mentioned that she didn’t feel hungry even if it was close to lunchtime so yes drinking juice before meals can help suppress appetite which is good if you’re looking to lose excess weight.
If you find the flavour of celery or beets too strong, add more Apple.
With a centrifugal juicer you’d have to drink it as soon as possible because you’ll notice that the juice that comes out is frothy. This means that oxygen has been dissolved into the juice which speeds up the spoiling process. It isn’t advised to store juice when you extract it using a centrifugal juicer for more than a day.
3 – Mustard Leaves
1 – Thumb sized ginger (peeled)
2 – Fragrant pear
This yielded roughly 12 to 13 ounces using a blender.
The original recipe here called for kale but again using this table created Reboot by Joe, I changed it up to mustard leaves because I couldn’t find kale at the grocery.
I was hesitant at first because of the strong scent of mustard leaves. I thought I wouldn’t be able to drink it but the ginger and fragrant pear was the perfect complement to this particular dark green. It had a slightly sweet and spicy taste to it. Ginger really adds a kick to it.
Making this one was a bit tricky because the juicer that my mom gave broke! After using it only once it was dead, kaput! I don’t know if it was because my mom stored it for a long time and the motor seized or if it was just an electrical problem. But anyway I just used a blender to improvise.
Here’s how it looks like after blending it.
I had to use a fine strainer to remove the excess pulp and here’s how it looks like – a bit frothy but most of the pulp was removed, not bad for the first time juicing without a juicer.
1 – Fuji Apple
3 – Romaine Lettuce Leaves
3 – Medium Carrots (peeled)
Yields around 10 ounces using a blender (more if you use a masticating juicer)
The original recipe called for 2 large carrots but since we wanted to save a bit, we bought 2.5Kgs of carrots (no large carrots) and used 3 medium ones instead (the largest ones we found inside the package).
As expected, it tasted like apple juice with a hint of carrot. I think you could add some dark greens to this recipe without affecting the flavour.
1/2 – Fresh pineapple
5 – Medium carrots peeled
2 – Mustard leaves
This recipe will yield roughly 13 ounces.
I replaced kale which was listed in the original recipe with mustard leaves because I couldn’t find any kale in the grocery.
I thought that this recipe would be sweet because half a pineapple was used but surprisingly it wasn’t. Two possible reasons (1) pineapple wasn’t ripe yet or (2) sweetness was negated by the bitterness of mustard leaves.
By the way, I got a good deal from a local Hurom dealer and ordered one. It should be here hopefully before the week ends.
So for now, I’m still using my trusty blender.
1 – Fuji apple
2 – Bok Choi leaves
3 – Small cauliflower heads
It will yield roughly 14 ounces.
The original recipe had broccoli and beets listed but we ran out so I used Bok Choi and cauliflower instead. It wasn’t too sweet since the Bok Choi and cauliflower diluted the sweetness of the apple. If you don’t like the apple flavour, you can replace it with another fruit like orange or lemon. But if you’re concerned with apple having too much sugar, use lemon instead.
10 – Stalks of spinach
1/2 – Pineapple
4 – Carrots
This yields roughly 14 ounces in a blender.
I bought a small bag of organic spinach at the grocery and used roughly half (I counted the stalks to give you guys a rough estimate). I thought that I wouldn’t like this juice because cooked spinach tasted bitter but this turned out pretty well. The sourness of pineapple (which wasn’t ripe yet) masked any bitter flavour the spinach may have.
So I think I got the basics down. To mask the bitter flavour of some green leafy veggies, use a sour tasting fruit like pineapple or lemon or use apple if you want something sweeter. If you’re concerned about digesting too much fructose, use lemon that has low fructose content instead.
2 – Small carrots (peeled)
1 – Fuji Apple
1 – Lemon (peeled or unpeeled)
½ – Red Bell Pepper
2 – Leaves Romaine Lettuce
½ – Red Cabbage
This recipe will yield around 13.5 ounces or around 400 milliliters on a masticating juicer.
Sean was right, this really tasted like lemonade! Even with the bell pepper, lettuce and red cabbage in there, the lemon did its job in masking their flavour. This was one of the easiest to prepare in my opinion.
Oh, I just got the new Hurom juicer and it worked great because the pulp that came out was drier so more juice was definitely extracted if you compare it to a masticating juicer.
On a vertical auger juicer like a Horum, you’ll need to do a bit of chopping because the opening of the chute is narrow.
19 – Strawberries
3 – Fuji Apples
1 – Bunch Spinach
4 – Leaves Romaine Lettuce
This recipe will yield around 1.3 litters which is good for a family of 4!
I couldn’t find any rainbow chard in the grocery so I used 4 romaine lettuce leaves because they looked alike. I wouldn’t know though if they tasted the same. Out of all the recipes so far this is my favourite and my wife’s as well!
I didn’t look tasty though as you’ll see below.
Don’t be deceived by how it looks, it tasted like strawberry juice with a hint of apple sweetness. The earthy flavour of spinach was masked by the 19 strawberries and 3 apples. I think kids would even love this and the great thing like what Sean said in his blog, you can sneak in more greens and your kids wouldn’t even notice it!
You’ll need to make this in a couple of batches as I did. The juice from the apple and lettuce alone was over 500ml which nearly filled the juice container to the brim, so I had to dump it into another container, clean the strainer then juice the spinach and strawberries for the 2nd batch.
One more thing, if you’re juicing a fibrous stuff like spinach, chop it to smaller bits and rotate it with other ingredients that you put in, even on a masticating juicer as I mentioned in the juicing mistakes page. By dumping the spinach whole, the fibrous pulp got stuck in the small pulp outlet (most vertical auger masticating juicers have narrow pulp outlets). I had to manually remove it using the handle of the brush (which was included). So lesson learned, just sharing this with you so you don’t make the same mistake.
3 – Oranges (Unpeeled)
7 – Strawberries
½ – Bunch of Spinach
This recipe will yield roughly half a liter or 16.9 ounces
I expected the same strawberry flavour but this one tasted like bitter orange (with a tiny hint of strawberry) probably because I included the skin of the orange, I’ll try this recipe next time without the orange skin and let you guys know how it tastes.
I notice that Spinach is very fibrous and on a masticating juicer like a Hurom where the pulp comes out of a narrow chute, you’ll need to cut the spinach into shorter bits so that it’ll be less prone to clog the pulp outlet.
1 – Orange (peeled)
2-1/2 – Zucchini
7 – Spears asparagus
1 – Small head broccoli
1/8 – Cantaloupe
½ – Lemon (not peeled)
Will yield roughly 600ml or 20.2 ounces
The original recipe called for 1 pomegranate but I couldn’t find one here so I replaced it with orange. I couldn’t get the taste of this one to be honest. It wasn’t sweet and a little bit on the sour side. Probably because of the combination of orange and lemon.
To prepare this one, I cut up the asparagus to about quarter of an inch long so that its fiber won’t clog the pulp outlet. I also pre-cut the stems of the broccoli into smaller bits to avoid clogging.
What I’ve learned the past 10 days
Juicing really is a commitment
It’ll take roughly an hour or more to prepare, extract and clean up. But looking at all the greens and fruits me and my wife consumed, I think it was well worth it because there was no way we’d be eating all of those. There is no substitute for a healthy body.
If you’re serious about juicing
Get a good quality juicer, it is worth every penny. Though cheap juicers are available, they can break any time (remember what happened to the juicer my mom gave me?).
I got a Hurom for roughly $300 from a local dealer and so far it has worked very well for me. It was easy to assemble and the learning curve is pretty shallow. It did a good job extracting juice particularly from greens judging from the pretty dry pulp it left.
Centrifugal juicers will extract juice a little bit faster but unless you’re using the pulp to bake carrot cake, masticating juicers would be a better investment particularly if you’re juicing greens.
Yes, you can use a blender
But add around another 30 minutes to the prep time because you’ll need to separate the pulp and juice with a strainer. Plus blenders are terribly noisy and can be dangerous to clean (I’ve hurt my fingers a couple of times while cleaning).
Eating fresh raw dark greens daily is possible
Because combining them with citrus fruits like lemon or orange, masks the bitter flavour. Remember not to put in too much dark greens, mix up dark greens with lighter greens like celery or Bok Choi.
Don’t buy in bulk
Produce tends to spoil in around a week. Remember all the carrots I bought? Well some of them got spoiled so instead of saving, I wasted some money there. If possible buy the exact amount a day or two before using it, that way you are sure that it is fresh. Bring your recipe for the week to the grocery to help you with how many you’ll buy.
Mustard leaves and orange because it’ll turn into a drink that’ll taste like wasabi. How did I come up with this concoction? I mentioned at the start of this article that I used recipes from Raw Juice Cleanser Recipes and this particular recipe needed Kale but I replaced it with mustard greens based on this chart by reboot by Joe. I haven’t tried this recipe with Kale because I couldn’t find any, if I’d get my hands on one I’ll try the original recipe and let you know how it goes.
You need to pre-cut greens
And rotate ingredients if you’re using a vertical auger juicer, particularly stringy high fiber greens like celery.
I didn’t understand the reasoning behind this until I started using the Hurom which is a vertical auger juicer. I didn’t pre-cut the spinach I put in so the pulp (which was stringy) got stuck in the outlet where all the dry pulp comes out. This created a bottleneck and the juice that came out was pulpier than what I would have liked.
How do you pre-cut? What this video.
Juicing before breakfast on an empty stomach
Will help you eat less because your body will absorb more nutrients and will not feel as hungry as lunch time approaches compared to not drinking any natural juice.
My wife told me that if she does not drink juice, she tends to eat more during breakfast and lunch. She’s been trying to lose weight and juicing has helped her eat less at least for breakfast and lunch. She also does yoga at least once a week and she’s lost a few pounds since she started drinking fresh juice.
Putting too much
Stalks and beet greens will give you a thick drink that may not be palatable to some. In one of the recipes, it listed beet as one of the ingredients. I replaced it with around 12 stalks and beet greens. The juice that came out was rather thick, it didn’t taste bad but it was a bit slimy. I’m just sharing this to give you a heads up.
If you’ve tried to juice stalks and beet greens let me know how it turned out.
So that’s it, my first 10 days juicing and I think it was a good learning experience going forward. What will I juice next? Well I mentioned at the start that I’m looking to lower my cholesterol naturally so I’ll look for recipes that would help me achieve that goal. I’ll be posting some those recipes here as I go along.
If you’d like to share your first juicing experience, please post it in the comments section below.
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