15 Juicing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making (and How to Avoid Them)
Before juicing that first Kale, you’ll have to read this article and avoid these mistakes…
There are numerous horror stories about folks passing out, ending up in a hospital for doing a juice fast.
If you look at the common denominator for all of these stories – they all wanted to lose weight and they didn’t listen to their bodies!
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m not saying that juicing will not help you lose weight because it will…
…only if you combine it with the right diet and exercise.
But if you drink nothing but juice for an extended period (let’s say a week) and not know what to expect, you’re asking for trouble.
If you’re new to juicing you’d definitely want to read this so you won’t experience any of the horrific pains mentioned above or suffer any negative long term health effects.
So without further ado here are the mistakes and ways to avoid them.
1. Using the same ingredients over and over every single day
A lot of people are guilty of this. Juicing is a great way to introduce nutrients to your body like antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. But along with that you’ll also digest toxins that can be lethal in large doses.
These toxins are plant’s natural defense mechanism against attack.
Read more about natural toxins in vegetables here.
These toxins include:
- Oxalates that can cause or worsen kidney stones are found in fruits such as bananas, cherries, grapes, mangoes, melons and vegetables such as chives, cauliflower, spinach, radish to name a few.
- Atropine found in tomato leaves and to a lesser extent green tomatoes can cause tummy aches, dizziness and headaches.
- Cyanogenic glycosides (or cyanide) found in the pits of apple, plum, peaches, apricots and cherries can be fatal if consumed in large doses. Don’t forget to remove the seeds prior to juicing these fruits.
- Goitrogens that are found in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, mustard seeds and cabbage can hamper the function of the thyroid gland particularly when eaten (or in our case chugged) raw in large doses.
I could go on and on with this list. But I’ll stop here because I just wanted to illustrate the importance of variety when juicing because not only will you get all the vitamins and antioxidants that you’ll need.
You also avoid digesting the same toxins over and over again which can be harmful.
You’d want to rotate greens everyday such as using Kale as your main ingredient on Monday. Then on Tuesday spinach, Wednesday romaine lettuce, Thursday wild greens and so on.
The more variety you have the more nutrients you’ll absorb the better for your body.
2. Gulping it down as fast as you can
This is another no-no.
Because digestion starts in the mouth not inside the stomach as we were all taught to believe.
By mixing saliva with juice, you’ll actually absorb more nutrients into your system than by just gulping it down.
I know, I know it doesn’t taste good and it can be downright nasty if you combine the wrong ingredients.
That is why you need recipes when starting off.
This will help guide you on what exactly to put inside your juice to prevent making something that’ll make you vomit.
One way to enjoy your juice is by sitting down on your sofa with your favourite book in hand.
Smelling it like you would an expensive wine then savouring the flavour with your tongue as you drink it slowly.
Food babe calls this swishing it back and forth in the mouth.
3. Using only fruits without any vegetables
Did you know that apples contain 13.3 grams of sugar per 100 grams, mangos contain 14.8 per 100 and a 355ml can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar.
If you do the math, they roughly have the same sugar ratio.
Even though fruits have a healthier natural sweetener called fructose it wouldn’t matter if you’re insulin resistant (in short you have diabetes).
Drinking fruit juice every single day actually worsens it.
If you really love your fruit juice and have to have your fix, experts say that it’d be better to use a blender because it will retain all the fibers that slow down sugar absorption in the bloodstream but for your health’s sake do so in moderation.
The role of fruit in a juice recipe is to act as a sweetener but it should not, I repeat should not be the main ingredient. Include around 1 or 2 types to go along with greens and other vegetables.
4. Putting too much dark green veggies in the mixture
Dark leafy greens have a strong and bitter flavour and putting too much of it can cause vomiting.
This is especially true when you’re staring out. John Kohler of Discount Juicers recommends that you should limit it to around 25% and use other vegetables such as cabbage or cucumber to fill out the other 75% to dilute the strong flavour.
5. Buying a juicer because the guy in the infomercial says it’s the best
To tell you the truth, there is no such thing a best juicer that will fit the needs of every single person.
The type of juicer you’ll buy will mainly depend on what type of ingredients you’ll put in and how often you’ll juice.
Other factors include price and noise tolerance so you’ll have to assess and balance things out.
Each type of juicer has its strengths and weaknesses.
A centrifugal juicer will require less pre-cutting and will juice faster but it extracts less juice from greens (you can’t use this on wheat grass). And you can’t store juice from it for more than a day.
A vertical auger masticating juicer needs a lot of pre cutting to avoid clogging its pulp outlet but it takes up less space compared to a horizontal auger juicer.
The later needs however, only minimal pre-cutting, particularly with green leafy stuff because pulp that comes out does need to go through a small pulp outlet. Instead it goes directly to a container for compost or disposal.
Much like buying cloths you don’t buy a tank top if its winter season or buy a leather jacket if it’s summer.
Same thing with buying a juicer, you’ll need the look for something that’ll match your needs.
Have a check list of your preferences, recipes and budget then head over to our review section to compare different brands, its pros and cons so that you can narrow down your choices.
6. Putting in random ingredients and hoping that it’ll come out well is a recipe for disaster
Another big no-no. Often times we see this on infomercials. While you can do it and still get good results, you’d want to be more deliberate and research on recipes particularly if you are only starting out.
One risk of just throwing random stuff is you don’t know what you’re getting. It can be good or be so nasty that you’ll throw up on the first sip – now you don’t want that.
Another risk is getting a chemical reaction by combining the wrong ingredients that can make you sick.
As much as possible avoid juicing old wilted veggies and fruit because they won’t juice well even on the best juicers.
Always use fresh produce, if possible organic or grow your own produce if you have space in the backyard.
Using fresh fruits and vegetables = great tasting and nutritious juice.
If you have a lot of old wilted fruits or veggies in your fridge, I suggest you use it as compost if you have a garden in the backyard.
7. Not rotating the produce you put in the juicer
This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make not talked about more often that it should.
For centrifugal juicers
Rotating ingredients helps maximize the amount of juice that you’ll be able to extract. This applies to ingredients such as leafy greens. Since these are light, the blade will have nothing to “grab” to since it lacks mass.
What I like to do is combine let’s say kale with something hard like an apple or carrot. The mass of a carrot or apple will help push down kale over the blade, allowing the blade to extract more juice from it.
Anothe benefit of rotating ingredients is that you’ll have an even distribution of flavor without having to mix it.
Another way of juicing leafy greens in a centrifugal extractor would be stacking them up into a massive roll then following it up immediately with a carrot. This minimizes small bits of leaves that will float on the juice.
For masticating juicers
Particularly vertical gear types like the Hurom slow juicer.
You have to watch out when juicing high fibrous greens like spinach that are stringy because it tends to clog up if you put in a whole batch.
You lessen this problem by alternating it with another hard vegetable like a carrot or cucumber.
Don’t forget to chop these stringy greens so it won’t clog the pulp outlet. I’ve written an article on how to juice celery on a vertical slow juicer. Make sure to check it out. This principle will also apply to other fibrous greens like spinach or collard greens.
Here’s a video explaining how to pre-cut and how to alternate ingredients.
This will not apply if you have a horizontal slow juicer like an Omega NC800 because the pulp ejection port is straight. So there is no risk of clogging.
8. Not drinking immediately afterwards
To get the maximum amount of nutrients from fresh produce, you NEED to drink it immediately afterwards.
The longer the juice sits exposed to air, its nutrient content, enzymes, phytochemicals, all the good stuff will oxidize.
This lessens the amount of nutrients available which is why you juice in the first place.
Food babe recommends that you drink it within 15 minutes of extraction.
Now let’s say you have work and can’t juice at your workplace, store it in an airtight container placed inside a portable cooler which will keep it fresh between 24 to 36 hours (if you use a press juicer it can stay fresh for up to 72 hours).
When you get to work, store in a fridge (if available) or drink it as soon as you can.
Also AVOID letting unpasteurized freshly squeezed juice get warm because bacteria can grow in there that turns it to a harmful drink rather of a healthy one.
This can lead to food poisoning.
One of the best storage containers for fresh juice is glass according to experts.
Glass does not contain any of the harmful chemicals found in plastic and great for storing fresh juice inside a fridge.
Another option would be storing it in a stainless steel thermos.
Fill it to the brim, if possible overfill it to take out excess air inside.
9. Not cleaning afterwards
Can’t stress this enough, ALWAYS clean the juicer after using it. This prevents staining and the pulp from drying up to a point where it is hard to remove.
Some juicers advertise that their products are “self-cleaning”. But even with this feature, you still need to disassemble and clean it with a brush and running water to remove pulp accumulated inside.
Now if it is not possible to clean immediately afterwards, soak the parts in water so that the pulp does not dry up and stain all the parts inside.
Dried pulp can be a nightmare to clean.
I’ve seen a stained juicer with my own two eyes c/o my mom’s centrifugal juicer.
She juices a lot of carrot, celery and apply so the inner parts have a slight orange hue. Once the stain sets, cleaning it will be difficult.
10. Thinking that juice is a replacement for solid food
I’ve read numerous articles that talks about “dark side of juicing” because of this mistake.
Remember our body are like machines, it needs fuel to function properly and if you deprive it of certain nutrients IT MALFUNCTIONS.
Our body needs the nutrients, calories, glucose and fiber from fruit, vegetables, poultry and meat.
All of them play an important role hence the importance of a balanced diet.
Depriving your body of solid food and just relying on fresh juice and expecting to last a hectic work day is a recipe for disaster.
You’ll likely suffer from fatigue, cravings, loss of energy or worst you might pass out.
Juicing isn’t a replacement for solid food. Think of it as nature’s food supplement taken 20 minutes before a meal. It’ll help fill in the gaps of missing nutrients that you don’t get in your regular diet.
In an article posted by the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American consumes only 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day but dietary guidelines suggest that we should eat between five to thirteen servings depending on our body type and energy requirements so there is a big discrepancy.
A side benefit of drinking fresh juice before meals would be curbing your appetite. This will make you eat less than you’d normally would. It’ll help re-calibrate your taste buds from craving sweet processed drinks to something more natural like green juice.
If you drink a can of soda every day why not replace that with a cup of green juice. Do it for a month and let me know what happens.
For those of you planning on having a juice fast, you must do your due diligence and prepare your body for it. Preparation includes limiting physical activity during the time of the fast and reducing food intake days before the scheduled fast.
These include gradually cutting down on solid foods a few days.
Root Juices recommend that you eliminate meat from your diet 2 days before the fast and eating soft foods (e.g. porridge) first before eating solids when breaking a fast.
Prepping your body will lessen the shock that your body endures from the reduction of food. This will will enable you to go through the fast without passing out.
11. Not drinking it on an empty stomach
Fresh juice should be take on an empty stomach to maximize nutrient absorption. Drinking it on an empty stomach will cause you to pass gas.
How long before a meal? Food babe recommends 20 minutes before a meal while Vanessa (All About Juicing) recommends at least 10 minutes before.
12. Not using fresh produce
To extract the maximum nutrients from your veggies and fruits it has to be fresh and if possible organic.
Fresh produce equals great tasting juice, the fresher the better as the experts would say.
Now if organic is too expensive for you, make sure to wash then soak in water to remove traces of pesticide and other chemicals on the surface, for some fruits like apples.
Important note: Wash and soak even if you buy organic produce.
The best case scenario would be growing your own vegetables and fruits at home. That way you have a year round supply for fresh ingredients literally at your door step that tastes better.
Fresh product will have higher nutrient content compared to store bought produce that may not be as fresh since it takes time to harvest, pack store and deliver these.
13. Not Washing or Not Washing Thoroughly Enough
Since we are taking in raw produce, this is a very important step that we shouldn’t take for granted.
Try to rub your finger on the skin of an apple or pear, does it feel a bit sticky? The apples I bought are like that.
Conventionally grown produce are with pesticide that leaves a waxy feel that provides a waterproof protective coating from the elements. It functions like a car wax in terms of protection but it contains chemicals that is not good for us.
The amount of pesticide is another concern.
According to Natural Mentor around 20 million Americans consume more than 8 types of pesticides per day which adds up to over 2,900 pesticides per year. Yikes!
Even if you use organic produce, make sure to wash them thoroughly as well because even though they have little to no pesticide content, parasites might be present and these creepy crawlies also have a harmful effect if digested.
Washing with water alone isn’t enough to remove these because pesticides can seep deep into the skin of produce. If washing it alone using water is not enough, what are the options?
There are a some homemade recipes that you can use to help remove this waxy feel. One particular solution involves using a few cap fulls of apple cider or vinegar and fine sea salt mixed with a bowl of water.
This would in theory double the life of your produce.
If you don’t want the hassle of preparing your own veggie wash solution, you could opt for a commercially available product that already has already done it for you.
Sisel’s OrganiCleanse is one such product that’ll help break down, agitate and remove around 98% of these harmful pesticides as well as parasites.
Another commercially available product is the Veggie Wash. In principle, it works the same way as Sisel’s OrganiCleanse. I included it here to give you guys more options on what to use.
Whether you’re using a homemade or commercial product, experts recommend that you soak produce in water for at least 5 minutes, lightly agitate then rinse afterwards remove dirt, soil and traces of pesticide.
If you’re storing produce for later use, pat dry with a dry towel before storing it in an airtight plastic container.
Make sure that all the produce is dry before storing, this prevents molds from forming and allows you to store it for longer periods.
14. Not Listening to Your Body
If you plan on doing a juice fast please read this carefully.
I noticed while reading all the juice fast horror stories is that people failed prepare and failed to listen to their bodies.
In short they didn’t know what to expect and when they began feeling their bodies detoxifying they didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it.
These people all suffered one way or another from skin breakouts, salivating, sweating, vomiting, loss of energy, diarrhea and worst of all passing out.
Ironically, with the exception of passing out, all these symptoms are to be expected from a juice fast as Sara Ding explains it perfectly well in her article.
The symptoms will vary from person to person. And will be dependent on the type of toxins that your body has accumulated over the years and how un-healthy your diet was.
Remember that the more toxins your body has the more severe the symptoms are.
Now, if you feel that you can’t continue with the juice fast, STOP!
And break the fast by gradually introducing soft foods first to your diet.
Don’t wait until you’ve passed out before breaking the fast. Remember health is your NUMBER ONE priority.
15. Not juicing at all
Out of all the mistakes I’ve listed here this is the biggest and it’s obvious. If you don’t juice you’ll miss out on all the benefits not only to your health but also on the way you look.
Ask any person who has juiced for a long time and they’ll tell you. You’ll get better looking skin simply because you’re taking in more nutrients that your body needs to regenerate damaged cells and at the same time flush out toxins that can degrade your skin.
To give you a brief overview here are just some of the benefits:
- Reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory diseases
- Boost the immune system
- Remove toxins
- Weight loss
If someone would say eating fruit or vegetable is healthier because you get all the fiber, think about how would you feel after eating a whole Fuji apple?
Follow that up with two carrots or a couple stalks of celery, you might throw up.
I guess you get the picture. Juicing cuts digestion out of the way and allows your body to take in more nutrients without stuffing yourself.
If you’ve made all the way to the end, I applaud you. If this article has helped you please spread the word.
Just in case you have more tips to share, comment below.