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.
Juicing will help you lose weight.
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.
Some common sense, please.
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 want to read this so you won’t experience any of the horrific pains mentioned above or suffer any adverse 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 the 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 before 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 mainly 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. After all, 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 every day, 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
It 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 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.
It 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 favorite book in hand.
Smelling it like you would an expensive wine then savoring the flavor 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 worsens it.
If you 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 flavor, and putting too much of it can cause vomiting.
It is especially true when you’re starting. 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 additional 75% to dilute the intense flavor.
5. Buying a juicer because the guy in the infomercial says it’s the best
There is no such thing as the 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 wheatgrass). 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 clothes, you don’t buy a tank top if its winter season or buy a leather jacket if it’s summer.
The same thing with buying a juicer; you’ll need the look for something that’ll match your needs.
Have a checklist of your preferences, recipes, and budget, then head over to our review section to compare different brands, 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 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.
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.
It can make you sick.
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.
Use fresh produce
Always use fresh produce, if possible organic or grow your produce if you have space in the backyard.
Using fresh fruits and vegetables will equate to 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
It is one of the biggest mistakes that people make not talked about more often than it should.
For centrifugal juicers
Rotating ingredients helps maximize the amount of juice that you’ll be able to extract. It applies to components such as leafy greens. Since these are light, the blade will have nothing to “grab” too 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.
Another 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. It minimizes small bits of leaves that will float on the juice.
For masticating juicers
This tip is for vertical gear juicers like the Hurom.
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 afterward
To get the maximum amount of nutrients from fresh produce, you NEED to drink it immediately afterward.
The longer the juice sits exposed to air, its nutrient content, enzymes, phytochemicals, all the good stuff will oxidize.
It lessens the number of nutrients available, which is why you juice in the first place.
Drink within 15 minutes
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 instead of a healthy one.
It can lead to food poisoning.
Use glass containers
One of the best storage containers for fresh juice in a 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 afterward
Can’t stress this enough, ALWAYS clean the juicer after using it. It prevents staining and the pulp from drying up to a point where it is hard to remove.
There’s no such thing as self-cleaning juicers.
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 afterward, soak the parts in water so that the pulp does not dry up and stain all the components inside.
The 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 carrots, celery, and applies, so the inner parts have a slight orange hue. Once the stain sets, cleaning it will be complicated.
10. Thinking that juice is a replacement for solid food
I’ve read numerous articles that talk about the “dark side of juicing” because of this mistake.
Remember, our bodies are like machines, it needs fuel to function correctly, and if you deprive it of certain nutrients IT MALFUNCTIONS.
Balance is key
Our body needs nutrients, calories, glucose, and fiber from fruit, vegetables, poultry, and meat.
All of them play an essential 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 workday is a recipe for disaster.
You’ll likely suffer from fatigue, cravings, loss of energy, or worst you might pass out.
You can’t replace solid food with juice.
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 three 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 significant discrepancy.
Juicing helps curb appetite.
Drinking fresh juice before a meal will help curb your appetite. This habit will make you eat less than you’d normally. It’ll help re-calibrate your taste buds from craving sweets, processed drinks to something more natural like green juice.
Replace unhealthy sodas with a healthy 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.
What do you need to do before a fast?
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 two 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. It will enable you to go through the fast without passing out.
11. Not drinking it on an empty stomach
Fresh juice should be taken 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 excellent 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 to grow your vegetables and fruits at home. That way, you have a year-round supply for fresh ingredients literally at your doorstep that tastes better.
Fresh fruit and vegetables will have higher nutrient content compared to the store-bought variety 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 crucial 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.
Waxy feel = pesticide
Conventionally grown produce is with a pesticide that leaves a waxy feel that provides a waterproof protective coating from the elements. It functions as a car wax in terms of protection, but it contains chemicals that are not good for us.
The amount of pesticide is another concern.
According to Natural Mentor, around 20 million Americans consume more than eight types of pesticides per day, which adds up to over 2,900 pesticides per year. Yikes!
Organic produce has little to no pesticides.
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. These insects 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 cleaning it alone using water is not enough, what are the options?
There are 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.
It would, in theory, double the life of your produce.
If you don’t want the hassle of preparing your veggie wash solution, you could opt for a commercially available product that already has 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 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.
Soak at least 5 minutes
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 afterward remove dirt, soil, and traces of pesticide.
If you’re storing it, pat dry with a clean 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 save it for more extended 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 to prepare and failed to listen to their bodies.
Know what to expect
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, except for 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. Another factor is diet.
Remember that the more toxins your body has, the more severe the symptoms are.
Know when to stop
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 only 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 of 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 it 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.