Our family recently started juicing vegetables several times per week, and the health benefits from juicing are enormous. An abundance of raw nutrients are consumed and used by your body every time you have the fresh juice (try and use organic produce as much as possible to avoid a concentrated ingestion of pesticides and other chemicals). There are some common mistakes people make when juicing that can take away from some of the health benefits. That being said, in this highly processed food world juicing even while making a few mistakes is better than not juicing at all! Here are some common mistakes.
Not Drinking Green Juice On An Empty Stomach
Fresh juice should only be consumed on an empty stomach. The whole point of drinking juice is diminished if you don’t, and can end up giving you digestive issues. Drinking juice on an empty stomach allows vitamins and minerals in the juice to go straight to your bloodstream. Having fiber or a meal already in your stomach prevents your body from quickly absorbing the nutrients from the juice. A good general rule of thumb to follow is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink a green juice and wait 20 minutes after drinking a green juice to consume a meal.
Waiting Too Long To Drink Your Green Juice
As soon as your freshly made green juice gets exposed to air, its live enzymes begin to degrade and, therefore, decreasing the nutritional content. The live enzymes of fresh juice give you immediate energy – where as older juice just doesn’t give the same boost. Try to consume fresh juice within 15 minutes of juicing.
Using Too Many Sweet Fruits and Vegetables In Your Green Juice
Sweet fruits and vegetables like watermelon, apples, pears, and carrots are very nutritious when consumed whole, but if you consume too many of them juiced, the amount of sugar and fructose you are adding to your diet could be over the top. If a juice has too much natural sugar it can affect insulin levels pretty dramatically, causing cravings and other things to happen (like gaining weight). This is why I recommend keeping the sugary fruits and vegetables in your green juice to a maximum of 1 per serving.
Treating Green Juice Like A Meal (unless on a fast or having it as a snack)
Juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer or snack. Juicing is nature’s vitamin pill and should be consumed like a supplement within 20 minutes before a complete meal. It’s really hard to eat the amount of vegetables recommended by most experts (6-8 servings) in a typical day. It takes a few pounds of vegetables to get a 12-ounce glass of juice – which gives you an entire day’s serving in one glass. Juicing should be like taking a vitamin but of course it’s a billion times better. Additionally, drinking juice before a meal reduces carb and sweet cravings and completely changes your taste buds to want something plant-based versus something heavy or processed. Juicing allows you to absorb many more vitamins and minerals than you would otherwise by consuming smoothies or eating fruits and vegetables with the fiber.
Not Chewing Your Green Juice
Juice (and smoothies) are food and should be chewed. It’s important to swish around the juice in your mouth or move your jaw up and down for a couple of seconds before swallowing it to release saliva that contains important digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes are crucial in delivering key nutrients to your cells.
Leaving Your Juicer Dirty
Juicing can take time and life can get busy. Things like cleaning your juicer right away can get pushed to the side, but cleaning your juicer immediately (at least rinsing it off) will save you and your knuckles a lot of scrubbing later. To save time when juicing in the morning, you can pre-wash the vegetables the night before, eliminating this step the next day, and allowing more time to clean the juicer right away
Juicing Spinach or Kale Over and Over Again
Variety is the spice of life, and it’s key for juicing correctly and safely and to avoid hormonal issues. Remember to rotate the greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, collards, dandelion, arugula, etc.) in your juice each week to prevent build up of oxalic acid (which can affect the thyroid gland) and provide a balanced amount of different vitamins and minerals for your body. (List of juicing mistakes adapted from foodbabe.com) Here is one of my family’s favourite juice recipes;
- 1 handful greens of choice (dandelion greens, spinach, kale)
- 1/2 handful of parsley
- 1/2 a cucumber (peel if not organic)
- 3 celery stalks
- 1/2 a fresh lime
- 1 small piece of ginger
- Juice each item one at a time and consume immediately. I like to use vegetables stored in the fridge for cold juice.