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Friday, March 6, 2015

To Juice or Not To Juice

The concepts of both smoothies and juicing have a bit of controversy attached to them, especially in the whole-food plant-based eating community.

Just do a google search about the downsides of smoothies and juicing and you will read all manner of horrors about blood sugar spikes, how you need to chew your food to get digestion off to a good start, etc.  You will find an equal amount of postings about how juicing will save your life and cure cancer and more.

Like most things in life, the truth for most of us probably lies somewhere in between.

This winter, I wanted to ramp up our nutrient levels and was also looking for a solution to the difficulty of getting enough greens and fruits into my omnivorous husband.  He does pretty well here at home, but doesn't eat breakfast and I worry about him getting enough nutrients to help balance the demands from his high-stress job, so I re-kindled my old habit of sending him out the door with a small smoothie.  In the winter months, and this year we have had some serious winter here in Ohio, it is sometimes hard to down a smoothie; they are quite cooling and I've not had great success in making a green drink in the Vitamix.

I decided to look into juicing and after a little bit of research, in uncharacteristic fashion, quickly pulled the trigger on a purchase.  I opted for a masticating juicer vs. a centrifugal juicer.  I like the idea of no blades and watched a couple of videos and settled on the Kuvings, deciding it would be fairly easy to clean.

[ For a quick explanation of the basic differences between masticating juicers & centrifugal ones, see:   http://cookingequipment.about.com/od/reviewsrecommendations/f/Masticating-vs-centrifugal-juicer.htm }




Here is my Kuvings.  Juice is coming out on the left and pulp coming out on the right.





The Kuvings does a great job for me and I love that I can use up produce that I might not otherwise get to.  I've made a variety of juices now, mango and spinach, apples, oranges and romain and of course, various combinations with that nutritional power food, kale.  

The idea of throwing out all of the remaining pulp was too painful for me the first couple of times I juiced (I have since gotten over it :).  I tried making muffins:







and crackers....





....with only moderate success.

My best efforts came when I juiced the veggies separately, and used predominately veggie pulp in the crackers.


Pre-baking

I kept it pretty simple.  I added some additional moisture to the pulp....(Ground up raw sunflower seeds soaked in the Vitamix and then blended into seed milk), a bit of ground golden flax seed, sea salt and some whole-wheat flour.  I added a few spices, mostly granulated garlic.

Crackers after baking on the pizza stone 

 I believe total bake time (375 oven) was about 20 minutes.  Time will vary according to thickness of dough; I rolled it out thin as I wanted more of a wheat-thin type cracker.  I left the stone in the oven after turning off until oven cooled and I think that helped with the crispness factor.

These crackers came out very good and the mix goes together quickly.  I will definitely be making them again.

As for the juicer itself, I've only had this one, so can't make a comparison, but it is not that big of a deal to clean up, which I hear is the main deterrent to people actually USING their juicers.  I'd say it takes me no more than about 5 minutes to disassemble and clean.  It goes back together quickly too; I am not mechanically oriented and there is a small learning curve for reassembly, but it is a good design and not difficult.

{For more info on Kuvings, see here:  http://kuvingsusa.com/

I got the silent slow juicer similar to the model pictured here:

http://kuvingsusa.com/01product/product_view.asp?model_code=SC%20SERIES%20BLACK&page=1&category1=A001&category2=&keyfield=&keyword=&totalKeyword=&menu=A001 }

As for juicing, it has become a regular habit now, and I typically juice once or twice a week.  I can send the love of my life out the door with a fresh juice a couple of days a week (we usually consume what I juice in two days) and that feels very good.

It is too soon to tell if I am cured of anything or how my health has been impacted, but my energy is good and I usually am dragging at this time of the year, craving the spring, with depleted Vitamin D reserves.

And, the juice is delicious.

I'm still craving the spring, but that'll come on Mother Nature's terms.  She has her own calendar!

Sue, Juicing in Ohio







2 comments:

  1. Hello, I came across your blog because I Googled Esselstyn's mushroom gravy. I'm just beginning my journey of eating WFPB. I like your blog!

    ~Laura

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  2. Hi Laura,
    Thank you! I'm behind on my blog and actually have a follow up I want to post on the topic of juicing. Congrats on starting your journey. That mushroom gravy remains a 'go-to' food for our household. Yummy and comforting on mashed potatoes.
    Sue

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