Benefits from Juicing
Until last week, it had been nearly six months since I’d juiced anything. Juicing for me is something I seem to be gung-ho about for a month or two at a time then it falls by the way-side for awhile. But last weekend my husband and I had a party and one of our guests brought us a watermelon from the farmer’s market. It smelled fabulous before we even cut it open. And when we did I was so tempted by the luscious ruby red fruit inside I had to figure out a way to eat it. You see I can’t eat watermelon. It’s too fibrous and will cause my gut issues within an hour of eating it.
Usually I stick to juicing carrots, apples, grapes, and cucumbers.
But, this watermelon looked so good I had to try it So, out came the juicer from its storage place and in went the watermelon, rind and all. Even though I wanted to go overboard and drink glass after glass, I didn’t. I drank a modest 4-6 ounce glass of the juice and although there were no seeds to send sailing across the back yard it was as good as eating a wedge and letting the juice drip down my chin.
And so, since last week I’ve been back to juicing.
I first tried juicing when my colitis was at its worst and my diet was very restricted. At the time, I worried about not being able to get enough vitamins, even though I was able to stomach a Flintstone’s chewable vitamin every other day. And so, I bought a decent quality juicer on eBay and tried it out. I found that by juicing them I was able to drink many of the veggies I was no longer able to eat. Carrot + Apple + Grapes became a favorite not only for me but one that my husband and black lab came to enjoy as well. In fact, to this day whenever our dog, Kayla, hears the juicer start up she’s quick to sit by her bowl where she waits for her small bowl of fresh juice. It makes me laugh every time. But, she loves it!
For me, it’s the fibrous parts of certain fruits and vegetables that seem to cause issues. I can eat a carrot if I cook it until its mush. Personally, I don’t like that consistency and have actually found that mushy anything makes me gag. But, I can juice a carrot and drink it just fine. Same goes for apples. The skins are too hard for my system to digest, but by juicing it I can get the nutrients from the skin without my body needing to break it down - the juicer breaks it down for me.
If you’ve never tried juicing here are my beginner tips:
- Until you know if you’ll like juicing buy a middle of the line juicer. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good quality juicer - I spent $40 for mine and I’ve had it more than 8 years.
- To get the most nutrients from your fresh juice drink it as soon as possible after making it. If you must make it now but drink it later, store it in an air tight container (preferably opaque), store it in the refrigerator, then let it come back to room temperature before you drink it ( about 20 mins.).
- Rotate your fruits and veggies. Your body will get the most out of juicing if you rotate the fruits and vegetables that you juice. Carrots are a good way to add sweetness to juices but if you drink too much carrot juice you may notice after many days that your skin will take on an orange tint from the beta carotene. Or, you might develop a slight allergy to certain fruits or vegetables.
- For IBDers, be careful drinking green juices as they are known to cause GI upset even in people without bowel problems. Mix carrot or apple juice into 1-2 ounces of a green juice and how your system reacts to it.
- I very rarely ever drink fresh juice on back-to-back days. When I get into my juicing mode I usually drink a fresh glass of juice every other day. And, like I said, I tend to juice for a month here and a month or two there. I think my body tells me when I need a juice fix.
I find that I’m able to juice almost anything except for soft fruits like bananas and avocados which are just too mushy and will clog up the machine. Even citrus fruits are juicable - just remove the skin first (you can leave the pith - the white part). You can even juice a kiwi, skin and all.
When looking for combinations of things to juice use your imagination and your taste buds to come up with combinations that are tasty and easy for your gut. Keep in mind that grapes, carrots, and apples add natural sweetness, especially to those not-so-tasty green drinks.
Here are some combinations I like:
Carrot + Apple
Carrot + Apple + Grapes
Carrot + Celery + Cucumber
Carrot + Apple + Beets
Beets + Cucumber + Celery
Watermelon + Strawberries
Strawberries + Oranges
Apple + Ginger
Lettuce + Spinach + Lemon
Elizabeth wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Digestive Health.