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The Juicer's Guide

by Kerry Doyle(more info)

listed in organic food, originally published in issue 49 - February 2000

1) Buy the best juicer you can afford. Domestic juicers usually retail between £25 and £50. Juicing attachments are available for some food processors and mixers, but bear in mind that it takes a lot of power to extract juice from hard fruit like carrots, and for more than one person (or a family) it is better to buy a separate appliance.

2) It is better to use fruit as fresh as you can – as they have a lot more vitamins in them!

3) If you can invest in organic fruit and vegetables, do so. I believe that it's healthier to juice non-organic produce than to not juice at all. Pollution is the scourge of our age but fear is more crippling.

4) Never juice overripe or mouldy produce, especially tomatoes, due to botulism. All bruised and damaged parts are to be removed before chopping. Chop just prior to juicing (this reduces enzyme damage and loss of precious vitamin C).

5) Organic vegetables like carrots can be scrubbed in cold running water to remove soil, but it is better to peel the skin of non-organic carrots (to remove pesticides and fertilisers).

6) Waxed fruit must be washed in warm soapy water to remove the waxes; these can then be used without removing the skin. Some juicing books advise you to remove apple pips, because of the tiny amounts of cyanide in them; however, I include them. Peach and plum stones can damage the grater, so you must remove these; grape seeds are fine. Pears are the most hypoallergenic of fruit, good for a delicate digestion with low fruit tolerance, juice in small quantities.

7) Some Naturopaths use curative juices including potatoes to treat stomach ulcers. My advice would be not to use potatoes without naturopathic advice.

8) I remove vegetable tops because they are soily or sandy and bitter. Never juice carrot tops or rhubarb tops – they are toxic.

9) According to Leslie Kenton organic citrus fruit like lemons and limes can all be juiced, but skins of oranges and grapefruits contain toxins, so use sparingly or not at all. Never juice non-organic citrus rinds as they can be sprayed up to 17 times with toxic pesticides. I very rarely juice citrus fruit although the white pith contains bioflavonoids and vitamin C, I just find them bitter. I leave kiwi skins on, although a lot of people don't. I find peeling them messy, I wash them first though.

10) Always chop up large produce (ie, not radishes) it helps the motor and is safer. Always use the plunger provided to push the material through the hopper.

11) If you hear the motor labouring make sure it is not getting over full, (you can burn it out this way – I know!).

A) check hopper box

B) chop material smaller

Hard produce like ginger needs to be eased through, taking the pressure on and off the plunger so as not to damage the motor of the machine. Cabbage or similar leaf vegetables can be rolled up and put through stalk first or shredded. Be patient and feed through slowly so as not to jam and damage the motor.

For small children, the sick, elderly, new juicer, diabetic and anyone who has just finished strenuous exercise, it is better to dilute the juice with spring water.

12) Stick to simple combinations using more vegetables than fruit (carrots). Taken every day you will soon find you want a pint. I never found anyone who did not like carrot and apple even if they dislike carrot and apple to eat and I find it the gentlest juice for beginners.

13) I juice watermelons in the summer as a cooling addition to the carrot/apple combination. Juice the whole watermelon, skin and pips but you have to chop them up well. You can also use watermelons as a great liver cleanser.

14) Fresh root ginger, available from most oriental food stores, is a good addition for your juice in the winter – but I find it too hot for use in summer months. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to prevent colds and chills, improve circulation and to calm and promote good digestion. It is often used to counteract nicotine addiction.

15) Beetroot is great for detoxing, but it is very powerful. Use small amounts at first, no more than 2ozs per person. It has a very earthy taste, so you may prefer to add in small quantities and watch out, it stains!

16) I make green juices with a tomato base because I find them much more palatable and less challenging for the system. I make a rich tomato soup by putting tomatoes through the juicer, squeezing in garlic, with a garlic press, then heating slowly. You can serve this with a teaspoon of pesto in each bowlful. Since the skins and pips are removed in the juicing process you can make a delicious soup without fear of irritating a delicate colon, like those of diviticulitis sufferers. Tomato is also reputed to prevent middle-aged men from developing prostate problems.

17) Neat green juice can burn the throat. Beware if you are too enthusiastic with green juices as you can find yourself sitting on the lavatory often. It is better to take things step by step like exercise, to adjust your colon and your kidneys, especially if you are very stressed or not very well. Encouraging your body to surrender excess water and waste matter is really beneficial, but it is extra exercise for the kidneys and the colon, and like exercising any muscle, it should be built up slowly. Celery and cucumber are natural diuretic additions for your juice if you suffer from fluid retention or PMS.

18) I do not believe that prolonged periods of diarrhoea can be good for you because it is dehydrating, you lose beneficial minerals and it often gives you gripping pains. So use common sense; do not be too zealous, it is better to have a modest quantity of what tastes good every day than embark too enthusiastically on a health purge!

19) Give young children smaller quantities as they need more protein in their diet for growth and this may fill them up too much, but it is better for them than sweets and fizzy drinks. Juice has lots of natural sugars (fructose) for energy and no additives!

20) Diabetics are advised to consult their doctors or dieticians before changing their diet, but juicing mainly vegetables and diluting the juices with water has helped a lot of diabetics.

21) Most fruit and vegetables have a high water content, which makes them possible to juice. Low water content fruit and vegetables like bananas and avocado are better placed in a blender – this is the same for dried fruit.

22) Vegetable juices made from carrots, swedes, parsnips, make very good bases for blends. Carrots are very neutral and taste completely different from expectation.

23) The juices can be made and stored in the fridge overnight but I think it impairs the freshness of flavour. All fruits, especially apples, oxidise quickly and lose all their nutrients, I believe it is best to drink juice within 5 minutes of making.

24) For Christmas I juice pineapple, kiwi and papaya mid morning to give us all an appetite before luncheon. Not only does it taste delicious, but it's also good for digestion. Pineapple is the only known source of Bromelain, a natural anti-inflammatory agent good for arthritic joints.

25) Always try and wash your juicer straight after using it. In the early days I would leave mine, as my busy life took over, only to find it a few hours later as a solid sticky mass, which is very difficult to clean! Now I remove the pulp to the compost heap (my friend feeds her pulp to her rabbit, he loves it – but he doesn't like ginger). I rinse under the outside tap with cold water then wash it in warm soapy water – it really does not take long, it's just getting into the habit.

26) The drier the pulp the more juice the machine is extracting. You can scrub your grater section with a toothbrush with warm soapy water to stop it getting blocked.

27) Think of juice as a food, giving you easily absorbable carbohydrate, vitamins, enzymes and minerals; so, like food, consume daily.

The best therapy in the world is useless if you don't do it!

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About Kerry Doyle

Kerry Doyle is a fellow of the Royal Society of Health where she gained her Diploma in Nutrition and Health. She is qualified in holistic and clinical aromatherapy, and has had an ongoing study programme. She ran a full time aromatic practice for five years. She worked with a French Naturopath for two years before becoming a distributor for Pranarom organic essential oils and aromatology products. She can be reached on Tel: 01482 581 776.

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