Depending on your background, mention of the word "juicing" and its results might well bring to mind images of gargantuan, bloated, hideously misshapen experiments in muscle-building gone horribly wrong. Like, say, this:
Sorry. Couldn't resist. I've been wanting to post a silly picture like that for ages.
OK, time to get serious. Juicing might sound like a bit of a fad, and some of the claims made about its benefits- e.g. your skin will glow, you'll feel the need to eat less frequently and less sharply, your testosterone levels will go up, you'll heal faster from injuries, etc. etc.- might sound way too good to be true. However, when I first came across the concept over at Danger & Play's pad, I thought that he might be on to something. This was shortly after I decided to go fully Primal and cut out most of the processed junk from my eating habits, and I've never looked back since. It didn't hurt that a number of Manosphere bloggers that I hold in high regard- Frost, Edward Thatch, and I think Roosh as well- all gave juicing a try and gave it high marks.
The concept behind juicing is elegant and easy to understand. Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of nutrients, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and in the case of fruits, a wonderfully tasty source of natural glucose. It is a near-universal truth in the natural world that things which are sweet are not poisonous, which is exactly why fruits taste sweet- the idea is that animals eat them for their sugar content, and thereby distribute the resulting seeds. However, not all fruits and vegetables taste "good" in their natural form, because of the way that the skin or the cellulose fibres in the vegetables taste. So, in order to get around this and still have access to the nutritional benefits of these substances, we just go straight to the source and create juice instead. This preserves the nutrient content while disposing of the unnecessary bits of pulp and vegetable matter that lock it away from us.
Bottom line: juicing is a fast, convenient way to get a lot of nutrients in a single tasty serving.
The basic premise of juicing is simple. You buy yourself a juicer and a lot of fruits and vegetables, and proceed to make yourself some fresh juice every day. Health benefits follow instantly, or your money back! Or something like that.
It all sounds very simple and brilliant in theory. In practice it's rather more difficult than that.
Juicing in Practical Terms
Basically, once I bought my juicer and got started, I resolved to drink one glass of fresh fruit and vegetable juice every day. Here is what I have found thus far in terms of the practical realities of juicing every morning:
- You need some idea of what kind of juicer you want to buy. There are many different juicers out there, and they range in price from the cheap and cheerful simple $100 juicers that work really well on hard and semi-soft vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and squash (but really badly on leafy vegetables), to really top-end masticating juicer models that will juice anything.
- You'll need to spend time experimenting with different combinations of fruits and vegetables before you can really get it right. And this heavily depends on what kind of juicer you bought in the first place. For instance, kale is very difficult to juice with a traditional blade juicer that just shreds things through a sieve- but kale juice is also nutritionally very dense. The same goes for spinach and cabbage- the latter being a rather intense flavour that newbies will probably find off-putting at first.
- You'll be amazed at the sheer speed at which you go through produce. Even if you buy a good quality juicer that produces lots of juice and not too much pulp, it can take a lot of fruits and vegetables to extract just a single glass of juice. It is not uncommon for me to go through a pack of like 20 carrots in under a week. (I love carrots. Always have done, ever since I was little. Turns out, I love carrot juice too.) When I first started juicing, I'd walk into a grocery store and walk out with like half the produce section- which is not fun lugging back to an apartment and up stairs, let me tell you.
- You'll want to use certain ingredients for very specific purposes. Carrots go great with everything- so I use them for practically every single juice. So does celery. Cucumber juice, however, really is a bit strong, so you'll want to mix it with something else (like carrot juice). Same goes for tomato juice. Ginger is a great way to add some zest and spice. Beets look really weird but taste really great. Citrus fruits will allow you to add some nice complexity to your juices- and will also prevent your juices from oxidising. Berries, particularly strawberries, are great sweeteners. The same applies for apples- in fact, apples are basically glucose grenades, so I would recommend using a smaller amount of apple, or using a smaller type of apple, or using sour green apples instead of ripe red ones once you've been juicing for a little while.
- Never juice lemons, limes, or other citrus fruits with the peel on. You'll break your juicer. And don't juice mushy substances like avocados or bananas, for the same reason.
- Cleaning up after juicing is by far the most annoying and time-consuming part of the whole process. You can keep the pulp, if you want- it works great in soups and stock. But, if you're just cooking for yourself, pulp is generally pretty useless if you simply want to whip up a fast meal. So you end up throwing that pulp out. And that means that you have to clean your juicer every single time you use it. This can add a good 10 minutes to your daily juicing regimen every morning- and that's on top of the time spent peeling and cutting all of those fruits and vegetables. It takes me 20-25 minutes every day to prepare a single glass of juice. To me, though, the health benefits outweigh the time costs.
- A good fruit/veggie juice goes great with protein powder. If you mix the whole thing up with coconut milk as well in a blender, the combination is a full meal replacement.
The Benefits of Juicing
If you're serious about juicing, and you keep at it despite the cost (which can be a little off-putting at first but evens itself out over time) and the inconvenience of cleaning every day, you will see the benefits very quickly.
- A good dose of fruit and vegetable juice acts as a liver tonic, especially if you toss in some citrus fruits. And if you're a hopeless wine addict like me, this is very much a Good Thing.
- You'll certainly feel happier and fresher after juicing for a little while. Carrot juice in particular does tend to make your skin look and feel better.
- I have noticed that I can drink a glass of juice with two scoops of whey protein powder, eat a big meal for lunch, and then I'll be fine for the next 8 hours or so. And juicing certainly doesn't hurt my ability to do intermittent fasting- as of right now, in fact, I've gone roughly 23 hours without food after putting in a really hard deadlifting workout, and I feel fine.
- Your skin, health, and overall mood will definitely improve- provided you don't just make pure fruit juices. This is a huge mistake, because it just gives you a lot of sugar. It's also the reason why juice outlets like Jamba Juice are so popular and successful- the best-selling juices are not vegetable juices, they are fruit juices. Combining fruit and vegetable juice is the best way to get yourself the health benefits of vegetables with the natural taste and sweetness of fruits.
Is Juicing Worth the Time and Cost?
Hell yes. Absolutely. Let me put it this way. Your health is the single greatest and most important asset you have- more valuable than any amount of money, poosy, or wisdom. Without your health, the rest simply doesn't matter. And the fact remains that juicing is a very good way to boost that asset's value quickly and with relatively little effort.
For those reasons alone, I would strongly recommend any independent-minded man take up juicing.