greenjuiceThe idea of juicing fruit and vegetables is far from new and there are many reasons why probably everyone should seriously consider incorporating green juices into their every day diet.

It’s interesting to see the reaction you get when you show people what you’re drinking as it’s mostly shock, recoiling with a ‘you wouldn’t get me drinking that’ look on their face, sometimes even disgust at the mere thought! One of my friends even described it as ‘pond slime’.

It’s an odd reaction, if you think about it,  because we perceive bright, vibrant green to signify things that are fresh and Spring-like and full of new life etc. Yet, ask someone to drink something green and the reaction  is quite the reverse. However, what’s interesting, is that when I get them to actually taste what I’m drinking, everyone is very pleasantly surprised. In fact they’re almost disappointed at how nice it is!

When did it all start?
Juicing actually dates back a couple of thousand years with the Koreans being among the first to produce green juices by grinding the ingredients and squeezing through some sort of crude linen bag. This is a long way from where we are now with the compact, affordable technology and equipment we have at our disposal in our everyday kitchens.

However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that British Businessman Dr. Norman Walker, the father of invented, what he called, The Norwalk Juicer, the world’s first ‘living juice’ machine. The machine came as a result of his studies into living foods from which he developed a philosophy whereby the best route to nutritional health was through a diet of predominately raw food and juices. This is what he meant by ‘living food’.

norwalk juicer

It’s fair to say Dr Walker knew what he was talking about as he died in 1986 at the ripe old age of 99, allegedly “…both physically and mentally healthy and active up to the day of his death when he peacefully died during his sleep one night at his home…”

So what’s all the fuss about and why is juicing raw food, vegetables in particular, apparently so good for you? What are the known benefits?

Raw, juiced food is high in vitamins, minerals and enzymes (which makes food easier to digest), a powerful blood cleanser and helps to fight disease. Raw food detoxifies the body, contains concentrated phyto-chemicals and antioxidants and reduces acidity in the body. It has proven healing properties, is energising and easily absorbed.

Plus there are stories abound of seemingly miraculous returns to rude health as a direct result of adopting a raw food diet. Two of my friends are living proof of this with the amazing Tanya Alekseeva making the most amazing recovery after nearly dying in a car crash (www.betterraw.com/p/about-me.html) and the lovely Holly Helt whose recovery from Cancer she attributes mostly to turning to raw food (and of course green tea: www.facebook.com/ChikiTeaTime).

My own view is very generalist and I’m far from having the view that my body is a temple (no comments, please). I started juicing mainly as a result of watching the TV documentary ‘Fat, sick and nearly dead’ (www.clivewilson.com/fat-sick-and-nearly-dead and www.fatsickandnearlydead.com) in which Joe Cross transforms his weight and health mainly through juicing. The story struck a chord with me and the normal-ness and accessibility of  juicing just really appealed.

I should add that I’m not a raw food convert either despite the evidence of the benefits. I can see the sense and I will happily eat raw or vegetarian meals but it’s not my usual diet and is unlikely to become so. My raw juicing exploits are a convenient, easy and healthy way to add some goodness to my otherwise lacking diet.

Which type of juicer?
There are two main types of juicers; masticating and centrifugal, with the former being split into two further groups primarily of single and twin auger. In each category there are many, many pieces of equipment to choose from – probably as many as there are opinions on which is best and which method and style of juicing is also best.

Whilst I did some considerable research into juicing and juice extractors prior to jumping in, to be perfectly honest you just need to get on board and start juicing. Why? because pretty well anything you do with your food, vegetables in particular, and mainly through cooking/heating, kills the vast majority of nutrients.

juice ingredientsWhat’s in a juice?
I now make a fresh, green juice every morning from a range of fresh fruit and vegetables and I absolutely love the taste and the [sometimes] creamy texture. The pic to the right is a pretty standard collection of fruit of veg I use to create about a litre and a half of juice every morning and includes 2 apples, 1 pear, half a bunch of celery, 1 lemon, 1 lime, a chunk of fresh ginger, a banana, 2 mangoes, a couple of carrots and a whole bag of fresh spinach. In addition, in the blender, is ice and frozen wheatgrass.

So, get yourself a decent juicer, sling a bunch of raw veg into it, sweeten it with some fruit and you’ll be ingesting around 70% of the nutrients you’ve never had before. How ‘hard’ you go in, in terms of strict diet or, like me, just including it in my normal diet,  is entirely up to you but I can tell you you’ll feel different.

From my own personal experience of only a few weeks (at the time of writing) the major change in myself is my mood. Juicing has somehow lifted my spirits, made me feel better and changed my outlook on life in general.

Weird, I know, but true.

There is so much advice and help and guidance available throughout the web so start looking around and get juicing!