Looking for some healthy breakfast ideas?
Here’s one: Drink your vegetables!
I juice vegetables for breakfast almost every day, love it and look forward to it. I think that having fresh juice for breakfast is a great way to kick start your body for the day. Plus, there are lots of health benefits to juicing, especially if you juice vegetables.
Of course, it is important to still keep whole foods in your diet, including whole fruits and vegetables, so I consider my morning juice an addition to my daily vegetable intake, not a substitute.
Also, it should be noted that the of juicing of some “cruciferous” veggies (like cauliflower) can possibly cause undesirable effects; so, no broccoli juice for breakfast. (Yay!)
Here’s A Quick Primer On Gaining A Morning Edge From Juicing
First off, I want to tell you that while juicing is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, it’s not some crazy miracle cure. But juicing can help you lose weight and maintain your weight loss by infusing your body with lower-fat, lower-calorie, nutritionally-dense fuel.
And while there is some nutritional value that is lost on the leftover pulp when you juice, in general terms, close to 95% of the nutrients of fruits and vegetables are in the juice. The leftover pulp is basically fiber, and fiber is not fully digested by the human body.
Yes, fiber intake is very important to maintaining a healthy body, but I’m getting mine from the veggies I eat in my salads and sensible meals, not from my juice.
About Sugar And Juicing
One thing you need to keep a handle on is the amount of sugar that is in the juice you are making. Vegetable juice should be your staple, and fruit juice should be your treat. And when it comes to vegetables, it’s probably a good idea to keep in mind that, generally speaking, the veggies that grow below ground are going to be much higher in sugar than those that grow above ground.
It’s also important to remember that even though we start with whole foods, the juice that is extracted is actually a ‘processed’ food. Therefore we need to be aware of the fact that the sugar in the juice can be just as unhealthy as the sugar in junk food. So we need to put some thought behind what and how much we’re juicing.
Otherwise, too much sugar in your juice can lead to too much sugar in your bloodstream. Too much sugar in your bloodstream causes large insulin releases which prevents the burning of fat and promotes the storage of fat.
So we need to watch what we put in our juicer.
Safe Juicing Tips
Juicing has the potential to add a lot to a person’s lifestyle and well-being, but it must be done responsibly.
Juicing should be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle, but I’d recommend against doing it as a quick-fix weight loss solution or a lengthy “juice fast” because you could develop some negative consequences like imbalances of the body’s nutrients, and that wouldn’t be cool.
Some folks are looking for natural solutions to existing health problems and others are wishing to increase their overall health and diet; in any case, there are powerful reasons to incorporate juicing into one’s diet. Juicing can restore some balance to immunological issues, help maintain appropriate blood sugar levels, and improve digestion.
Proper nutrient balance can lead to better immunity, hormonal equilibrium, and blood sugar regulation, along with a host of other health improvements.
Simplicity is Key to a Successful Juicing Regimen
Keeping it simple is a necessary ingredient when juicing, and a hint that some people consider to be helpful is to “juice for the season”; this will help to ensure that a fresh variety of vegetables is almost always used.
Of course, there is no perfect system and I can’t overstate that juicing should not be done on its own, to the exclusion of other types of whole-food intake; there are things people need from other foods like… you know… PROTEIN.
Additionally, juicing can remove trace amounts of the micro nutrients one might get from whole vegetables. Even with vegetable juicing, a person should strive to consume maybe one whole fruit a day and at least three to four whole vegetables. So, just remember that responsible juicing is done in addition to eating a balanced diet that includes whole foods.
As I said earlier, vegetable juice is a better choice than fruit juice because of the high sugar content in fruit. Also, vegetables are lower calorie foods than fruits; so this is another reason any juicing plan should primarily focus on vegetables.
But remember, some vegetables also have higher sugar content than others. Examples of vegetables with higher sugar content include carrots, peas, corn, and winter squash like pumpkin, butternut squash, and acorn squash.
I’ll also warn that storing your freshly made juice is not really a great idea. For one, the idea of drinking juice is to benefit from fresh, raw vegetables and secondly, harmful bacteria can develop over time since this juice is pure and not pasteurized like the stuff you buy at the grocery store.
Therefore, I recommended that you only make as much juice as you are planning on drinking at one time.
You Might Not Want To Juice Crucifers
I can’t overstate that the most important thing to remember when choosing to incorporate juicing into one’s diet is that it should be balanced with whole foods and done responsibly.
Certain vegetables should only be consumed raw in limited amounts; in particular, crucifers. Before discussing the problems with crucifers, let’s quickly define them: Crucifers are generally vegetables with four-petaled flowers that resemble a cross. Two common types are broccoli and cauliflower.
Now, when we juice vegetables, we are consuming these vegetables concentrated and in their raw form. Raw consumption of large amounts of crucifers can inhibit thyroid hormone production, block the absorption of thyroid hormone replacement medication, increase the need for iodine and block the transfer of iodine in breast milk and lower the milk supply (crucial to nursing mothers).
But don’t be afraid, just be aware. There is no need for most people to avoid crucifers, but you should just be aware of this information. If you want to look into this some more, you may want to do an internet search for “Goitrogens“.
Types of Juicers
There are three main types of juicers and they all function a little bit differently.
One type that is consistently cited as most efficient is the “triturating”, or twin-gear, juicer.
One thing that sets this juicer apart is that it does not crush the produce immediately. Instead, the vegetables or fruit are slowly forced between two rolling, interlocking gears in a two-step process: the first step crushes the produce and the second step presses the juice. It’s a slower motion than the next two types of juicers, but creates a clear separation between the pulp and the juice and is argued that the resulting juice contains more fiber, enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals than the other juicers.
The second type of juicer is called a “masticating” juicer.
These juicers mimic chewing action through the use of a single gear, which is basically an auger, that grinds and “chews” the fibers in a slow, rotating spiral motion and then squishes out the juice. The result is a high quality juice due to this slower juicing process.
This type first grinds up the produce with spinning blades or teeth and then the juice is extracted via centrifugal force (hence the name) as the ground-up produce is spun in a mesh basket at very high RPM.
The big drawback to centrifugal juicers is that you can’t juice grasses (like wheat grass) and the juice yield from leaves (like spinach) is not very good. Also, as juicing “purists” will tell you, since the spinning process aerates the juice a bit, the juice oxidizes a little more quickly than it would had it come from the other two types of juicers.
Ease of Cleaning and Use
So why do I use a centrifugal juicer if it is the least efficient type of machine?
Well, the best type of juicing machine for me was the one that involved the least amount of effort and presented the least amount of impediments to consistent use.
Bottom line: Centrifugal juicers are just flat-out faster to use and easier to clean. Having my morning juicing process be fast and easy makes me want to get up and do it again the next day and takes precedence over having the “perfect juice”. I mean, what good is having a top-of-the-line triturating juicer if you never feel like going through the drudgery of using and cleaning the thing?
I’ve Done Some Juicing Machine Due Diligence For You
When discussing how efficient juicers are, the concept is that the “best” juicer is the one that extracts the most high quality juice. High quality is indicated by getting the highest yield (amount of juice) and therefore the most nutrients within the juice extraction.
Models of juicer that are rated most efficient in this category are the GreenStar and Green Power Gold by Tribest and the Super Angel Stainless Steel juicer. The GreenStar is the lower price in this brand, but is about mid-range in juicer costs. GreenStar runs between $480 and $550. The Green Power Gold runs about $700. The highest end juicer in this category is the Super Angel Stainless Steel model. This is priced right around $1,000.
There are a few single auger masticating juicers as well. These are considerably cheaper than their twin-gear cousins. The brands and models that rate most highly for efficiency in this category are the Omega J8006, the Omega Vert Low-Speed and the Huron HU-100 Slow Juicer. The Omega J8006 is a single gear, horizontal juicer while the Omega Vert Low-Speed is an upright or vertical single auger juicer. Similar to the Omega Vert Low-Speed, the Huron HU-100 Slow Juicer is also vertical and single auger. The least expensive of each of these brands and models is the Omega J8006 at $250-$300. The next level of pricing for these juicers is the other Omega model. The Omega Vert Low-Speed is priced at $310-$349. The Huron sells for $308-$360.
In a family of their own are centrifugal juicers. Centrifugal juicers are the most affordable. The highest price in all the most efficient models is $300-$400. This pricing is associated with the Breville 800JEXL. The mid-range price among most efficient centrifugal juicers is another Breville: the Breville BJE510XL. The BJE510XL is about $195-$250. The most affordable is the Acme Supreme Juicerator 5001. Acme is a well-known brand that has been around for several decades. This model in this brand is about $165-$190. Several models of the Breville brand of juicer are rated very highly for ease of cleaning. One juicing blogger stated that the Breville 800JEXL took him a mere 3 minutes and 37 seconds to clean. A great aspect of this machine is that it can go right into the dishwasher for sufficient cleaning of all the parts. The same is true of getting it soapy and running it under hot water.
A Few Final Juicing Tips
- Get yourself a good vegetable brush. The ones that I like the best have soft bristles on one end and stiff bristles on the other. The stiff bristles are especially good because a thorough scrub can eliminate the need for peeling on veggies like carrots.
- Do your veggie shopping for the week all at once. Then as soon as you get home wash, prep and put them all into zip top bags and toss them into the fridge. This way your veggies are ready to juice every morning and you’ve eliminated one more obstacle to daily juicing.
- Before you go to bed each evening, get your machine out on the counter so that it’s ready to roll in the morning.
My Favorite Healthy Breakfast Juice Recipe
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
3 medium tomatoes
1 small scallion
2 large celery stalks
3 medium carrots
1 small cucumber
1/3 medium lemon (peeled!)
dash of kosher salt
dash of pepper
makes about 36 oz