When I’m working with my patient’s, part of my nutritional recommendations will ALWAYS include fresh “homemade” juices vs. store bought ones. Many sigh and give me the eye-roll, but let me tell you there is nothing like making fresh raw veggie or fruit juices at home with your own juicer.
I KNOW juicing takes time, energy and a commitment to the routine. But let’s face it… IF you want to be healthier and feel better, why would you think that requires no “commitment, time or energy” to make that a reality?
It’s easy with advertising to fall into the fog of belief that the availability and variety of store-bought juices that are taking up so much space in our grocery stores, even in the coolers at gas stations and convenient stores are tempting. This market is exploding and it tempts us because it’s convenient, but folks it’s truly unreliable marketing, and they are using pseudo-healthy buzzwords. So here’s the scoop on how to understand the juice labels at the grocery store and choose the best store-bought juices for you and your family.
(I highly recommend you purchase the book “The Food Babe Way” by Vani Hari she has been beyond dedicated to empowering folks with the knowledge of what is hidden in the foods folks are eating)
When you see “100% Juice”, let me state those words mean NOTHING… Food companies are allowed to say “100% Juice” on the label even when the juice contains additives, flavorings or preservatives.
“Concentrate” is really just a fancy name for syrup: Juice concentrates are made from fruits & vegetables that are heated down to a syrup and then have added water. The concentration process involves both the addition and subtraction of chemicals and natural plant by-products in order to condense the juice. During concentration, fruits and vegetables lose flavor. This is WHY companies then have to ADD flavorings back in to give the juice a fresh taste.
“Not from concentrate” could mean flavored: According to the book Squeezed: What you Don’t Know about Orange Juice, by Alissa Hamilton, companies store orange juice in giant tanks and extract the oxygen from them. This then preserves the liquid and prevents it from spoiling for up to a year! However, this storage system causes the orange juice to lose all of its flavor. So the industry uses” Flavor packs” to re-flavor the juice, (does this sound as gross to you as it does to me?)
GMO’S: I have had folks message me and tell me… “I’m so sick of hearing about GMO’s already”, well Genetically Modified foods ARE “impostors”, foods that have been grown after the seeds have been modified in a laboratory. They are not what God gave us. I’m going to continue to push this envelop and YOU should too, our cries keep falling upon deaf ears, however, where your voice will speak the loudest is through your SPENDING power, STOP buying what they are selling…. Many juice companies use citric acid to extend the shelf life of their product. You would think citric acid comes from citrus, like Lemons, oranges, and limes, BUT it doesn’t. Most food manufacturers use genetically engineered corn and sugar beets to create citric acid, by synthetically fermenting the glucose from these crops in a lab. And some juice companies go as far as adding sugar (which could be from GMO sugar beets), high-fructose corn syrup (from GMO corn), and other ingredients that could contain GMOs.
Synthetic ingredients: The sneakiest ingredients lurking in juice come in the form of synthetics made in a lab. These include Fibersol-2 (a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber), frutooligosaccharides (synthetic fibers and sweeteners), and inulin (an artificial and invisible fiber that’s added to foods to increase fiber content). Avoid synthetic ingredients in your diet, because they’re usually made from petroleum, coal, and DMOs, none of which offer any beneficial nutrients.
Pasteurization: This very process KILLS all raw enzymes, minerals and vitamins, which means it kills off our reasons for drinking the juice in the first place. Heat kills bad stuff and the good stuff, making the juice pretty much worthless. Juice companies sometimes even replenish the lost vitamin content with synthetic vitamins because there is barely any nutrition left after they process. Furthermore, most companies create vitamins through chemical manipulation and synthesis, not from actual fruits and vegetables.
CHOOSE THE best STORE-BOUGHT JUICE
I intentionally chose NOT to put the word “best” in lower case letters in this caption, because freshly juiced is always going to be the BEST. But now that I’ve pointed out commercial juices empty contribution to the nutritional input. Here are some juice choices that offer some better options IF you are going to spend your money on store bought juices.
Best: Fresh Raw Organic:
- Suja juice
- Suja Elements
- Juice Press
- Organic Avenue
- Luna’s Living Kitchen
- Viva Raw
- Blue Print
Better: 100% Organic, Not from Concentrate
- Uncle Matt’s Organic
- 365 Everyday Value
- Bolthouse Farms
Questionable: Organic, but from Concentrate or with Additives
- Santa Cruz Organic
- Honest Kids
Worst: Nonorganic, Pasteurized
- Naked Juice
- POM Wonderful
- Simply Orange
- Ocean Spray
- Minute Maid
- Del Monte
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO MAKE MY OWN FRESH JUICES FROM HOME?
There are a wide variety of different juicers for sale and with these choices there is a varied price point as well. Some juicers are easier to clean than others, and some are made with higher quality workmanship than others. Over the years I’ve used more than my fair share of juicers. I’m offering a list below starting with MY personal/professional favorite.
CHAMPION JUICER: This is super easy to clean, it’s a masticating juicer that grinds the vegetables against a filter, rather than working as a centrifuge, it also offers you to make your own fresh nut butters, fresh baby foods, even fresh frozen fruit sorbets.
Price point for this machine is “UNDER” $300
BREVILLE JUICER: This offers a stainless steel centrifuge that spins the vegetables until they separate into juice and pulp. It’s a bit more of a challenge to clean after using and I felt the noise factor was louder than I was comfortable with. But it’s a good juicer that gets the job done.
Price point for this machine is “UNDER $300”
JACK LALANNE JUICER: This was one of my 1st juicers, its a centrifuge juicer. It’s lower in price than most centrifuge juicers, it’s by far one of the harder ones to clean, but for those on a budget, it offers a nice affordable price point to get you going with preparing healthy home-made fresh juices for you and your family.
Price point for this machine is “UNDER $150”
I encourage my patient’s to DRINK their juices on an empty stomach. You don’t want to have the juices AFTER you have just eaten your meal. You are lowering the benefit of drinking the juice and some experience some digestive issues like bloating, or even heartburn as a result. The benefit of drinking your fresh juices on an empty stomach is because it allows the nutrients in the juice to go straight to your blood. Having a meal already in your stomach is going to prevent this fast absorption from happening. So IF you have already eaten a mean, wait a couple of hours to drink the juice. If you ARE drinking your juice on an empty stomach as I recommend, wait about 20 mins. to down your breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Also, I’d like to add that NOT all produce is meant to be combined when it comes to juicing. This is NOT the place to toss everything but the kitchen sink into the recipe because hey it’s produce and it’s healthy. Digestion still needs to occur and some of the naturally occurring enzymes that are in various types of produce are NOT meant to be combined!
So with your greens, it’s fine to juice an apple in with those to add a bit of sweetness to the juice. BUT any of your melons you choose to juice (which are delicious juiced), should be juiced “ALONE”, you can combine any of the MELONS together in a juice, but their enzymes are delicate and the body digests them quickly, Ever notice that when you choose to eat watermelon as a dessert after a picnic meal you bloat and burp it up for what seems like forever? That’s because everything “fermented” in the gut, it didn’t digest as it should. All melons should be eaten and/or juiced BY THEMSELVES!
So I do work extensively with my clients with proper juicing recipes and what should and shouldn’t be combined.
JUICES ARE NOT MEANT TO REPLACE MEALS: Juices are wonderful tools for helping the body clean house and repair, but they are not meant to replace a meal, drinking them before meals, and between meals if you need an energizing pick me up in the middle of the day is wonderful.
Another health benefit of juicing is…. let’s be honest…. try as we may, many don’t eat near enough fruits and veggies each day, juicing is a wonderful healthy approach that allows you to reach your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially where our children are concerned. Most kiddo’s will drink the daylights out of these juices before they sit and want to eat them with a fork.
I hope this was helpful….. As always I’d be over the moon to work with anyone who is wanting to benefit from changing their lifestyle and nutritional path for improving their energy and over-all health.
You can find out more about my services by going to http://www.mkt.com/harvested-health-llc
Jodi Barnett N.D.
QFA Clinician, Orthomolecular Nutritionist
Harvested Health LLC
“The Food Babe Way” by Vani Hari
“Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices, What’s missing in your body?” by N.W. Walker D. Sc.