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The Joy of Juicing: This Is One Drinking Habit Your Doctor Can Get Behind

Mclatchy-Tribune News Service.

10-12-11

I've started juicing, and I'm a huge fan now. Who knew that greenish/brown-looking liquid could be so healthy and delicious! According to best-selling author Kris Carr, "Juicing helps to slow and even reverse the aging process. It reduces inflammation, cleanses the body, regulates the bowels and can even help peel off extra pounds." Plus, the antioxidants will greatly help your body ward off illness. Can juicing possibly get any better? If you're interested in giving it a go, here's everything you need to know to get started:

The Juicer

There are three kinds of juicers. First are the twin-gear juicers, such as the Green Star Juice Extractor ($439) and the Samson Ultra Juicer ($399). These are the most expensive of the bunch, but they also offer the most benefits. Working at low speeds and squishing the produce until it's almost dry, they extract a higher yield of juice. The Green Star and Samson juicers are both available at DiscountJuicers.com.

Masticating juicers (otherwise known as single-gear juicers) squeeze vegetables and fruits with one screw-shaped gear and use a stainless steel screen to filter the juice. The Household Model ($230) from Champion Juicer and the Hurom Slow Juicer ($358.95), both available at Harvest Essentials, at www.harvestessentials.com, are solid single-gear picks.

Then there are centrifugal juicers, which are the most common juicers and can be readily found in big-box stores. These juicers spin at high speeds, cut the produce with a flat blade and have a catch basket to separate the juice from the pulp. The Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain ($199.99) from Breville at www.brevilleusa.com and the 1000 Juicer ($199.99) from Omega at www.omegajuicers.com are two such options.

If you can't afford a juicer, use a handy blender, such as the SmartPower Duet Blender ($79.95) from Cuisinart, at www.cuisinartwebstore.com and make fruit or veggie smoothies instead.

The Produce

Experts say that green juicing is healthier than fruit juicing. "Guzzling green goodness balances your pH and gives you a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen," Carr says. Pretty cool for a quick drink! The rule of thumb is to use three veggies for every fruit. You'll be amazed at how sweet vegetables can be, so don't assume you'll need lots of apples when half of one beet will do the trick.

In the vegetable realm, beets and carrots are high in sugar, so you don't need both in one drink. Use them as a sweetener only. Cucumber is a great base vegetable because it produces abundant juice, tastes wonderful and is very good for you. Carr suggests starting slowly with cucumbers: "Push one or two through your juicer and voila! You've got a powerful healing elixir. When you're ready to kick it up a notch, add a few stalks of celery, which is a great source of minerals and B vitamins." From there, the sky (or the produce aisle) is the limit. Add lettuce, broccoli, kale, beets, spinach or ginger, and you're in for a delicious healthy treat.

One quick trick: I prefer my juices cold, so I fill up a large Tervis tumbler ($11–$15) with ice and then start juicing. I keep straws next to the juicer and drink the mix within a few minutes of preparing it. If you get those curly, fancy straws, your kids might even slurp down one of these veggie drinks!

A Healthy Habit

Once you try a juice or two, you'll be addicted (I know I am), and you'll quickly discover that meeting the USDA requirement of five veggies a day is a piece of cake. Only problem? How to stock up on all these green goodies without hitting the grocery store every day? Find a local community supported agriculture group from Local Harvest and sign up for either pick-up or delivery service. You'll get fresh, local produce directly from a farmer for $30 to $100 a month.

To make your veggies last even longer, invest in Produce Saver containers ($9.95 for a set of two) from Reuseit.

Cleanup Time

No matter what blender you buy, you're going to have to deal with the mess. But there's magic in them thar' juiced bits. Take the leftovers and make a big vat of soup stock. Just add water and heat the mix for an hour or so. Then filter out the goop and freeze the liquid to use later.

You can (and should) also use the remains for composting. Check out the Garland Jumbo 11-Gallon Odor-Free Caddy ($49.99) from Compost Bins, www.compostbins.com. If you lack an actual bin, just pour the residue onto your garden - if they could, the plants would stand up and kiss you for this fertilizing goodness.

And if all this sounds like way too much work for a quick shot of fruits and veggies, you can always stop by Jamba Juice and get your daily pick-me-up custom-made and delivered with a smile!

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Paula Sirois is a Florida-based writer who specializes in family life and frugal living for www.RetailMeNot.com, the No. 1 coupon site in the world. ——— www.RetailMeNot.com Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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