By TEDDYE SNELL
A new year invariably marks a time to start fresh. Often, people choose this time to start a new diet, or begin making healthier food choices.
A quick perusal of the Pinterest Food & Drink board shows juicing - using fresh fruits, vegetables or a combination of both - remains popular.
Heather Winn, Family and Consumer Science educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, said juicing is a great way to add variety to the diet, but to not depend on it solely for fruit and vegetable intake.
“Consumers may be hearing information about juicing their fruits and vegetables in order to consume the recommended number of servings per day,” said Winn. “It’s important to keep in mind that whole fruits and vegetables contain needed fiber, which you don’t get if only the juice is consumed.”
According to Winn, on average, a person should consume 2 cups of fruits every day, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. About 2-1/2 cups of vegetables are recommended. Age, gender and physical activity should also be considered when determining serving numbers.
“A serving of fruit is generally about 1 cup of fruit, or 100 percent fruit juice, or one-half cup of dried fruit,” said Winn. “A serving of vegetables consists of 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw, leafy greens. For a healthy diet, limit you intake of fruit and vegetable juice to no more than a cup a day, and get the rest of your recommended daily servings by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.”
It’s a great way to add leafy greens
Deana Franke, owner of Oasis Health Foods, believes juicing is a way to add leafy greens to a morning routine.
“It’s the same for smoothies, if you lean towards veggies and use the fruits for a little sweet,” said Franke. “Spinach, kale and chard magically disappear when mixed or juiced with blueberries and pineapple or mangos and peaches. Carrots are so sweet they need nothing but an orange to start your day with sunshine!”
Consumers Reports points out the type of juicing a person chooses depends on the type of juice he likes to drink. Those who prefer to drink only citrus juices may be fine with a straight juicing machine; those who like to add vegetables will want to check out extracting machines.
With a citrus juicer, halves of fruit are pressed onto a motorized reamer that extracts the juice. A trough around the reamer, depending on the model, may strain the juice as it flows into a container. Consumer Reports testers said compared to a juice extractor, juicers they’ve tested have been “a breeze to clean.”
Juice extractors use a whirling disk to cut fruit or vegetables into tiny pieces that are then spun to separate juice from pulp.
Once separated from the pulp, the juice flows through a strainer and into a container. All items must be cleaned and prepared first. For instance, fruits with hard, waxy surfaces must be peeled before being put in the machine.
Consumer’s Reports recommends finding a juicer that’s easy to use, store and clean, and that it accommodates the type of fruit or vegetable a person wants to use without a lot of tedious preparation.
Tahlequah resident John Morgan said he has lost weight juicing.
“Juicing is great,” said Morgan. “After watching ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,’ I purchased a juicer, and today is my fourth day on a juice/cleanse diet. I have more energy, I sleep better and I have lost 14 pounds since Sunday morning. I use some of the recipes from Facebook pages and the book that came with the juicer. I have more fun creating my own recipes.”