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North Hills Monthly

Juicing is a Great Way to Drink Your Vegetables

Oct 31, 2014 12:50PM ● By Jill Cueni Cohen
Remember how Mom always told you to eat your vegetables? In order to stay healthy these days, that’s not enough. The consensus among the health conscious is that you can also drink your vegetables.

According to Chiropractor Dr. Amanda Jordan, who runs Jordan Family Chiropractic with her husband Dr. Cotey Jordan in Cranberry Township, the body has an easier time absorbing nutrients when they are ingested in the form of juice. “It’s almost like you’re pre-digesting the vegetables,” she explained, noting that juicing removes the pulp, which contains fiber.

It’s become a sad fact that the American diet has deteriorated over the past several decades to the point where many foods contain more chemicals than nutrients, as well as having been overly processed to meet consumers’ demand for expediency. “Juicing is a great way to eat your vegetables. It allows people the ability to consume a higher number of servings of vegetables per day, in a quick, efficient and convenient manner,” said Dr. Jordan.

This is not referring to store-bought apple, orange or vegetable juices, which are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Dr. Jordan advises customers to steer clear of the expensive, multi-colored juices in the refrigerated aisle as well. “They come in plastic containers, can sit on the shelf for weeks on end, taste like a melted Popsicle and contain synthetic and GMO ingredients. They are not good for you and contain way too much sugar,” she warned.

It’s extremely important that the juice be fresh, and your vegetables and fruits be pesticide-free and ideally organic. “You should drink fresh juice immediately,” Dr. Jordan advised, adding that vegetables can go bad very quickly. “Vegetables and fruits are perishable. Store the juice in a glass filled all the way to the top and sealed so that oxygen can’t enter. And drink all of your juice within 24 hours.”

There are two types of juicers—centrifugal and geared—on the market. “With centrifugal juicers, the benefit is that it juices very fast, but it will not make a lot of juice and it is very loud and hard to keep clean,” said Dr. Jordan.

The single- or double-geared juicer works a bit more slowly, but will produce more juice. “They’re much quieter,” added the doctor, noting that another big difference is in the amount of heat produced. “The more you heat a food, the more nutrients you lose in the juicing process.” Dr. Jordan did note that the Vita Mix is not technically a juicer, as the pulp is left in.

After juicing organic fruits and vegetables, the leftover pulp can be used in a variety of healthy recipes. “You get the biggest bang for your buck when you buy vegetables by the pound, and it’s much quicker than cooking them,” said Dr. Jordan. “For instance, you may not love taking the time to roast cabbage, beets and carrots, but you could throw everything into the juicer along with a lemon or lime, and it is very beneficial. This process also allows you to ingest highly-nutritious vegetables—like kale and spinach—that you might not typically prepare for a meal. It’s wonderful for kids, too, since they can easily be involved in helping choose the vegetables and fruits while learning to enjoy their taste.”

If juicing at home sounds like too much of a hassle, you’re in luck, because juice bars are one of the latest business trends. Seth Zimmerman, 26, is the co-owner and manager of Salud Juicery in Sewickley. “Juicing has been around forever, but juice bars are becoming very popular now,” he said, noting that as more Americans are becoming health conscious, juice bars are popping up in every city. In fact, Salud Juicery is just about to open another location in Shadyside.

“Seventy percent of our customers are regulars, coming in four to six times a week,” said Zimmerman, noting that customer feedback is positive. “They say they have more energy, and some of them don’t drink coffee anymore. Many of them say they’ve lost weight without changing anything other than drinking more juice.”

Zimmerman acknowledges that the juice he sells isn’t cheap. “A lot of people say they’ll do it at home, but then they find that it’s just as expensive for them to buy the juicer and the organic produce, and then they see that the yield is a lot less than they expect,” he said, adding that it isn’t easy to clean a juicer.

“We use organic or local produce whenever possible to insure that our customers are receiving the healthiest product,” said Zimmerman, adding that local produce can trump organic produce because it doesn’t have to be shipped long distances and can be consumed faster.

Salud Juicery’s customers are people who are willing to invest in their health. “We have a lot of women who come after yoga or Pilates classes. We also have a lot of athletes who get protein in their smoothies before their workouts,” said Zimmerman, explaining that juices and vegetables provide vitamin and mineral content while protein helps build muscle mass. “They’re two parts of the spectrum of health, but both are important.”