Elisa Jones, a Grand Junction resident, started juicing a year ago for its health benefits. She often mixes together carrots, apples, ginger, and sometimes a splash of lettuce — any produce left over from the weekly grocery haul.
“I don’t go for taste, I go for nutrients. So I try to just drink it fast,” Jones said. “I wanted to give it a shot as a quick way to get all those nutrients into my body.”
She juices once a week, filling a water bottle full of vegetable juice and another full of fruit juice. Then, she uses mashed-up vegetables for soup or stew. Nothings goes to waste in her kitchen.
Another Grand Junction resident, Meredith Newell, bought her husband, Ryan, a juicer because he’s “vegephobic.”
“He was asked by a third-grade teacher what his favorite homemade meal was, and he replied ‘Domino’s,” she noted, smiling.
Subsequently, introducing him to vegetables and fruit for nutrition was a bit of a challenge, but now Ryan is a “madman chemist, mixing concoctions of ginger and beets with celery root and apple.”
“By getting the nutrition we need to stay healthy each day, we are saving money on medical bills and missed days of work later,” Newell explained.
Like Jones and Newell, most who take up juicing do it to consume more fruits and vegetables daily as a way to improve diet. For instance, kale — a bitter, leafy vegetable — is chock full of vitamins, but it’s not appetizing on its own. By blending it with other produce in a juicer, a larger quantity will likely be used.
“The recommended daily intake is five to nine servings. A serving is 1/2 a cup of juice, a small apple or 1 cup of raw veggies,” Pat Stiles — a registered dietitian and manager of the Women, Infants, and Children program at Mesa County Health Department — said. “For an average female adult, the recommended daily intake is about 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables every day. For a young adult male, the recommendation is 2 1/2 cups of fruit and 3 1/2 cups of veggies a day.”
According to Stiles, people who eat small amounts of fruits and vegetables versus those who eat generous amounts as part of a health diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. Still, juicers need to be mindful of what they consume as there are some risks.
“Be careful with fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of Vitamin A (a fat-soluble vitamin),” Stiles said. “Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in our bodies’ fat cells. We can overdo it by consuming excess amounts. Vitamin C, on the other hand, is water-soluble, and our bodies simply wash way the excess Vitamin C we consume.”
Eat fruits and vegetables daily and often, and when in season, as close to their natural state as possible, she added.
Dr. Ryan Scotting, of ProCare — a chiropractic, nutrition, and injury care practice in Grand Junction — said squeezing juices from fruits and vegetables also removes fiber, making it easier for nutrient absorption. Adding protein, Omega-3, or a probiotic supplement to juice is a way to improve nutrient intake as well.
According to Shannon Cuoco of Grand Junction, loss of fiber is also a negative to juicing.
“Juicing can be beneficial for a short-term detoxing or cleanse,” Cuoco said. “But people who lose a lot of weight doing it are often disappointed and shocked that it comes right back on. ... You cannot sustain weight loss gained through forced and artificial routines.”