January 29, 2009

Nutrition over carbonation

David loves sugar, and candy, and soda, and anything deep fried in oil. To put it simply, if it’s bad for him, he loves to eat it.

I guess that’s not particularly different than most kids, but it is an ongoing cause for concern—even though he’s way more healthy than we are.

The juicer with fruit and vegetable at the ready

To provide some more context, our family received a vegetable juicer for Christmas. It’s a nice one and seems to be well-built. And we’ve been making good use of it. Vegetable and apple juice made from fresh fruit and then consumed shortly thereafter is tremendously nutritious in addition to being surprisingly tasty.

It has been David’s habit to run out to the porch to grab a Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper to drink with his breakfast. We have tried to direct him toward drinks that are more nutritious and less harmful, but this is one of those battles we have chosen not to fight in favor of seemingly more important things (like getting him to the school bus stop on time).

David doing the juicing

So I have been very pleased by the fact that David has become a huge fan of fresh carrot-apple juice. He didn’t want to try it at first, but since I seemed to enjoy it so much he finally decided to give it a try and he has become an enthused carrot-apple juice drinker—especially at breakfast.

Carrot-apple is a basic juice for the juicer; most juices are much more complex with way more ingredients. But that doesn't mean it isn't a delicious or supernutritious drink. In fact, this drink is called "The Champ" by Jay Kordich ("the Juiceman"), who claims that this juice cured his cancer and saved his life. And because of the intensely delicious nature of this drink, it can serve as a base for adding small quantities of more potent vegetables like greens, spinach, radishes, and beets. In fact, carrot-apple-beet juice is not only delicious but it has such a beautiful color that it attracts immediate attention and is so high in betacarotenes that it should be a standard drink for anyone who is concerned about fighting anti-oxidants.

Juice filling the glass

Carotenes are best known for their capacity for conversion into vitamin A, their antioxidant activity, and their correlation with the maximum life-span potential of humans.... Orange-colored fruits and vegetables (carrots, apricots, mangoes, yams, squash) typcially have higher concentrations of provitamin A carotenes. The provitamin A content parallels the intensity of the color....

Juicing provides greater benefit than beta-carotene supplements or intact carotene-rich foods because juicing ruptures cell membranes, thereby liberating important nutritional compounds like carotenes for easier absorption.

Michael T. Murray, N.D., The Complete Book of Juicing

Getting ready to enjoy the results

If you're looking for a way to increase your family's nutritional intake while having some fun along the way, go out and get a juicer. They're a healthy and super-fun blast.


  1. Good for you! We bought a Champion juicer years ago, because it extracts the pulp from the juice well. We (I) currently use its grain mill attachment to grind whole wheat flour.

    I don't use it for carrot juice any more, because I find that I can buy carrot juice at Trader Joe's for about as much as it costs me to make it, or slightly less.

    Once I was at a health food store over the holidays, and they had some kind of carrot juice based holiday drink. I WISH I'd have copied that recipe, because it was DELICIOUS!

    There are some companies out there, such as AIM (Barley Green), or Juice Plus, which sell whole food products, but I prefer the general multiple vitamins (good quality ones, that is), and to drink vegetable juices such as carrot juice.

    Have your hands turned orange yet? ;-) That could happen!

  2. We buy most of our vegetables directly from the farmers here in the Lynchburg area. We go to the open air market regularly. So the prices are pretty good and we are able to juice fresh, organic vegetables without breaking the bank.

    My hands haven't turned orange yet, but they have been red quite a bit because I love the color of beets in the juices and the betacarotene level is sky-high in beets.

    This is actually our third juicer. We've been juicing for about 15 years. But we've had long periods of non-juicing in between the active periods. The first juicer was poor quality and broke after a while. Then our next juicer was very high quality and high-end - quite expensive. It worked great and was easy to clean because it used paper filters, but once we ran out of the filters we found them too hard to replace, so that juicer fell into non-use.

    So we're glad to have this one now, which was not overly expensive, but seems to be very well built. This is the Jack Lillane juicer that you see on TV all the time. It works very well, extracts the pulp so well that the pulp is actually dry after the juice is made. But, alas, it is not easy to clean.


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