My wife and I have been making an effort to eat unprocessed foods as a part of a healthier lifestyle. Simply told, that means if there's a label on the food (or if it's in a box), we try not to eat it. I'll write a more comprehensive blog soon about the thinking behind this approach.
Part of this initiative is to buy organic fruits and vegetables (Rainbow grocery in San Francisco is just amazing) and consume them over other foods as often as possible. We try to juice every morning and most evenings, replacing evening meals with juice as often as scheduling permits.
We've gone through three juicers looking for the exact right one, and finally we've found it. Here's a review of the ones we tried, so you don't have to.
The Jack Lalanne high-speed juicer: This was our first juicer. (The link at left is for Amazon, although you can also purchase it at Costco for $89). It actually worked quite well. It has a large opening and consumed all types of fruits and vegetables we could throw at it. Cleanup was simple enough, although there were a number of large parts to be cleaned. But there were two things about this juicer that made it a non-starter for us:
1) We're buying organic produce, which is way more expensive than non-organic. And this juicer didn't extract all of the juice from the items it was juicing, leaving very wet pulp. This meant that although the juicer itself was cheaper, we weren't getting as efficient a juice from it.
2) The larger issue, however, is that there's a lot of literature about the advantages of low-speed (80 RPM vs. 3600 RPM) juicers, called "masticating" juicers.
While the high speed juicers (like the Jack Lalanne) use centrifugal force to extract the juice from a spinning filter, the low speed masticating juicers "chew" the juice out of the food. You can find plenty of claims on the web about how low speed juicers "preserve enzymes" in the food and "don't cause oxidation" and "preserve nutrition" in the juice. The instruction manual for one of the Omega juicers below even went so far as to say that juice from low speed juicers doesn't lose any of its goodness for up to 72 hours, while juice from high speed juicers has to be consumed within 20 minutes. I don't know that I specifically buy any of those claims, but I will say that reason #1 was enough for me -- I want to extract as much juice out of the fruits and vegetables as possible from this pricey organic produce. So, although the Jack Lalanne juicer has a lot of great qualities to it, we were off in the hunt for a low-speed juicer.
The Vert Hd Vrt350 Masticating Juicer: We really thought this juicer was going to be it. The Amazon reviews on it are stellar and a lot of people seemed very happy with it. We had done a lot of research on masticating juicers, and this model really seemed to be a step up from the older Omega masticating juicer (below), which is a different design. But we were quickly disappointed, for two reasons:
1) Fibrous vegetables (think: leafy greens) that are stringy get completely clogged up in the juicer because of its design, so you end up having to chop these items up into chunks that aren't more than 2 or 3 inches long to keep it from clogging.
2) An even bigger problem is that this juicer choked on carrots. How can a juicer choke on carrots?! Especially when there's a carrot in the stock photo?! It wouldn't happen every time, but it happened often enough that it proved very annoying. A carrot would cause the juicer to grind to a halt, then we'd have to reverse the juicer, pull the carrot out, chop it up more finely, and repeat the process. Clean-up was also not as easy as I'd hoped -- while maybe not worse than the Jack Lalanne, definitely not any better. So, back to Amazon it went.
The Omega J8006 Masticating Juicer: This is our current juicer, and the one I would recommend. Don't get me wrong -- there are trade offs. While it definitely produces the driest pulp by far, and while it may be the fastest & simplest in post-juicing clean-up time, it's by far the slowest in terms of the actual juicing time itself. Additionally, it has an amazingly small chute, meaning everything has to be chopped up. If the Vert 350 above had a smaller chute would it also have escaped the carrot problem? Quite possibly. But the J8006 is a solid beast of a machine. While the Vert felt like it was just barely able to handle the food we'd throw at it, the J8006 has no such problems, chewing up everything we've given it with ease. It's a confidence-inspiring juicer.
The solidness of the machine plus the dry pulp has meant we've kept it and are pretty happy with it. If a juicer came along that could match its qualities but have a larger food chute, I'd definitely appreciate not having to cut everything up (example: the Jack Lalanne could handle an entire small apple through its chute, or if a big apple, cut in half. With the Omega, we have to cut the apple into 8ths). However, the fast and much simpler cleanup time and process helps offset the longer and more tedious juicing experience. And for what it's worth, the juicer makes a really satisfying "crunch" as it chews through food. I know, kinda meaningless but fun just the same.
Good luck in your juicing quest, and I'd love to know what you think, and what experiences you've had in the comments below.
this is amazing, i can almost replace my meal with this juicer
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I love juicing and raw food! I used to use a Champion juicer when I lived in one place, which was solidly built and produced dry pulp. It could handle all the fruit and veg I threw at it. Though I would use easier veg such as carrots to push down things like ginger and garlic and greens. The chute was about an inch so I did have to cut up apples, onions, broccoli and larger carrots and celery. Clean up wasn't too bad - I just did in the sink.
Sometimes I used the pulp to add thickening to soups but most of the time it just went to compost. Seemed a shame to waste all that fiber and nutrients...
Now I am permanent traveling so I just go to juice stalls and bars. There is no way I would add several pounds of juicer to my 10 kg backpack :-)
Three years ago, I reviewed several juicers in detail before settling on the Omega masticating juicer, and it's been great.
But ever since, my buddy Frank has been trying to convince me to get a Vitamix. He says he uses the Vitamix several times per day, vs. less than once a week for his juicer. I was over at his house the other day, and he gave me the full court press sales pitch. So of course I video taped it! Let me know what you think: Is a Vitamix more useful than a Juicer?
Also, the Vitamix isn't cheap! The 750 professional series is $650 on Amazon. There are cheaper ones though, as low as $481. If you don't mind refurbished, you can get an older open box version from Amazon Warehouse for the mid $300s.
This post has nothing to do with jazz, I'm just a sucker for alliteration. It does, however, have everything to do with juicing. We're currently borrowing a juicer from a co-worker so if we don't like it and don't want to stick with it we aren't out a couple hundred bucks.
I feel like the benefits of juicing are pretty well known. If you don't know then here's a simple yet highly scientific formula:
Juice+excercise+radiation = Superhero
exercise+radiation-juice = Side-kick
Aside from not wanting to be a lame sidekick, we are also interested in the nutritional benefits. It's a quick easy way to take care of a couple servings of fruits and vegetables. Something we're both not very good at. Plus I watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" and it scared me straight.