Why I Don’t Juice

Now before anyone starts jumping to conclusions about juicing or thinks “Geez, there is something wrong with everything” (I hate that feeling)—I want to make one thing clear: There is certainly nothing wrong with drinking vegetable juices. But there are a few reasons why I haven’t personally jumped on the juicing bandwagon myself —even after borrowing a friend’s juicer and actually trying it out for a week—which is what I’d like to explain today.

Juice and FiberJuice Is Not a Whole Food

A Glass of Juice

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First and foremost, my main dietary goal is to eat whole foods or what I call “real food” (i.e. 5 or less whole ingredients). Did you know that when you drink juiced vegetables and fruits you are not eating the whole food?

The first time I saw a juicer in action I was actually a little surprised when I saw all this stuff being spit out the side. It turns out that stuff is the pulp (basically the fiber) and not included in the juice you are about to drink!

Now you could technically bake that pulp into a homemade baked good or something (and still consume it), but I am going to tell you right now I would never be “Betty Homemakerish” enough to keep up with something like that. Plus I felt like the kale, celery, cucumber, and other ingredients I purchased to make the juice could have nicely supplemented several meals for the whole family, when instead the juicer transformed these ingredients into 2 glasses (about 10 ounces each) of not very filling juice.

It’s Expensive

If you aren’t careful, juicing could seriously blow the roof off your budget. The first day I shopped for juicing ingredients I spent $13—on just 2 servings of organic juice! I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad if it could actually constitute a meal, but after drinking our morning juice (my husband tried it with me) we were both still hungry enough for our regular breakfast of homemade granola. So during our week of juicing I found myself buying loads of extra veggies to juice in addition to all the groceries I would have normally purchased anyway. Cha-ching!

It Takes Time

Juicer Parts

When you drink a daily green juice in addition to eating your regular meals it ends up taking extra time out of your day. Imagine having to make a fresh juice and clean the machine on top of cooking and cleaning those three square real food meals each day.

I say that because a juicer is not just any regular appliance—there are 7 different parts that all need to be washed immediately. Which means unless you are about to start your dishwasher right at that very moment you need to stop what you are doing and wash each and every part of the juicer by hand. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a big fan of hand washing dishes? Well, some days I truly avoid it like the plague—so this is officially reason #3 that juicing is not personally for me.

My Takeaway

Like I said at the beginning there is certainly nothing wrong with juicing, and some say it makes them feel great (we didn’t personally notice a difference). BUT—as with most food choices—I feel that variety is key. That means variety in both what you eat and how you eat it. If you find that you are getting so much more green in your body through juicing then that is fabulous, but I wouldn’t suggest having that be the only way you get your veggies.

And that’s because eating the whole food is pretty important as well. Nature actually does a great job of packaging up the perfect combination of vitamins and minerals in each and every whole food. When you start removing parts (like the fiber) it is just not the same. The takeaway I got from my juicing experiment is that —probably like most people—I have room for improvement and could stand to consume more vegetables. So I am glad to be given that reminder.

Now if I suddenly found myself with health issues or was just overall not feeling very well—I would definitely give juicing another chance. At first I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about the taste of a green juice, but it actually grew on me fairly quickly, and I came to enjoy it (and drink it much faster) by the end of the week. But for the foreseeable future I can only see myself being a smoothie girl, and here’s why.

smoothiesWhy I Like Smoothies Instead

I honestly never made (or probably even drank a smoothie) before our switch to real food, but now they make their way into our diet about once or twice a week.

And these are the reasons I like smoothies so much:

  1. No special expensive equipment needed —any old blender will do!
  2. When you blend fruits and vegetables together to make a smoothie you are consuming the whole food.
  3. As a result, I find smoothies to be much more filling than juice.
  4. My kids like smoothies (they gave the green juice a fair chance, but were not fans).
  5. A little bit of veggies can go a long way in a smoothie—when I juiced a bunch of kale it seemed that only a couple tablespoons of juice came out.

So what do you prefer…juicing or making smoothies? And why?

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520 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Juice”

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  1. Hello, I LOVE THIS POST! I don’t blog about food too often. But recently I was discussing juicing on my FB list. I’ve been juicing off and on for a few months now and EVERYTHING you said is correct! I delicately tried to explain on list that it’s taking me about 45 min to an hour to juice. So each time is cutting into my day quite a bit. Then I tried juicing a days worth in one sitting and putting it in a sealed glass jar. Well, sounded great but I found the same thing as you… We still ate a full meal and I have SERIOUS issues with throwing away the pulp/fiber. I don’t even have a compost pile or container in this rental house to put it in. Also, I had to stop the juicer and clean out the kale fragments that clog the machine.

    I won’t stop juicing because it’s almost the only way to get certain veggies into the hubby. But it did not cure all of my ills and it often leaves me hungry unless I drink something like 16 ozs.

    Here’s another tidbit… I read an article that explained that when guzzling or quickly drinking water, your body does not absorb it as well and that’s why we eliminate so much after drinking. When you sip on it throughout the normal course of a meal, your body and more appropriately absorb the nutrients. I was thinking this is probably so with guzzling the juice so I get it all down if I’m not in the mood. What do you think?

  2. I use my juicer to make tomato juice each summer from the tomatoes I grow. That device has made canning tomato juice SO SUPER EASY! My kids also love grape juice made from our grapes.

  3. Thank you for this well thought out and well written article. While I agree there are certain people with specific nutritional needs, for whom juicing may provide benefits, juicing is not essential to good health for most people. Our bodies evolved to handle whole foods and do best with a practice of variety, moderation, and portion control. I would like to use your article as part of my wellness counseling program, if I may, with full credit given to you as the author. Again, Thank you!

    1. I couldn’t disagree with you more… our bodies have NOT evolved fast enough to handle the amount of crap our bodies and minds have to deal with on a daily basis these days, food, environmental, etc. Juicing is essential for assisting in the awakening and removal of the surplus of toxic waste that is dumped into our system, continuously… nothing else does this for us, not even our own natural, cleansing, detoxing systems… we MUST be assisted, and that’s what these POWERFUL juices do for us… this aspect is not fully understood and/or even recognized as being necessary. Whole foods, although also powerful do not aid in the detox of the body because when putting in whole foods, the body must go to work on the food instead of putting it’s attention on awakening and removing (cleansing & detoxing)

      1. If you are eating right, you shouldn’t need to “detox.” Why are you putting that waste into your system in the first place? Bad food doesn’t just happen to your body if you don’t put it in your mouth.

      2. Alex, the body’s ONLY job, inherently, is to move towards optimal health… the only way this happens is by removing obstruction in whatever form, toxic residues left behind from food, environmental poisons/toxins, industrial poisons/toxins, etc. It will ALWAYS naturally move towards an awakening of poison that is in EVERYBODY’S cells, a “detox”, a cleaning out… good food, bad food, NO food… either way, for all of those other factors mentioned above, there is ALWAYS something to remove… you don’t NEED to detox… it’s just what’s done, automatically… BUT… like I mentioned above, we have not evolved fast enough to deal with all of today’s modern problems/issues, so we need to be aided in this process… obviously, the process becomes more or less difficult depending on what you’re putting in… and that’s a fact

  4. Juicing is perfect for people like me who have digestive issues. If it were not for juicing I wouldn’t get my necessary nutrition.

  5. ….one more thing :) I always run my favorite iced herb tea through my juicer as the last thing I do before I drink it…. It swooshes out all the clinging nutrients (think green kale or wheatgrass pulp in the netting) and adds volume!! A great way to make more “juice” on a budget and still get the benefits of juicing. And the herb iced tea cools and makes the juice taste yummy!!

  6. Love your post! I’m studying nutrition and I completely agree. Nothing wrong with juicing but it’s so
    Important to eat the whole food, fiber and all. Plus if you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables regularly, we have no reason to need to “cleanse.” Eat well everyday, lay off the alcohol and your body will always be in a “cleanse.”

  7. Interesting thoughts but you should consider a few things before you write off juicing. Juicers are not all the same and like most you have one that gives a terrible yield of juice and operates at such a high rpm, that you are destroying the enzymes and nutrients you are trying to extract by the heat that high speed creates. A juice press is a much better alternative on both fronts. There are also less parts to clean. Also, smoothies will obviously fill you up more because you are leaving the fiber. It would be impossible to attain the nutrient content in a smoothie compared to a juice for the very reason of the fiber. Juicing is not meant to replace eating whole foods but more as a way to increase the nutrients you may not be getting. You should still eat a diet rich in fiber from other sources but you’ll never be able to drink enough smoothies to equal the nutrient content in a large juice. ..Too much fiber. Yes a bit time consuming but anything of value,like your health, usually is.

    1. I totally agree with Sam and Karen. It is not an either or proposition. Juicing is a healthy way to get a quick infusion of nutrients, but we still need to eat good, whole foods. As far as too much time and money– you must be kidding. I added up the cost of making the whole wheat tortillas from scratch and it came to about $1.00 a piece. And that is just the food holder. You are spending $30 a week on milk when the rest of us are spending about $6. Not judging but as you said it is all about priorities and preferences. Most of us can’t spend 14 hours a day shopping for, cooking, and cleaning after “real food” preparation. I applaud your perseverance, but it is not realistic for most of us “real” people.

  8. I’m a definite smoothie enthusiast. If all you’re juicing is veggies, then fine, the problem is when you start juicing fruit. The amount of concentrated sugar from fruit juice is horrible. Might as well have a can of soda. Fiber helps meter the absorption of sugar into your system, which is why nature packages them together :)

  9. Juicing= instant assimilation of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc, without having to be broken down in digestion…therefore is is superior for a 3-7 day cleanse, or the ticket for giving your liver a detox and rest. It also allows your colon to rest and rejuvenate and cleanse completely on a fast. Promotes superior, quick health results when juice fasting, and slower but incredible health changes when just having 8oz a day.

    We juice daily, and do smoothies… We have an Omega juicer, and give the pulp to our chickens along with their organic feed and free range diet . Sometimes I freeze the pulp and add it to soups or mix in muffin recipes, etc.

    Cancer victims who heal themselves naturally after or before chemo etc, all juice for the instant vitamin infusion into their bloodstreams. Read “Crazy Sexy Cancer” and you will change your mind about juicing. I always juice if I feel a cold coming on, and my grown sons stop by the house once in a while just to get some of mom’s juice during a stressful week, etc.

    Juicing and smoothies both have their place in a real food diet lifestyle…don’t sell yourself short!

    1. Karen is absolutely correct. My brother in law reversed his cancer from many ounces of juices a day and a zero sugar whole food diet. Since my children have been juicing they havent been sick. Dont discourage juicing by any means.

      1. and smoothies pulverize veggies and fruit and decrease the intensity of the nutrients.
        However, we do those too.

      2. Pulverizing veggies and fruit decreases the intensity of the nutrients? what kind of nonsense is this? So we should swallow them whole instead of chewing? Juicers pulverize a heck of a lot more than blenders ever could.

      3. Perhaps what Tina means is that when you do the math it isn’t possible for a glass of smoothie to contain the same nutrient content as the same glass of juice because it takes more produce to fill a glass with juice than the same glass of smoothie. At least that’s what I think she might mean.

    2. Detoxing isn’t a scam. Your body detoxes itself you don’t need to fast to “detox”, there is no science behind it nor is there for juicing reversing cancer. Changing your diet is good for your health, it will not heal cancer. Vegans still get cancer, my friend.

  10. Even though it’s something that I’ve wanted, getting a juicer hasn’t been a top priority given some of the same drawbacks you mentioned. The biggest being not using the whole food and so much to clean up afterward. Honestly never considered the cost as is if it’s worth it, then it’s worth it – but wow, that is considerable.

    I love making smoothies though!! :)

  11. When you have a garden and an apple tree and more of both than you could possibly eat, juicing is great. It’s more a replacement for vitamin supplements than food, and with high green content, one may even feel an oxygen high from juice.

  12. I agree with Chris that juicing, smoothies, and whole foods should be approached as different parts of a whole food, REAL food, lifestyle. I’ll add juicing when I get a good juicer.

    I really appreciated your comments, Mary :) Which model do you have?

  13. I’m surprised at this article. Juicing is not a meal replacement plan and no, it doesn’t fill you up. As for it being more expensive and time consuming, yes. But you still need to eat real food. By default you ARE adding more green veggies to your diet. And you have to buy more at the grocery store because you are eating more of it. It is part of a nutritious and healing lifestyle. It cures some types of cancer and contributes to overall health in measurable ways. I personally get a RUSH of energy in the morning. And my skin GLOWS when I am regularly juicing. I find it to be amazing and the knowledge that all of those nutrients are immediately bio-available and rushing around my body repairing oxidized cells and nourishing my blood, organs, tissue, intestinal tract… Too bad you didn’t find the same thing, and have this public forum to discourage others to incorporate a positive nutritional habit into their lives. But to each his own!

  14. It seems to me that you are “forgetting” that it takes more than one week to feel the effects of a dietary change sometimes…as well as it looks a little like an advertisement for the smoothie pouches…which, by the way, look a lot more time-consuming to clean than a juicer. I think you’re comparing apples to oranges. I juice my oranges, apples and carrots then add to a blender with the greens and whatever else I find and blend together each morning and I prepare “juice” for 5 people and total prep to clean-up time is less than half an hour. Add a banana and I’m good for the morning. There are also things you can get that suck the air out of a mason jar and store in the fridge with no loss due to exposure to the air. Either way, juice or blend, it’s more healthy than the SAD.

    1. It’s all priority… people are going to do what they want to do 1000% of the time.

      I understand the right way to approach how the body truly functions from a biochemical perspective so to me, the extra time it takes is well worth it… and what you are “forgetting” is that the more work you give the body to do, will somewhat hinder ongoing health/wellness …in the long run, an efficient, healthy body will eventually need less and less to function optimally, so down the road… you won’t have to invest as much time, effort, energy to reap the same benefits… and YES, way better than SAD, but not optimal, unless you approach it all with an understanding and have progression in mind

  15. it’s worth the extra work Isa… smoothies are not enough

    Judith, Get yourself a Blendtec blender and a Hurom Slow Juicer… use them both. Juice before meals… have smoothies as meals

  16. I am so disappointed in my purchase of a Jack LaLaine Juicer. I need to know what too buy now. A vitamix or any other suggestions. Thanks

  17. I’m with you. Juicing made me feel good, but a glass of liquid is NOT filling as a meal. And it does take extra time. I went back to green smoothies in the nutribullet – blend it in the cup, put the lid on it, and enjoy on the way to work.

  18. Juicing is ESSENTIAL within a cleansing lifestyle… Juicing and Blending (smoothies) are 2 different things done for different reasons. You juice 20-30 minutes before meals to alkalinize and mineralize your system, which sets the stage for optimal digestion, utilization, and assimilation WITHOUT burdening the body’s systems with work to do… the juice is absorbed immediately, hence, NO WORK. Followed by a big green salad, this is truly optimal… so alkalinize, mineralize, followed by a fiber rich salad… good to go. Smoothies are awesome as a meal which are very satisfying, and can be quite delicious… anything with fiber/whole food will give your body work to do… your job is to make eating, digestion, etc as efficient as possible by giving the body as little work to do as possible… this eliminates obstruction from forming in the body, which is in actuality a reversal of aging… juicing is essential, smoothies are awesome, eating whole foods is awesome… do them right, do them all! enjoy

  19. I haven’t tried smoothies, yet….but I’m very happy with my 3-times a week juice snack. I grow my own veggies and fruits, so it is a way of using up all the surplus and not so perfect specimens. I get an extra jolt of energy and vitamins and minerals, and the pulp is fed to the chickens. So for my lifestyle the juicing fits in very nicely. I can understand the points made in this article. I guess we all have to make choices that fit our lifestyle and energy needs.

  20. I regularly juice, and find that a good glass of juice more than replaces a meal. For many, hunger is a habit or learned response. For some, super-nourishing with high quality fresh juice can be a life saver. T here are lots of testimonials to this, the best being the Aussie movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

  21. I don’t think you’ve done near enough research before commenting on this subject. I have seen juicing do some incredible things for people recovering from cancer not to mention a whole host of lesser ills.

  22. I have an Omega juicer and it take about 5 min to clean all the parts after making our daily juice. It is different then smoothies as you and other suggest – faster nutrient absorption for those that want the vitamin boost, a detox, or may have health issues as we do. We do smoothies in the vitamix and juices too – it definitely isn’t a meal but a power packed vitamin boost that really gets your body the fullest extent from those veggies. My 2 boys & I love our green juices. My older one loves smoothies but my younger won’t touch them-to
    each their own I guess. Either way – I think juicing is an excellent way to get extra
    Nutrients quickly and without your body having to process all that fiber – just my opinion.

  23. Juicing is a good way get your and your kids veggies ( and fruit) intake Not a meal supplement. Adding a vegan protein supplement does help if want it to be counted as a meal. As for the fiber loss is not stated correctly in your post,. There are two types of fiber soluble and insoluble, when juicing the soluble is contained in your juice, the insoluble is in the pulp. So needless to say on that side of things the bad fiber is gotten rid of when juicing.

    1. “the bad fiber is gotten rid of when juicing” – Wait, what? You know that insoluble fiber is a big part of what keeps your colon running properly, right? You need that stuff.

      I went through a 3-4 month juicing phase. It was a lot of fun and delicious. But it was also expensive and time-consuming, and there doesn’t seem to be any hard science behind the notion that juicing helps your body absorb nutrients better than eating the whole fruit or vegetable does. Unless your digestive system is impaired in some way, absorbing nutrients from whole foods is what it does, and it does it well.

  24. How is juicing, especially with a masticating juicer, any less a whole food than eating cheese? Cheese is made by removing the whey from milk and only using the curd? Don’t get me wrong. I love your site. I just think your argument is a little off on this point.

  25. Read about Jason Vale, my son 2 years old driks everyday a juice made with pinneapple, apple, cucumber, spinach and ginger… dont give up juicing.
    A very easy juicer to try is the PHILIPS, easy to use and to wash.

  26. I would recommend buying a vitamix unlike juicing it is using while food. Apple peels and core, pineapple rind, kale, strawberry stems, whole nuts etc. you can also make humus, hot soups etc. I got mine at costco and love it. Unlike juicing you can make a fruit/veggie smoothie full of protein and fiber that will replace a meal. Clean up is a breeze too.

  27. Hi all,

    I’m loving this topic and the comments that go with it. I have to say that for me I do all three things – jucing, blending and eating whole foods as much as possible. With juicing, it took me about a month or two to get the hang of being organised enough to make it a rather quick routine. I decided to re-arrange my whole fridge by buying airtight containers to store my fresh fruit and vegetables in. Most of the fridge is now taken up with these items. We live in an apartment so unfortunately we can’t grow our own (although I would love to do that one day) so I try to buy in bulk as much as I can to save money. Living in Australia I think our ‘organic produce’ prices differ immensely compared to the USA. Needless to say I can’t afford all organic but buy what I can when I can. So, we use conventional produce most of the time and I make sure I peel everything that is peel-able before putting it in my juicer. Before I bought my juicer I researched for some time as to which one would be the best for our family. After looking at all the different options we settled on a ‘slow’ juicer – meaning it ‘chews’ and ‘squeezes’ the food at a very low RPM rate (75rpm) which in turn means it keeps as many live enzymes and micro nutrients as possible and does not lose them like some fast centrifugal juicers that use a lot of heat in their spinning blades (e.g. some Breville juicers etc). The pulp and peelings I save for a friend who has chickens so nothing is wasted at all. If I have a particularly large amount of carrot pulp I then make a nice carrot cake loaf as a treat. I was recommended juicing by a health professional to generally improve my immune system and give me energy. This it certainly has done and I’m so glad I stuck it out for the first couple of months. I mainly juice 80% vegetable and 20% fruit as I do not want too much sugar from fruit in my drink. So a typical juice would contain: kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, broccoli, ginger, lemon, 2 apples and 2 carrots. My three year old also loves these juices and helps me to prepare them. The juicer is so so easy to clean, just three moving parts that come away easily and rinse off. Apart from juicing it also makes pasta, nut butters, fruit & nut balls, sorbet and sausages. The only thing we haven’t tried making on it is the pasta as we have a lot in our pantry still. But the other things are amazing too. With a handful of blueberries, one mango cheek and one banana I can make sorbet for three people. Goodness, ok, I’m rambling a bit. I make about 2 litres of fresh juice in the morning and keep it in the fridge so I don’t have to make it later on. With the so called ‘slow’ juicers apparently you can keep the juice fresh in the fridge for up to 72 hours. Mine never lasts that long but there you go. My breakfast in the morning is a super smoothie that I make in my blender consisting of: blueberries, 1 mango cheek, organic milk, organic yoghurt, raw organic cacao powder, organic maca powder, organic rainbow superfood powder (5 superfoods in one jar), cinnemon, chia seeds, wheatgerm, oats and a teaspoon of manuka honey. I try to eat mainly lean protein, grains, legumes and fresh salads during the day and then I have between 500ml and 1 litre of juice for dinner. It works for me. My husband will take a glass here and there but is not as fanatical about it as I am :). The thing I’d like to stress is that I use juicing as a supplement to my diet and not the only ‘meal’ per say. Cost wise, it costs us about $8 a day for juicing.

  28. One reason I encourage people to chew their food (and calories) rather than drink it is because I want them take their meal in more slowly. That way they don’t take in excessive amounts of calories before their brain gets the signal that they are satisfied. However I have pushed liquid calories for clients that are underweight.

  29. Have you looked into a Vitamix??? It blends everything, so you don’t end up wasting the good stuff. They are fantastic also for making soups, salad dressings, etc. Very versatile.

  30. In your post, you say that you and your husband had juice and were still hungry for breakfast. Juicing does not equal a meal. Is that what you thought? Juicing is something you do in addition to eating healthy meals. And, as explained by other comments, juicing helps get those nutrients with better absorption. I don’t think it has to be juicing or smoothies, they are 2 different things and you can do both. Many juicers think of juicing as taking a vitamin in the morning or using it as a natural medicine. Green juice is wonderful and give me a boost. You have to watch out for sugar intake in juicing fruits, which is why many juicers only add a small amount of fruit.

  31. I know we are talking about making ones own juice, filled with low calorie high nutrient vegetables and fruits, and fewer sugars than commercial juices. But, I just wanted to remind people that juice in general (and of course I am talking about commerically made juice) is considered to be one of the many causes of childhood obesity. I think it is just wise to make children learn to eat foods that are home prepared, nutritious and flavorful rather than getting used to the idea of drinking this or taking that pill for nutrition.

  32. Others have already addressed the rapidity of absorption rate, increased number of micronutrients consumed, and giving digestive system a break. Those are all reasons I juice. There are concerns voiced with the expense and waste. We compost all of our leftover pulp, and use that soil in a garden to grow our own organic produce. Eliminates waste, decreases cost, and decreases the carbon footprint. Now, I can’t say that all of my juice is grown in my backyard, but I do my best. Baby steps.