The Spouse Wants to Try Juicing...

My spouse and I recently watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead which has inspired him to try juicing.

A little background: my spouse does have both arthritis and diabetes. I’ve suggested he speak to his doc about this before trying anything like a juice fast, which he agrees is a good idea, but part of the appeal is having a juice for breakfast or lunch, basically replacing one meal a day. His diabetes is under very good control, and when he was first diagnosed he lost about 40 pounds which he has since kept off. This isn’t really about weight loss (although losing another 10 pounds and/or maintaining his current weight would be good thing, too), it’s about getting him to eat healthier. If yummy, healthy stuff is present he’ll definitely eat it, but due to problems with his hands *preparing *food is a problem (he can cut or burn himself without realizing it, and his manual dexterity isn’t what it used to be).

I am somewhat interested in the notion myself, again, more as a supplement to my normal eating rather than a juice fast. Some nights when I come home from work I’m not super hungry so this might work for me as well, at least occasionally. Mostly, though, this is for him.

One obstacle is that we are poor. We make just enough to no longer qualify for foodstamps. The movie said that a typical juice-fast costs $14/day which is twice our current food budget. No way are we going organic on this, other than what grows in my garden, we just flat out can’t afford it. We can not afford to put several hundred dollars into a juice machine because, first of all, we don’t have several hundred dollars to spare, and second, we have some other things we need that take precedence, like needing some major work done on our car. We do, however, have a very nice blender and an array of cutting boards and sharp knives. My limited understanding is that a juicer extracts (some way or other) the juice from what you put in it and leaves the pulp behind, making (duh!) juice whereas a blender leaves the pulp in, making a smoothie. So maybe what we’re going to be making are smoothies. I’m assuming that these are similar and you can usually use the same recipes. Is that true or not?

Our current resources: Well, as I said, we have a nice blender. The spouse used to make hummus in it, among other things. Also all those cutting implements and such.

I have a garden that is bursting with chard and one giant volunteer kale plant. Also kohlrabbi. The turnips and beets have been meh this year. The carrots and onions are almost played out.

The local Aldi’s sells relatively inexpensive produce including things like mangoes, several varieties of peppers and seasonal berries.

We also have one of those Spanish sorts of produce stands which have a decent variety of greens and stuff, lots of peppers, and nopales and other Latin American stuff which I’d love to incorporate somehow into our eating.

The local Meijer’s has some more exotic produce, although their greens are overpriced. Then again, I am terribly spoiled what with being able to go out in the backyard and harvest my own.

How to get started? I don’t want to start off with recipes incorporating a dozen different ingredients, or even a half dozen. Ginger seems a common thing, I wouldn’t have a clue where to get “fresh ginger” as opposed to the powdered spice in a jar, and unless its cheap I can’t afford to buy a lot of it, ditto for all the weird health food additives - I’m not doing this to buy jars of powders to spoon into things, that sort of seems contrary to the spirit of “eat more fresh stuff”.

I guess I’m suffering a bit from too much information.

Anyhow - I’m going to have to be an integral part of all this, as the spouse has problems with his hands so I’ll be doing the prep work involving cutting things up. The only big problem is that I’m ridiculously allergic to tomatoes, to the point I can NOT cook with them, cut them up, get the juice on me, and cleaning anything with them on it requires me to wear rubber gloves so let’s go easy on the tomatoes, hmm?

His likes: I figure I’d start with a list of stuff he likes and see if that prompts any ideas:

Orange juice
berries (all types)
beans of all sorts
nuts of all sorts
most greens to some degree

Not so fond of most melons (watermelon and cantaloupe being exceptions), squash, and cucumber. Not in the least because of either texture or they give him gas. Not fond of eggplant or avocado, either.

You should search the dope, there have been several threads on juicing and other dietary fads. Effectively, eat the damned fruit and veggies, you need the fiber which tends to get filtered out of the juice.

And a diabetic really shouldn’t be juicing anyway - as I recall my nutritional consult mentioned the portion of fruit juice was in the 2 oz range. Juice is effectively pretty flavored sugar water.

I went through the first(?) juicing fad around 1989 with my then-wife. In an effort to promote marital harmony, I took a benign view and tried to find any nutritional, medical or scientific basis for any of the claims that went beyond “fresh fruits and vegetables can be good for you.”

I failed. (As did the marriage, for collateral reasons.) I have never seen any grounded justification for juice-woo since, except from people selling very, very expensive juicer/blenders and exotic fruits.

I’m just glad this thread wasn’t about some weird sexual fetish that I’ve yet to hear about.

[edit miss] …and, of course, the Big Medicine Is EvilBad crowd, which seems to be where the OP’s journey started.

I’ve never quite been sure why it is necessary to promote woo-med if you think modern corporate medicine has taken us off a cliff. One is not the antithesis or antidote of the other.

I was going to ask if he was going to have her squeeze his banana.

So… a homemade smoothie, which incorporates more than just the juice, would be better than the juice alone?

I don’t think he’s looking for a miracle woo-woo thing. He certainly has no illusions that this is going to cure either his arthritis or diabetes.

On the other hand, a smoothie/juice for lunch might be better than diet soda and some things he might be eating.


Getting him to eat his vegees isn’t really a problem. Heck, I usually keep a bowl of cut up raw radishes, carrots, and turnips in the fridge for him to snack on.

Fruit juice without the pulp is sugar water. We’ve been through this many times. I can’t think of anything less healthy for a diabetic than a diet of pure fruit juice. Why not just eat sugar by the tablespoon?

some people choose fruit-veg smoothies, in order to cover the taste of the veggies, which they normally find objectionable. But it sounds like he already eats a variety of vegetables. What problem is he trying to solve?

Messing with fruits and veggies does affect their glycemic load, as explained to me by DSeid in this thread. If your spouse is diabetic, keep this in mind.

This is a very good question. Let me see if I can answer it coherently without writing a novel.

I think he wants to try something new. He’s trying to break his diet soda habit, and the notion of replacing it with something tasty that also has some nutritional value is appealing to him. He likes shakes and smoothies but doesn’t want to get into those with high fat content.

I think the juicing/smoothie thing appeals to him as something he can make largely on his own with only minimal prep help (basically, I clean/cut up a bunch of stuff and stick it in the fridge until he’s ready to use it), tastes good, and that he can suck down in place of high fat/high salt convenience foods and it’s not a diet pop type of beverage.

I’ve been trying to get him to switch some of his soda habit to tea, which is arguably more healthy as a beverage than any form of soda. He’s also trying to drink more just plain water. Part of the problem is that plain water can become boring. Between his proneness to UTI’s, diabetes, and history of kidney stones he needs to consume a lot of fluid in the course of the day. Diet soda is at least calorie-free, but that doesn’t mean its healthy. And swapping juice for some of it would also reduce how much caffeine he’s consuming (which trading it for tea wouldn’t) which might also be a good thing.

Of course, yes, fruit juice without any form of pulp is flavored sugar water. He knows that, which is why he’s not drinking a quart of pure orange juice a day although he wouldn’t mind doing so.

I’m not sure how enlightening that is…

So - IS there any nutritional value to vegetable juice, or it is, too, “just sugar water”? I was under the impression that it wasn’t entirely empty calories, and the main problem with something like V8 was the sodium content.

Failing that, what about using fruit juice to flavor water? Only instead of buying expensive bottled water with a dollop of berry or lemon or whatever flavor we add it ourselves at home? Heck, I’ve done that using commercial cranberry juice or lemon to add flavor to water when its hot and I have to force myself to drink more fluid than I really want to. Not in the least become I find commercially made lemonade and fruit drinks to be so oversweetened as to be revolting.

TL:DR - reduce consumption of diet soda, replace with healthier alternative.

Also, I think he’s interested in just trying something new in the food rotation.

It seems to me like he’s hungry for variety and autonomy in his life. I’d cooperate as far as possible, keeping in mind your budget and resources. I don’t have any useful information about techniques or nutrition, sorry.

I have a friend who watched and had me watch a bunch of those documentaries, and he swears by the Nutribullet- I think because it doesn’t make juice and retains the fiber. I could be wrong about that.

The ONLY benefit I see as far as juicing/blending is the extent it allows consumption of vegetables that are difficult to just eat as a hand-fruit. For example my friend throws a bunch of fresh ginger and other things that aren’t as easily consumed as bananas, apples, carrots. I really see no point in juicing regular old fruits and vegetables except maybe for eating peels and other parts. That said I enjoying eating entire fruits (skin, stem, seeds, core) and vegetables by hand.

try lemon water or mint tea for a drink that can be consumed as a soda replacement.

I’m not a fan of juicing for the “sugar water” reason. Yeah, there’s a few nutrients in juice, but not much. Almost all of them are in the pulp. So the best solution if a person wants to juice is to keep the pulp in, or as much of the pulp as possible while still being able to drink the result. It’s not “juice”, but it can still be a beverage, and a much, much healthier one. But you do need a really good machine to do it and not just give you puree. My Vita-Mix can. Maybe that Ninja thing that looks like a Vita-Mix can. Or you can use a juicer, but retrieve the pulp from the “discard” bin and stir it back into the juice.

But your idea of naturally flavored waters is an even better one. Yes, lemon is sooooo easy - just slice a lemon and stick it in your water pitcher! If it’s too bitter for you, then zest just the yellow part of the lemon skin, stick it in a teaball, and toss that in your pitcher and let it sit for a while .

Other ideas for yummy things to put in your water:
Cubes of watermelon, honeydew, canteloupe
Cut up cucumber
Mashed up mint or basil leaves (there are so many varieties of mint and basil, you could do a different one every day and not run out for months!)
Pineapple chunks
Apple slices
Smashed strawberries
Cubed mango
Cinnamon sticks
Sliced jalapenos
Sliced peaches
A split vanilla bean (if you take it out and smash it some more, you can get a few batches out of one bean)
Sliced kiwi
Sliced fresh ginger
Rosemary sprigs

Some combos: Strawberry/lime/mint, mango/lime/mint, apple slices/cinnamon, pineapple/apple, cucumber/jalapeno, peaches/vanilla, pear/ginger, strawberry/kiwi, rosemary/watermelon…

The cheapest alternative is sugar-free fruit drink mix. Aldi’s brand is fine. You can mix it into soda water if a carbonation hit is desired. The recommended amount of water seems to presume further dilution with ice; adjust to taste.

Other notes:

Fresh ginger is fairly cheap, a buck to $1.49/lb. Peel it, chop it, and either freeze it, candy it, pickle it, or put in a jar and cover with white wine for 'fridge-keeping. LOTS of uses.

One man’s vegetable smoothie is another man’s chilled soup. So another source of recipes …

A useful addition to prep-assistance array might be a mini-chopper (junior food processor). And maybe one of those spiked boards to hold chop-ables steady (now in mainstream housewares outlets as well as diability-aid places).

These are some awesome ideas, WhyNot. I’ve been going a step further than plain water and making creative iced teas using my sun pitcher jar. I make the sun tea and add whatever I’m infusing when I put it in the refrigerator. Then let it sit for at least a few hours. I tried crushed rosemary (from my garden) and lemon and it was pretty good! Some things I strain (like the rosemary) but others I leave.

Kind of a misleading title. :smiley: At least for gymrats.

Sure, the problem is I can’t find fresh ginger around here. I can find candied ginger, and the powdered ginger in the spice jars, but the concept of “fresh ginger” apparently has not arrived in this area yet.

Holy crap, it took me two weeks to find shrimp that wasn’t pre-breaded! Well, OK, there were the “gourmet” GIANT JUMBO SHRIMP but at $15/pound that was waaaaay out of our budget. It’s sort of the land of convenience food and fried lard around here. Not exactly a food desert, but I sort of understand why so many of my neighbors are obese.

I’d love to do home made flavored soda water, but lack of funds make getting a soda-water maker sort of an issue, and I really don’t want it to be something we do for a month and then it sits in a corner

I have one of those expensive juicers and I occasionally do a juice fast with mostly vegetable juices.

But with a limited budget I’d stick with vegetable smoothies. My favorite–and I have no idea if this would work for a diabetic–is banana/smidgen of OJ/bunch of spinach, kale, or parsley. I do this because I don’t much like eating most vegetables and prefer to drink them. There’s no magic to it so don’t worry about stuff like ginger.

I’m super lazy, so if I decide to go the flavored water route, I buy lemon/lime concentrate, and cranberry juice that’s 100% and unsweetened. These all keep forever in the fridge and a little goes a long way when just using a splash for flavor. Mostly, I just keep a pitcher of cold water infused iced tea (black or green) to drink plain, but the lemon, lime, and cranberry work well with that, too.