My Observations and Opinion
on Raw Vegetable Juicing

 
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Introduction
First, let me state that I believe that raw vegetable juices have powerful nutritive and healing properties, and my observation is that raw veggie juices are central to almost every effective diet or system which purports to treat serious chronic disease via dietary means.  Especially for those of us who are eating a raw vegetation and animal foods diet (RVAF diet), I believe that raw vegetable juice is almost essential to optimal nutrition and maximal well-being. I am always fascinated by the improvements in health and well-being even among folks who eat a diet which consists primarily of the Standard American Diet (aka "SAD"; cooked, highly processed, lots of junk oils and fats, heated dairy), when they add to their diets at least 3 glasses per day of fresh raw green (along with red and orange) vegetable juices. As evidence of this, witness the many dozens of books hitting the market, aimed primarily at Americans who eat rather conventional SAD diets, which advocate the benefits of vegetable juicing.  Many of the anecdotal stories from that world, or even as told by alternative medical practitioners, are downright amazing.



What Should I Juice?
Never juice fruit -- the resultant juice is way too high in simple and available sugars, and their absorption in the gut is no longer mediated by the cell walls of the fruit, since they have been ruptured by the juicing process. On the other hand, if you must drink fruit juices, fresh raw fruit juices will be a lot healthier for you than juices which have pasteurized, processed, and bottled or canned!  Having given the above caveats, I do confess to occasionally juicing a small amount of organic orange juice as a treat -- perhaps once every few months I may make about 4 or 5 ounces of organic orange juice in a citrus juicer.  Just as with fruit, be a bit cautious when juicing root vegetables which are high in simple sugars -- the two best known examples are carrots and beets. While each of these is a wonderful veggie to juice, and has wonderful effects upon the body, you will probably wish to limit the total quantity of these two veggies to less than 30% by volume of juice, with the reminder greens.  You can increase this quantity if you also consume a bit of fat with your veggie juice.

For juicing: I recommend you start with the following:

  • 35%  celery
  • 15%  parsley
  • 15%  cukes or zucchini
  • 15%  leafy lettuce
  • 15%  carrots 
  • 15%  beets
  • a tiny bit of habanero pepper, if you like it spicy and hot


Other vegetables you might use: 

  • green or red cabbage 
  • any members of the lettuce family
  • dandelion or chickweed
  • tomatoes
  • some of the "Japanese" variants of the cruciferous family which are green, leafy and mild (the most common American cruciferous greens are kale and collards, which are a bit strong and very bitter, and rather medicinal)
The exact formula is not important, it is fine if you are leave out one thing or substitute something else, and you can also adjust amounts as well.  However, never allow the combo of beets and carrots to be over 30% (due to their content of simple sugars), and, unless you know what you are doing (guided by your body or intuition), NEVER use any of the following (these contain lots of oxalic acid, and can really swell your throat and mouth):
  • spinach
  • beet greens
  • any part of the rhubarb plant
and do not use much of the following, unless you now what you are doing (they are rather "medicinal" and strong):
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • mustard greens
  • nettles, thistle
The largest single source of degradation in a raw fresh juice (as well as most other raw foods) is oxidative degradation due to a family of so-called free radicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), which include peroxide ions, superoxide anions, and other aggressive oxygen species, including O3 and other short-lived oxygen radicals.  It is well known that the degree of exposure during juicing of the juice to heat and ambient air containing oxygen, particularly tiny bubbles of oxygen which are finely dispersed (as in repeated grinding, blending or mastication), can rapidly accelerate the formation of these ROS components, and thus, rapidly accelerate aging of the juice and its nutrient quality.

Some Guidelines on Juicers
It has long been acknowledged that the method of juice extraction greatly affects juice quality. As noted above, methods which involve excessive heating, grinding, or mastication tend to rapidly accelerate ROS processes, and therefore, degradation.  Regarding consumer juicers the consensus, along with some good anecdotal evidence, seems to strongly indicate that centrifugal juicers generally yield juice with the greatest oxidative damage, followed by masticating juicers (such as the Champion and the crushing stage of some Norwalk juicers), which tend to produce a juice with significantly less oxidative damage.  However, the twin-gear juicers, such as the Green Star (until recently this was called the Green Life) and the Angel seem to produce the least heating and least exposure to oxygen, yielding the highest quality juices.  When the current author switched from a masticating juicer to a Green Life (now named Green Star) twin-gear juicer in late 2000 at the urging of Aajonus Vonderplanitz and several long-time RVAFers, he noticed a significant improvement in the quality of the juice yield compared to the Champion.

A number of persons in the raw foods world have come up with guidelines for the quality of each class of juicer, and, while there is some variance, most seem to agree that:

  • the juice from a centrifugal juicer must be consumed almost immediately after juicing to take advantage of nutrients before serious oxidative damage can progressively damage nutrients; such oxidation, when severe, often yields a brownish color in the juice
  • the juice from a masticating juicer may be refrigerated and stored for up to 24 hours, while maintaining an acceptable nutrient quality
  • the juice from a twin-gear juicer may be stored under refrigeration for up to at least three days, while maintaining an acceptable nutrient quality.  Indeed, Aajonus Vonderplanitz reports that he has commissioned studies which have shown that after 78 hours (3 days and 6 hours) the nutrients in the juice from a Green Life juicer still retained at least 82% of their original potency.
Therefore, many "serious" devotees of juicing seem to end up using twin-gear juicers in order to yield higher juice quality and the ability to juice vegetables in quantity and then store the juice in 8-ounce or 16-ounce tightly sealed containers (see below) under refrigeration for a few (3+) days, while still maintaining high nutrient quality.  Recently, a fair number of raw foodists who eat raw vegetable and animal diets (RVAF diets), including this author, have been adding small amounts of a proprietary hydride (H-, also known as the H- ion) donor antioxidant (MegaH™ or MegaH-™), marketed as a nutritional antioxidant, to the raw juice before storage to decrease oxidative damage over time and to increase useful storage lifetime of the juice.  The H- ion is a powerful, primitive, primal and primordial antioxidant which has been present in much raw drinking water and found as well in all raw vegetation and raw animal foods.

I used a Champion for the past 13 years until I purchased the Green Life (now named Green Star) after I went on the RVAF diet.  The quality of juice from a Green Life is far better than from a Champion, and further, the Champions tend to bind up with parsley and celery -- a real pain in the butt!  However, the quality of the juice from a Champions is admittedly far better than that from most centrifugal juicers, due to lower oxidative damage from heating and aeration.

The Green Star (formerly the Green Life) lists for about $500, but the "street price", via large vendors who sell juicers on the Web, is about $380 plus shipping.  Do NOT let a vendor talk you into buying a "Green Power" (by the same company) rather than the Green Life.  Green Power is not the same; not as sturdy, although it costs a bit more.
 

Some Guidelines on Juice Storage

Based upon the trials and studies described on other pages (see links on this page) on this site, and upon general current knowledge, here are recommendations for storing fresh raw vegetable juice beyond the time of juicing:

  • When juicing, use a twin-gear juicer only, or a twin-gear juicer followed by a Norwalk press only. 
  • When juicing for storage, try to use only fresh organic vegetables.  Studies show that these usually start out with higher levels of antioxidants, as well as higher levels of minerals and other nutrients.
  • Immediately after juicing, juice must be decanted into small bottles and then immediately refrigerated.  If storing more than 4 bottles in the refrigerator at once, consider placing a few refrigerant gel packs from the freezer near them to speed the chilling process.
  • The juice must be stored in thick-walled plastic HDPE bottles or glass bottles, each with tight-fitting, air-tight, screw-cap seals. 
  • The best plastic storage containers seem to be wide-mouth 8 and 16 ounce Nalgene containers (they usually are milky in color) with screw caps (usually blue) which fit tightly.  These containers are sold in sporting goods stores for carrying water for camping; these containers have thick HDPE walls, and the screw caps fit tightly, forming an airtight seal.
  • The best glass storage containers seem to be those usually recommended by Aajonus Vonderplanitz -- 8-ounce and 16-ounce glass "jelly" canning jars made by Ball, with tight-fitting metal screw lids.
  • Thin-wall plastic containers such as those in which fruit smoothies are sold, or the thin plastic jugs in which milk is sold, are unusable due to the thin plastic walls, which allow too-rapid an incursion of oxygen as well as too-rapid an escape of the primary antioxidants (H- ions and the H2 breakdown products), as well as the fact that the caps allow some air incursion as well.
  • The bottles must be filled all the way to the top, leaving little or no airspace at top.
  • The size of the bottle or container must be small enough that once it is opened and some contents used, the remainder of the contents must be used within 8 hours to prevent oxidative damage.  Thus, for most users, 8 ounce or 16 ounce containers or bottles will be needed.  Do not use large containers, as the airspace above the juice, as the container is slowly emptied over time, will allow rapid degradation of juice due to presence of oxygen in the air as well as other factors.
  • Again, it bears repeating: DO NOT use thin-walled containers such as those in which milk is sold in stores, or in which carrot juice and smoothies are sold in natural foods stores.  DO NOT use large containers.  DO NOT leave airspace over juice of more than 1 to 3 mm.
  • If you will be storing the juice for 3.5 days or less (and you started with organic vegetables and used a twin-gear juicer), then it appears that you can safely store the juice as-is, without any added antioxidants, although it appears the addition of MegaH™ (aka MegaH-™) as an antioxidant will help further improve quality.
  • If you plan on storing the juice for longer than 3.5 days, or have used non-organic vegetables, or wish even fresher juice quality, then this author recommends use of  MegaH™ (aka MegaH-™) as an antioxidant at the rate of 250 mg (1 capsule equiv.) per gallon, well-mixed into the bulk container or pitcher before decanting into bottles.  This should extend the useful life of the juice to at least 7 days from time of juicing.
For more information on raw juice storage, including use of H-ion donor antioxidants to increase storage time, please see these on-site pages:
How Long Will Fresh Raw Vegetable Juice Keep its Nutritional Value Under Refrigeration?
This set of articles includes recommendations on which juicer to use, juicing tips, storage, research results as well as anecdotal findings regarding maximal storage time of fresh raw juices in the refrigerator, and the use of unique antioxidants to lengthen useful life of nutrients in raw juice.
Summary In Plain English -- Summarizes some current recommendations, along with results and meaning of the storage time (versus oxidative damage) study below and some previous studies on raw juice storage.
Research Study -- A Measure of Oxidative Degradation Over Time of High-quality Fresh Raw Vegetable Juice Stored Under Refrigeration: A Comparison of Refrigerated Stored Untreated Raw Juice with Raw Juice Treated with a Hydride (H-)-donor Antioxidant, both measured across time.


Donations and Support for this Website

This freely-offered educational website has been totally self-supported by the author, Vinny Pinto, since its inception (and many of my websites were started between August 2000 and June 2003). While I offer the content on this website freely, as a gift to all from my heart, it is quite obvious that not only did my research in these realms (and also my training, including formal education, that allowed me to offer this material in the first place) incur costs, but there are also monthly and yearly costs associated with web hosting, domain registration, etc. As you have likely noticed, I have chosen not to accept any advertising on any of my websites. As a result of all of these factors, any funds that you might choose to donate toward supporting my research work and this site will be very much appreciated.

Thus, I am seeking donations to help me to support this site -- even two dollars helps! If you wish to donate, you may do so by using your credit card, ATM card, debit card, or transfer from your bank account, via fully secure means. To make a donation, please go to the Donations and Support page ! All transactions are secure; in all cases, you get to choose the donation amount!

     Thank you very much!
     Vinny

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