My son will eat peas and my daughter will eat raw carrots. Anything else they think is poisonous, will make them come out in spots or will make them more likely to be eaten when the dragon who lives under the stairs is looking for a midnight snack. We consistently put vegetables on their plate and insist that they eat at least some small portion of it, but spend most of the time hiding veg in sauces and soups.

One easy way to make sure they do get some of the nutrition they need is to supplement vegetable intake by drinking veg juice. I say “supplement” because there has been only limited research done on the nutritional value of veg juice versus raw vegetables. I’ll cover this off further down the post. Firstly, let me tell you how I get my kids to drink veg juice.

There are juicers and there are juicers.

lequip_omni_juicerFirst you need a juicer. We had a centrifugal juicer (Kenwood bought for around £30) for a number of years which worked OK, but was not brilliant for producing enough juice for the family in one go. After a massive amount of research, I figured I would need to pay a little more and invest in a slow geared masticating (auger) version. I finally went for the L’Equip Omni Auger (pictured here, approx £180) which was not exactly cheap, but if you have read enough of my posts you know I am a great ‘you get what you pay for’ advocate.

Now my kids and I were massively enthusiastic about squashing up some fruit and veg with our newly purchased gadget. I think this comes from youthful excitement and a wish to experiment. Most women I have met seem to have grown out of this and don’t get the same buzz.. Maybe men never actually grow up? Anyway, in went the peeled and chopped carrots and ginger. The result was awesome although, for children less ginger works better.

Next we tried adding fruit to sweeten the veg juices. It seems I can add pretty much any veg to a couple of apples and maybe some pineapple and the kids will drink it, unless it turns out green. Like a lot of youngsters, my two have a pathological fear of eating anything green.

Some recipes that we use

I always try and use organically grown vegetables. They are a little more expensive but we really don’t know what the long term effects are of using pesticides and chemical based fertilizers.

Carrot and Ginger (about 1cm cube ginger to 10 carrots for the kids)

Carrot and apple

Carrot, apple and pineapple

Spinach, apple and lemon

Carrot, celery and tomato

Any fruit we have lying around

What’s the difference between Masticating and Centrifuging?

Masticating juicers typically have a horizontal design in which a tube containing the auger extends out of motorized base. Pieces of fruits and vegetables are pushed into the top of the tube, and they are crushed and squeezed by the auger. Juice drains out of the underside of the tube, while the pulp is squeezed out at the end of the tube.

A centrifugal juicer is the most common type of juicer you see in stores, probably because they are cheaper. A centrifugal juicer spins at high speeds and during the spinning motion, the vegetables that you have shoved down the chute are ground to a pulp. The spinning motion then forces the juice away from the pulp.

Why it is worth spending extra on a masticating (auger) juicer?

Because of the slower crushing and squeezing action, masticating juicers can process leafy greens and wheat grass

The juice produced will last much longer than juice made in a centrifugal juicer because the vegetables are less traumatised by friction and heat, maintaining a higher nutritional structure.

Masticating juicers tend to be easier to clean because the pulp is not rammed into the sieve component.

Squeezing the veg generally produces more juice than centrifugal force can.

You don’t need to force the veg into the machine making it easier to make large amounts.

Raw vegetables versus Vegetable juice

This is a tricky one… does drinking vegetable juice give you the same benefits as eating the raw veg? You damage the nutritional composition of any food as soon as you cook it, mash it, pulp it or squeeze it.  Taking this into account you would think that that juicing is not as good as eating raw. On the flip-side, juicing removes indigestible fibre making it easier for your body to absorb more of the nutritional goodies. Does one offset the other? Who knows?

I have looked at 5 studies and they all contradict each other. What they all do agree on though is supplementing your vegetable intake with vegetable juice has many nutritional benefits, improving general health and reducing the risk of medical problems.

Vegetables have phytochemicals, which have been found to protect cells from damage and help fight disease. It is stated in multiple journals that these biochemical substances may prevent and fight against heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, allergies and digestive system ailments. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine, reports that both vegetable and fruit juice may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease due to the phytochemical polyphenol. Not only does juicing provide more of these phytochemicals, it also provides the body with more water.

Do your own research and I doubt you will find many down-sides with juicing.

If you have tried juicing or the L’Equip Omni juicer let us know how you got on by dropping a comment below.