Cold off the press: The trend that is slow juicing

September Grace Mahino (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In a discussion between friends about Beyonce Knowles’ laws-of-physics-defying hair whips at the recent Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, the prowess of Mrs. Carter’s first-class wind machine was brought up. My friend, photographer Tammy David, immediately claimed, “I want a wind machine too!” A beat. “After I get a juicer!”

The juicer: a modern-day necessity that covers the scopes of both health and aesthetics. For years, nutrition experts (as well as pseudo-experts) have been espousing the benefits of investing in a juicer to help augment one’s daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Especially for picky eaters, juicing helps acquaint the body with a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those that most people would consume unwillingly in the produce’s natural state. Juicing also helps “pre-digest” these fruits and vegetables, making their nutrients more easily absorbed by the body, thus giving the digestive system a bit of rest. Its advantages, as Jack LaLanne has shown in his lifetime, are boosted immunity levels, weight loss, a cleansed digestive system, and even cancer prevention.

But the juicing movement has long since evolved from being a matter of purchasing a juicer and grinding down apples, celery, carrots and everything else down into a bottle of thick, pulpy goodness. There is now “slow juicing:” a term that sounds like something from a ‘90s RnB jam, but is actually touted as a more effective process of drinking up your daily dose of fruit and vegetables.

Slow juicing, as its name implies, takes longer than conventional juicing, as slow juicers have smaller feeding chutes that can take in only cut-up pieces of fruit and veggies. These machines also operate at a lower speed — their augurs turn at 75-160 revs per minute (RPM), thus barely producing heat. The lack of heat in the process keeps valuable nutrients and enzymes intact and with integrity for up to 48 to 72 hours after extraction, and has earned slow juicing its alternative name, cold press juicing.

 â€œIt’s been a trend since 2011,” Tammy says (yes, she has since got herself a fancy juicer). “When I visited my sister in New York, I could not believe the amount of cold press bars around the city.” Local cold press juice chains have been mushrooming around New York –– even Starbucks joined the fray with its own Evolution Fresh line. BluePrint Juice, the company behind what has been dubbed as the “best juice cleanse,” is grossing more than $20 million a year according to the New York Times. At the end of the month, the 2010 documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which is about Australian Joe Cross‘s 60-day juice fast, will hold a couple of exclusive screenings in Manila.

“I really think it’s a ploy, and the ‘hype’ is working,” Tammy continues. “Even Oprah is into it, the Wall Street Journal (had a story) about expensive juicers, and the star of the documentary is a brand of slow juicer.”

Still, for a trend to have legs, it needs to be built on something fundamentally good. “I’ve seen a lot of people who changed their lifestyle because of juicing in general, so I’m not complaining,” concedes Tammy. From a borrowed Black and Decker juicer, she has since invested in a P15,000  Hurom Slow Juicer last March. “My motivations are to lose weight and improve my skin. I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight yet but juicing has improved my digestion, and I love the fact I’ve increased my vegetable intake.“

Tanya Guerrero, whose diet is primarily vegetarian with the occasional seafood, was also attracted to the nutritional benefits that slow juicing promises. She has been juicing for only a little over two weeks, supplemented by a low-carb diet, and shares, “I have lost five pounds so far.”

Aside from preserving nutrients in fruits and vegetables, slow juicers make it possible for users to make their own nut-based milks. Slow juicers are also more efficient in processing leafy greens, a plus factor for green juice aficionados.

But as with anything popular, there are dissenting voices. With conventional juicers already coming with no-joke price tags, the steeper prices of slow juicers make slow juicing sound like something Gwyneth Paltrow would condescendingly recommend in GOOP (let’s face it, she probably cold presses her organic produce). “If you’re juicing in the first place, then you’re already good,” a commenter posted in a Huffington Post piece that compared centrifugal (conventional) juicers against cold press ones. “My slow juicer is really so expensive that when I look like it, I always think, ‘You could have been a nice mini-iPad,” Tammy half-jokes. Others have also voiced their concerns over the reduced amount of pulp in freshly pressed juice. “It’s like drinking sugar water,” another HuffPo commenter remarked.

Slow juicers are able to extract more juice, though. “The juice is less foamy, and the pulp looks much drier,” Tanya observes. “Regular juicers are more convenient since you can put a whole fruit inside, but otherwise, the slow juicer seems superior,” she concludes.

Maybe this is the way to look at it: getting into juicing with a more affordable conventional juicer is already a winning move health-wise. Slow juicing is just the next level.

Tammy advises, “I recommend meal replacement (with cold pressed juice) especially for those who don’t eat a lot of vegetables. I used to hate veggies but juicing them makes them tolerable and tasty, especially when the juice is cold.”

“It isn’t a quick fix for weight loss, especially if you’re older and have a slower metabolism,” Tanya adds. “But along with a healthy diet, most people would probably lose weight with it.” And that’s a good enough incentive to add more liquid veggies and fruits into your diet.

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