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Why Juicing Is SO Permaculture

I resisted juicing for a long time because I thought it was an extreme activity carried out by obsessive health-food freaks. There was no way I was going to touch that pond water, no matter how many overly-happy people were drinking it and posting photos on Facebook.

Then I got sick with a condition called Actinomycosis. Two years of heavy duty antibiotics (which probably kept me alive but didn’t cure me) left me debilitated and depressed. I did not think I would ever get better. When the acute phase passed, I stopped taking the antibiotics and exhausted any natural cures that I could find out about, but I remained sick.

Then I watched a couple of convincing documentaries about juicing and decided to give it a go.

Two weeks after I began my foray with the green stuff, the symptoms of the illness all but disappeared. My energy came back, the lesions disappeared and my balance returned. Since that time, juicing has become a way of life for me and I have really deepened my relationship with it.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by the taste of the concoctions. They taste like health in a glass, so pure, fresh and delicious. I use seasonal fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden in the combinations that they grow in. Since I grow most of my own veggies, I can pick juice and drink them quickly, getting those enzymes and vitamins into my gut within 5 minutes.

Juicing has become integral to my permaculture lifestyle because it allows me to apply the principles so easily.

Here’s why:

Turn waste into resources

I can use even the scrappiest and insect eaten remains to create a gourmet juice — no one would ever know. Of course, if there are fresh vibrant fruits and veg available I would use them first, but the sadder looking produce in my garden still contains way more nutrients than the perfect looking things on supermarket shelves.

Courgettes in abundance are no longer overwhelming — they provide a delicious watery base for more intense flavours of a daily juice. Don’t let the mild flavour of courgettes fool you, they are full of powerful health benefits. Use them in place of cucumbers in your juices.

I add seedlings that I have thinned out. They are surprisingly nutrient-dense also. Making use of them makes me feel that their short life has not been in vain.

The pulp that is leftover from juicing acts like a compost accelerant and mixed with greens and browns from the garden, turns into beautiful, fluffy soil within a few months. This totally speeds up the composting process because it is so broken down.

Pulp is also excellent for soups and stews, vegetable stock or to feed the chickens.

Use and value diversity

Each juice I make combines at least 6 different kinds vegetables and fruit. There are probably more vegetables in one glass than I used to have in one day. Packed full of superfoods and containing a diverse range of nutrients, each glass of juice serves to keep my intestinal flora in good shape and gives my body everything it needs to function really well. Then, when I use a specific herb or remedy to do a specific job, my body can really get to work with it.

Use and value renewable resources — the best nutrition is often found in the edges

Many foraged plants, fruits, weeds and berries can be used in juicing to provide heaps of vital nutrition that is hard to get in cultivated plants. For instance, dandelions provide folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. Added to other veg and fruit, the astringent taste is not such a bitter pill to swallow.

Foraging also really helps to hone our skills of observation and interaction in our efforts to catch and store energy.

The nutrients required by the body are the same as the nutrients required by the soil. Giving your body an extensive smorgasbord of nutrients is exactly the same as soil building. Great things will grow in your life.


Soup from carrot, orange and ginger pulp

Integrate rather than segregate

Like any new project, start small and go slow — don’t overwhelm your system. Work it in with what you are already doing. If you go from one extreme to the other, it’s like pouring tons of water into a dry plant pot, it will all run out of the bottom! This is feedback you will definitely want to respond to!

Use least effort and energy — create more time

Juicing is also a brilliant time-saver. There is no way you would be able to prepare and chomp your way through all the veggies that go into one breakfast drink in the time it takes to pick, juice, drink and clean up the juicer. The energy required to power a juicer is much less than powering an oven.

It is the best fast food available!

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a juicer as some would have you believe. I certainly didn’t. You can probably pick up a secondhand one. Lots of people go through phases of juicing.

There are also people who will tell you that only certain types of juicers will give you health results. Also not true. I don’t have a fancy, smancy one. It’s actually nature that works the magic, not the juicer.

Sad to say, I am now one of those people who proudly post the odd photo of my glorious juice on Facebook and I am an absolute convert! I am also enjoying sparkling health and lots energy. Six months on and I am totally well.

22 Comments

  1. I’ve always looked on juicing with a bit of an eye-roll, but this article has made me realize that a lot of the fruit that gets ignored around here because it’s not terribly palatable (painfully acidic wild grapes, crab apples, sand cherries, quince, etc.) could work quite well for juicing. Those tart specimens + veggies and herbs, etc. would sidestep one of my reservations about juicing–that it would be an excessive and too-easily-digestible (because processed) sugar load. I have somewhat impaired glucose tolerance, so I try not to pour tons of sugary juices down my gullet on a regular basis, but if I could make something palatable without too much highly cultivated sugary fruit, I’d be in good shape. I’ve also thought about pureeing it all and using it as a marinade or a sort of sauce for meats, or as part of a salad dressing, maybe. Right now it mostly goes to the chickens and our native wildlife; the sugar issue means I don’t really want to make jam out of it either. Sometimes I slip bits of it into batches of more palatable stuff, like unsweetened apple sauce from our grafted trees, but that can only handle a relatively small quantity before it starts affecting the taste too much.

  2. Nice article, juicing some of the not so great fruit and veggies is a way to use some of your surplus. I also find just making smoothies with greens (any including herbs), fruit and veggies a great way to get a quick meal in using your garden produce.

    Tip: If you have a blender, try to unscrew the base of the glass container and screw it right on to a mason jar filled with your materials, blend away and take with you….that’s what I call Fast Food.

  3. Hi
    Iv’e been thinking about getting nutribullet they claim the extract and pulverize everything where as most juicers leave a lot behind

    1. After I retired I managed to elevate my weight to more than 20 st.(280 Llbs.).In three months with an extra pint of green smoothie on top of my normal intake,I lost 32Llbs.,magnificent!

  4. Love your article! What a wonderful story… I always wanted to have a juicer, but I do not know why I have not gotten yet.. I think now I am fully convinced!

  5. Hey thats, ive been through a juice moment too. Ive alway been lead to belive that you leave all pulp (Fibre) behind which is needed to a wholesome drink. You could always add some powdered fibre.

    Cheers

  6. You can also use the pulp instead of meat in rissoles, or extend the tuna or salmon in rissoles. Just add one more egg to help it bind, and roll in something like sesame seeds? They taste great.

  7. This is so surprising to me! My dream of owning a Permaculture styled small farm has always been so that I could live amongst all that health and abundance. Juicing, use of natural herbs, and “eating the weeds”, and simply learning all of what nature provides were always my top priorities. Of course, hopefully I can also make a living at it. I guess I’ve been somewhat naive in thinking that other Permaculture practitioners began for the same reasons. Now I’m curious to know what really does drive most people to permaculture? Maybe a good topic for a future article? Anyways, congratulations on your new found health!

  8. I keep falling off the juicing bandwagon probably because I never really climbed on board properly! Your article and experience has inspired me to renew my most recent commitment to juicing daily. I really need and want those health benefits, plus more reason/excuse to get stuck into gardening more.

  9. I never did get myself a Champion or similar expensive but awesome juicer… it seems so much money… so i bought one that cost half the more expensive n=brand, but it spits out all the fibre…
    I just found a little one that looks similar to the “bullet” juicers, but it is a health food shop self-brand… It says upfront that it wont do ice or carrots, etc, and the blade simply isn’t sharp, but it does very well with frozen fruit for smoothies, and any herbs that are thrown in, along with softer veges and goji berries and LSA etc… (I read somewhere else, too, that zuccinis are supremely rich in nutritional goodies, so I will make better use of them :-)), and dandelions… for sure! I’ve been using my little machine almost daily since I bought it a month ago, and love it! Wish it did carrots, but they say that slightly cooked carrots have nutrients more available in some instances… and I can always just chew a carrot! :-) Still, for carrot juice addicts, a sharper-bladed beast would be required, and once I know I really will stick to the liquid health diet, I may well invest in a carrot juicer, too :-) And, yes… you really xan feel your body saying “thank you” :-)

    1. Oh… oops… already have the other juicer that spits out pulp, so I can still do my carrot juicing… and then use the pulp for rissoles etc as Kerry suggested :-)

  10. I had a whole host of health related stomach issues pop up out of the blue after 45 years of processed foods. First it seemed to be the catch all diagnosis, “IBS”. The tests, blood work, etc. We found I was lactose intolerant – problem solved. Not so fast, after getting on top of correcting my diet we found I was having issues again a few months later. Now running through the same drill and we find I am now allergic to soy. Try removing this ingredient from a processed food diet – not really possible. Well at this point the real journey to better health begins for my wife and I. Juicing came up on the radar even though that crazy guy with the monster eyebrows always seemed more like marketing. Well a few videos later online and we bought a tried and true workhorse juicer, the Champion. After this ball began rolling we have decided to leave California after 46 years and we are moving to Oregon with big plans to cut a majority of the negative corporate intrusion out of our lives. Our health has dramatically improved with juicing and a paleo diet. We limit nearly all our foods, if there is some sort of processing, to 5 ingredients or less and it has been a quick learning experience WOW this is not easy in a big city smothered in processed foods. So now we plan to homestead 5 acres, create a hand built Cob home, grow our own permaculture key line food forest, and if things go well a You pick it Farm. This just goes to show when you take ownership of the foods you introduce to your body and how you impact the environment life changing moments build momentum info a more happy and healthy life. We would never go back to our old ways even if we could and these changes have impacted our future to the point of a whole new lifestyle. Debt free, healthier, true freedom, and doing things that promote a healthy mind, body, and soul. When life gives you lemons a juicer may only be just the beginning.
    PS sorry for any grammer/typos since it is difficult to re check what I wrote on my phone

    1. PSx2
      I heard juicing gives you many more nutrients due to the lack of fiber. I read that many nutrients remain attached to the fiber we pass so juicing helps us absorb more of the benefits instead of needing to eat all the fiber and solids. I just wanted to add this in case someone reading this had reliable information to share. Than you

  11. Use an auger type extractor for sure, I have tried others and the augers are worth the money. Good amount of fibre, much kinder on enzymes ( if you want to feel alive, intake life). I too swear by juicing (also a convert), whenever any part of my health needs a pick me up, I juice. Immune system- no colds for 12 years now (no not one). PMT bowels- clean out. All genius. I make a vegie, and try to get different colour stuff in there, always put whatever leafy greens, inc cleavers, great weed for lymphatic system ( think immunity people), or anything in garden, a cruciferous veg, anything sprouted, a citrus, an apple pr pear for balance and garlic and chili. Like a super tomato soup (despite usual lack of tomato when out of season), not too sweet, highly versatile, and tasty. If it’s for a specific health challenge, try to go organic produce, and always that which is currently in season. And Robert, good on you, Inspiring and v positive. Grow all you juicy things!

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