I’ve heard a lot about it. Friends have recommended it to me. Over the weekend, I finally tried it. Suja Juice! The ONE 16 oz. bottle I bought was $8.99 at Whole Foods, and to be honest with you, I didn’t feel totally ripped off. I’ll tell you why a little later in the post.
First, let’s talk about juicing in general. It may be the most buzzed about trend in health, and also the most misunderstood. I’m certainly no expert. Even after introducing fresh pressed juice into my life over a year ago, I always have new questions. There are a 2 things, however, I take as fact:
Not All Juice is Created Equal: The juice you buy in the milk cooler, say Tropicana or even most “healthier” juices in the drink aisle like Pom Wonderful, are usually pasteurized and sweetened with some form of added sugar. Pasteurization itself is a contentious subject. The process brings liquids, like juice and milk, to super hot temperatures, then recools them quickly, increasing shelf-life and reducing the likelihood of food poisoning. The bad part? Along with bugs and other bad stuff that might make us sick, pasteurization also destroys a lot of the good stuff in raw foods, too. What we’re left with is usually nothing more than sugar-water.
Juice “Cleanses” and “Fasts” Aren’t For Everyone: There are plenty of success stories about people who have juiced exclusively for 3 days or a week or a month or 3 months… and lost a whole crap load of weight. The documentary “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” is a good example. I’m not bashing the movie. I’ve seen it. I think it’s a great learning tool, and for the extremely overweight, juicing may be a good way to boost a longer weight loss journey. But in my experience, juice fasts/cleanses make people crazy, myself included. There’s something about not being able to chew your food that makes you want to murder the world. That being said, I think fresh-pressed juice has its place. It’s an easy way to get a high concentration of vitamins and minerals. But keep in mind, juice is not complete nutrition. It’s largely void of fiber. Most Americans are already deficient in fiber, which helps regulate your appetite. Ditto for protein. So, when deciding between juice and a salad, it might be better to just eat the salad.
You know what works best for your body. I already eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but I like to drink my own fresh-pressed fruit & veggie juice when:
- I feel an illness coming on
- I have a particularly raucous night, and I need to help my liver & kidneys get shit done
- I eat too much, and I need my pants to fit again
- I have an occassion coming up, and I want to look and feel especially hot
Okay, back Suja. The first time I noticed it, I was at a very busy Whole Foods location in Chicago. I was browsing the kombucha, and the woman next to me, who was obviously on her lunch break said out loud, “Holy shit! That’s some expensive-ass juice!”. She was right. One 16 oz. bottle of Suja can run you $10.
There’s a reason they charge you so much. First, this is cold-pressed, raw juice… just like the stuff you’d make with your juicer at home. Pasteurization doesn’t come into play, which means nutrients are preserved. Instead, to extend shelf life, they use something called High Hydrostatic Pressure processing or HPP. Sounds fancy, right?
The other reason this juice is so expensive is because Suja is using all organic, non-GMO ingredients, which tend to be pricier. Include the fact that they’re doing all the work for you, and you don’t have to wash a juicer, and the $10 might be worth it.
I enjoyed my first bottle for breakfast the way I do most morning meals – behind the wheel of my car on the way to work.
Don’t worry, I promise I was parked when I took the pictures (despite the big “D” on the dashboard). Suja has at least 10 varieties, which are meant to be taken in a specific order when on one of their cleanses. I chose “Glow”, which includes apple, greens, and peppermint. The verdict? It tasted almost exactly like juices I’ve made before on my own. Clean. Refreshing. It wasn’t too sweet. I had trouble detecting the peppermint, but I definitely caught the unmistakable spice of kale, which I actually like. What really gets me is the marketing. The bottles and the colors of the juices couldn’t be more beautiful. I wouldn’t buy these all the time because of the price, but I can see myself throwing down another $8-$10 for another flavor at some point down the road.
Until then, I just might dust off the juicer hiding in my cabinet to save a little cash. Check this out. Suja puts the recipe for each bottle of juice right there on the side of the container! I imagine if you wanted to try your own Suja cleanse at home, you totally could. Now all I need is a maid to clean my juicer.