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Not getting enough fruits and veggies? Try drinking them

Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix th...

A beginner's guide to juicing

Juicing is a popular way to increase your consumption of healthy fruits and veggies, especially for those who don't like certain healthy foods. You can still benefit from their vitamins and minerals while masking them with other fruits or veggies you like better. Before you hop aboard the juicing train, though, there are a few things you should know.

More: 5 healthy homemade juice blends to start off the new year right

1. Don't blow a lot of cash on a juicer… yet

Until you know you're really committed to juicing, buy the best-reviewed juicer within your budget.

2. Read the instructions

Make sure you read the instructions on your juicer. You may have a different setting for soft versus hard produce.

3. Educate yourself about the benefits of different juices

Many juices can help combat the ill effects of certain health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

4. Find lots of reputable recipes

Not only does it allow you to try different things until you find something you like, but also it will keep you from getting bored and make sure you get a variety of nutrients.

More: 4 tasty green smoothie recipes to start your morning the healthy way

5. Juicing apps do exist, and they make it easier to find recipes and shop

Try 101 Juice Recipes, which allows you to search for recipes (including those for specific health conditions), save recipes, create shopping lists and watch video tutorials.

6. Pick better produce

Remember that when juicing, you're eating it raw, meaning quality counts. Try to opt for organic to avoid pesticides that may not fully wash off.

7. Wash your produce

Regardless of what type of produce you buy, make sure you wash it well to ensure it's not contaminated with bacteria.

8. Fruits are tasty, but veggies are healthier

Fruits contain a lot of sugar, natural or not. So make sure to include lots of veggies in your juicing routine.

9. Learn what you can juice and what you can't

The list is short, but some produce can't be juiced (such as avocados). But the good news is, some parts of produce you normally wouldn't eat are (such as watermelon rinds).

10. Line the pulp basket (if you have one)

Cleanup is much faster if you line the pulp basket with a plastic bag.

11. Cut or tear your produce as you go

If it's too large to go through the juicer whole, cut or tear it just before feeding it in. Produce begins to lose nutrients the minute you cut it open.

12. Re-juice your pulp

If the pulp is still damp after you've finished juicing, you can get even more juice and nutrients by re-juicing the pulp.

13. Or use the pulp for something else

You can also use the pulp to add fiber to smoothies, add nutrients to muffins, compost for your garden, feed your dogs or make doggie biscuits, and more.

14. Sweeten it up right

If you feel your juice needs a little sweetness to make it appetizing, opt for Stevia or extra fruit instead of sugar.

15. Or opt for local honey

If you have allergies, adding a little honey made from local bees can help with your allergies, which is well worth the extra sugar.

More: 5 mixed juice drinks to boost your immune system

16. Or maybe you want to salt it?

Normally, people talking about healthy foods want you to reduce salt, but a dash of mineral-rich sea salt not only gives you access to those minerals, but also it makes most juices taste a lot better.

17. Only make as much as you want

Only make enough for what you'll drink right then. Storing it in the fridge is OK, but it does start to lose nutrients pretty quickly once it's been juiced, and it gets kind of sugary.

18. Chew your juice

What?! Stay with us here — your saliva plays an important role in digestion, so "chewing it" to combine it with saliva will ensure you have fewer digestion issues.

19. Drink green juice on an empty stomach if you need to

Some people feel a bit nauseated if they ingest all those great nutrients after eating a full breakfast. If that's you, drink it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.

20. Clean your juicer

I know this sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how often it's overlooked. Clean every nook and cranny to make sure it doesn't become a breeding ground for bacteria.

20. Pay attention to your body

If juicing can make you feel better, it stands to reason that it could also have other side effects. For example, too many carrots can make you turn orange (seriously… happened to someone I know). If you have any side effects that concern you, discuss them with your doctor. They may be an indicator of something more serious that's wrong with your body.

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