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Q&A: Catching up with the “Father of Juicing”

Jay Kordich juice man on TV
Jay and Linda Kordich, TV’s royal couple of juice

Organic Avenue stores and Cooler Cleanse bottles may be fairly common sightings now, but when 89-year-old Jay Kordich started juicing spinach in 1948, drinking a murky green liquid was not exactly normal.

But Kordich pressed on (ahem), spreading the gospel of juicing until he became an infomercial phenomenon in the ’90s, known as the “Juiceman” and the “Father of Juicing.” (And a little famous for his lush eyebrows!)

Now, as he enters his ninth decade, he’s back, with a new juicer, the PowerGrind Pro, and a recent book, Live Foods, Live Bodies, which he co-wrote with his wife and fellow juice proselytizer, Linda.

We caught up with the plant-powered couple to find out what their journey’s been like and what they’re hoping to add to the current juice conversation.

You’ve been juicing and advocating vegetarianism for decades. Did people think you were totally insane when you started?

Jay: Oh yeah, people thought we were kooky. They said, “You’re going to become vegetarians—and juice vegetarians on top of it?!” But we knew we were right; we know that life comes from plants.

Linda: I went to the same high school as Kris Kardashian, and there was a big joke going around, it was coming sort of from her group. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, that Linda, she’s a rabbit!” That’s what people used to call us in the ’70s, rabbits, which was really cruel. Nobody was eating salads then, but I was raised on vegetarian food, and it was very condescending to my commitment to vegetarianism. From 1981 until probably 1991, we really worked hard, living out of a van selling juicers and teaching people about juicing and vegetarian food.

Jay: We were there from the start.

PowerGrind ProWhy have you made juicing the main focus of your lifestyle and brand?

Jay: Every body is a juice machine, and most bodies are really inept at getting the juice out of the plant. You have to have great digestive juices to get it out, and every mouthful should be chewed 50 times. Basically, the old adage holds true—you are what you eat—but you’re more than that, you are what you absorb. When you’re juicing, you don’t have to worry about digestive juices, every stomach is getting 100 percent of the nutrients.

And what’s different and exciting about your new juicer, the PowerGrind Pro?

Linda: It’s taking the best of the really quick juicers and the best of slow juicing technology and merging them together. Fast juicers kill the enzymes, while cold-pressed juicers keep the enzymes. Our technology is a slow-grinding press-like juicer that delivers high-enzyme juice. It delivers a beautiful dark green juice that’s pulp-free and foam-free, which is impossible to get from any other slow juicer, and there’s only four parts to clean. You get the benefits of enzyme preservation, but it’s quick and easy to clean.

The cleaning issue is a big one for people juicing at home—and it can be off-putting to those intimidated by juicing. What advice would you give them?

Jay: One thing you want to do is make sure everything you make is simplified, so you can make it really easily and quickly.

Linda: Yes, it’s going to take some effort, but in our book, we really go into how to do it, and we simplify it. It’s about the produce: You buy it, you wash it, you store it, and then you juice it. You’re only talking an hour a week for organization, and then you’re prepared, and all you have to do daily is clean it. And take direction from experts.

The book really encompasses the whole vegan concept but it’s different because we talk about how to build an effective living kitchen. That’s one of the keys to understanding how to make it easy. —Lisa Elaine Held

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