Green juices and smoothies are so hot right now, and for very good reason! Made the right way, they are absolutely delicious, revitalizing and nourishing to our bodies. If you're new to the buzz, rest assured it ain't hype: smoothies and juices are the incredible, life giving elixir they are cracked up to be! They are kind to your digestive system, great for your skin, hair, eyes and immune system, anti aging, weight loss , detox and cleansing. Moreover, green smoothies and juices are a cost effective way to get and keep you and your family healthy. I love them because they promote REAL food. Sure, you can chuck all kinds of super powders and potions into your drinks, but fundamentally, blenders and juicers are all about fresh produce: their number one goal in life is to make your fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables SHINE!
Given it's #SMOVEMBER (your 30 day pre-summer smoothie challenge), and the month before Christmas and beach season really gets cranking, I thought it was high time I did a post on smoothies and juices - their benefits and differences, tips, and the best types of machines to invest in.
SO which is better, blending or juicing?
It's the classic debate among health lovers. The answer is, well… BOTH .. are fabulous (but different) ways to quench your body with loads of nutrient dense veggies! Both smoothies and freshly extracted vegetable juices offer better nutrient absorption than you'd get eating foods whole. They’re a delicious, quick way to download a massive amount of raw nutrients into your body every day.
Juicing is like an intravenous injection of pure goodness. A good quality juicer extracts the water and nutrients (the life and soul) from vegetables and fruits and discards the fibre ( which is great for veggie chips and the compost). Without all that fibre, you can consume a huge amount of pre-digested liquid nutrients on the go. This is awesome news because even those of us with the biggest appetites would struggle to munch on the equivalent amount of raw, whole veggies and fruits in one sitting.
Juicing is also great because it allows you to make juice from 100% vegetables. Using a juicer really brings the sweetness out of root veggies like carrots and beets, so there's no need to add heaps of fruit. With smoothies it's difficult (but not impossible) to avoid fruit. Imagine drinking a carrot and spinach smoothie with no added fruit! If you're trying to cut back on all forms of sugar including fructose, then juicing is a brilliant option for you.
Juicing is awesome all the time, but especially great in times of cleansing, detox, repair and renewal, or when overcoming illness, because veggie juice nourishes and restores the body at a cellular level. Because the juicer does all the work, concentrated nutrients are absorbed immediately into the bloodstream, and your body can concentrate it's efforts on other important healing and rejuvenating tasks.
Blending… blends! Crazy I know. Fresh fruit, leafy greens, superfoods, non-starchy vegetables*, herbs and spices can all be whizzed into delicious creative smoothie concoctions, fibre and all. If you struggle to eat enough fibre or greens, or your kids are fussy, smoothies are a sure fire way to sneak the good stuff into their diet. With blending you can get creative, as it's easier to add things like nut butters and superfoods which aren't always juicer-friendly. The blending process breaks down the fibre, making it easier to digest and encouraging a slow and steady release of nutrients into the blood stream, avoiding blood sugar spikes. Plus, the fibre helps keep your digestive system clean and running smoothly (it helps you poop!).
Smoothies are also really versatile - you can make them fresh and fruity, creamy and chocolatey or even savoury.
Smoothies are basically a drinkable fibre-filled fruit-and-veggie happy meal, and therefore they tend to be more filling (and economical!) than juices. It's a faster process and an easier clean up, and for these reasons I love smoothies in the morning before work, and my juices as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Here's a handy infographic from the amazing Kris Carr. I couldn't have put it better myself so I'm just using hers:
So that's the jist of it! When it comes to the juicing versus smoothies debate I think it comes down to personal preference. If it's within your means, I believe having both a blender and a juicer is the way to go. I'll usually have a smoothie in the morning and a juice as an afternoon pick-me-up - round about the time when the coffee craving kicks in!
Juicing and blending tips
Get the right gear, the first time
To get the most benefit from your juices and smoothies, it’s important to use the right equipment. Investing in a good-quality juicer and blender changed my life. I'm pretty careful with my money, but I'm also a quality fanatic- I like my appliances powerful, sleek and long lasting - after all I use them every day and I don't want to have to replace them!
Cheaper, centrifugal juicers shred the vegetables & fruits into pulp while the spinning motion pulls the juice through the mesh filter and out into the chute. This process introduces heat and oxygen and destroy the enzymes and nutrients in your fruits and vegetables (not ideal). You have to drink the juice immediately as your veggies start to go bad quickly when juiced this way.
A cold-press juicer (a.k.a slow juicer or masticating juicer) work a lot like our chompers, grinding and chewing up produce to break pulp down. The juice is then gently squeezed through a stainless steel screen. Masticating juicers produce more volume and a superior-quality juice, saving expense in the long-term. The machines themselves will also generally last longer. This is the kind of juicer I use and recommend to others.
The same goes for a blender. Since having a high speed blender I have made raw desserts, soups, nut milks, nut butters and smoothies galore. You can blend the unblendable - avocado pips, watermelon rind... the list goes on! The best blenders are powerful enough to liquefy fruits and veggies, yet are gentle on your produce so the enzymes don't heat up and deteriorate. My favourite blenders are the the Optimum, the Blendtec, the Vitamix and the Omniblend. I personally own, and recommend the Optimum Blender because it's Vitamix's best rival on price and quality.
So there you have it! What's your main squeeze? Juicing or blending?....
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