Since the launch of the 30-Day Juicing Challenge – I’ve had a lot of questions about the benefits of juicing compared to blending. Essentially the smoothie versus raw juice. And while I don’t consider myself an expert on the matter (I’ve only been working with a juicer for 3 years), I have done a fair amount of research and have formed the following opinions. Each has its own benefits over the other, and a combination of the two can be the perfect addition to enhance a healthy life.
The bottom line — they can both be excellent health inducers!
Benefits of Juicing
So the term “juicing” really means you put some veggies, and really only a few fruits (particularly green apples) in a juicer that obliterates the vegetable. It separates the juice of the veggie, with all its fresh, raw enzymes, alkalizing power and antioxidants from anything that requires work to digest. Raw, fresh juice has bioavailability of top notch nutrition that can’t really be matched. Be sure to drink juice on an empty stomach to ensure the best absorption of vitamins, minerals and phytochemical power.
Downfall of Juicing
The pitfall here is that when the juicers pulls out the fresh juice, it also creates a lot of waste. By separating the juice from the rest of the vegetable, you do lose the fiber and some additional nutrition that gets swept away. The best way to manage this is to find clever recipes that use up the pulp, so you still get the benefits. Juicing also takes a while. There is veggie prep, pulp disposal, cleaning that can take 15 min from start to finish. Here are some time saving juicing tips, but this can be a barrier to the healthy daily habit.
Raw juice is hip! We are starting to see more and more ready-to-go products at the grocery store. This is good — in a way. Learn to be label conscious. Because the concept is rapidly growing in popularity lately, there is still a lot of converting of consumer beliefs to be done. Those of you who love your Green Juice, are probably used to the occasional funny look, or maybe even “eww that’s gross” comment. To ease this, manufactures have put a lot of extra fruit in a lot of these ready to go juices to make them more palatable. This increases the sugar content and hence calories quite a bit! Many of those juices, once you factor in the serving size can have ~300 calories, which is essentially a meal replacement. But there is no protein or fat for satiation, so you can really bump up your calories without the best nutritional return.
Label Tip: Check serving size, calories, sugar content and ingredients. If it has unnecessary “fruit puree” and over 200 calories, you may want to skip it and look for something on the lower end of the sugar scale.
My Favorite Juice Recipes
Benefits of Blending
So if you use a blender to pulverize your fruits and vegetables, then you are making smoothies essentially, not so much “juice.” And that is good too! Smoothies and blending tend to use more fruits than vegetables, mostly because most vegetables are a bit too fibrous for the blender and fruits are a bit to soft for the juicer. This also makes them higher in calories. But you can also sneak in other ingredients like tofu, greek yogurt or milk, that do provide protein and fat, making them more suitable for meal replacements.
Jamba Juice and other popular smoothie bars can be your friend or foe. Fruits are ultimately good for you. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who gained 100 lbs from eating too many berries and bananas. But, on the flip side, they are an excellent source of sugar. And excess sugar in any form, can turn into fat. The extra large smoothies that are often served can top 500 calories pretty quick, so be aware of your portion size and ingredients.
My Favorite Smoothie Recipes
Best Recommendation for Juicing vs. Blending
Use a combination of the two. Green juice first thing in the morning can be an excellent way to kick start your day. If you skipped it, and you find yourself wanting to boost your nutrition later in the day, then a smoothie can be great option for the added fiber and potential protein and satiation they can provide. Ultimately, if you’re getting in the recommend 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, you’re ahead of the nation, see below.
So do you like juicing or blending better and why?