Juicing versus blending seems to be the ongoing debate amongst raw foodies and general health junkies. Juiceries and smoothie places are popping up at every corner - no matter where in the world you are! Some people swear by their fresh pressed juice every morning, others would never touch a juice and only blend veggies and fruit into smoothies. Let’s look at the differences between the two and see how you can use both to benefit your health!
Blending into a smoothie:
When you make a smoothie, you combine vegetables, fruit, maybe dairy or nut milk, plus other extras such as superfoods into a delicious, creamy smoothie. This will almost be like a meal replacement, depending on how many extras you have added (think adding oats to your breakfast smoothie).
When you blend the whole fruit and vegetable, you keep the fiber content of your drink high. Although the fiber will be broken down slightly by the blades, you will see a very positive impact on your digestive system, especially when you start green smoothies! The fiber will also help to keep you full for long, making a smoothie a great snack throughout the day. Another benefit is that you can add superfoods, such as maca powder or chia seeds, which you may otherwise find hard to incorporate into your diet.
I personally love making green smoothies, which is a great way to add more leafy greens to your diet without having to eat like a rabbit.
You need a blender in order to make yourself a smoothie, where all ingredients get mixed together. A food processor can also do the trick for smaller amounts in case you don’t want to buy a separate blender.
Juicing into juices:
When you make a juice, you need a proper juicer. These are becoming more main stream and most people may have purchased one at some point on sale, which is now catching dust in storage somewhere.
You can only juice vegetables and fruit, there are no other ingredients added to a pure juice. When you juice, the fiber and the liquid get separated. The fiber is the leftover pulp, which is often just thrown out (unless you want to get creative with it and make it into veggies crisps in the dehydrator :-)). The liquid juice contains pure minerals and vitamins plus fruit and vegetable sugars for energy.
Depending on what kind of juicer you have (see the chart below), it may be easy or difficult to juice leafy greens. Commercial juiceries will often add a lot of fruit to make the juice taste good. The downside is that because there is no fiber in the juice, the juice gets digested very quickly. With a lot of sugary fruit inside, this means your blood sugar gets spiked and you will feel a quick energy boost, followed by a crash, leaving you feeling tired and exhausted. This is why you want the majority of your juicing to be vegetables, rather than fruit. The lack of fiber can be an added bonus for your digestive system in this case: because the juice does not need any digesting, you give your digestive system a little break, when it usually works 24/7. This is why juice cleanses have become so popular. A definite plus, though, is the instant nutrient boost you can get from a juice. If you are feeling low and depleted, a juice can help to instantly flood your system with vitamins and minerals.
I personally most often juice in the winter time as an extra immune booster and when I am extremely dehydrated after a long workout session. See a juice more as a shot of medicine with concentrated nutrients, rather than a drink you have with your meal.
There are different kinds of juicers. Depending on how serious you take your juicing business, you may want to invest more or less. If you are just starting out, definitely go for a cheaper option, and see if you enjoy juicing. It may not be something you do daily, but once in a while as an extra boost. On top of that consider the clean up time! Juicers need to be completely taken apart and cleaned properly after every use, which can be a nuisance. Here is a quick cheat sheet to help you make your juicer buying decision easier:
Instant Energy Juice
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Makes 2 servings:
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 green apple
- 1 Lebanese cucumber (small cucumber)
- 1 lime with peel (if organic, otherwise peel it)
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups kale
- 1 cup parsley
Chop everything so you can feed it into the juicer. Best if you drink it right away.
Here is to an instant energy boost!
Also check out these posts of the raw food series:
Part 1: Raw cauliflower tabbouleh and the definition of raw foods
Part 2: The perfect green smoothie every time with the help of this cheat sheet
Part 3: Nuts about nuts plus a delicious veggie wrap with sunflower seed pâté
Part 4: Spiralizing - a raw foodie's best friend plus creamy zucchini noodles