Juices vs. Smoothies

Vitamix, Blendtec, Omega, Huron, juice, smoothie, green drink...aren't they all the same?  Most absolutely not! 

This may be question I am asked most often.  Fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit juices are a completely different being that their equally-famous cousin, the smoothie.  While I would not say that one is better than the other, I do contend that both are essential, yet very different, tools in the holistic healthy kitchen.

A fresh-pressed juice is the liquid of the plant, with all of the fiber and pulp (and some protein) removed.  This means that your body does not have to do the digestive work necessary to extract the nutrients from the plant, as they are absorbed directly into the blood stream, rebuilding cells within 15 minutes.  For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as vitamin “infusions.”  You can juice any plant that has juice to extract.  Fruits, vegetables and herbs are the most common juice ingredients.  Centrifugal juicers (most Breville models, Jack LaLanne) are less expensive but require that your juice be consumed right away; cold press or masticating juicers (Omega, Huron, Champion) can range from $300-$500+ but produce more juice, and can be made in advance and kept fresh for several hours.  

Juices are particularly good for people who are healing from an illness, have damaged digestive systems, or who have difficulty digesting vegetables.  Removing the fiber releases all of the nutrients from those plants, without your body having to do any work.  Juices are useful for a gentle, nourishing cleanse of your body.  As your body does not have to exert any effort toward digestion, all energy can be directed to ridding the body of built up waste and toxins. Juicing allows the body to focus on healing while still providing nutrients to your body that would not be present during a water fast.  Juices are also beneficial for supporting the healing of a damaged gut, for skin conditions, for reducing inflammation, as well as many other health issues, depending on the ingredients juiced.

A smoothie is a drink composed of blended foods.  This means that the foods have been broken down into liquid form, while still retaining all of their fiber.  Because the fiber is just slightly broken down but not removed, your body will still have to do some digestive work in order to fully break down and digest your smoothie, but not as much as it would have to if you just ate the produce. Smoothies are a little more versatile in the ingredients that work well within them.  You can blend greens, other veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, superfoods, protein supplements, herbs, spices, etc.  Smoothies can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator for several days.  

Smoothies provide a quick meal on the go, for before or after a workout, or as a means for ADDing in greens and superfoods into your life.  Smoothies are light enough that they won’t weigh you down, but they are substantial enough that you won’t feel hungry again in 15 minutes.  

Smoothies are also great for those who are coming off of a fast of any kind, as it will help to re-introduce your body to solid foods again in a more gradual way than jumping straight into eating would.  Smoothies will help to cleanse out your colon, because they contain the much-needed fiber to sweep out the intestinal tract. These fibers will bind to toxins and usher them out of your system. Smoothies are also amazing for those who want to start introducing more raw foods into their diets, but don’t know how.  You can hide a number of less palatable ingredients like dark greens and superfoods under the sweet taste of fruit in a smoothie.

Any blender can be used to make smoothies, but high-speed blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec will create smoother, creamier drinks, and will be able to endure consistent use.  The Nutribullet is a "nutrition extractor," in that it breaks down the cell walls of the foods, while maintaining all of the fiber.  

Both smoothies and juices have their place in the healthy lifestyle kitchen; they each serve their purposes.  Perhaps the most important piece of this discussion is to remember that these are both tools to be used as vehicles primarily for vegetable intake, so as to increase alkalinity in the blood.  Create recipes with as many veggies as you like, sweetened with one to two servings of your favorite fruit.

Jennifer Kellyblock 2