Saturday, May 4, 2013

Juicing vs. Green Smoothies

Purple Haze...yum!
So what is better? Juicing or smoothies? Well, in reality they are both good. They both have their benefits and they both have their disadvantages too. 

Let me preface this that when I say juicing and smoothies I mean GREEN! Vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables. Little if any fruit. Why? Am I a fruit hater? Not at all. Fresh whole fruit is SO good for you. But, when juiced, fruit becomes a major sugar blast and when blended in a smoothie, it also adds to the sugar and calorie content. 

Juicing is a a great way to get a boatload of wonderful antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients from veggies into your body really fast. Juicing removes the fiber from the vegetables/fruits you are juicing and delivers a quick jolt of energy to your body. You can drink it fast, you can drink a lot because the fiber is gone so it doesn't fill you up like drinking a smoothie does. There are so many nutrients in vegetables and it really does energize your body. As I stated above, your juice should be all vegetables with no to very limited fruit added to it. An easy way to make it a bit sweeter without adding tons of fruit is to add some carrots and/or beets. Also, cucumber and celery also help to decrease the bitterness that some may not like. I personally don't find green juice bitter, but some do, depending on what veggies you juice. Adding lemon also helps cut the slight bitterness that some people may taste when juicing vegetables. I personally love veggie juice but sometimes it takes some getting used to.

Green Smoothies can be a meal in and of themselves. Note I say GREEN! Why? Because just blending a bunch of fruit is not going to give you the greens you need! And in reality, a fruit smoothie is a dessert. Green smoothies are a great way to get extra veggies into your diet. All of those wonderful nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc. that veggies give us can be obtained through green smoothies. And you get fiber too, but there is controversy on how much fiber you get and if it's whole. 

So why are both controversial, depending on who you talk to? 

So what is "wrong" with juicing (according to some people)?

  • Juicing removes separates the fiber in vegetables and fruits and removes it, that's what is in the "pulp" left behind after juicing. 
  • Fiber is SO good for you that removing it prevents your body from getting the benefits of fiber. 
  • Many people add WAY too much fruit to their juice. So? Well, when you remove the fiber from fruit, you are getting the great nutrients but you are also getting a big dose of sugar without the fiber. 
  • Eating fresh fruit is better than juicing it because the fiber in the fruit helps regulate the way your body absorbs the sugar. So if you remove the fiber, you just get that bolus of sugar. 

And what is "wrong" with green smoothies (according to some people)?

  • High speed blending breaks down the fiber in the veggies way more than chewing does. 
  • The concern is that by blending the veggies so smooth (because you really don't want to chew your smoothie) makes the bulk of that fiber less effective when you drink it. 
  • Blending disrupts the cellulose walls of the veggies and may cause the fiber to be so broken down that it doesn't give you as much benefit as if you had actually eaten the veggies instead. 
  • Many people can't stand green smoothies unless they add a ton of fruit to make it sweeter. Your smoothie may end up being very calorie laden because of the fruit. I mean, have you ever looked at the calorie content of jamba juice? It's huge! And it's all fruit. 
  • Add lemon, add fruits that are lower in sugar to avoid that huge calorie uptick. 
So what do I do? Well, I actually do both. But I use very little fruit in my juice (if any) and usually just add banana, pineapple and blueberries to my green smoothies, usually one or two of them. I don't rely on them for my vegetable intake. I use them as an extra boost. Sometimes it's a quick breakfast when I have to get on the road or just don't have time to eat before heading out the door. I've been juicing more lately over the past few months. It's a great way to get extra hydration, a blast of nutrients and I really love the taste of it. 

My favorite veggies to juice/blend are below. I do any mix of these depending on what I have on hand (all veggies and fruits have amazing amounts of anti-oxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. so I listed some of them after each item). 

kale: calcium, vitamin A, iron, vitamin K, omega 3, carotenoids, flavanoids, vitamin C

collard greens: vitamin A, folate, B6, niacin, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, 

beets: Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid, blood purifier and great for your liver.

carrots: alpha- and beta-carotene, vitamin C, cyanidins, lutein, vitamin A, polyacetylenes (may inhibit spread of colon cancer cells)

cucumber: vitamins A, B1, B6, C (leave skin on for Vit C and use organic),  Vitamin D,  folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, lignans (lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol - cancer fighters), potassium, magnesium, sterols

lemon: vitamin C (twice that of oranges), potassium,  vitamin B-6, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamin, vitamin A, folate

ginger: chromium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, choline

bok choy: beta carotene, vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, calcium, potassium, glucosinolates (cancer fighter)

purple cabbage: calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C, K, folate, anthocyanin

broccoli stems: potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamins K, C, B6, folate, glucoraphanin, leutin, sulforaphane, zinc, selenium. 

romaine: calcium, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, K, folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, omega 3s

celery: calcium, magnesium, potassium, pthalides, courmarins, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamins B1, B6, B2, acetylenics

green apple: vitamin C, flavonoids (cyanidin and epicatechin), potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, potassium, phosphorus, calcium

So you decide...juicing or smoothies...or both? 

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