Nutrition Prize Fight:: Juicing vs. Smoothie Making

It's the age old question.  Juices or smoothies?  I must get the same question at least once a day in my practice. Die hard juicers claim that the nutrients are made immediately available to the body without having to digest the cellulose to get to those nutrients.  With movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead showing how you can lose oodles of weight fast and detox from some really terrible autoimmune illnesses with lengthy juice fasts it's no wonder Breville has had so much success the last few years. (My favorite juicer that is constantly running is the Omega Nutrition Center)  The fact is, juicing is a fantastic way to hydrate the body FAST and replenish essential vitamins (water soluble ones like B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, Folacin and Biotin) and trace minerals.  When embarking on a juice fast it might do you well to understand that without enough protein and fiber, detox symptoms are often really intense!  {See You... on a Juice Fast}

People in the smoothie camp will tell you that with smoothies you get all of the fiber in from the fruits and vegetables in a pre-digested state.  (They pretty much mean already chewed.)  The fiber is necessary to cleanse the colon and this is very important when dealing with chronic inflammation  and/or estrogen dominance.

So let's talk turkey.  Which one, juicing or smoothie making, is better?  Well, my beauties, those of you who really know The Detox Diva know what I am going to say next.

Both.  They each have their place in a healthy eating plan.  They each fulfill different needs.

What's the main difference between juicing and smoothie making?

A blender takes whole fruit and vegetables and macerates,liquefies and blends them into a smooth, creamy, thick and filling shake, equivalent to a meal. The juicer involves a liquid extractor and separates the juice from the pulp, so the outcome is a thin and liquidy drink, nutrient packed and more hydrating than filling. This leaves you with what to do with the pulp.  You can compost it, which is what I currently do, but I am trying to come up with ingenious ways of using it, so far, not notable enough to share with you.

The case for juicing

First, on a detox, though I don't usually put my clients on strict juice fasts, preferring  juice to be a part of a detox, not the whole enchilada, I do promote juicing at least once during the day and often making enough to sip throughout the day.  Why?  Most people starting a detox have a variety of nutritional deficiencies.  By virtue of the sheer number of vegetables and fruits needed for juicing, there is a lot of nutrient density going on in fresh juice.  My detox followers are recommended to drink about 24 ounces (up to 64 depending on the type of detox) of fresh vegetable heavy juices a day to be able to flood their bodies with live enzymes , vitamins and minerals and, overall, quickly alkalize the body and give them the energy they need to get through the day without reaching for a soda or cup of coffee.   I don't tell them to skip meals in lieu of juice though.

Notice I also said "vegetable heavy".  I will explain.  Most people prefer the "sweet" taste.  We actually evolved to prefer "sweet" as, when we were hunters and gatherers, it was often what prevented us from picking berries or fruit that might kill us.  However, in the last 50 years, manufacturers have really capitalized on that and started putting more and more sugar into every product known to man. To add insult to injury, they created high fructose corn syrup, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar and causes the liver to want to run and hide from fructose overload (too much fructose makes you fat, people!).  It is not the only thing that caused our fat cells to mutate into super tankers of cellulite, but it IS a part of the problem.  A big part of the problem.  But I digress.

Because we have no idea how to love all the other tastes, bitter, astringent, pungent, sour, and salty (wait...we know how to love that one), we tend to overload our juices with apples, carrots, beets, and other fruits.  (Yes, carrots and beets count here because root vegetables contain more starch which convert to sugar in the body.) When that happens, it's a big insulin rush and then, a bit later, a huge let down, especially when it's all you are eating.  It's AS BAD as eating a Snicker's bar on your insulin.  Too much fruit is tough on the liver in general but as juice it is a veritable nightmare of cascading insulin which leads to chain reactions in a lot of other hormonal and chemical reactions in the body.  A little is good, healthy, balancing.  Fruit is always better than a candy bar but not so much when it comes to juice.

When a client firsts starts on juice they may add an apple, pear and slowly whittle down to half an apple, and half a pear or adding IN more greens until it might be just an apple or, even better, they are used to drinking the greens with no fruit.  {Try our Super Charged V-12 Veggie Juice} Fruit juices are good in moderation.

Whether they are drinking vegetable juices by themselves or with a little fruit, I always suggest that they not just "gulp" the juice down, rather sip slowly to garner real satisfaction from what they are drinking.

The case for smoothie making

I love my smoothies!  Even more than that, I love suggesting smoothies to my readers and clients because, let's face it, most of us have little time to worry about making breakfast and smoothies are great ways to make sure we are starting the day on the right foot!  Tossing in a little fruit (because the fiber is still in the fruit, often you can be a bit more liberal in this area), some greens, maybe some almond or coconut milk, some hemp, chia, or flax seeds, even some flax oil or nut butter, and some maca root, sprouted barley, or other superfoods and you have a meal in a minute.  Vegetable and fruit prep is minimal especially if you are lucky enough to own a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec because you don't have to really chop much and both of these glorious blenders liquefy in no time.

While the ease of preparation is going to keep you able to follow a nutrition plan, the fiber in the smoothie is working overtime to clear, often what is years of sludge due to eating a Standard American (or even British) Diet (SAD) and precious little fiber, too much animal protein, and too much exposure to toxic chemical compounds (like estrogen from synthetic sources and not utlized by the body!!) all just laying in wait and causing all kinds of malabsorption issues.  You see, although on my programs you do eat food, I use the one-two punch of smoothies and juice making as well as food you can chew.  Smoothies and healthy foods are the brooms while providing essential nutrients, and the juices infuse the body with hydration and replenish trace minerals and vitamins.  Also, because there is fiber present from the fruits and veggies, and you are more able to include vegetable protein sources then detox symptoms can be slowed making a longer term detox possible.

I also suggest, as with juice, not chugging the smoothies down, rather "chewing" each bite.  This allows your body to feel more satisfied when "eating" a smoothie.

So you see, as with everything, I don't like the question "which one is better?"  Both juicing and smoothie making have their places in a healthy eating plan and detox. I never got why it had to be an either/or proposition.  I don't understand the partisan politics of nutrition in any case.  Juices or smoothies?  Smoothies or juices?

Can't we all just get along?