Juicing and Smoothies 101

We are told so often to eat our fruits and veggies for optimal health, but what about drinking these foods? Do they provide the same benefits? And if so, what’s the difference between juicing and blending? Juicing is the process of extracting nutrients and water from fruits and vegetables but leaves behind the indigestible fiber that is found in the produce. Smoothies are a blend of the entire fruit and/or vegetable (leaving in the fibrous skin and all).

Which one is better?

Juicing and blending each has distinct benefits to our health, making it unfair to compare the two. Although they both help to deliver essential minerals and vitamins to your system faster and allow you to consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables each day, they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Positives of Juicing

The main reason to juice is to increase the amount of fresh produce (primarily vegetables) in your daily diet. No one will normally eat eight stalks of celery, half a cucumber, 1 whole apple, and a few inches of ginger all in one sitting. So, juicing allows you to reap the mineral and vitamin benefits these plants have to offer without having to actually chew and digest the fiber. We can all benefit from consuming higher amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when some of the advantages are boosting our immune system and fighting off oxidative stress. So, adding a juice into your day can efficiently increase your consumption of fresh produce. When you’re drinking a juice, your body does not need to employ its energy in the process of breaking down all of the fiber that can hinder your digestive system. This allows the nutrients to be much more readily available; meaning your body can better absorb what it is being given. For those who suffer from specific nutrient deficiencies, this is a great natural alternative to taking expensive synthetic supplements.

Juicing Downfall

The one negative component with juicing is the spike in blood sugar it can cause if you aren’t careful with what fruits and vegetables you are consuming. Since you are removing the fiber from the whole food, there is no slower release of sugar when being consumed. Therefore, you may have an increase in your blood sugar levels depending on how much sugar is present in the fruits. This is why it’s important to make sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein and fiber throughout the rest of your day in order to help balance out your blood sugar levels!

Thulani’s Favorite Juicing Recipe

This recipe is one of Thulani’s favorites, as she has used it with many of her clients in helping to rebalance hormone levels. It’s perfect for women who suffer from hormonal imbalances and want stabilization. The ingredients all target many of the vitamins and minerals that the majority of women have deficiencies in including magnesium, vitamin c, calcium, and iron.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets (scrubbed, cleaned, tops trimmed)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Clean and chop all veggies
  2. If using a blender: Throw everything into a blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes (you may need to add in some filtered water). Once blended, strain into a cup and disregard leftover fiber.
  3. If using a juicer, push everything through the juicer, alternating between beets and softer produce.
Weight Loss Juicing Recipe

We love this recipe from David Wolfe and his team. If you’re looking to add a green juice into your day to help aid in weight loss, this recipe is jam-packed with all of the best produce to help get you there! You can throw all of the ingredients into a blender and strain if you do not have a juicer. If you are consuming as a juice, omit the avocado from the recipe!

Energy Enhancing Juice

Most juices are going to give you a boost of energy after you drink them, as the abundant amount of vitamins and minerals are being delivered to your bloodstream right away! But Elissa Goodman’s juicing recipes are especially great because she teaches you how to create a delicious juice without adding in fruit in order to keep your blood sugar levels stable!

Smoothie Positives

Smoothies are amazing for those looking to increase the amount of green leafy vegetables and fiber within their diet. When making a smoothie, you are throwing in the entire fruit and vegetable into your blender and consuming everything in its entirety. Therefore, you are getting high amounts of fiber within each drink. Because of this, smoothies are a great meal replacement when you are on-the-go and looking to consume something healthy and quick or you have a weight loss goal in mind and want to skip a meal. You can also add in a clean protein source within these drinks (soy milk, yoghurt, protein powder, etc.) and make it much more satiating to help curb your hunger. The powerful combination of fat, fiber, and protein that can all be added into smoothies helps to stabilize your blood sugar levels, assisting in weight loss and regulating hormone production.

Another positive of having a smoothie each day is that blending the ingredients eliminates the hardest step your digestive system has to encounter: breaking down the foods. Therefore, your body has a much easier time digesting the meal, resulting in a more optimized metabolism.

Smoothie Downfalls

If you aren’t careful with what ingredients you are adding into your smoothies, the calorie level can skyrocket and increase your daily consumption of sugar without your knowledge. This is why it is important to stick to clean plant foods when making smoothies and limiting the amount of fruits to one or two per drink. Plant-based nut milks and protein powders all have a lower caloric intake than animal-based options and help to boost your consumption of fiber! Focus on adding in lots of vegetables (handfuls of green leafy vegetables), 1-2 fruits for sweetness (banana and a handful of berries), a clean protein source (1 scoop of your favorite plant-based protein powder), nut milk of your choice, and a healthy fat source (avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds). This combination will help to curb your appetite, bridge the gap to your next meal, and balance out your blood sugar levels for optimal hormone production.

Thulani’s Favorite Smoothie Recipe

This smoothie recipe is one of Thulani’s favorites, as it again has helped many of her female clients regulate their hormones and assist in blood sugar control and weight loss.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup of dairy-free milk (Thulani loves using coconut milk for this recipe)
  • ½ cup of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 serving of plant-based vanilla protein powder
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 2 TBSP walnuts
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup frozen cauliflower rice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender
  2. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes (until smooth consistency)
  3. If the smoothie is too thick, you may add more nut milk
Weight Loss Smoothie Recipe

This recipe is the same as the Weight Loss Juicing Recipe mentioned above by David Wolfe and his team. However, you can throw all of the ingredients into your blender and consume with the fiber attached to help fill you up and keep you satiated for longer! Again, this recipe is filled with all of the best produce to help get you to your weight loss goals!

Energy Enhancing Smoothie

If you’re looking to curb your appetite while increasing your energy levels to get you through the day, this smoothie is for you! It’s packed with a yummy citrus taste to help wake you up and satisfy your normal coffee break slump you may encounter every day!

Yours in Health,

Thulani