Homemade smoothies and fresh juices are two of the simplest and most beneficial foods to include in your diet on a regular basis. Personally, I generally have one of each every day. Students often ask:
- what is the difference between juices and smoothies?
- regarding fresh juices, isn’t fiber a good thing?
- does making smoothies and juices oxidize the nutrients?
- what kind of machines do I need to make smoothies and juices?
- can I make them in advance, and do they keep overnight?
What is a smoothie? It’s a blended drink usually consisting of a combination of fruit and green vegetables (or wild greens), plus super foods like hemp, chia, flax, wheat or barley grass, and algaes (spirulina, chlorella, blue green), and sometimes herbs.
What is a fresh juice? It’s a clear drink made from fresh vegetables and possibly some fruit. The produce is put through a juicer which separates the fiber from the juice. There is very little if any fiber left in fresh juices.
What are the benefits of a smoothie?
- It’s a meal in a glass that can be made in less than 5 minutes.
- It allows us to take in health-promoting green vegetables and fruit which alkalize the body.
- It is very easy to digest.
- It is the perfect medium for adding nutrient dense super foods to our diet in a palatable way.
- Smoothies are great made in the morning and brought with you with you to drink on the go.
What are the benefits of fresh juices?
- Because it contains very little or no fiber, an 8-ounce glass of juice contains at least 4 times more produce than an equal amount of smoothie, so it is the highest source of balanced nutrients known to man.
- Because the fiber has been removed, a juice requires even less digestive effort than smoothies. The juice is easily absorbed from the uppermost part of the small intestine providing loads of nutrition for your billions of cells in minutes.
- Juices are highly alkalizing and re-mineralizing (providing that you use high quality produce and emphasize vegetables) – much needed in today’s world.
- Juices are a supplement to your regular meals – they can be drank between meals, or right before meals, and you will still have room for solid food.
So smoothies and juices are both a great way to take in the highly beneficial vegetable and fruit food groups, they’re both easy to digest (juices are easier), theyr’e both alkalizing, and they both help to detoxify AND re-build the body. The nutrient profiles will be different in smoothies than juices. Juices are generally highest in most vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but smoothies will have more fiber, and enable us to add essential fatty acid rich seeds, and possibly highly concentrated grass or algae powders. A smoothie is more like a meal whereas a juice is a supplement to your meals.
Even though the fiber is removed from fresh juices in order to receive the benefits of highly concentrated and easily absorbed nutrients, you are encouraged to eat a high fiber whole food diet in addition to fresh juices. The fiber from fresh juices can be added to your compost, or directly to the soil beneath your food plants. The worms love it!
Studies have shown that blending foods does not significantly reduce nutrient levels. However it is best to keep your smoothie cool and to drink it within a few hours of making it. Many of today’s juicers are ‘slow juicers’ so that there is as little oxidation as possible. Again, it is best to drink your juice as close to freshly made as possible. If you want to drink your juice later, put it in a thermos with some ice. Oxidation happens when foods are exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Your taste buds will tell you how fresh the smoothie or juice is.
In order to make a smoothie, you require a blender. While there are many blenders on the market today most smoothie aficionados eventually purchase a BlendTec or VitaMix blender. Although they will cost you more (around $500) they are extremely powerful, and have 10 year warranties. I personally went through many cheaper blenders before I finally got a BlendTec which has been serving me well for 7 years. I use it on average twice a day.
In order to make fresh juice you will need a juicer. Again there are many on the market but you get what you pay for. If you’re not sure about juicing, maybe borrow one from a friend or see if you can find one on Kijiji or Craig’s list. Lately I’ve been recommending the Omega Vertical. It’s a relatively new design that has a smaller footprint than many, is quiet, self feeding (I personally love that!), and does a great job on greens as well as fruit. It has a slow rotation so doesn’t heat the produce, and extracts a lot of juice (the pulp is quite dry). The price is right… among the high end juicers it is one of the most affordable. You will pay around $400 and it has a 7 year warranty.
I hope that helps. You can find many smoothie and juice recipes in my book The New Enlightened Eating as well as many internet sites. Over time you will intuitively create concoctions with what you have on hand.
Happy blending and juicing!