Green juices and smoothies are so hot right now, and for very good reason! Made the right way, they are absolutely delicious, revitalizing and nourishing to our bodies.
Juices and smoothies are kind to your digestive system, great for your skin, hair, eyes and immune system, anti aging, weight loss , detox and cleansing. Moreover, green smoothies and juices are a cost effective way to get and keep you and your family healthy. I love them because they promote REAL food. Sure, you can chuck all kinds of super powders and potions into your drinks, but fundamentally, blenders and juicers are all about fresh produce: their number one goal in life is to make your fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables SHINE!So which is better, blending or juicing? The answer is, well… BOTH .. are fabulous (but different) ways to quench your body with loads of nutrient dense veggies! Both smoothies and freshly extracted vegetable juices offer better nutrient absorption than you’d get eating foods whole. They’re a delicious, quick way to download a massive amount of raw nutrients into your body every day.
Juicing is like an intravenous injection of pure goodness. A good quality juicer extracts the water and nutrients (the life and soul) from vegetables and fruits and discards the fibre ( which is great for veggie chips and the compost). Without all that fibre, you can consume a huge amount of pre-digested liquid nutrients on the go. This is awesome news because even those of us with the biggest appetites would struggle to munch on the equivalent amount of raw, whole veggies and fruits in one sitting.Juicing is also great because it allows you to make juice from 100% vegetables. Using a juicer really brings the sweetness out of root veggies like carrots and beets, so there’s no need to add heaps of fruit. With smoothies it’s difficult (but not impossible) to avoid fruit. Imagine drinking a carrot and spinach smoothie with no added fruit! If you’re trying to cut back on all forms of sugar including fructose, then juicing is a brilliant option for you.Juicing is awesome all the time, but especially great in times of cleansing, detox, repair and renewal, or when overcoming illness, because veggie juice nourishes and restores the body at a cellular level. Because the juicer does all the work, concentrated nutrients are absorbed immediately into the bloodstream, and your body can concentrate it’s efforts on other important healing and rejuvenating tasks.
Blending… blends! Crazy I know. Fresh fruit, leafy greens, superfoods, non-starchy vegetables*, herbs and spices can all be whizzed into delicious creative smoothie concoctions, fibre and all. If you struggle to eat enough fibre or greens, or your kids are fussy, smoothies are a sure fire way to sneak the good stuff into their diet. With blending you can get creative, as it’s easier to add things like nut butters and superfoods which aren’t always juicer-friendly. The blending process breaks down the fibre, making it easier to digest and encouraging a slow and steady release of nutrients into the blood stream, avoiding blood sugar spikes. Plus, the fibre helps keep your digestive system clean and running smoothly (it helps you poop!).Smoothies are also really versatile – you can make them fresh and fruity, creamy and chocolatey or even savoury.Smoothies are basically a drinkable fibre-filled fruit-and-veggie happy meal, and therefore they tend to be more filling(and economical!) than juices. It’s a faster process and an easier clean up, and for these reasons I love smoothies in the morning before work, and my juices as an afternoon pick-me-up.
Juicing and blending tips
*It’s best not to combine sweet fruits and starchy vegetables: Improper food combining (i.e. starches with fruits) can affect how well your digestive enzymes function. The enzymes and length of time the body requires to break down starches are different from other food groups. Combining starchy foods with fruit can cause fermentation, gas and digestion hold ups. That’s why I tent to save my hard veggies for the juicer and my fruits and greens for the blender.
Greens go with anything: The good news is, green leafy veggies combine well with pretty much every other food group so you can go crazy with greens in your juices and your fruity smoothies.
Include cucumber, celery and other watery vegetables in your juices and smoothies: In smoothies, this is a great way to add bulk while keeping the sugar content low. In juices, they help dilute strong flavours like carrot and beetroot. They are are also super hydrating, alkalising and anti-inflammatory.
Focus on the veggies, and watch your sugar intake: Juices absorb into your bloodstream within minutes. Removing the fiber from fruits can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and long term health issues. The beauty of juicing over blending is that you have the ability to extract the goodness from so many starchy, hard veggies (carrot, beetroot, sweet potato, parsnip, zucchini, broccoli, etc.) that don’t fare too well in a blender (you get thick, fibrous smoothies that aren’t very palatable). Juicing brings out the incredible sweetness of veggies such as carrots and beets, eliminating the need for adding sweet fruits at all. This means you can make delicious 100% vegetable juices. When you are starting out, though, a 3:1 ratio of veggies to fruits will do the trick. Green apples are a juice’s best friend.
Try to drink your juice or smoothie slowly, but immediately: Over time, light and air destroys much of the nutrients. If you can’t drink it straight away, transfer to a dark airtight container until you’re ready. However, you’ll want to “chew” your drink. It’s better to take your time and let it sit in your mouth, so saliva and digestive enzymes can kick into gear. Just think, that was a lot of produce you put in that smoothie or juice – give your body the time to digest it well.
Researched By : Kátia C. Rowlands – Pilates Instructor & Personal Trainer – 082 513 4256 •