Blending vs. Juicing? Is there really any difference? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” They are both super-charged, nutritional powerhouses but the differences between the two is not widely known. Juicing has been getting a bad rap lately due largely in part to the massive wave of “juicing mania” and juice cleanses. It is purported in the media and on the Internet as offering significant, life changing health benefits yet at the same time people not well versed in nutrition are giving advice on the radio advising individuals not to consider juicing or juice fasts. Furthermore, medical doctors, dietitians and the like are steering individuals towards blending! This month’s article draws upon our knowledge of the benefits to both. We expose the myths because our goal is to educate YOU!
For more information about the act of juicing (not its health benefits) and specific types of juicers please refer to http://kitchenoflife.wpengine.com/juicer-comparison/
“Blending” or more commonly known as “smoothies” requires a blender. Juicing, on the other hand requires a kitchen appliance specifically designed for extracting the juice of fruits and vegetables (to find the right juicer for you please click here:http://kitchenoflife.wpengine.com/juicer-comparison/). A juicer extracts the juice resulting in a liquid, free of pulp, which contains many of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals known as phytochemicals. Juicing, however, leaves out the skin and pith of fruits and vegetables. Kitchen of Life does not support the idea of juicing fruit, with the exception of lemons, explained later.
THE BENEFITS TO JUICING
Juicing is considered the ultimate fast food. Here is why:
1. If consumed on an empty stomach the body absorbs the nutrients almost immediately (approx. 15 min.). There is no digestive wait time because the stomach is empty. This is important because many of us have an impaired digestive system from years of less-than-optimal food choices. An impaired digestive system means it is unable to absorb all of the nutrients from the vegetables. Leaving the fiber out solves this problem.
2. Juicing gives your digestive system a break. Being without fiber (fiber can block the absorption of nutrients by slowing the digestive process) the nutrients get absorbed within minutes. Without any fiber to break down and digest, the liquid loaded with nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals and chlorophyll are all absorbed without any stress to the bodily system – hence the term “the ultimate fast food”.
3. If you’re not much of a vegetable eater, have a lifestyle that limits the consumption of vegetables, juicing is a quick and easy way to get those greens! Please do not take this as advice to drink your greens instead of eat your greens. It’s a ‘better than nothing’ approach in getting the nutrition from naturally grown plant based foods into the diet. Juicing should actually be in addition to your recommended 6-8 daily servings of vegetables. So, we insist! Eat your veggies too!
4.You have the opportunity to consume a wide variety of raw vegetables that you would not normally eat! How many of us realistically eat beet greens, fennel, dandelion, or broccoli stems? Well, they can all be put through a juicer and juiced!
THE DRAWBACKS TO JUICING
1. Fad diets. Many have flocked to the scene of “juice fasting” as a way to lose weight, feel great and detoxify. Several problems with this is that it juice fasts can be extreme. This extreme behavior has given “juicing” a bad rap. The common complaint I hear from physicians is that of impacted bowels from lack of fiber and body weakness from no fat or protein. Juicing is meant to be consumed a specific way (vegetables only) for a specific reason (nutrition only) under specific conditions (on an empty stomach). Anything extreme is not advised by Kitchen of Life. We do believe in certain juice cleanses, but only under the advice of a trained health professional.
2. A juice is not a complete meal. Although loaded with nutrients, but without the necessary fats, proteins and fiber, it is not a complete meal. Juice is not designed to sustain us for an extended period of time, however, under supervision and part of a detoxification program designed for healing this may be possible.
3. Used as a combination of fruit/vegetable juice. Many people add fruit to their juices to mask the harsh and bitter taste of the dark greens…so they can have that sweet taste they’re so familiar with. The sugar content in fruit juicing is exceptionally high, and due to the removal of fiber it creates a blood sugar spike. When consuming fruit we actually wantto slow the digestion to avoid that sugar high and lessen the strain on the pancreas. By juicing fruits and vegetables together, not only have we created a high-sugar drink, we are counteracting the very purpose of juicing. The only fruit advised to put through a juicer is a slice of lemon, which successfully masks the bitter taste of the greens.
4.Juices must be consumed immediately. If drinking a green juice right away is not an option for you, then storing a green juice in a glass canning jar without any air for 24 hours in the refrigerator is more than acceptable. It is highly suggested to discard after that time. If a green drink is left out in the open air it becomes oxidized from the oxygen in the air. That is a fancy way of saying it is aging and has lost its potency.
5. It’s a processed food. Juicing processes the vegetable, rendering it a processed food because some nutrients are lost. Yes, it’s true but please don’t think we are comparing our green juice to a box of Twinkies.
Blending is exactly that…taking fruits and veggies and blending them in a blender. Often times people will call this a juice because it is free of animal based products such as whey powder or yogurt and/or seeds/grains like flax, hemp, vegan protein powder. Regardless of what’s in this blender, it’s called a ‘blended drink’ or ‘smoothie’. To differentiate, if only greens are used then one can consider it a ‘green smoothie’.
Making a smoothie is going to be a difficult task without the help of high-powered blender like a Vita-Mix or Blendtec. The horsepower on these blenders vs. a cheap blender from a discount store is like comparing a car engine to a jet engine. There is no comparison. A car cannot do what an airplane can do and this applies to blenders as well. Among the many versatile tasks high-speed blenders can do, making smoothies is a breeze. These blenders break down the food into tiny pieces, pulverizing and pureeing even the toughest vegetables and fruits, literally liquefying them. There are no visible chunks or chewable pieces. Your inexpensive blender on the other hand leaves you sipping and chewing your drink.
THE BENEFITS TO BLENDED DRINKS
1. There is little to no waste with blending. Entire vegetables and fruits are are utilized. Keeping all the fiber intact but broken down for us, helps with pre-digestion and is easier to absorb (but not as easily as a green juice).
2. Blending fruits and vegetables breaks down the cell wall, unlocking the maximum amount of nutrients, antioxidants and phytonutrients that chewing alone cannot do.
3. Smoothies deliver an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals because it often includes fruit skins and pith.
4.Blended drinks offer the consumer to incorporate so many other disease fighting superfoods such as: maca root, protein powder, flax or chia seeds, bee pollen, acai berries (in purest form contains no sugar), among many others.
THE DRAWBACKS TO BLENDED DRINKS
1. Smoothie lovers love “all things healthy”, but put in combination creates a high-calorie, high-sugar, digestive nightmare. It’s easier to take in more calories when you drink your meal vs. chew your meal.
2. The blender is not a garbage heap. It is difficult to absorb nutrients when your stomach is left feeling bloated and unable to properly digest a varied concoction. Different food groups take different amounts of time to digest. It is not advised to put “everything healthy” into a blender.
3. Adding fruit to smoothies. Fruits should never be put into a blender or into a juicer. It is all too easy to put multiple pieces of fruit into a blender that we would never have been able eat from chewing alone. The only fruit with virtually no sugar would be lemon, lime and pure frozen acai berry.
4. Adding yogurt, nut butters and milk substitutes. Yogurt contains a high amount of sugar, yes, even Greek yogurt. Nut butters contain a significant amount of fat. Milk substitutes are usually loaded with chemicals such as carrageenan and other toxic fillers. The optimal liquid to add would be water or, if a must, try raw coconut water.
5. Oxidation of ingredients. The spinning of the blade brings with it oxygen and heat, knocking out some of the vitamin and minerals, namely Vitamins B and C and beneficial enzymes. Oxygen is the oxidation of the ingredients which is a fancy term of saying that the nutrients are aging and no longer that potent.
6. It’s a processed food that has been altered in some way. Remember folks, not Twinkies!
DEBUNKING THE MYTHS
“Juicing leaves out the fiber! We need fiber!” Well, that is only partly true. As discussed earlier, we are making a conscious choice to leave out the fiber. We don’t want it right now, we’ll get it later…for lunch and sure as heck for dinner, too! As Dr. Anna Maria, co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute once said, “Think of your green juice as your ‘medicine’.” Touché, Anna Maria, touché!
Some of the benefits to juicing include reducing the risk of certain diseases, boosting the immune system, removing toxins from the body, aiding in digestion and weight-loss. Please keep in mind, changing ones diet to an organic, mostly plant based diet will also bring about the aforementioned. Juicing is a quick, easy and efficient way to get the biggest ‘bang for the buck’ health-wise. Proceed with caution when blending because we don’t want to end up with all the unwanted sugar and calories.
The intent and purpose behind blending and juicing that they can both be a part of a healthy diet if done correctly and in moderation. A healthy choice would be to consume a juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and have a super powered blended drink in the afternoon…without the fruit and unwanted excess calories. Try a loaded superfood drink with water, vegan protein powder, chia seeds such as MILA and a dehydrated nut powder such as Just Great Stuff for flavor. Add in some superfoods like maca root or bee pollen for another boost.
We sure do hope we have debunked some of the myths for you and straightened out what it means to be a ‘smoothie’ lover or a ‘juice’ lover and just how to get that ‘green’ love going!
We hope we have provided enough information so that you can make an informed decision; one that works for you, your lifestyle and your dietary habits. Feedback is welcome and we encourage you to make comments. Please hit reply and we at Kitchen of Life will receive your feedback.
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