blending

Juicing vs. Blending

Dear Leah Renee, 

Could you please explain the difference between a juicer and a blender?  Thanks for all the great information you provide! –Lee E., Sun City, CA 

Funny enough, just yesterday I was at Trader Joe’s where cashier excitedly informed me he will be going on a juice fast for 10 days. Matching his excitement levels I asked him what kind of juicer he owned to make all his juices.  He told me he had a great high speed blender that “really mashes everything well and makes it really smooth”.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, but I informed him that was not in fact a juice fast… that he’d actually be eating all the vegetables.  Another employee overhearing this conversation came over, with a smirk on his face and shaking his head said, “Yeah man, that’s not juicing.”

Here’s the difference in a nutshell: A juicer extracts the juice from the items you put in it, rejecting the rind, or pulp (basically the fibrous part of the fruit or vegetable) making the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants readily available to the body.  A blender (Vitamix, Magic Bullet…) blends and emulsifies all the ingredients you put in there, rejecting nothing and simply creating a thick, voluminous beverage.  Both are largely beneficial and equally good to have for different reasons.

Juicing and blending are not interchangeable and shouldn’t be chosen one over the other;  they are simply two completely different means of acquiring beneficial nutrients from your fruits and vegetables.  It’s like comparing cycling to yoga; they are both amazing workouts, nothing alike, but equally effective in their own way.  Cycling, yoga, juicing, blending…you could do them all in the same day if you wanna get crazy! 😉

green juice on green grass

Here are all the great reasons you should juice, and blend, and what you’ll get from both:

Juicing

  • Immediate nutrient absorption
  • Minimal digestion needed (no fiber to break down)
  • A fast, healthy way to get your daily vitamins
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Can reduce acidity (candida/yeast)*
  • Detoxifying and can aid in weight loss*
  • The ability to consume the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in as many as 5 carrots, an entire stalk of kale, a whole apple, 5 stalks of celery, half a bunch of parsley, and an entire cucumber–all at once.  To eat all that would take awhile!
  • Click here for some of my juicing recipes!

Please note!  

  • Unless you have a super juicer (aka a cold pressed machine), juices need to be consumed right away for the maximum benefit.  If you have some leftover or simply want to make a larger batch, store your juice immediately in a dark, air tight container and refrigerate immediately.  Light and air destroys too many of the beneficial antioxidants and enzymes!
  • Certain combinations of fruits and vegetables do not go well together for digestion purposes.  The easiest to remember is the one fruit that combines the best with any vegetable is an apple.  Other fruit/vegetable combinations can be disruptive.  The sweetest veggies to juice are carrots, beets, red bell pepper, and lemon or lime.  Add one or two to all the green goodness if you like some extra sweetness.  Make sure to peel the beets and lemon or lime first!
  • Juices are not to be mistaken for a meal.  Fresh juice are not meal replacements, so unless you are going on a supervised/approved juice fast, it’s a healthy way to have an extra nutritional boost during the day.
  • If you are doing a straight carrot, apple, or juicing any other item that is higher in sugar, keep in mind this will elevate blood sugar levels and can be high in calories.

Blending

  • Blending can help with digestion since it’s liquefied.  Most of us don’t chew or food enough in regular meals.
  • Blending can be used for smoothies and soups.  Unlike juicing, blending can be a healthy meal replacement for any breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Blending is an easy way to increase the amount of vegetables, especially greens, into your diet.  When combined with a little more fruit it’s great for the kiddies, too.
  • Many options are available and combinations are endless.  The chart below is one I put together for the post Scrumptious Smoothies–Every Time.
  • Combine one, none, or more than one from each category for a great tasting, nutritious drinkable meal!

Here’s a handy ingredient guide for putting together your own delicious smoothie: 

Smoothie Guide

It’s good to know the difference between the two, because both have their unique advantages everyone can benefit from.  It’s not a matter of choosing one over the other, but incorporating them both into your life as often as you choose!

What are your favorite juice or smoothie ingredients or recipes? 🙂

 

* = Depending on the ingredients you use & combined with eating right and exercising

Scrumptious Smoothies Every Time

Dear Leah Renee, 

I’ve heard that smoothies are similar in health benefits to that of juicing, but more filling.  I have found that most smoothies are really high in sugar and made with ingredients that aren’t that healthy.  Do you have some good tips for making smoothies to keep my diet on track and still get extra nutrients that I need?  Thanks so much!  ~Amanda, TX

So true, Amanda!  The smoothies we get from some of those chain stores are not the same as the smoothies we can make ourselves at home with fresh, local ingredients, minus any additional sugars, preservatives, or even yogurt and ice cream many of them use.  Smoothies can be super nutritious, or worse than having a candy bar.  Juicing and blending offer different nutritional benefits which you can read about here.

Below is a list of some of the amazing ingredients that make up a nutrient-packed beverage to keep your energy levels strong.

smoothie chart

 

As you can imagine, making a list for any of the ingredients above could be endless, but I chose to highlight ones I think are the easiest to access and work best.   All of these ingredients should be pretty easy to find in your local natural foods store, and buy organic whenever possible!  Sweeteners should be kept at a minimum if your concerned with sugar content, including fruit, dates, and honey.  You can choose one from each category, or multiple from just a few–it’s up to you!  The servings are a guide.  I think half the fun is the trial and error!  If it’s too bitter, add a little more honey.  If it’s lacking some flavor, add some cinnamon or even some good quality salt.  If it’s too thick, add some more liquid.  Too runny?  Throw some ice in the blender or add a little more banana.  If you are looking to really fill up, or are a male reading this, add some extra protein.  If you’re looking for a snack, then just throw in only a few ingredients like a fruit, greens, antioxidant, and a few nuts (you may use nut butters interchangeably-1 TB should suffice!) .  The additions at the bottom are best at 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon.

Fruits can be fresh or frozen.  It’s a common misconception that you lose a lot of nutrients if the fruit is frozen.  I think in some cases, it can be just the opposite!  Unless you are buying local, grow it yourself, or you’re choosing fruits that are in season and did not have to travel far, chances are you’re not missing out–the fruits and veggies are usually picked, packed, and frozen so nutrients remain intact.  Don’t forget you can freeze your own fruit too!  Take advantage of the summer months when fruit in plentiful, in season, and on sale.  Buy more and store!  Make sure to wash them first before putting them in the freezer!  Banana’s?  Freeze them too!  Peel off the skin and break them in half.  Frozen bananas make a nice thick smoothie texture (as do avocados).  Are you salivating yet?!  Go!  Start blending!

Try my smoothie recipe to get you started:

smoothie


Ingredients: 1-2 cups spinach, a (pitted) date, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 avocado, 1 TB hemp protein powder, 1 teaspoon Spirulina, 1 TB raw honey, and 1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (and ice), pinch of cinnamon.  A sprinkle of goji berries or cacao nibs on top!