The Juice vs. Smoothie Debate

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By Tina Leigh.

“Should I be juicing or blending?”

This question falls into a container of those I am most commonly asked. It’s right up there with, “Where do vegans and vegetarians get their protein?” (Another topic for another time.)

The answer to the juice / smoothie conundrum is…enter drum roll…both!

That’s good news because there are so many luscious and healthy blended concoctions you won’t want to go without, and the green lemonade you get at your juice bar is indeed doing more for you than just puckering your pout.

What are the benefits of each? Let’s take a look.

Smoothies are blended creations made from any combination of fruit, fruit juices, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, dairy or plant-based milks, water, ice, yogurt, superfoods, protein powder and nut butters. When made using healthy ingredients, they produce dense, satiating shake-like drinks that are packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants––the same nutrients present in a glass of fresh pressed juice.

What sets smoothies apart however, is that unlike juice, these whole food slurries also include fat, fiber, and protein––macronutrients required for muscle building, tissue repair, gut health, and sustained energy.

Like any other food, digestion is required to break down the fibers and amino acids in smoothies so that the nutrients can be absorbed into our systems. The digestive process and the density of the drink help us to feel sated longer. This is what makes these creamy concoctions ideal for after a workout or to drink as meal replacements.

One such smoothie I adore that provides all of the health benefits mentioned above is a decadent mint-chocolate shake I drink most mornings après Barre! This creamy and cool delight is loaded with macro and micronutrients, but does not taste the least bit like a “health drink”.

 

Mint Choco Crunch Smoothie

Makes: (1) 24-ounce shake

Ingredients: 

2 large handful spinach leaves
1/3 large cucumber, rough chopped
2 tablespoon chocolate plant-based protein powder (I prefer Sun Warrior or Vega brands)
½ medium avocado
1 drop therapeutic-grade essential peppermint oil
6-7 large mint leaves
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
1 cup almond milk
½ cup water
6-8 ice cubes
cacao nibs for garnish
bee pollen for garnish (optional)
hemp seeds for garnish (optional) 

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients, except cacao nibs in a high-power blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Pour into your favorite tall glass, sprinkle with nibs, and enjoy!

So why juice?

The answer is: a flood of super-concentrated micronutrients that get delivered direct to your bloodstream. If you were to take all the above healthy ingredients, blend them, strain out the liquid through a fine-sieve to separate the whole food matter, the result would be a highly concentrated and nourishing juice tonic. (Note this is actually a method for juicing if you do not own a press.)

During the process of juicing, whole (and hopefully organic) fruits, vegetables, roots, and herbs are passed through a blade or grinder so that the fibers can be broken down. This allows the nutrients to be released into the extracted juice. Due to the fiber being separated out, there is very little, if any digestive energy required for the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants to be absorbed. As a result, your system is flooded with these healthy micronutrients! They give you immediate energy and an injection-like dose of healthy goodness.

Neither process is better than the other. They each provide nourishment and can be incorporated into your daily eating routine. I personally enjoy having a smoothie right after my morning exercise and a fresh juice in the afternoon as a superior alternative to a coffee pick-me-up.

If you have the time to juice at home and the space to store fresh produce, you get the privilege of ingesting nutrients when they are most effective––within minutes. If at-home juicing is not an option, skip to your near by juice bar and have them press you a fresh glass. The sooner you consume, the more potent the enzymes and antioxidants will be.

Interested in a weight loss smoothie? Try combining GastrobiPlex with orange juice and fruit! GastrobiPlex helps you feel full sooner and longer.

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