by Agnes Aldana
Are you ready for everyone’s favourite topic? (Or one of mine, anyway.)
If you haven’t been buried under a rock, you would have read an article or two by now on why juicing is better than blending, or visa versa.
Today, I want to educate and inspire you to learn the benefits of BOTH! Juices and smoothies both alkalise your body, regenerate your cells, and allow you to consume different fruits and vegetables in an easy to digest form.
Juices truly are sunshine in a glass. Chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant-based enzymes, they are alkalinising and detoxifying to the body. As fibre has been removed (mostly) during the juicing process, juices do not need as much energy to be digested and used by the body, giving your cells a chance to repair and rebuild.
Note that when juicing predominantly fruits, however, there is the possibility for increased blood sugar. To this effect, I have had to caution friends on NOT juicing fruit only. What is ideal is to make sure that your juices always have a good balance of fruit and vegetables. When ordering juices from juice bars, make sure that there is a good amount of veggies listed in the ingredients, and that a vegetable or low-GI fruit (such as apple) is top or second on the list (as the ingredients are usually listed by volume). Green juices are a great choice.
Why do you have to worry about balancing blood sugar? When you juice and remove the fibre, nutrients (including sugar) are absorbed quickly into your body. An increase, or rush, of blood sugar causes a spike in the release of the insulin hormone. Insulin, although it helps metabolise sugar, is also a fat storage hormone. Last but not the least, constant cycles of blood sugar high’s and low’s lead to inflammation, weight gain, and insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
You can also reduce unwanted spikes in blood sugar by consuming 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or 1 teaspoon of flax oil when you juice, which will provide the essential fat your body needs for digestion. Another option is to make sure that you have some protein with your juice, such as a handful of nuts.
When you drink a juice, you are drinking it without the pulp and the fibre. You are still getting the beneficial nutrients, but in a very easy-to-digest form. Many people with digestive issues find juices are easier on their body. However, believe it or not, it’s important to “chew” your juice (or swirl it around in your mouth), as digestion begins in the mouth with the release of enzymes such as amylase which pre-digests carbohydrates. Fascinating, right?
Smoothies / Blending
As far as blending or using a Vitamix / Nutribullet, you are consuming the fibre, the skin, and the pulp to create a slow and even release of the nutrients into your bloodstream. Blended smoothies are also a great chance to include proteins (clean whey proteins, as well as plant-based options like nuts, pea protein and Inca Inchi) and healthy fats (such as coconut oil, flaxseed oil, natural yoghurt and avocado). Again, adding in vegetables, protein and healthy fats is important in terms of keeping blood sugar balanced, and keeping you satisfied until the next meal time.
Last but not the least, smoothies are a fabulous way to add in all those superfoods! I love adding chia, hemp, maca, green powders, goji berries, nuts and seeds to my smoothies to for an added nutrition punch.
I myself love using my Nutribullet in the morning and creating a morning breakfast smoothie + a lunch smoothie that I can take in my lunch cooler. When buying read-made smoothies, stay away from sugary commercial smoothie and milkshake concoctions that will only cause insulin spikes. Opt for smoothies made with fresh fruit and vegetables, with a healthy dose of protein and seeds or other superfoods.
So what’s the verdict?
Some people do better juicing while others thrive on blending. As with anything, experiment and take the time to see which one is better for you.
AND, if you do not have a juicer, you don’t actually have to go out and buy one! You can juice using a blender by following these simple steps:
1. Throw in your celery or cucumber and a little water. Blend until it becomes liquid.
2. Add in the rest of your chopped fruits and veggies a little at a time, adding water as needed.
4. Pour mixture into a cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid into a large bowl, leaving the pulp behind.
5. Pour juice into a glass and enjoy!
In conclusion, both juicing and smoothies are essential parts of a nourishing plant-based diet that supports your vitality. These drinks are guaranteed to change your life. They changed mine!
To help you along your Juicing and Smoothie journeys, check out these recipes!
Sunshine in a Glass – 3 Juice Recipes
Breakfast Hulk Smoothie
Peach Banana Monkey Smoothie
Acai Berry Protein Fruit Boost
Happy juicing and blending!