About 2 years ago I was kind of obsessed with juices and wanted to start almost all my days with a great vitamin-energy packed juice. Today, I am more into smoothies than juices and I only drink once in a while. Why is that ? Well, during that time I read and educated myself more about food in general, especially about fibers and sugar absorption. Both juicing and blending have their pros and cons, but I saw that smoothies were more adapted to what I like and want. Here are the main differences between them :
Blending pulverizes the whole fruits and vegetables into a smoothie.
- You keep the fibers which help keeping your digestive system healthy.
- It makes the sugar absorption slower and more even.
- It still makes the digestion and absorption of nutrients quicker than entire fruits or vegetables since the fiber is broken apart.
- It keeps you full longer than a juice.
- Some nutrients may be harder to absorb and stay in the fibers.
- For the same amount of fruits and veggies, a smoothie will have a bigger volume so you tend to have fewer servings of fruits/veggies in a smoothie and fewer nutrients.
Juicing removes the pulp/fibers and keeps the nutrients and the water.
- Removing the fibers makes it a lot faster to digest and helps absorbing all the nutrients.
- You can juice a big quantity of vegetables and have all the nutrients from them in only one juice and therefore absorb all the vitamins that you would have not eaten otherwise.
- It gives some rest to the digestive system.
- The sugar from fruits is absorbed also very quickly since the fibers are removed.
- If you juice mostly fruits it can give you unstable sugar levels and all the side effects that come with it such as mood/energy swings.
- You can get hungry again faster.
In both cases it's important to drink it quickly after it's made because the vitamins will disappear quickly. It's also important to use the right appliances to make them : if you want to make juices, it's better to use a juice extractor than a centrifugal juicer that will make vitamins disappear because of the heat. In the end, it's up to you. It's more about educating yourself about what you eat and know what food can be better for what reason. I think juices are great if you do green juices with a lot of veggies (so not too much sugar), if you need a big vitamin boost or a deep detox and rest your body/digestive system with a cleanse (but I'm not so much into juice cleanses, since they can be restrictive, it all depends on how it is done and for how long). Also simply if you prefer juices to smoothies, life is short so drink what you love ! I'm personally more into smoothies now because they are more filling while still packing many nutrients. Also because I can add healthy fats such as flaxseeds, nuts or avocado, and protein powders or plant based milks, which you can't juice.
I generally make only fruit smoothies with my favorite fruits, because I always have fruits at home and I don't plan my meals well in advance, but sometimes I'll adapt the recipe depending on what I need : energy boost to start a long day or exercise, refreshing but light if I only want the good taste without the calories, anti-inflammatory or detox... I have here 4 different examples of smoothies that are great to try depending on what you need.
I like this kind of green smoothie if I have a hungover, for example. It's detoxing, the very watery fruits are hydrating and it brings all the good nutrients. Pineapple and kiwi are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that are great for the immune system, which may be a little fragile after drinking alcohol.
- 2 cups spinach (or your favorite leafy green)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 green apple
- 2 kiwis
- 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
- You could add 1/4 avocado to for the healthy fats and a smooth texture
It's funny because I found the taste quite good, not too sweet and a little acid, but without the taste of spinach. But I made my mom try it and she wasn't fond of it. I think it's also because my taste changed slightly since I started eating healthier : I crave less sugary taste except for fruits, for example. If it isn't your case, you can always add natural healthy sweeteners to your smoothies such as ripe bananas, dates, agave syrup, maple syrup... And remember not to force yourself to eat/drink something that you really don't like just because it is supposed to be healthy. There are healthy alternatives for everyone's taste !
I actually realize it looks like one smoothie I wrote about in the past. I think it's because I love raspberries so much and that I like to keep food simple. I also think organic berries should be often present in a healthy diet because of all the great nutrients they have. This one is really easy to digest as it only contains fruits and leafy greens (mixing fats and fruits can be hard to digest for some people), hydrating and good to cool down during summer. It's also full of antioxidants thanks to the berries.
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
Again, you may want to add more ingredients for a sweeter taste if you crave something more sugary while having the refreshing taste of berries. What I like in this smoothie is that it's super light so it's great as a little snack.
Vitamin C power
This one is a great concentrate of anti-inflammatory and vitamins, great if you're sick or if you want a little boost.
- The juice of 4-5 carrots
- 1 big orange (or 2 small)
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 small tea spoon of turmeric powder
The beta-carotene from the carrots is great when it comes to skin, but I also think the taste goes great with oranges. I chose to take only the juice from the carrots because they have a lot of fibers. And I don't think it's a vegetable that is good for smoothies. It's obviously better if you juice it yourself right before, if you can. The orange is loaded with vitamin C which gives the little energy boost we all need instead of taking supplements. The ginger and turmeric have great anti-inflammatory properties, actually turmeric is well known to be one of the best natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. Warning : it may taste weird for you at first because the ginger is really strong and the turmeric is a spice. I kind of like to try "weird taste" food, but if it's not your case you can try and adjust the taste taking out/adding ingredients. Start with a good orange-carrot juice/smoothie that many people love, and later you can try adding ginger and turmeric.
Healthy nutty energy
Good if you need energy for a longer time, if you want something that tastes less fruity and more sweet, to get some healthy fats for your skin, if you don't eat enough proteins or if you want to build more muscle.
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup plant based milk
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder
- 1 tbsp almond butter (or your choice of nut butter)
- 1 tea spoon cocoa powder
I talked about the benefits of bananas here. The protein powder (I used Pulsin brown rice powder) isn't necessary if you don't want to build more muscle and if you eat a balanced diet, but for example there are days when I'll eat less food providing proteins because I feel like something else and it can be useful. I feel like it brings a little earthy taste that I kind of like. Almond butter is my favorite nut butter because I find it less thick. It's very important to choose a healthy nut butter : the less ingredients, the better. I chose one (french brand Jean Hervé because I am in France right now) with only complete almonds and it's perfect. Nut butter will give you healthy fats, and different important nutrients that you don't find in fruits, one of them is zinc that is a very important nutrient for a healthy skin, and also a little bit of proteins. I like the little spoon of cocoa powder because it makes the whole thing taste more like a dessert, but if you don't like this is optional. I find the taste super sweet like this without adding any other sweet ingredients because I always use very ripe bananas.