The terms ‘Smoothies’ and ‘Juices’ are sometimes used interchangeably which can be confusing. For the purpose of this post, here is my definition:
A smoothie is made by pureeing whole fruit and vegetables into a thick drink. A juice is made by extracting the juice only and the pulp is discarded.
Before we get into to crux of it all, I want to mention that while I think smoothies are perfectly healthy, I don’t think its a good idea to skip meals on a regular basis in favour of a smoothie. Digestions starts with chewing and when we consume smoothies, we don’t chew (unless its a chunky smoothie!) This is a really important step in the overall picture because it not only kick starts digestion by way of enzymes in our saliva, but it actually activates our stomach in preparation for the incoming food. If you suffer from indigestion, acid reflux or heartburn, you need to be paying extra attention to chewing your food and smoothies may not be a good idea for you at this point in time.
Ok so here is a whole host of reasons why I think a smoothie kicks a juices butt:
- Smoothies use the whole fruit/vegetable so there is less waste. I don’t like waste, its not cool (read: its selfish, unnecessary and a huge global issue both environmentally and ethically)
- With smoothies, we consume the fruits and vegetables in their whole form, as nature intended. Mother Nature is a clever lady (most women are wink wink), she includes all the cofactors we need to digest, absorb and use the nutrients within a food. When we juice, we toss away some of these cofactors with the pulp. Synergy is very important when it comes to nutrients and their bio-availability. Who knows what we are missing out on when we drink the juice only. I’d bet a lot of money its not just fibre we lose.
- Which brings me to my next point – When we consume a smoothie we get the naturally occurring fibre in the fruits and vegetables. This helps us to feel fuller for longer as it can take up to twice as long for this food to leave the stomach when compared to juice (how digestion should be) Further to this, natural fibre from fruits and vegetables keeps us regular and feeds the good bacteria within our bowel. This is mega important for gut health.
- With a smoothie, you can’t jam in an unnatural amount of anything. For example, it could take anywhere up to 6 apples for a glass of apple juice, but you wouldn’t eat 6 apples in one sitting. This goes for anything, including the beloved kale! You wouldn’t eat a whole bush of it (because of the goitrogens which can mess with our thyroid gland) so why put it through a juicer and drink it? There is a lot to be said about keeping it real…
- Smoothies don’t raise blood sugar in the way that a juice will. This is especially important for fruit juices but don’t be fooled, vegetables contain sugar too. The fibre within the whole package is important for keeping the journey to the liver at a steady (and natural) pace. Blood sugar spikes cause all sorts of hell for your body, which is the exact opposite of what most green-juice-drinking-people are trying to achieve.
- Smoothies don’t require an expensive juicer. You can make them in a cheap blender or with a stick mixer (also quite cheap). Both these appliances are multi-purpose, unlike a juicer, which only does one thing – juice!This means its more economical, more environmentally friendly and more practical to drink a smoothie than a juice.
- Use it or lose it sister. I’m talking about your bodies digestive function. When we juice we are cutting back on some digestive functions that the body is designed for (more on that in a minute) Like any process, if our body detects that its not being utilised at a particular level it will adapt accordingly and spare the energy and building blocks for other functions (building blocks being the proteins and amino acids needed to make enzymes & digestive juices etc). As an example think of a body muscle, if we don’t use it, the muscle will start to lose its volume and capacity because the body detects the decreased use and see’s no need to maintain it at the level it did when it was being used. It will utilise the energy and building blocks elsewhere rather than continuing to build and repair the muscle that’s not being used.
- Our gastro intestinal tract is designed to digest food. Thats its job and its good at it. Unless we have a specific illness or condition, there is no need to ‘give it a break’ from its job by drinking juices for our nutrients. This is like taking small breathes to give our lungs a break.
Here are some smoothie combinations to try:
If your game, throw in a raw egg for a hit of protein and fat soluble vitamins.
Creamy green smoothie for 2 (because green is the trendy colour when it comes to smoothies!)
- handful of fresh spinach
- ½ avocado
- 1 green apple
- ½ cup coconut milk or coconut cream
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1½ cups water
- handful of ice
- Handful of frozen raspberries
- 10 -12 fresh mint leaves
- half a cucumber
- 1 celery stalk
- coconut water
- 1 green apple
- 1tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla powder (use vanilla essence if you don’t have powder)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup raw casews
- dollop of rice malt syrup or raw honey
- 1/2 cucumber
- handful of baby spinach or kale
- 2.5cm piece of fresh finger
- juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1/3 cup kombucha (replace with coconut water if you don’t have any)
- 1 pear or pink lady apple
Chocolate Banana Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 Tbs raw cacao
- 1 Tbs rice malt syrup or raw honey
- 1tsp raw maca powder