Since starting this blog, many people have asked me to explain the difference between a green smoothie and green juice and, to state which is better. My current understanding and opinions are based on what I’ve read and experienced first hand.
Smoothies are made in blenders out of a liquid base of water or juice plus whole fruits and/or veggies. A smoothie is puréed fruits/veggies. It’s a complete meal of juice and fiber/pulp.
Juice, on the other hand, is made out of fruit and/or veggies without a liquid base. A juicer (not a blender) separates the juice from the pulp so you end up drinking only the liquid extracted from the fruit/veggies. Juice is not a complete meal.
|High concentration of micronutrients and antioxidants due to the process of blending/juicing.|
|Include pulp and fiber resulting in slow absorption and, therefore, stabilized blood sugar and energy. The fiber helps keep bowel movements regular.||No fiber so very minor digestive work is required to process resulting in quick absorption. Quick absorption gives fast energy boost.|
|Serve as meal replacement. Protein can be added for increased balance.||Not a complete meal.|
|Less produce is needed since whole fruits/veggies are consumed.||Require large quantity of fruits/veggies to create one juice serving resulting in more fruits/veggies in diet.|
|Endless combinations allow for greater variety of fruits/veggies to enter diet.|
|Slower absorption keeps you full longer and helps stave off cravings/hunger, both of which are helpful in weight loss.||Tend to be higher in calories and sugar (depending on ingredients) due to large quantities of fruits/veggies in a single juice serving.|
|Provide access to vitamins and minerals but with less potency due to fiber.||Provide full, potent access to vitamins and minerals since fiber is not present.|
|Best made in a high-quality blender (Vita-Mix or Blendtec), but can be made in any blender.||Require juicer (more parts and steps than blending). May be made in blender and then strained as an alternative to using a juicer.|
|Freshly pressed is best.|
There are plenty of opinions and perspectives about whether green smoothies or green juices are better for you. Some argue that green smoothies are better because the fiber helps eliminate toxins. Others argue that juice is better because it gives digestive organs a rest and allows the micronutrients to immediately begin their work at the cellular level. Still, others argue over what produce should or shouldn’t be combined when creating both green smoothies and juices. (And to the latter group, I say, “Boo!” It is far more detrimental to eat the standard American diet than it is to combine fruits and veggies into a single drink, I say!)
I have no research or nutrition degree, but it seems to me that both green smoothies and green juices serve important needs and can both be easily incorporated into a meal plan. The bottom line is this, by drinking green smoothies and/or green juices, your body is getting access to many more nutrients than it was consuming the standard American diet. I know I wasn’t eating nearly the amount of dark leafy greens as I’m consuming now. Additionally, by adding these in my diet, less healthful food choices are crowded out. More nutrients in and more unhealthy options kept out sounds like a win-win situation to me.
Let’s avoid creating a dichotomy between green smoothies and juices. Both have their place in a healthy lifestyle. Which you choose depends on your needs at any given moment. If you’re looking for a meal replacement, try a green smoothie. If you need instant access to micronutrients, try a green juice (on an empty stomach). If you want to incorporate greater quantities of dark leafy greens and other fruits/veggies into your diet, try both. Whichever you choose, I’m certain your body will thank you for it!
Here are my made up recipes for a smoothie and juice (Gasp! I’m making up recipes now!) based on ingredients I had available at home. The quantities listed are sketchy estimations given my limited experience in the kitchen. Or, as my mother likes to say, all ingredient quantities are ‘al tanteo‘ (pure guesswork). Just play around with the recipes and keep adding stuff until it tastes good. Green smoothies and juices should be enjoyable not torture. Give them a try and let me know what you think! ¡Provecho!
Green Smoothie: Dandelion Greens
2 cups water
2 cups dandelion greens
1 peeled banana
2 cups cantaloupe
1/2 cup lemon juice
Green Juice: Romaine Lettuce
1 head romaine lettuce
3/4 peeled watermelon (seeds included)
1 unpeeled lemon