'What is the difference between smoothies and juices? They all look the same to me.'
Of all the questions I often get from a raw newbie, this one has to be the most common. Closely followed by ‘do I start with buying a juicer or a blender?’ or ‘which is the best for my health?’ or ‘which is more filling, more soothing, more energising, most tasty, takes least time to clean…’ etc, etc. So as you can see all of these questions belong in the same box and today I'm hoping to crack it open for you.
Firstly though, if you didn’t know the difference and felt silly asking, please don’t feel silly. I wish more people asked! I often meet with clients at a juice bar in Kensington’s Whole Foods Market and my word does this place make me wish more people would ask!
That particular juice bar tends to chew through staff A LOT and I find myself ‘educating’ [breathe Tanya, breeeeeathe] someone new each time on what machine to use when I order a juice, having to point to the juicer on their bench and steer them away from the blender they were about to load. Each time they look completely shocked to discover the two are not the same thing. It clearly states on their menu board that they offer both juices and smoothies, they have all the equipment, but when you are not told what the difference is, the chances are you’ll stick to what’s most common.
A Popular choice.
So, the most common is the blender. This machine consists of just a jug and a motor stand, is easy to use, easy to rinse, quick to put away and takes the least amount of time and effort. The juicer is a little more complex with various parts to it, so requires a little more time for assembly and cleaning.
Preparation and outcome.
A blender/ smoothie maker requires whole fruit and vegetables to go into the jug for whizzing up. The outcome is a smooth, creamy, thick and filling shake, equivalent to a meal. The juicer involves a liquid extractor and separates both the juice and the pulp into different compartments, so the outcome is a thin and liquidy drink, nutrient packed and more hydrating than filling. This is a smoothie. This is a juice.
Since blending requires whole food, you are going to consume all of the fibre from whatever you are putting into your shake, while juicing takes this pulp/fibre away and you are left with just the liquid component. Fibre is important for elimination and if you’ve been consuming a ‘standard’ diet (don’t even get me started on SAD- 'Standard American/British Diet'), then you are likely to be in need of this fibre to help you move things along. ‘Regular’ is going after every meal, not once every couple of days, but the unfortunate fact is that pretty much all of what the majority of population consumes contains little to no fibre at all.
Let’s look at how much produce you’d require to get a pint of green smoothie versus a pint of green juice. [Pint is 1/2 Litre]. For the smoothie- you’d be looking at say 1 whole pear, 1 celery sprig, 2 kiwi fruits and a handful of spinach topped with pure water. If you were to take those ingredients (less the water) and extract the juice out of them, you’d be left with just over half a pint glass of juice, so naturally you’d be looking at adding more of the spinach, maybe another celery sprig, a cucumber, and already you have loaded the glass with almost twice the amount of nutrition.
The amount of nutrients in your drink is one thing, but whether you can properly assimilate and make the most out of them is another. If you’ve never done a detox, done one a long time ago or consume heavy or processed food on a regular basis, chances are your gut lining is going to be pretty polluted, would have a thick wall of toxins to get through and would require the fibre to clean it out before you can properly begin to absorb the goodness from your food. So smoothies may just be the answer for you. Once the system has been purified, you will not only get the best out of your food, you can consume juices and rest assured that they will travel to your bloodstream quickly and efficiently converting into all the energy you can handle!
So the difficult (or perhaps easy) part is deciding which is for you. In my case, I love both and go by the mood, etc. I do tend to make more smoothies when I’m home as they fill me up and are quick to make. You’ll have to have a good think about which is right for you and your health based on the above, especially when you must decide on what investment to make first.
There’s also a HUGE difference between the machines. I explain further what two kinds of juicers are out there and how many more nutrients one excretes from the veg than the other, as well as how one can damage masses of nutrition, in my DVD Raw Food 101.
As for the blenders out there, the cheapo ones just swirl the produce around without releasing any of the nutrients to be available for assimilation, while the high powered blenders will break through the cellulose (wood like substance) which hold the precious chlorophyll and vitamins and make them available for us to digest.
You may probably know I am a massive fan of the Vitamix! I can’t even imagine a life without it- the smoothies, the nut shakes, the soups, the ice creams, salad dressings, sauces, pastes, cheesecakes, etc etc. So if I had to make a choice for you, I won’t even think twice on my answer. I know it’s pretty pricey though, but once you use it for the very first time, you’ll already know every penny has been worth it. Aaaand if it helps you at all, I even have a discount code for when you call the UK/Ireland branch to get free standard shipping. The shipping alone cost me something silly like £45 when I bought my Vitamix years ago.
Let me know if you are up for the promo code in the comments below and I’ll pass it on.
For now, here's another smoothie recipe for you to enjoy...
THE GREEN DRAGON SMOOTHIE
(Yields 1 litre/ 2 pint glasses)
3 kiwi fruits
3 handfuls spinach
1 tsp chlorella powder
1 tsp barley grass powder
1-2 cup/s pure water
Blend and serve