Nowadays we find smoothies and juices on mainstream restaurants’ menus, still, I am often asked about the difference between smoothie and juice, and also, which of both is “better” …

The simple answer is both are recommended, both are interesting from a health perspective (adhering to some principles, though; see below), and both are a positive additions to your daily food intake. Why? Because they deliver a concentrated load of easily absorbable nutrients, which are hardly processed. Remember, food (besides water and oxygen) provides us with nutrients (macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, as well as micronutrients – such as vitamins,  minerals, phytonutrients, hormones, and enzymes), which we need for the good functioning of our biological systems and our body.

You obtain a juice, when you separate fibres from the liquid in the vegetable/fruit (with the help of an juice extractor). When you prepare a smoothie (in a mixer/blender) you mix the vegetable/fruit, hence, fibres and liquid are not separated, but remain together. So far, so good.

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The strong point of a juice is the easy absorption of nutrients, as there are no fibres to masticate nor to digest. In addition your body receives probably the best quality of fluid (=the liquid present in the vegetable/fruit). So to speak, the body has hardly any digestive “work” to do and the body is happy to get easy access to healthy and non-processed nutrients.

The advantage of a smoothie is its content of fibre. We need fibre in our food to work “as a broom in our digestive system”. Today regimens (such as meat, processed food, and heavily cooked food) are devoid of healthy fibre (by the way,  in meat there zero dietary fibre); our digestive system gets “lazy” and not used to digest/process fibre properly – even though, we need it for a healthy transit. Blending allows fibres to be processed into smaller bits and, in a way, “be prepared” for easier digestion.

If you do not have (yet) a juice extractor (as a quality extractor has a price tag attached), I always suggest you start incorporating smoothies into your daily routine. Better adding a smoothie regularly, instead of staying put, because you do not possess (yet) a juice extractor at home.

If you have a blender and an extractor, you can alternate (one day smoothie, the other day juicing) or – even better – both in the same day. In that case, you can start the day with a smoothie (as it is more filling and will provide satiety) and you’ll have a juice later in the day.

My personal tips for juicing:

  • Invest in a quality extractor that rotates at a slow rate (40 – 80 times/minutes): this prevents creation of heat while juicing = more nutrients will remain intact.
  • If you buy instore, check the label for “cold-pressed” juice.
  • Focus on greens, only add maximum one fruit for sweetening. From a sugar content point of view, beets and carrots do not count as vegetables. Do not drink a sugar bomb!
  • Favour, obviously, organic ingredients.
  • Juicing is an efficient way of stimulating our self defence system by flushing our body with pure nutrition and high quality liquid.
  • My personal morning green juice: 1 small cucumber, celery sticks, 1 lemon, parsley, kale of any other leafy greens, leftovers from the day before (such as broccoli trunk), 1 apple.

And here, my personal principles for smoothies:

  • Focus on greens and add one or two fruits maximum (bananas, mangos work very well for creamy texture)! You do not want to consume a sugar-loaded fruit-blend.
  • Use, whenever possible, organic ingredients.
  • A good basic recipe is: 1 banana, parsley or coriander, green leafs such as kale, and water.
  • By adding chia seeds or some nuts you can create a heartier and, hence, very filling smoothie. You will find numerous recipes on the internet.
  • Do not create too complex smoothies with too many ingredients. 4 – 5 ingredients is a good indicator, keep it simple. The idea of a smoothie is rather a “nutrition shot” and not the most complex gourmet drink!
  • Do not “over-blend” a smoothie, you do not want to create unnecessary heat while processing. Depending on the power of the motor of your blender, 15 seconds is often more than enough.
  • Do NOT gulp down your smoothie like a juice! You consume a smoothie “sip by sip”. Remember, your smoothie contains fibres, hence, digestion of carbohydrates starts with saliva in the mouth.

Finally, I cannot repeat enough times: “Green is the new black” 🙂 (and not “Orange…”). You want to focus on green smoothies and green juices in order NOT to push you quick sugar intake; no sweet rushes, please! Both, smoothies and juices, are an easy, healthy, and fabulous way to step up on the consumption of loads of vegetables and their nutrients. Indulge and have fun!

 ©The Vibrant Factory
About Stefan Lehner: Nutrition Coach & Educator based in Paris, available worldwide. He previously worked in management in an international corporation. Advocates the tremendous impact of food and lifestyle choices on our health and wellbeing. He puts his focus on durable transformations and challenges quick-fixing., on Facebook and Instagram

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