The title is actually a little bit misleading as there is no competition between juices and smoothies – they are two entirely separate entities. Both are trending at the moment and there has been a lot of write ups on the differences yet I still hear people referring to their Nutribullet as a juicer when it is, in fact, a blender. Therefore I think this is still viable information.
Simply put, a juicer extracts nutrients and fibre from fruit and vegetables and turns it into a concentrated liquid. Due to the lack of fibre, a juice bypasses your body’s process of digestion and hits your system fast and furiously. This is both good and bad. Good because the vital vitamins and minerals available in vegetables (think leafy greens, celery, cucumber, ginger, fennel) has an alkalising effect on your body which is great for your health and wellbeing. We all know that in acidity illness lie.
However, when it comes to juicing fruit, things are not as simple. By removing the fibre and extracting the fruit juice, you also release undiluted fructose into your system that sets insulin levels on a roller coaster ride. It is like eating pure sugar. General advice, therefore, is to eat fruit whole (i.e. with the fibre) to enable the digestive process to slow down the release of sugars into the body. In summary, juicing vegetables is good, juicing fruit not so much. This can be a bit of an issue if you, like me, love green juice and its benefits but find pure green veg juice a bit hardcore first thing in the morning. My suggestion? Add a green apple (more sour than sweet) to balance things up.
Types of juicers
Centrifugal. There are a variety of juicers available on the market so it really comes down to how much you want to spend and how long you want the juice to last. The most common juicers are centrifugal and do a good job extracting the juice from most veg. They are not brilliant when it comes to the leafy greens such as kale, spinach or indeed wheat grass as the leaves tend to fly around a bit but do hard veg, like carrots, beets and ginger pretty well. The good news is that they are relatively inexpensive. The downsides are the speed in which they operate and the noise they make. They have powerful motors and spin fast, creating heat which kills off some of the vital nutrients and enzymes in the juice making them more perishable. I still think that if it is a choice of juicing or not juicing, a centrifugal juicer is a great first step. Don’t spend too much until you know juicing is going to be a daily part of your life.
Cold pressed/masticating. This type of juicer operates at much slower speeds than the centrifugal juicers, somewhere around 43rpm, which makes them quiet and efficient – as they grind up your veg. The difference you’ll notice with this type of juicer is the amount of yield compared to the centrifugal variety. And much less and drier pulp. They are quite a lot more expensive than a centrifugal juicer (from about £200 to £500+) but due to the grinding auger(s) which masticates the juice and then filters it through a sieve, more enzymes are retained and the juice can keep up to three days in a refrigerator which can save you a lot of juicing time. I would say this is phase two in your juicing journey. It certainly has been for me. Green juice and I are best friends now and so investing in a better machine was a natural progression.
A top tip is to watch John Kohler, a YouTuber with a mission to juice. In his 350 or so videos you are bound to find the juice review you are looking for. He goes through the various juicers and their functionality (in great detail) and gives his verdict which can be very helpful when it comes to making an important buying decision. Keep in mind it is an American site so you can’t make purchases from the Discountjuicer website that he also runs but use him for research purposes and then make your choice from a reputable UK supplier like UK Juicers or John Lewis.
A blender, mixes and purees all ingredients you put into it and turns it into a smoothie. It means you have to peel avocados, lemons, bananas and other fruit and veg with inedible skin. A smoothie is a great and filling way of getting lots of nutrients into your body as well as the fibre. Another benefit is that you can add lots of other healthy things apart from vegetables and fruit, for example nuts, seeds, nut butters, almond milk, coconut oil, raw cacao, chia seeds, protein powders and so on. There really is no limit to the goodies you can add to your smoothies but treat it as a meal – a friend of mine did a daily morning smoothie followed by his normal breakfast! Needless to say it was WAY too much.
Types of blenders
The king of blenders is the Vitamix. It is hands down THE most powerful blender on the market and will puree and liquify most things, turning it into smoothies, soups, ice cream, nut butters, nut milks and so on. To top it all off it is self-cleaning! What’s not to love. Making soup is a doddle too as all you do is add vegetables and liquid, turn on the blender and it will whizz until your soup is smooth and gently heated by friction itself (not hot enough to loose enzymes however – very clever). At £500 plus it is not something you buy on a whim but on the other hand it will probably last you ten years so it is an investment in you and your family’s health.
Other blenders will also do a good job and will be a lot more inexpensive, such as NutriBullet, KitchenAid, Breville and Philips. Both Amazon and John Lewis are good places to look for blenders. NutriBullet is all the rage at present with a great product which will blend your smoothie in a removable container which you can then take with on your day. Clever design.
I think there is room for both a juicer and a blender in most households as they fill very different functions. My children are very happy to have a morning smoothie with yoghurt and blueberries and the whizzing of either a blender or juicer are normal morning sounds in our house. Here are a couple of delicious recipes for smoothies and juices. Hope you enjoy them! x
Green Morning Juice
Handful of kale (or spinach, swiss chard)
3 celery stalks
1 lemon, peeled
1 green apple
1″ ginger root
Optional: A few sprigs of parsley or a shake of cayenne
Juice all ingredients in your juicer and drink immediately or store in fridge. Shelf life of a cold pressed juice is up to 3 days. Centrifugal juice should be drunk as soon as possible to avoid oxidation.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup almond milk/organic soya/coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
A small handful of your favorite nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts etc)
Handful of spinach
1 tbsp flax seed
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
Filtered water or coconut water
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. This can take a few minutes depending on what blender you have. Add the water to achieve your perfect consistency.
Enjoy your jucing and blending. Much love and happy Tuesday! x