Several of my clients have asked me what the difference is between blending and juicing. In this first post, we will discuss the differences. In future articles, we will discuss the differences between a blender (VitaMix), a juicer (Breville), and an extractor (NutriBullet), and we will compare brands.
Blending is a technique that creates a smoothie out of a number of fruits and vegetables. You can include as little as two or three, or add more. Blending liquefies and emulsifies the ingredients you throw in the blender, creating a relatively thick, homogenous and voluminous beverage. While technically you could throw anything in there, the more ingredients you add the more important it is to keep an eye on complementary flavors and textures, or you’ll end up with a weird tasting, weird looking, and texturized drink. With blending you should cut fruits and vegetables in smaller pieces, remove skins and pits, and be careful not to overload the blender. High speed blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec are hardly sensitive for such ailments. The smoothies made with a blender can be made more nutritious by adding ingredients such as yogurt, flaxseeds, avocado, coconut oil, protein powder, etc.
Juicing is the extracting of juice from fruits and vegetables. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients end up in the juice, while the pulp and the fiber is removed and discarded. This makes for a very liquid and smooth drink. By separating the pulp from the juice, it is also a very concentrated beverage. This can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. The level of concentration makes it easy to consume a large quantity of fruits and vegetables. People juice because all of the nutrients get assimilated into the bloodstream straight away, your body gets to use it all without having to digest food first. Juice is also a very clean drink, containing only juice from freshly juiced produce.
Reasons to Blend Fruits and Vegetables
These are some of the reasons why blending is not only a convenient way to get your greens, but also a superior way:
Quantity:To get the most out of eating leafy greens, you need to eat a LOT of them. This is actually a time consuming task, and unless you love greens more than any other food in the world and plan to eat several large salads a day; you aren’t likely to eat them in the quantities that will deliver serious health benefits. You may find that you are able to consume up to three times as many greens in a smoothie as you are in a salad or steamed dish.
Taste:Thanks to our modern processed diet, many of us have a hard time appreciating the flavors of greens. Some of us love them, but for the many more who don’t, hiding greens in a smoothie is the perfect way to eat them without tasting them.
Benefits of Raw: There is a lot of evidence pointing to the benefits of eating raw foods. Most plants, when cooked, tend to lose their nutrients and digestive enzymes to varying degrees, depending on the temperature at which they are cooked, the method, etc. Anything heated over the temperature of 118 degrees is considered cooked. Raw Foodists use this temperature as a baseline. Since the greens in your smoothie are always raw, you get the benefit of all the nutrients in their purest whole food state.
Digestion: Greens are called roughage for a reason; they can be pretty rough on our intestinal tracts. And when we chew, we don’t always get all the benefits of the food. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, longtime advocate of achieving nutritional excellence through the consumption of a plant-based diet: “When we simply chew a salad, about 70 to 90 percent of the [plant] cells are not broken open. As a result, most of the valuable nutrients contained within those cells never enter our bloodstream.” He considers what he calls a “blended salad” a “powerful and delicious way to maximize your intake of nutrients.” Since the food in a smoothie has already been mostly pulverized from going through the blender, your body will digest the food much more easily, and assimilate the nutrients much faster. Once the nutrients are in your system, you often feel the difference in terms of energy and well-being immediately.