Are you overwhelmed by the number of accessories and machines “Raw Food Gurus” tell you are needed to make eating a raw food diet successful? With the help of this guide you’ll be able to decide whether you should invest in a blender or a juicer, and figure out which one is more likely to give you the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.
The Benefits of Blenders and Smoothies
1. Smoothies keep longer in the refrigerator than juice does.
Smoothies contain all of the fiber that the fruits and vegetables initially came with, albeit in a blended form. Because everything is still in the drink itself, you can actually store smoothies longer without losing too much nutritional value.
To preserve a smoothie you simply need to put it in a glass container like a mason jar filled to the brim. This keeps the air out, so that the smoothie will not oxidize. Seal the jar and drink it within 24 to 32 hours. You might need to shake it if the water separates.
2. The fiber of a green smoothie acts like chimney sweepers.
Smoothies have a cleansing effect on the bowel. Since smoothies still contain all of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables, you get a chimney sweeping effect. One of the reasons I’m so fond of smoothies is that they keep me regular, and cleanse my body on their way out.
3. Sugar is absorbed slower because of the built-in fiber.
Green smoothies allow you to have fruit without experiencing the aftermath of a sugar spike and crash. The fiber will keep the flow of sugar regular as your body digests it and it enters the bloodstream. Fruit smoothies will have the effect as eating whole fruits, so you may experience a bit of an up and down, but nothing compared to fruit juice. (By the way, store bought fruit juices are the worst, and I don’t recommend them at all.)
4. Commercial smoothies are “tainted”.
Most store-bought or juice-bar smoothies are less than ideal. These smoothies are made with frozen fruit, with store-bought sugary juices and liquors for added taste. Most store-bought smoothies are packed with sugar so that they taste extra yummy. These smoothies also tend to include dairy of a questionable quality and source.
Though commercial smoothies are tainted, commercial juices are even worse. Bottled juices are almost pure sugar with very little nutrition at all. They are also high in calories, and just plain bad for the health.
5. Blenders are easy to clean.
A blender is easily cleaned by running it under the tap. Or adding a bit of water and soap to the blender and pushing the clean cycle button for a few seconds. Because blenders are so easy to assemble and clean a lot of people gravitate towards blending instead of juicing.
6. Fruit smoothies are great tasting for the whole family.
Smoothies are great for making fruit-based drinks because it contains the whole fruit. They are also great for green smoothies because you can mix and match to please the taste buds of anyone in your household. A little extra fruit, or maybe a spoonful of cacao for an added twist.
7. With a blender you can make sauces, salsas, and dips.
Blenders are great for making sauces and dips. With a blender you can make all kinds of different things aside from smoothies, like salsas, guacamole, sauces, and soups. Though you can most certainly make soups with a juicer, blended soups tend to be thicker and creamier.
8. You can easily add supplements and superfoods into smoothies.
When you’re making a smoothie you can add a spoonful of hemp protein powder, spirulina, maca root powder, and so on. You wouldn’t necessarily add these supplements to a glass of juice, either because of the taste or the texture. That makes smoothies ideal for superfoods and giving yourself a nutritional edge.
My Recommended Blender of Choice
The Benefits of Juicing and Freshly Squeezed Juice
Many long time raw foodists (ugh there we go with labels again!) state that their success is in part due to juicing.
1. Fresh juices are the shortcut to pure nutrition.
Freshly made juice gives you all the nutrients without any of the associated digestion. A freshly made juice bypasses your need to digest through the fibers before you get all the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables. This is ideal for people who have digestion problems and who need to heal themselves before they can absorb nutrients from whole foods. This ability to bypass your digestion and go straight into your nutritional system is important for giving your body a break and allowing it to heal itself fully.
2. Juice is ideal for cleansing and healing.
Many people have healed themselves and undergone complete transformations by following a supervised juice fast or juice feast. The idea is to drink only freshly made juicer for an extended period of time to allow your body to take a break and work on deeper issues that require healing. Remember to consider the benefits of organic produce when you’re juicing, especially if you aren’t peeling your produce.
3. Juice vegetables, but eat fruits.
Jay Kordich (The Juice Daddy) believes that you should juice vegetables and eat fruits. Vegetables are better juiced whereas fruits are better eaten whole. Fruits need all of the fiber in order to slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood stream. The exception is that of mixing apple juice with vegetables. Vegetables contain less sugar and therefore don’t need as much fiber to slow down the absorption. This goes back to the idea that store bought fruit juices are not a healthy drink.
4. Juice gives you an instant energy boost.
When you’re drinking freshly made juice, you’re getting all of the energy right away without waiting for your body to digest through it. Whenever I drink freshly squeezed vegetable juice I always feel energized and more alert.
5. Even without fiber juice is a great way to flush your system out.
Even without all of the fiber of smoothies, juices are a great way to give your body a chance to expel things via bowel movements. If you “chew your juice” as recommended, you give your body a signal that begins peristalsis and gets your bowels moving. That leads to a bowel movement and you are cleansing your body even without eating the fiber.
6. Cleaning a juicer can be quite a task.
I think it’s a tossup between making juice and making a smoothie in terms of time. For a smoothie you need to cut the fruits that you’re going blend, and for a juice you might need to cut apples or carrots if they don’t fit in the juicer.
A juicer definitely requires a little bit more time for cleanup. Although I’ve been able to time myself and make an entire batch of juice in less than 15 minutes, I think all of these things come with practice.
7. Juices don’t make you feel full.
After drinking juice you might be satisfied for 30 minutes to an hour. After drinking a smoothie, you might be satisfied for two to three hours. So I see juice more as a way to add nutrition into your day, and not as much as a meal like a smoothie might be.
8. Juice allows you to juice almost any produce.
You might never put a beet or a carrot in one of your smoothies, but you can definitely make juice out of these ingredients. Interestingly enough, you can disguise bad tasting vegetables with other better tasting vegetables and apples to make juices that contain a larger variety of ingredients. Not necessarily so with smoothies.
9. The debate over unlocked nutrition in juice and smoothies.
It’s still up for debate whether juice or smoothies unlock all the nutritional value in fruits and vegetables. Some juicer and blender manufacturers say that all of the nutrition is unlocked and is therefore superior to eating the fruits and vegetables themselves. This would potentially lead to increased absorption of nutrition. This is certainly the case for the elderly, or people who have a hard time chewing through foods properly.
While I cannot quote any scientific studies, I can definitely vouch with my experience that it is very easy to digest smoothies and juices.
My Recommended Juicer of Choice
Watch the Cliff Notes Version via Video
Is Juicing Better for you than Smoothies? Or vice versa?
I think it really comes down to what you’re more likely to use on a daily basis. The blender might work better if you’re in a rush and you need a very filling meal. In this case I definitely recommend making lots of blended green smoothies.
If you have a lot of produce from your garden or from a weekly produce delivery service and you don’t know what to do with all of it, I definitely recommend a juicer. Remember not to mix fruits and vegetables in the same juice except for apples and to some extent lemons. Though it is preferable to make vegetable juices over fruit juices.
When I first went raw I bought a blender and a juicer. If I had to do it all over again I would have just bought a blender. Now I have both a blender and a juicer and I’m definitely making good use of my juicer because of all the produce in my garden.
If money is an issue then I definitely think a blender is a better investment because you’re not wasting the fiber of the fruits and vegetables that you’re blending.
I do think that juice have an advantage in terms of nutrition because it simply gives your digestion system a break.
Have your say…
So if you were starting over with raw foods, or if you’re in that place now… which one would you recommend to others in this situation? A blender or a juicer? Let us know in the comments!