Here is a comparison of some the differences between a green smoothie and a green juice.
Both green smoothies and juices use leafy greens.
Green smoothies are a puree of leafy greens with slippery fruits such as bananas, mangoes, and peaches. Green smoothies are versatile in that the liquid used can vary and various "extras" can be added to give the smoothie extra nutrition. They are filling, contain fiber, and can be suitable as a meal. They are made using a blender. If you want a smooth puree every time and are planning on making green smoothies often, invest in a high speed blender that will last for many years. Good choices are Blentec and Vitamix.
Green juices are the juices of leafy greens and harder fruits such as apples, grapes and pomegranates that are pressed using a juicer.
There are 2 types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating juicers. Ideally, you want to use a masticating juicer which crushes and then presses the fruit to yield a high result of juice. This process is done with minimal heat (called low revolution per minute or RPM) so that the nutrients are preserved in the juice. Good choices include Green Star and Omega.
To increase the amount of juice yield, you can use a press. The Norwalk Juicer is an expensive piece of equipment that has both a masticating juicer and a hydraulic press. After juicing the produce, the remaining pulp is then pressed under pressure and an estimated 50% more juice is extracted. While a juicer alone will crush open the cell walls to extract nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc, higher amounts of these nutrients are extracted when a hydraulic press is used. In fact, this is the machine that the The Gerson Institute, which treats cancer and other degenerative diseases, uses. Note: the Welles Press, while cheaper, is estimated to yield only 10-15% more juice.
Centrifugal juicers, while offering a less pulpy juice and often being less expensive than masticating juicers, use a high speed blade that creates heat and thus some of the nutrients are lost. This would be a second best option. A third option is to use a blender and blend the greens and fruit into a thin puree with liquid (like making a runny green smoothie) and then straining out the liquid using a nut milk bag. Cell walls using this blender method are not crushed open.
If you're using a juicer and you'd like a less pulpy juice, you can pass the juice through a fine mesh sieve, or pour through a nut milk bag. Some juicers may come with a sieve for such a purpose, but you might want to use a nut milk bag as an extra step. Up to you.
Both green smoothies and juices are excellent ways of getting in fruits and veggies. The issue with green smoothies is that the slippery fruits used tend to be high in sugar, so there is some concern about creating sugar imbalances. The key is to use just enough fruit to make it taste nice, but still be just slightly bitter. In the beginning, more fruit will be needed as the taste buds are used to the sweet taste (the bitter taste is the most underdeveloped taste). With time, less fruit will be needed as the body will adjust and crave that bitter taste (which helps the liver and is good for heart health). Another option is to use fruits which are low glycemic. For example, while apples have a hard texture, you can peel and core them first before blending them. Some people call tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini as fruits. You can puree them with greens as a veggie smoothie and even add in a sweeter fruit like mango or banana and drink it all up.
The 2nd concern with green smoothies is the goitrogens, which are foods from the Brassica/Mustard family that can interfere with thyroid functioning. This applies to those that have a thyroid issue and it may be true that some, all or none of these veggies will be bothersome. In other words, it is person-specific. Veggies include mustard greens, kale, bok choy, collard, kohlrabi, cabbage, arugula and broccoli. Symptoms after eating such foods vary, but common ones are fatigue, foggy thinking, feeling bloated and gassiness. The usual recommendation is to steam these foods for 10-15 minutes before adding them to the blender. If symptoms persist despite cooking, avoid eating that food(s). In a similar vein, some foods which are high in oxalates, such as spinach, chard, beets and rhubarb can be bothersome for some and can lead to kidney stones. As with the goitrogens above, cooking first destroys the compounds; so cook first, then puree or juice.
The 3rd concern about green smoothies is that their insoluble fiber content makes them too rough for tender, inflamed intestines. Those that have candida or fructose issues may also find they get bloated and gassy from green smoothies. If this is your case, green juices will be a much better option. To add soothing soluble fiber to your juice and help soothe intestines, you can add 1-2 TBsp chia or flax seeds to your juice. If you find you are bothered by them when whole, grind first before adding to your juice. They will offer a gelatinous quality to your juice and intestines.
Looking for some interesting ways to supercharge your green smoothie with lots of goodies, such as adding in herbs and probiotic? Check out THIS ARTICLE HERE.
To greenie days ahead,
is a Health Practitioner with a Background in Chinese Medicine. Get in Some of her Savvy Adivce When She Answers Your Health Question.
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