Q: My friend recently did a juice fast. It was her longest yet, she went for 10 days. To be honest, I think she cheated a bit by taking in some smoothies. I don't think she understands the difference between a green juice and a green smoothie. She eats organic but like most people it's meat, dairy, etc. She says she wants to go vegan but that it's a work in progress. Can you tell me what's the difference between a green juice and a green smoothie and whether she should do another fast (she says she wants to)?
A: Your friend seems to be taking some positive steps in the right direction, congratulate her! It seems her green juice/smoothie experience was her attempt of getting herself onto a more vibrant path towards health. Indeed, many turn to plant-strong nutrition to fuel that feel-good vibe.
Green juices are different compared to green smoothies because juices don't have any fiber. They are made using a juicer with leafy greens and often low glycemic fruits such as apples. In comparison, green smoothies are made in a blender with greens, water, and often medium glycemic fruits such as bananas and mangoes. The fruits in a green smoothie tend to be "slippery" and are hard to juice, such as with peaches or kiwis.
On a juice fast, it's common to juice not only greens but other veggies as well. Beets, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and green herbs like parsley and coriander are often used to help with detox and cleansing.
Because juices don't contain any fiber, a juice fast is a much faster way of getting the body to detox. Faster doesn't mean better, however. A juice fast can be a pretty intense experience, especially if the quantity is reduced (1-2 liters of juice) and/or if the juice fast goes for an extended length of time (e.g. 21 days). Usually, 3-4 liters of juice is consumed, with the emphasis being on juicing veggies. Even a 3 day-weekend juice fast might be a lot for some people, which means if you are new to fasting, you want to take it slow and easy (1 or days to start) to give your body a chance to adapt. Once your body adapts, you might be able to go for longer, such as 7 days, 10 days, 14 days, etc. There are many resources online where you can juice with other people, share your experiences and your recipes (this is one resource).
In comparison to juice fasting, a green smoothie fast is a much gentler approach to fasting. The body is able to get in a sufficient amount of calories and will feel full because of all the fiber. However, since no meat, dairy or fat is consumed (as with juice fasting), it is therefore possible for someone to experience detox symptoms on a green smoothie fast, especially if the person has been eating poorly (i.e., junk & processed food). Detox symptoms are also more likely to occur the longer you are on the fast (e.g. 14 days).
Whether your friend wants to pursue another fast is up to her. You can tell her that a person doesn't have to fast in order to be healthy and that many health practitioners recommend a whole, real foods approach to food, that is, just eat real food (no junk, processed or packaged food).
A few things to try and consider when doing a green smoothie fast:
I wish your friend a happy journey on her path to vibrant health :)
PS. You might be interested in Supercharging your green smoothie with superfoods, probiotics, herbs and more. You can find out how HERE.
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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