There are lots of food fads that come and go. The juicing fad has recently been overtaken by the smoothie fad, which will move over to the next. While I enjoy and recommend both smoothies and juicing, I wanted to dig a little deeper into a couple of the reasons that these are beneficial practices. I find that both juices and smoothies work with your digestive system to increase the nutrient density of a meal and to decrease the barriers to bringing those nutrients into your body.
Juicing is a great way to increase nutrient density in particular. By extracting all of the juices and leaving the heavy pulp, you create a situation where you can get much of the nutrients from a piece of fruit, while taking up only a fraction of the space in your stomach. In this way you can juice many times the amount of fruit and veggies that you could eat in a day. One juicing program I know recommeds each person juice 22 lbs. of fruit and veggies a day! Juice also takes very little energy to digest keeping all your energy available for detoxification.
Cons of juicing are that you leave behind a couple important dietary items in the discarded shavings, you need to purchase a juicing machine, and it takes a bit of time to clean up.
Smoothies take a slightly different approach. They don’t focus on providing such intense nutrient density, but they make fruits and vegetables much easier to digest because a blender has already chewed up the food. Smoothies give you all the fiber and nutrients that you would be dumping out in the pulp after juicing. It doesn’t let you get the number of vegetable servings that juicing does, because you are eating the whole vegetable, but it does a great job of delivering nutrients that are digestable.
Caution: The new smoothie fad is all about prepackaged smoothie mixes. The tradeoff you get with these easy to make powdered products is that you lose the vitality and active enzymes that you get with real foods.
Many healing diets and cleanses are built around the two core concepts of getting high nutrient density into the body and decreasing the energy we spend digesting our food. Both smoothies and juicing deliver on both of these key points and should be considered parts of a healthy diet or for special cleanses. Plus they taste delicious!
Looking for a simple juice recipe to start? Try 3 carrots, 2 apples, and 1 stalk of celery. Add a pinch of ginger for some spice!
A nice place to start with smoothies is: 1/2 cup Apple Juice, 1/2 cup yogurt, and 1 cup of your favorite frozen berrys. Optionally, you can add 2 Tbs. protein powder and honey to taste.