Green juice vs. green smoothie- How to get started

You don't necessarily need a Vitamix, Blendtec or fancy juicer to jump on the green drink band wagon (though they may make your life a bit easier). Before you get started you may want to ask yourself what YOU want to get out of making green drinks.

Juicing vs blending

Juicing means that the liquid of a fruit or vegetable along with its vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients are extracted.  The pulp or fiber is left behind and what you get is liquid only.  With a green smoothie you get the whole fruit including the pulp or fiber which provides additional health benefits and a feeling of fullness.

The benefits of making green drinks

Both juicing and blending provide a way to consume larger quantities of raw vegetables and/or fruit in a day than what you would most likely eat (however you should still eat them and consume a diet with balanced meals).  Consuming raw fruit or vegetables that are pure and unprocessed (and ideally organic) gives you the best nutritional bang for your buck. Therefore, you are able to get greater benefits from vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and other phytonutrients. 

Many experience weight loss, reduction in pain and inflammation, greater energy, improved digestion, glowing skin, a strengthened immune system and improved cariovascular functioning.  Essentially you are taking in a fresh dose of whole food vitamins and minerals.

 My centrifrugal juicer

My centrifrugal juicer

Juices:

  • Are easily digested
  • Made of liquid and do not contain fiber
  • Should be consumed immediately or within 48 hours if stored in a glass air tight container.

Juice may be extracted several ways:

  • Centrifugal- The most common type of juicer, a fast spinning blade spins around a mesh filter to seperate the juice from the flesh of the fruit.  Some heat is produced which may harm the enzymes of the fruit in the process.  
  • Masticating- Fruit is crushed then pressed to extract the max amount of juice.  Using a cold pressed, masticating juicer is the best method as no heat is involved in processing the juice and you get the max yield.  These are better for juicing leafy greens.

Green Smoothies:

 Cuisinart blender

Cuisinart blender

  • Are produced in a blender
  • Contain the whole fruit (minus the seed in most cases)
  • Contain fiber or pulp which provide greater health benefits
  • May contain fruit or vegetables that can not be juiced, such as banana.
  • Should be consumed immediately or within 48 hours if stored in a glass air tight container.

Green smoothies are typically made in a blender.  I have used both types of blenders listed below.

 Cuisinart hand blender

Cuisinart hand blender

  • A standard stand alone blender- may produce some heat while blending depending on how long the blender runs.
  • A hand blender- may produce some heat while blending depending on how long the blender runs.

Both the stand alone and hand blenders DO produce a significant amount of pulp (which I don't mind) because they are not high speed blenders like Vitamix or Blendtec. The hand blender produces more pulp but it's great to whip up a quick green drink/green smootie because it's convenient and easy to clean.  

Vitamix and Blendtec, high speed blenders are fantastic, however I don't own either.  I've been able to enjoy making green drinks, both green juice and green smoothies without them.  

High speed blenders will allow you to actually make a very thin smoothie.  You get the benefits of using the whole fruit and/or vegetable and it's liqufied.  However, as with regular blenders some heat may be produced which may damage the enzymes.  

 Ingredients for a basic green smoothie. You may add banana or dates for sweetness.

Ingredients for a basic green smoothie. You may add banana or dates for sweetness.

The making of...

A GREEN DRINK

I'm personally really into making green smoothies at the moment and try to have 3-4 a week.  My skin loves them and they keep the inflammation level in my body down.  

Green drinks include your pick of a leafy green with other fruit and/or vegetables.  

Examples include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Beet Greens
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion greens

The trick is getting the taste right.  

A great formula for making a green smoothie:

  • Choose a liquid base- water, almond milk, coconut water/milk, rice milk
  • Choose a leafy green- spinach, chard, kale, cilantro, parsley, dandelion greens
  • Choose your desired fruit (I go for low glycemic most of the time)- blueberries, apples, pears, cucumber, raspberries, banana
  • Decide if you want to add extras- chia seeds, flaxseeds, maca powder, protein powder, spirulina, bee pollen, raw cocao nibs or nut butter
  • Sweeten if you must-  Dates, agave, stevia

Measurements

Getting the right measurements for your taste buds takes some trial and error but you can start wtih this:

2 cups liquid + 2 cups leafy green + 2 cups fruit

Add in extras and sweetner to taste.

Try my fav's:

Simple and Scrumptious green drink recipe

Wonderful Nutrimeal Shake Recipes (not green drinks but great smoothies)

There you have it... Green Drinks 101.

Please come back and let me know how it works for you and share your favorite recipe.

Blessings...

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