Green Smoothies or Green Juice?
If you explore the health world for any length of time, you’ll quickly discover various factions that fight over the territory of what is (and isn’t) healthy.
Sometimes these fights are friendly, sometimes not.
I don’t really know why someone would take the time to debate either/or over whether a green smoothie or a green juice is better. They’re both fantastic beyond fantastic, right?
Let’s give voice to the two sides of this conversation to see if we can learn something.
Juicing is Wasteful
Or is it?
One of the reasons the green smoothie camp disagrees with juicing is that juicing is wasteful. By discarding the pulp of fruits and vegetables and consuming only the juice, you’re basically throwing out food.
With a world full of starving people, waste is not good.
Making the conversation about waste puts juicers (and those who love them) on the defensive.
The retort from the juice camp is that juice accomplishes several powerful things:
- First off, juice is more available to the digestive tract. This allows a higher percentage of the nutrition in juice to be absorbed and used for healthy activity.
- Second, by juicing vegetables, a person can consume massively more nutrition than they would ever be able to chew. If you look at the difference between a tall glass of juice and the overflowing plate of vegetables that went into that juice, you can see that it would be fairly challenging to eat all those vegetables whole.
- Thirdly, the discarded bits of juice pulp don’t actually contain much nutrition. The fiber in the juice pulp would be important for a person to consume, but juicing is part of an overall nutritional strategy that should also include plenty of salads and raw or lightly cooked veggies. So not much waste is actually occurring when juice pulp is discarded. And any minor waste that is taking place is in the name of health.
- Finally, a better juice can solve much of the wastefulness potentially associated with juicing. You can tell how much nutrition is left in the juice pulp by squeezing it. If it is damp to the touch, that’s because you’re not using a good enough juicer. The top juicers all extract virtually all the juice and available non-fiber in juiced vegetables.
What do you think? Is juicing wasteful?
Juice is Too Fragile
Green Smoothies can last for 24 hours or more after they’re blended if they are kept refrigerated.
Most fresh juice, however, needs to be consumed as quickly as 30 minutes after juicing.
For this reason, green smoothie proponents cite the difficulty of keeping juice fresh and always having to make juice (yet again) rather than being able to store it and still enjoy the supposed health benefits of juicing.
However, two things stand out as counters to this argument:
First off, the kind of juicer you use (as mentioned above) plays a major role in how long your juice stays fresh.
The most commonly used centrifugal juicers expose virtually all the molecules in the juice to air. Air means oxidation. Oxidation means aging, decaying and decomposing.
That’s bad news for your juice.
However, the double-barreled masticating types of juicers (which typically cost a heck of a lot more than their centrifugal counterparts) are believed to juice in such a way that the molecules of vegetable juice are not “ruptured” quite as severely. Their juice, therefore, can last refrigerated up to 72 hours.
Now, it’s a little unfortunate that the price of entry is so high for getting a twin-gear masticating juicer that makes longer-lasting juice, but perhaps you get what you pay for when you invest in your tools…
The second counter to the argument that green juice’s shelf life is simply too short is the fact that juicing is quite as laborious as people make it out to be. For example, when I use my centrifugal Jack Lalanne Power Juicer Pro to make juice, I can go from getting the veggies out of the fridge to having a totally clean juicer AND a fresh glass of juice in under ten minutes.
That may be slightly longer than the length of time it would take to blend up a green smoothie, but 10 minutes is really not that much time to invest in your health.
Juicing is Too Much of a Hassle
Here’s one of the biggest objections to green juice by the green smoothie crowd.
In a nutshell, juicing is too much of a pain in the butt.
To make a green smoothie, you just toss your ingredients into the blender and press “go.”
Juicing, on the other hand, involves putting the juicer together, slowly juicing veggie by veggie and then taking everything apart and cleaning the much larger mess made by the whole process.
While no juice will ever be easier to make than a smoothie (other than the juice you pay someone else to make…), you can develop an assembly line system that lets you create your juices rapidly with relatively little fuss.
If you value what juice does for your body, the hassle is easily worth the price.
What About Arguments Against Green Smoothies?
I really only see one clear argument for steering clear of green smoothies: they’re too sweet.
The only non-sweet green smoothie I tried used tomatoes as a base, and I have to admit–I gagged when I drank it.
It was one of those classic moments where I was pinching my nose to get the thing down.
Otherwise, green smoothies taste great because they have fruit in them.
If you’re aware of all forms of sugar and how they affect your body, then you might not want to be ingesting much freshly blended fruit in the form of a green smoothie.
This doesn’t mean green smoothies are “bad” or anything, but it is something to be aware of.
From Either/Or to Both/And
Both green smoothies and green juice have their place.
Green smoothies are more filling and easier to make.
Green juice is more potent and medicinal.
Both are incredible elixirs for greater health.